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    The best things take time - celebrating 20 years of Cole & Co

    The best things take time - celebrating 20 years of Cole & Co

    This whole journey started because of a fiercely independent, incredible woman known as Liz Cole aka mum! Since she was in her 20s mum had a drive for supporting independent businesses, having spent the later end of her teens studying in France and Spain and seeing the pride they took in products that were manufactured there. She opened her first business at 22, with a music sheet business on St Mary's Street- 10 minutes from where our Cardiff shop is now! 6 years later life got in the way, with a career in teaching sounding like the sensible option considering her and Kevin were starting a family! But the love for independent businesses and being her own boss never disappeared. Three fantastic children (if I do say so myself) later, and a big relocation to North Wales for Kevin's job and mum found herself craving the self employed life once more.
     
    On August the 7th, 2000 mum opened the original Cole & Co on the ground floor of our house on Church Street. A shop to celebrate the incredible independent businesses from all around the UK - Caroline Gardner, Bath House and Baileys all featured before they became the big household names that they are now. It was such a new thing for Beaumaris. It had been such a traditional tourist town until that point, and mum introduced brands that had had never even been heard of. The popularity was instant - and four years later mum moved over the road to a bigger space, where she could introduce clothes, jewellery and ceramics. And we gained our living room back!
    For 10 years, mum was there whenever we needed her. The perfect balance of a role model and mum. Showing the three of us, that you didn't need to be in a big serious profession to be successful. I loved it. I hid behind the counter from the age of seven and then worked in that shop every Saturday from the age of twelve. I was officially becoming mum's mini me. Every Christmas we would have a Christmas preview party and we'd all dress up and serve wine and canapés whilst customers started their Christmas shopping. It was something I looked forward to every year. That was because mum was completely in her element - the hostess with the mostest and I knew I was never going to just sit in a university lecture hall. I wanted to do what she did.
     
    In 2009, Dad was having a tough time in his job as an industrial chemist. It had become too much managerial, and not enough hands on science. Mum suggested taking up a hobby... making candles. They launched three fragrances in the shop - called '1', '2' and '3' - and they were hugely successful. So much so that local businesses started paying attention. So dad tried making soap - and turned out he was as good at making those as he was candles. A year later and it was starting to pick up, so mum and dad made the decision to change their lifestyle slightly so that dad could leave his job and join Cole & Co! I'm not sure if we're a family of habits - but that just happened to fall on exactly 10 years from when mum opened the doors to her first shop!
     
    They quickly became the dream team, with the balance of retail experience and science playing in their favour. Shops started paying a lot of attention, so dad officially set up the wholesale side of the business, and half of the shop was converted into a workshop. Although the original fragrances didn't stick around - the candles and soaps definitely have, and ten years later we have sold over 100,000 soaps!
     
    We have grown from a team of 3 (including mum), 1 of which is still with us today - to over 20 members of staff ! With a workshop based in Beaumaris and in Cardiff, and over 200 stockists all round the UK. We now make a range of over 15 types of products, and have ventured into refillable toiletries, something we didn't even know existed 10 years ago! It is now a business that mum could never have imagined when she started in 2000. 5 years ago, I came back into the company as an exploration that was meant to last a year - and now I have the bit between my teeth and can not imagine doing anything else. Ten years after dad made his first candle, we have just found out that we are nominated for two awards at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards - one being Fashion & Beauty brand of the year, the other (which still makes me choke up) is Family Business of the year. Every decision that mum has made over the last forty years has always been based around family, and now there's three of us at the very top - with no sign of stopping soon!
     
    Mum, thank you for being such an inspiration! Every day you are doing what you love. Even on the hard days, you remind me to be grateful for the drive and passion we share to get up and get going. Everyday starts with a catch up and ends with a cup of tea, and I wouldn't want it any other way. People doubted us at every stage, and we have shown time and time again the strength and resilience that a family business can have. 20 years is such a phenomenal achievement - not many people stay in one job that long, let alone run it from the top. I hope that over the next ten years, you can slow down and let me, my cousin and the whole team fly - but never think you can go too far!
     
    So that is where the phrase for our birthday candles came from. This business has been a slow burner that has just grown from strength to strength over the last 20 years, and I couldn't be prouder! We really believe the best things take time!
     
