Everyone knows that the British are infamous for their aversion to express emotions, but even when you want to, it can be hard to find the right words.
The Life’s Little Recipes online store offers a solution to this cultural idiosyncrasy.
Its products consist of individual bags with six items inside and each ingredient is connected to a sentiment. There are over 20 bags on the site, spanning from a caring recipe and even a divorce recipe.
Founder Fiona Thomas was a cancer nurse for 21 years, followed by a stint as a psychotherapist, before she decided to embark on a career change after realising she wanted to spend more time with her family.
Stemming from the idea of giving gifts with meaning attached, Thomas highlighted the importance of showing people they are not alone.
“I thought, how can I facilitate someone being able to recognise another person and say ‘I care’?” Thomas told Retail Gazette.
She turned her idea into a fully-fledged business when she became sick and decided she wouldn’t return to work, instead focusing on building her online store. Thanks to a business-savvy friend, her products immediately launched on Amazon, allowing her to work from the comfort of her home.
Driving factors behind Life’s Little Recipes’ success have been Thomas’ dedication, and her friends and family who gave her confidence to pursue the venture.
She said she creates the concept for each bag herself “relatively quickly”, adding that “they just come into my head”. In addition, anything can inspire her new creations – from words to music.
“Even the children doing things, all sorts of things,” she added.
Life’s Little Recipes was shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon Small Business Awards, much to Thomas’ surprise.
“I never thought in a million years it would happen,” she reflected.
When she received an email from Amazon saying she was eligible to apply, Thomas assumed it was all a scam to obtain her account details. Luckily, her husband managed to reassure her and she applied.
“I thought why not – if you’re not in it you can’t win it,” she recalled.
The main highlight for Thomas since creating Life’s Little Recipes was her very first customer and the excitement she felt when the order went through. Even seeing the logo for the first time and getting her trademark are standout moments for Thomas, who doesn’t come from a traditional business background.
Despite the benefits, running Life’s Little Recipes alone does come with challenges.
“There’s doubt every time I bring out a new bag,” she conceded, explaining how there’s always a part of her that wonders if anyone will like them.
While she has an incredibly supportive network, including her parents who come by on a weekly basis to help assemble and pack the bags and an old school friend who does her book-keeping, it can be difficult for someone who isn’t a business expert.
“Essentially it’s all up to me,” Thomas said.
“I don’t see myself as a businesswoman, I just own a business.”
Thomas’ dedication is such that those close to her often joke she is lost in her own bubble. She admits that even her husband has to remind her to take a step back, as her strong work ethic can swallow up her family time.
Yet as her online retail business continues to grow, she concedes that she will need more resources to help scale it further.
Nonetheless, Thomas touched on the importance of independent retailers against a tough climate.
“Independent stores and retailers give us colour in life,” she reflected.
“Everyone has a story that goes into the products they create, everything has importance and meaning.”
Thomas added that a strong support base has been paramount in Life’s Little Recipes’ inception and success. However, she highlighted the importance of believing in yourself.
“Try and be brave and get that confidence,” she said
“Just have to grab onto it and have a go.”