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Don't miss out—pre-order your tin now! Only 1,500 available for the entire year!
Don't miss out—pre-order your tin now! Only 1,500 available for the entire year!
Don't miss out—pre-order your tin now! Only 1,500 available for the entire year!

New Products, New Months & New Homes 🏡

Hey everyone, I’m feeling the need to share something more personal with you this month. I am using this blog as a way for me to process everything that June...

Hey everyone,

I’m feeling the need to share something more personal with you this month. I am using this blog as a way for me to process everything that June has brought, week by week. Sometimes, I wonder if you read my chats to the end, if you do, I want to keep you in the loop because Catherine’s Originals isn’t just a business to me—it’s a relationship with you.…

June has always offered a lot. It’s the start of summer, schools are getting ready to close, and people are soaking up the sunshine. For my family, June has always held a special significance. Recently, my mum reminded me of some of these occasions from June (you’ll hear a lot about my mum if you’re new here—she’s my rock and played a HUGE role in Catherine’s Originals). Twenty-two years ago, on June 29th, my parents bought and moved into their dream home—a beautiful, old converted school in East Sussex. This house has been my sanctuary for my whole life. With dreams to one day have children of my own there. Fast forward to June 29th, 2024, and my parents sold our beloved home and we moved out. It was the right decision for everyone, but it still felt like a punch to the heart. I’ve known for a while that I wouldn’t have that home forever, especially since my parents have been separated for some time.

By the end of May, I told Jamie, “I just want June to be over.” Normally, I never wish time away, especially with a start-up where every minute counts. But this month, I just couldn’t wait for it to end. Now that it’s over, I wish I had soaked up more of the days.

The first week of June was all about strengthening our community and maintaining consistency across our social media platforms. Catherine’s Originals has been growing steadily each month in 2024, and seeing this upward trend has motivated me to foster even more engagement and connection with you. Balancing wholesale, retail, and online presence while also handling marketing, operations, and other tasks can be challenging. It was overwhelming at times, but I managed. The days were long, and I had to delegate the smaller tasks to Jamie. Whenever I hit a wall, we’d switch roles to keep things fresh. Founders often say you wear all hats when starting a business—it’s true, and while it keeps me on my toes, it can also be incredibly confusing and exhausting. I wouldn’t change it though; this is what I signed up for!

The second week was spent boxing up before the heatwave hit. When it’s boxing up time, it’s all hands on deck. Six of us in the warehouse packed 6,500 boxes (that’s 200,000 chocolates). This cycle happens every 30 days, pulling us away from our computers where a lot of crucial work still needs to be done. Luckily, I had scheduled emails in advance and we pushed hard in the first week to stay on top of the admin/computer bits.

The third week was a bit of a flop. I was dreading the upcoming move and took two days off to recharge. I had sleepless nights and sitting in front of my laptop felt pointless. As Catherine’s Originals grows, I realise how tough it is to take those recharge days off.  Many of us talk about the importance of self-care, but let’s be real— it’s hard to switch off, especially with the small team we are. It’s like telling a parent to take a break; it just doesn’t happen. It’s a decision I made going into this. (I posted an ironic LinkedIn photo of the “hustle culture” of me working on the loo. Let‘s say people didn’t get the joke and it caused a bit of noise. I’ll save that photo for another day).

The last week of June was intense. The heatwave hit, and our warehouse reached 22 degrees, which could have made some chocolates melt. It was all hands on deck to move everything into the temperature-controlled factory space. Lesson learned: we need more AC to keep up with our growth. For those reading this, who have alarm bells going off, all stock is fine and an additional AC unit is now installed!

On top of that, it was moving week. On June 29th 2024, we left my family home. It was an emotional day. The same day we moved in, 22 years later.  On the same day, I decided to launch the tin I’d dreamt of and had in the making for three years! Our very own, original vegan Quality Street! With 81 chocolates and 9 flavours, our bright tin finally launched, for pre-orders this summer! As well, three years in the making and we received our largest single order yet! £5,000 in selection boxes! It almost felt like someone was looking over me that day in a weird way. Launching the tin on that specific day felt symbolic—a new chapter and a testament to growth, even when one door closes.

We can proudly tell the team that we’ve grown compared to last month again. This just shows that the team’s hard work, and what we’re doing over time pays off and the Catherine’s Originals chocolate is well and truly loved (see a photo of a lovely customer review. It came at the perfect time).

I know this entry has been more personal than usual, but I wanted to share this journey with you. Moving out of my family home feels a bit like losing someone you love, and I’m sure you may have similar stories. Please feel free to share your stories with me.

This June, we were featured in the Littlehampton Gazette and you’ll find us in All About Horsham as well this July

https://www.aahorsham.co.uk/

https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/business/consumer/meet-west-sussexs-answer-to-willy-wonka-the-impressive-young-businesswoman-whos-building-a-chocolate-empire-4676861

I’m taking part in my first-ever panel event at The Bread and Jam Festival, a space where like-minded foodies in the business world mingle. I’ll be talking to a fair few people, and although I don’t think my headshot was very professional, I’m excited and a little nervous. Wish me luck!

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Your support means the world to me, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

With gratitude 

Catherine

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