Buy Local & Love it!

 

One thing that has been really important to me for a while is seeing local, small, artisan businessesย triumph. When we lived in Kent in a seaside town it was a struggle for smaller businesses to keep going when the larger brands were muscling in.

Moving to Keswick, a bustling little Lakes town with tourists bringing the trade most of the year it is great to see many small business owners doing well. However this is contributed to by everyone working together in the area to boost each other.

In opening our B&B I looked at many suppliers for many things, but one stood out from the early planning days as someone I wanted to work with. Their products stand for themselves, being ethically sound, paraben free, UK made, never ever ever animal tested, not only do you feel good buying them but when you use them their fragrances send you to heaven they smell so delicious!

As if this wasn’t enough to get you looking them up in droves they support people with disabilities and disadvantages. Over 70% of their workforce are locally based disabled or disadvantaged people, with The Soap Co. as their springboard to success.

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That my friend is why at Underhill Guest House is stocking The Soap Co. toiletries and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Vanessa

 

Our 10 year plan

Shortly after I left the army and began teaching, Vanessa and I spent a night in a bed and breakfast in the Lake District. 

We often stopped there on the way to Glasgow to break up the 450 mile trip from Kent.   The owners were lovely, really friendly and they were younger than we’d expected, maybe only 5-10 years older than us.

Well it turned out that he was ex-military and while we were chatting I couldn’t stop thinking this guys lifestyle sounds perfect and he’s no different to me a few years from now.

The plan was hatched.

I researched the business model for guest houses and how profit efficient they were, what turnover could be achieved in various parts of the UK, Canada and Australia and what lifestyle they might afford.

We quickly decided the plan that would suit us best was a 6-8 guest room Bed and Breakfast in Keswick in the Lake District.  We began a 10 year plan in 2009 of saving to get the deposit and capital required.

Keswick is my favorite town in the Lakes, its pedestrian center is relaxed even when busy.  There’s markets, shops, tourist information, pubs, cafes and restaurants and its perfectly located for some of the best walking and cycling.

Describing the Lake District as ‘beautiful’ knots my stomach, frustrated that my lack of vocabulary or creativity can’t do it justice, I love it!  It is beautiful (sorry) and close enough that Vanessa and I can visit friends and family in the south of England.

A few calculated risks and some good luck later we are just about there.  We are deep into the process of buying a 7 bed guest house in Keswick. We hope to be doing business early 2017, it is going to need some work and it will be a steep learning curve but we are both determined to make it one of the most welcoming, fun places in the lakes.

Wish us luck x

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