Photo by Emma Rego
Harriet is the founder of Spacemasks, which feature as an option in our ‘build your own’ packages. They are unsurprisingly a top seller; our customers love adding them for all reasons and occasions as they’re perfect for encouraging the recipient to lie back, shut their eyes an just breathe for a little while.
This month we are putting the spotlight on some of our suppliers and sharing stories of how their business came about and how they have coped during a pandemic.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how the business started?
I’m very much a Londoner. I was born in Westminster in the mid seventies and brought up in Clapham, which was a bit grittier back then. My father died, devastatingly, when I was 11 and my mother, brother & I moved to a small flat in Chelsea next to Foxtrot Oscar, a legendary restaurant owned by Michael Proudlock (Made In Chelsea’s star’s father), and Rex Leyland, where I went on to work for many years. After my husband Robert and I had the first of 4 daughters in 2003, I was a stay-at-home mother but always working from home; firstly it was catering for friends and creating mouth-watering brownies for local cafes. I then realised that with my little black book and never ending energy, I could become a virtual concierge/pa to anyone who needed some assistance in getting organised, particularly those bamboozled by technology. This was the most rewarding of all and gave me the idea of becoming a homestay host. We started having regular students, mostly from Japan, to stay with us during the school holidays while learning English. One of them bought me a warming face mask from Japan….it dawned on me then that to create an affordable, self-heating eye mask for times of stress, fatigue and anxiety could be a winner.
I decided on the space theme to emphasise the escape from earthly worries, and created the brand. Spacemasks has gone from strength to strength since leaving the launch pad in May 2017, making so many people feel so much happier, more relaxed and less anxious. I receive hundreds of messages telling me that Spacemasks help those undergoing medical treatment, those who find it hard to sleep, those with headaches and migraines and those who simply want to take some time out of their hectic lifestyles.
How has the pandemic impacted your business?
Sadly some wholesale orders have been cancelled but on the whole, with everyone so stressed, feeling cooped up, seeking a bit of escapism, Spacemasks have been more popular than ever. In fact, orders were so intense, I ran out of stock and have had to tuck into my Christmas stash. We have also donated hundreds of Spacemasks to key workers so it’s been great to spread the love amongst our heroes.
A lot of our packages are sent for people going through something, whether that’s illness or a break up or a tough time at work. What’s your go-to product or thing to do when you’re feeling the need for TLC?
Sleep! I have an early night and warn the family not to disturb me (easier said than done with 4 young daughters and 2 yappy Dachshunds). I also go for massages frequently and am partial to the odd facial too.
A really thoughtful thing someone has done for you?
My late godfather left me and his other goddaughter, Sophie, (who I had never met) a house. We met, sold the house and bought a holiday house together in Whitstable which has truly enhanced our lives.
Your toughest challenge?
I’m tempted to say work/life balance but that’s too predictable. I find managing teenagers exceedingly tricky.
What makes you laugh?
4 year olds. That’s the peak age for children, in my opinion – so much more entertaining than teenagers….
Words to live by?
Carpe Diem. Cliche but true.
Complete this sentence: I wish…
I could see my parents just one more time to tell them lots of things and to ask all the questions I didn’t know I needed the answers to when they were alive.
And finally, given the madness of the last few months, how are you?
I’m a little larger than before all this started but still happy and sane. We’ve had 4 daughters at home but they’ve coped very well and my husband has been exceedingly helpful with the constant meal churning. It’s wonderful to finally get down to the seaside in Whitstable for some sea swimming and fish and chips. I’m just keeping everything crossed that everyone stays in school and things can get back to normal soon.
You can find out more about Harriet and Spacemasks here.
Check out our instagram for this weeks giveaway which includes five amazing spacemasks and other TLC items.