We spoke with Amy and Reggie, founders of concrete homeware business Smith & Goat and parents to two small children
RD: How did Smith & Goat get started, and how would you best summarise what you offer?
A&R: Playing around with concrete started as a hobby in Reggie’s mum's shed and grew from there, seeing what could be done with this versatile material. We started off making concrete plant pots, which was then a springboard to where we are now. We can now proudly say we offer concrete homewares, tables, sinks and kitchens, as well as a bespoke commission service.
RD: What career trajectories led you to opening your own business? Have you undergone any formal training/ previous roles that have helped with what you do for work now?
A&R: We’ve both always enjoyed being creative and making stuff, Reggie has a background in garden design and Amy in fashion buying, and just felt we wanted to try something new!
"We started off making concrete plant pots"
RD: How does your work compliment your personalities?
A&R: We both love being sociable and we get to meet new people all the time, which is a great inspiration. We also love to problem solve and design new things, and it’s always exciting seeing them become a reality.
RD: What are the greatest joys and strains to working with somebody that you have a personal relationship with?
A&R: It’s really nice to have someone to share the highs and lows of the business with, although it can definitely make switching off harder, as it’s impossible not to take work home. One of the greatest joys and something we’re so grateful for, is the amazing community of friends we’ve made through doing what we do.
"We're grateful for the amazing community we've made"
RD: Concrete homewares have really surged in popularity in the last year—what is about this form that appeals to you so much? How do you style it in your own home?
A&R: It’s a natural, raw material with lots of character; every piece comes out unique and has its own imperfections, which is all part of the charm. We prefer styling other people’s houses! We love seeing it mixed in with other materials, with plants and candles - it’s always rewarding seeing it all come together in someone’s home.
RD: What does a typical workday look like for you?
A&R: It’s always a really early start, cuppa first! Reggie gets over to the workshop to blend and cast our products and get started on commissions, while Amy heads to our Walthamstow store to see our customers and run things business side. We were lucky to get our online store launched late 2020 which has been a blessing through lockdown while the store has been shut, so we now balance packing orders with the rest of the business too!
RD: What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the job?
A&R: Favourite has got to be working with someone on a project and seeing the final result,and making our customers happy. The least favourite is probably how cold it gets in the workshop, which is also a nightmare for drying concrete!
RD: What do you like to do to switch off?
A&R: Our kids Sybil and Goldie definitely offer a good distraction, but we wouldn’t exactly call that switching off.. We love keeping an eye out for new design inspo and trends, and having a beer with our mates.
RD: What has been the most valuable business lesson you’ve learnt so far? And what has been your most tangible achievement?
A&R: Taking on too much and spreading ourselves too thin. We’re really grateful to have a small team around us now. It's hard to envisage doing any other line of work; we really love being an independent business.
It's hard to pin point one achievement as we’ve worked on some amazing projects and collabs with people like John Lewis, Cera London and Katie Leamon. Most recently, we’re really proud to have launched our range of sinks. It’s pretty cool to think how far we’ve come from working in the shed.
RD: In five years time, where would you like to see the business?
A&R: We’d love to move into a big collective space, where people can come and drink coffee, shop our wares and we can showcase our kitchens, sinks and bespoke items. We’d also love to incorporate the work of other upcoming designers and makers. Watch this space!
Learn more by visiting the Smith & Goat website
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