    Lots of Love,
     
    Han

    Covid-19 - The Latest from Cole & Co

    Covid-19 - The Latest from Cole & Co

    It has been a strange few months, and we have had to handle closing the shop, reopening the shop and everything in between. We wanted there to be one place that you could come to check what is being made available through our website, and both our shops. Please find all details outlined below:
     
    Online Orders
     
    All online orders are packed by one member of staff in a separate area of the workshop. We are still offering a free delivery service, which will continue until we are out of this situation. In return for this we ask for your patience. The Royal Mail are under an incredible amount of pressure to perform. We know that they are doing their best, so if your parcel is taking a couple of days longer than expected, then we ask for you to hold off before contacting. All orders have, even through the crisis, been making it to customers in 7 days. So if it has been 7 days since you received your shipment email, then please give us a ring on 01248 811391 and we shall track your parcel and find out where it may have got to. If it has gotten lost in transit, then we will send a replacement first class for you.
     
    Beaumaris Shop
     
    We are now back open, but offering an over the counter service. We are operating a one person at a time policy at the moment, but if you are with family please ask when you arrive and we're sure they'll be able to join you. At the front of the store we have a hand sanitising unit, please make sure to use this when you enter the store. On the table we have the testers to go with most product options. The staff will then happily get you a new product from the back of the staff and pack it all up for you. We would appreciate if you could pay by card, but understand that this isn't always possible. Please allow the team the chance to sanitise their hands once they've accepted the payment before handing over the products that you have purchased. We will be open 10 - 5 Monday to Saturday for the near future. Everything is being regularly cleaned down with anti bacterial spray, and we're keeping the door open as much as possible to avoid having to push it open.
     
    Cardiff Shop
     
    We are also back open in Cardiff with an over the counter service. We are allowing one person or household into the shop, with a clear queuing system outside the shop in the form of rainbows on the floor! When queuing outside the shop, please respect the 2m gap between each rainbow! We have a hand sanitisation station to the right of the double doors, please use this before approaching the table. We have laid down one of each soap for you to be able to pick up and smell. Please restrict this to just the soaps, and not pick up anything else that is on the table for display - especially the finished products. We are cleaning the refill station in between each customer - so please allow an extra couple of seconds for the team to finish cleaning it down before you start. We are only accepting card payments in the shop. Both doors are being kept open which means that you won't have to push or pull the door to come in - although it is all being cleaned regularly throughout the day.

    Covid-19 Update

    Covid-19 Update

    How are you? It's a question, that for the first time nobody has a single phrase answer for. It is April 2020 (isn't it?), Coronavirus is a pandemic and we are all in isolation. All those things that we took for granted before, those things that gave us a boost when things got tough, the support network that was there for every beck and call have been locked behind front doors! Like many of you, we felt like the hardest part of the year was over - WINTER - and we were on our way up! 

    Where do we stand?

    We're still accepting orders, and we're still making sure they get sent out. However, we ask for patience, as to make sure that we kept our staff safe we are down to skeleton staff, which translates as me, mum & dad! It means that the only people coming in and out of the workshops are people that either live together or are at minimal risk. So, we're not going to stop - we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that you have everything you need to keep going!  

    And what's the plan going forward?

    We've decided to change this situation around and we are using the time to make some exciting and beneficial changes to the business, that means that we are going to come back with BANG! We finally have that time for product development, business organising and personal growth that we haven't had a chance to even look at for nearly two years. Mum & I are avid list writers (yes, that means dad is not!), and we have always have two lists on the go - the day-to-day list and the dream list. And for the first time we actually looked at the dream list to see if any of it could be achieved, and now a portion of every week is being dedicated to that list - because, why not? No time like the very slow, restrictive present to start building those plans.

    And how are you?

    The independent community is also one of the most important parts that's keeping our morale strong - we're keeping an eye on each other and it is a wonderful thing to see. So please don't think we're just here to fulfil your orders! Do you need a chat? Or any further support? We are being as flexible as possible - so just pop us an email and lets see how we can help! 

    So how are we feeling? Positive, inspired and we have the best will in the world to keep going and see the other side of something that will inevitably go down in history. Right now we are healthy, our friends & family are safe, and we have something to keep us going every day - Cole & Co. So if I had to try and put it into a single word answer I would say - grateful.

    Stay safe!

    Hannah, Liz & Kevin