Hi there! Today i’m back for another Support Small Saturday and oh my goodness am I excited to showcase this one! This week I’ll be sharing as much as I can possibly fit into two posts for the fabulous Bows & Bespoke!
Bows and Bespoke is run by the immensely talented Chantal Turner. I first came across B&B Back when I had just started out selling with TLWP, to say I was completely besotted is an understatement. With her army of loyal fashionista- followers & an array of gorgeous products. It wasn’t long before I found myself envious of Chantal’s amazing talents.
It all started with a simple Bow. But with an eye for luxurious fabrics & a passion for design, Chantal has created not only a successful small business, but a brand, renowned to women throughout the UK for its expertly hand crafted (and utterly gorgeous) accessories & children’s wear.
I’ve been lucky enough to bag a bit of time taken out from Chantal’s busy schedule to find out just how she works:-
Hi Chantal, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak to me, first up. How would you describe the style of Bows & bespoke?
Classic styles in a modern palatte with a little bit of childhood nostalgia.
What gave you the courage to jump in and start your own business?
I never really did a “jump” It kinda just snowballed out of nowhere. I couldn’t find any nice hair accessories for my daughter so I pulled out a glue gun from under the kitchen sink, found a scrap of ribbon and cut a clip off an old hair bow. A bit of a play around and some very blistered thumbs, and I had just made my first bow! Of course it was instagram worthy, so from then on I was dishing out bows to friends and family. It all grew from there really.
Running bows & bespoke is a full time job (and then some) so what made you brave it & start another business?
I had a feeling in my stomach that I had to do it. My partner wasn’t on board and thought I was crazy, but he is eating his words now because it’s running smoothly and I can see it growing already. Starting up the fabric side was, and still is so scary and expensive. I haven’t broke even yet and I doubt I will for a while, i’m happy just having all these wonderful fabrics at my disposal. You and I both know that shopping for fabric is not a chore, it’s like a day at the spa for anyone in our field. I think it’s fantastic that I can disguise it for work.
Oh definitely, fabric shopping is just the best! As well as working hard for your business’s you’re also a mother, how do you manage to find a balance between mother-hood and work?
I read that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I don’t feel like i have a “proper” job, i feel as though i have a proper hobby! I have restricted working hours to Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I will work from 8am until 5pm on those days, whilst my daughter is at nursery. Tuesday and Thursdays are our days. We do crafts, go swimming, go to the play area, do baking and always fit in a tea and scone date. I spend a lot of time with my daughter and really utilise the days that we have together. As soon as i collect her from nursery she is straight on my hip and doesn’t leave my side until her next nursery session. I have staff in on a saturday who work from my home. This enables me to do my housework and stay with my daughter without having to have her in nursery for any longer than is needed. Obviously nursery is cheaper and I can do the work myself, but I made the decision to offload and take a pay cut so that I can invest in my family life.
A very smart decision! What would you say are the best things about being your own boss?
After lunch naps without a doubt! My daughter may be 3 but I still believe that if she is sleeping, I should be sleeping. All this stands for when she’s at nursery too. I don’t tell my boyfriend this, because he doesn’t need to know. He won’t read this, right? If he asks, I never get a minute.
Ha ha, What would you say has been your personal business high?
This is a hard one Robyn. I love it when Minnies Bowtique is on and Amora starts telling people (her teddies) that her mummy can make bows too. I’m like ‘You’re damn right i can kid’. That and of course taking the leap to set up Floral and Thread and investing every penny I owned into it, and seeing it grow.
There’s an ongoing issue of ‘Copying’ amongst small business owners, particularly within the handmade community. How do you keep your ideas so fresh? Do you have any fail safe tricks to re-boot your creative juices when you’re struggling?
Don’t follow fickle trends and be inconsistent with your design. People value integrity and originality more than you would think. Put your phone away, re connect with the world and wait for something to come into your head. Try not to look at what others are doing as that can infect your own creative process with other peoples ideas.
You’re constantly thinking up new creations, what has been your favourite garment or accessory so far?
I would have to say the quilted bow. I love the detachable collars too.
And finally what are your plans for the future of both business’s?
I would love the two to come together one day and be available from the same premises. That’s all i’ll say as this is a pipe dream for now..
Thank you for taking the time out to be a part of Support Small Saturday Chantal!
As well as Bows & Bespoke, Chantal recently started on a new venture, Floral & Thread. An online fabric store providing luxurious, high quality fabrics at an affordable price.
As well as using it to offer an insight to the one-off projects she creates for her adorable daughter Amora.
The Floral & Thread website is currently under construction, but you can purchase directly from Chantal by visiting her Instagram
You can also shop for any Bows & Bespoke products at
You must be quick – I mean really quick, her products sell out almost instantly!
You can also catch Chantal’s sneak peeks & words of wisdom on her
I’ll be back for our second instalment of this weeks Support Small: Bows & Bespoke, later on this afternoon.
The little woman pretends.