Why did you start making spices? What did you do before?
I’ve always loved making my own spice blends rather than buying them and one Xmas I decided to make them for my friends as presents. I enjoyed doing this so much I thought maybe I should have a go and try and make a business out of it. I had recently stopped working as a foster carer, something I had done for more than 20 years, and was excited at the prospect of doing something so completely different to that!
How does the business run?
I run the business from home, making the spice blends in my kitchen, designing my labels and packaging them up to sell. I have been selling at street markets, craft fayres etc. and also at the Kelham Flea, where I have a small space to sell them.
How did the Coronavirus affect you and your business
Pretty disastrous really – everything came to a standstill – although I could still sell online, 95% of my trade had always been face to face so sales plummeted. After the first 6 or 8 weeks I finally got my act together to do more marketing online and had some promotions to try and revive things. Things improved, but not enough so I was really happy when July came and Kelham Flea re-opened!
Do you have any favourite bits of kit, or something that would make your life better/easier?
I love my powerful spice grinder – it came from China and will grind seeds, grains, nuts etc to powder very efficiently – although it is very noisy, and I have to wear ear defenders when I use it, along with a decent mask so I don’t choke on those powerful chilli aromas! The grinder holds ten times more than the little one I was using to grind mixes for personal use, so it’s pretty efficient!
What do you love about the business?
I love being self-employed – being my own boss, making my own decisions day to day, and I love the positive feedback I get from customers on a regular basis. I also love experimenting to find a new blend to make – and the smell that lingers around my house for days after making a blend!
What is your personal favourite spice that you blend?
My favourite blend is the Sri Lankan Curry Powder – it is so tasty – I spent a lot of time researching and trying to get it just right – I have been to Sri Lanka a few years ago, and when I smell this blend it takes me right back there straight away!
What is your favourite music to listen to while making the spices?
I usually have my music on shuffle when I’m making the spices – I have a very eclectic taste in music with songs from all over the world – just like my spices! But if I was going to choose something specific, it would probably be either Muse or Faithless – music that totally absorbs me, allows me to strut my stuff whilst still being able to concentrate on getting the ingredients just right!
How did you get involved with Sheffield Made?
A friend told me about Sheffield Made and I got in touch straight away – I wish I’d known about it sooner – what a great idea! I heard back from Sophie immediately and it’s been great working with her and the team.
To see the full range of Cathy’s spices please click here.