A MUM has told how being off work with crippling abdominal pains led her to launch a homeware business that is now on track to turnover its first £1 million — and counts a host of celebrities as customers.
Kathryn Hall (38) started upcycling furniture from her Rawmarsh home to keep busy while off work waiting for an operation to tackle her agony with endometriosis.
Kath & Kin, formerly known as Shabby2Chic Boutique, grew from being launched out of her living room in 2015 into a booming online business now run from a 2,500 sq ft unit in Eastwood.
The business has more than 215,000 followers and supplies homeware to the likes of Loose Women’s Stacey Solomon, This Morning presenter Rochelle Humes and I’m a Celebrity winner Jacqueline Jossa.
It was Kathryn’s life-changing diagnosis with endometriosis — a painful condition affecting the reproductive organs — which led her to start her own company.
“l was working in a Sheffield contact centre when I started experiencing crippling abdominal pain,” she said.
“I started having to have lots of time off work, which was really difficult to deal with.
“I started painting furniture to fill my time and give me something to focus on while I was ill — it helped my mental health immensely.
“I began selling some of the products online and was pleasantly surprised with the response.
“It made a dark time in my life that little bit lighter.”
Kathryn was diagnosed with endometriosis — a condition which affects one in four women.
“I had to have an operation which meant more time off work,” she added.
“I couldn’t lift heavy furniture whilst I was recovering so I started painting jars and bottles instead.
“I posted one on Facebook and I had such a great reaction that I started selling them on social media and Etsy.
“It sort of all snowballed after that — I couldn’t really believe it.”
Kathryn, who is mum to 13-year-old Jessica, took the plunge and gave up her office job to focus on the business in 2017.
From personalised storage caddies to labelled glass jars and dog bowls, Kathryn’s business is on track to hit its first million pound turnover this year after a 72 per cent increase in the past year.
“The pandemic and various lockdowns meant more people were at home and having clearouts and looking at new ways of managing their home life,” she said.
“It was one of our busiest time periods ever and I’ve had to take on two members of staff to meet the demand.”
Kathryn says a share on “cleaning influencer” Mrs Hinch’s Instagram had been another key moment for the business.
She added: “She’d had one of our personalised dog bowls for her pooch, Henry, and the day she shared it was the same day she hit her first million followers so our followers grew massively overnight.
“We grew more than 5,000 followers over night — it was crazy.”
Since then Kath & Kin has supplied TV presenter Stacey Solomon with storage caddies, fridge trays and bottles. Rochelle Humes loves Kathryn’s storage jars, while Jacqueline Jossa is a fan of her reusable bottles.
Explaining the recent rebrand to Kath & Kin, the business owner said it was inspired by a combination of her own name and “kin”, meaning family.
“Our friends and family have been such a big part of our journey,” added Kathryn.
To find out more visit www.kathandkin.com.