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Sisters sowing pots of talent with new venture

Sisters Jo Heath and Gemma Wigley are putting their creative genes to good use and bringing a splash of colour to people’s homes and gardens.

They set up Big Pot Little Pot after turning their hand to making and painting decorative cement pots during lockdown.

Forced to take a break from their usual self-employed businesses while they were closed, they needed the welcome distraction of something more positive to focus on.

They soon found being creative gave them a sense of calm and helped to reduce the worries of 2020 that had been continually on their minds.

Originally produced for their own homes, the sisters came to realise that the pots could also bring joy, happiness and colour to other people’s lives.

“We’re not the kind of people who like to sit around doing nothing,” Jo, who lives in Wellington. “So after I had decorated the whole house, I started on my garden and I painted some pots outside. Gemma told me they looked nice and I should try selling them,” she explains.

Jo was pleasantly surprised when the first few she advertised for sale online sold straight away. Seeing a potential opportunity, she painted a second batch and these too proved just as popular with buyers.

“They sold really quickly. We started thinking this could be a good little business,” says the 48-year-old, who has a background in art and design.

Gemma, 38, who lives in Shrewsbury and has a marketing and sales background, was also relishing the chance to get creative and try her hand at a new skill.

They spent many weeks researching and getting the moulding and cement formula just right in order to make their pots from scratch at home and also dedicated their time to working on an array of eye-catching designs.

It was important to the sisters that they only sold products they would be happy to have in their own homes.

“It wasn’t going to be viable to source pots in the UK for how many we were going to sell and we looked abroad but it just didn’t sit right with us because of the carbon footprint.

“So, Gemma said ‘I’m going to make some’. We bought some moulds and spent the whole summer coming up with the formula. We wanted them to be sturdy enough so they would be able to stay outside and we wanted them to have a smooth look,” explains Jo.

Gemma is in charge of crafting the pots out of cement and once they have dried she hands them over to Jo to paint.

The pots are decorated using masonry paint which is hard-wearing and then coated with a clear sealer to protect the design.

They have many different contemporary designs available in a wide range of vibrant colours and the sisters are also happy to make bespoke items for customers.

Their designs include stars, zigzags, hearts, rainbows and neon colour options and their aim was to make pots that could be used indoors as well as outdoors.

The sisters will soon offer two sizes of pots – they already sell their ‘little pots’, which measure 12cm wide by 11.5cm high, and are getting ready to launch their ‘big pots’.

Each pot is individually produced and designed by Jo and Gemma, so no two pots will ever be the same.

They launched their new business in November and decided to name it Big Pot Little Pot in honour of Jo being the eldest sister and Gemma being the youngest.

“It’s going really well. We’ve had some really lovely feedback from customers. We’ve had a number of wholesale enquiries and a shop in Cornwall is selling our pots. We wanted a website so we learned how to do that during lockdown.

“I said even if we didn’t sell any at least we would have nice pots for our houses. We’ve sold quite a number of them. We’re just really pleased, making and painting them makes us happy,” Jo tells Weekend.

The business has really taken off and they are now building up stock ready to sell at events in the county later this year as well as spreading the word about their products on their social media accounts.

Both sisters are enjoying their new creative outlet and say Big Pot Little Pot has given them the escape they needed from all the uncertainty in the world during lockdown. They have also loved learning new skills and are finding making and painting the pots to be quite therapeutic.

“Gemma makes the cement and the pots and then I paint them. I find it really relaxing and it takes me back to being at art college. I like working with the bright colours. It’s nice to see such a positive reaction to something we’ve handmade and painted, it makes us feel really good,” says Jo.

To find out more see www.bigpotlittlepot.co.uk, www.facebook.com/bigpotlittlepot or follow the sisters on Instagram at www.instagram.com/bigpot_littlepot

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