Prosecco with Angharad Gwyn
As we’re doing this blogzine voluntarily whilst #juggling family and working life, I think we deserve some perks! One of these, is combining my love for people with my love of prosecco! This week, during my visit to Tafwyl, I met up with Angharad Gwyn, owner of the lovely retail company Adra, Caernarfon. She kindly took some time away from her busy stall to answer a few questions. The first question I asked was, where did the idea come from?
I was working for the BBC in Cardiff at the time, and myself and my husband, had decided to return home to North Wales. I fancied doing something different and the I had this light bulb moment – develop my own online shop, selling home ware. I had never worked in retail before, never mind run my own shop, but I had developed websites as part of my job.
Why home ware?
I had always been interested in Welsh arts and crafts, and I felt that people in Wales and beyond didn’t know about all these amazing people who were creating some fantastic contemporary products. I wanted to promote these people and their work, and I wanted to get rid of this stereotype that people have, thinking we are all about sheep, daffodils and souvenirs. I also wanted to promote the Welsh language and bring it into the home, creating bespoke collections with Welsh words on them, rather than us having to buy items like bathroom products with English or French words like ‘Le Bain’ on them.
Adra is celebrating it’s 10-year anniversary this year, what is the secret to your success?
I set myself some very strict rules at the start, and I’ve stuck to these. I only sell products from Wales or products created by people from Wales. Customers like to buy from us as they know they are supporting these talented Welsh creators. I also think it’s vital to move with the times, the online shop has developed a lot due to the technological and social media advances over the past 10 years, I also try to keep up with the latest trends and listen to what my customers want.
You also have your ‘bricks and mortar’ shop now…
Yes! In September 2013, I opened the shop at Glynllifon. I had Maelan, my first daughter in 2009 and then Nyfain, my second daughter in 2012. I also had two members of staff working from me in the house and we we’re all trampling over toys to get to the stock, it was becoming too much! Moving the business out of the house gave us back our family home, it’s much better keeping them separate. It’s lovely to have the opportunity to meet the customers face to face too, and give them the opportunity to see and feel the products.
Is it difficult to #juggle the business and be a Mum?
There’s quite a bit of juggling. On one hand, having my own business allows me to be flexible in terms of my hours, and I’ve never missed out on anything with the kids. The disadvantage is that the kids have to come with me to all the events, and have to hang around as I set up the stall, and there’s nothing for them to do. I’m really lucky that they are patient. Another disadvantage is not having maternity leave, you have to carry on working all the time.
What are your plans for the future?
I have no big plans. In this type of business, you can’t really plan ahead too far, you have to respond to the fashion and the buying trends, who knows how we’ll be shopping ten years from now! All I can say is that I want to continue, and continue loving it and creating products that people like.
What advice do you have for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
It’s much easier for Mums to set UP a business as you can develop the idea when the kids are young. You can develop the idea over a period of time, maybe start small and then develop it further when the kids are in school full time. Once you are confident that the business will work, go for it!
Angharad Gwyn’s perfect day?
A really lazy day! We’d take the caravan to Aberdaron, I would sit in the sun with my husband, with a chilled glass of prosecco and enjoy watching the kids entertaining themselves. At the end of the day, I’d play jigsaws on the I pad. This is a new-found obsession, I do one jigsaw a night and it really helps me to relax.
A big thanks to Angharad Gwyn for sharing a glass of prosecco with me in the sunshine at Tafwyl 2017! Mam Cymru wishes you and Adra the best of luck!
By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.