The end of the year is always a time for reflection and considering changes in the year ahead.
Covid casted a long shadow on 2021, as we sought to co-exist with a global pandemic, but it was a year that also belonged to our families, our homes and our communities in a refocus on what is truly important.
Here at The Small Home, we wanted to share some of our stories & highlights from the last 12 months.
So, here’s our A to Z of 2021 at The Small Home HQ. We hope 2022 will be a happy & healthy one for you all. Happy New Year!
A – Ayshea. I’m the founder and owner of The Small Home, the business I started when I wanted to build something family-friendly around my daughters, Amelie and Maggie; I envisaged an authentic & sustainable brand with much more heart than those I’d experienced as a buyer in the fashion industry.
Ayshea and Ben, aka Mrs & Mrs Small Home
B – Ben. Aka Mr Small Home, my other half who has patiently put up with living in ‘slipper central’ for the last few years. Who gave me the confidence to start my own business and pushes me daily to step boldly out of my comfort zone.
C – Covid. We have all tried to focus on the positives of the global pandemic such as the sense of community and kindness, yet it has been hugely difficult for many. For the most part we have been fortunate. Whilst we all caught Covid this year, which was tough, my most testing challenge in the last year can be summed up in two loaded words: home schooling.
D – Dog. We finally succumbed to pressure to get a four-legged family member – and were quickly smitten. Farley is a gold sable Cocker Spaniel and gorgeous. He is our in-house slipper chaser & chewer. And let’s just say the pecking order in our house shifted slightly when he arrived.
Our 4 legged, slipper chewer
E – Expanding. Thanks to our ever-increasing numbers of loyal customers, The Small Home continues to grow. We finally moved operations from our family home (much to Mr Small Home’s great relief).
F – Festive Family Fun (we like F’s). Like most families, we love Christmas. This year we were lucky enough to travel to Iceland to spend Christmas with my sister and her Icelandic extended family. We experienced Icelandic festive family traditions, from the 13 naughty elves who leave gifts (or potatoes to those badly behaved) in shoes, to finding the hidden almond in the traditional Christmas rice pudding (the finder is rewarded with a prize… I’ve never seen my children eat so much rice pudding!).
2 of the naughty Icelandic Elves
G – Gabe. Our wonderful content queen, who brilliantly spreads The Small Home love. She helps me manage our Instagram, writes copy for our website… and lots, lots more. If you have ideas for content or you are a slipper superfan and would like to be featured in our series, get in touch.
H – Helen is our super-efficient new Head of Ops. She calmly & quickly solves customer issues with patience & grace. She's an amazing bundle of energy and fun… the person you’d want on your team, good times or bad.
I – Instagram. This is where we hang out the most. We love chatting with our growing community here and are always happy to hear from you. Drop us a DM.
J – Jones - Caroline Jones. Best friend and fantastic photographer Caroline. She is responsible for helping to create a strong visual image for the brand and for having lots of fun behind the lens.
Friend and photographer, Caroline
K – Kitchen disco, the best sort of partying you can do in a pandemic. Crank up the tunes (preferably 80’s), grab a glass (mine’s an Old Fashioned, since you’re asking) and strut your stuff.
L – Love slippers. Our best-selling mules are our blue Love Birds, a design resulting from our creative collaboration with the textile designer Jayne Emerson. Jayne’s work sells to Chanel, Dior & Marc Jacobs... and to The Small Home!
Jayne at work in her studio
M – The Modern House. This was a real highlight of the year. Being featured was flattering & nerve-wracking in equal measure. Once the photoshoot date was booked, I started seeing all the scuffs & bumps of our house that’s clearly well loved….I mean, my girls do play netball in the kitchen! I needn’t have worried; the photoshoot flowed, and I loved the results. And since the article was about embracing imperfection - it couldn’t have been more on point!
A shot from our feature
N – Newness. I’m always looking to seek out & support independent makers. All the talented people whose gorgeous pieces we offer, share a deep commitment to their craft which is unmistakable in the work they produce.
On the hunt for newness
O – Organic. We try to live an organic lifestyle, making informed choices that influence our health and environment. We aim to live sustainably opting for natural methods where possible in work, life and play.
P – Pottery Studio. I want one! We stock a lot of wonderful ceramics by talented makers such as Brickett Davda, Tim Lake, Jess Webb, & Rebecca J Woods. One day I’d like to be stocking pieces made by my own hands.
Q – Questions. We love a challenge and are happy to answer any of your queries whether it’s on slipper sizes, shipping to Estonia, or the paint colour on my wall. In fact, our most popular Instagram post of this last year, focused on the redecoration of my sitting room and explaining the process of treating the wooden floorboards – which was truly laborious, and tested my Karate Kid wax on, wax off skills (yes, I do still have a small crush on Ralph Macchio).
Floorboards, before and after
R - Rolls Royce sheepskin off-cuts are used to make our slippers. A rectangle, cut from the centre of each sheepskin, is used in the footwells of their cars... and we use the rest! It’s the highest-grade soft sheepskin, plus it uses waste from another industry. It’s also my favourite fact about our slippers.
Our Rolls Royce Sheepskin
S – Superfans. In our new superfan series we heard from Catriona Innes, who is Features Director of Cosmopolitan by day and ‘slipfluencer’ by night. She simply won’t be parted from our slippers and wears them out to the kebab shop and also takes them camping. We love her commitment to the slipper cause.
Superfan, Slipfluencer Catriona Innes
T – Thetta-reddast – an Icelandic phrase, picked up during our recent trip to Iceland, meaning ‘it will all work out okay”. Life could often be difficult in this barren, harsh country and overtime Icelanders have developed a mentality which can be sometimes seen as carefree. When faced with difficulties Icelanders always maintain a belief that things will work out in the end, a solution will always present itself.
U – Understanding what you, our customers, want is at the core of our brand. Creating homes with heart and opting for products with provenance is what makes you lot tick. You want to buy quality and buy once; you want products made using sustainable methods and traditional techniques. You want to feel good about what you buy and get daily pleasure every time you use it.
V – Vision. I continue to focus on my own authentic vision for The Small Home, trusting my instincts & overcoming any bumps (and Covid craters) in the road. I have lots of lovely new products to share with you in the coming year and can’t wait to move The Small Home into its next exciting phase.
W – Window-weather. Another wonderful phrase that I have learnt during my travels to Iceland, ‘Gluggaredur’, translated to window-weather, the kind of weather that looks beautiful to look at but not to experience. I love sitting in my kitchen window seat on a rainy day and hearing and watching the rain.
X – Extra Mile. To those customers who have given a few minutes to register positive feedback on our Trust Pilot account – you keep us going. Thank you.
Y – You Magazine. We have been lucky enough to have been featured in The Telegraph, in You Magazine; and our slippers have been selected for The Guardian Christmas Gift Guide for the last two years running! More coverage of the Small Home is coming in the press in 2022. If you spot us somewhere – let us know!
Features in YOU
Z – Zoom. Whether you love the convenience of talking through a screen or hate how impersonal it is and the endless technical glitches, one thing most people will agree on is that we’ve spent too much of 2021 meeting people through Zoom. Let’s hope that 2022 brings with it a bit more social contact.
Happy 2022 everyone, I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one! x