Ailie Bramble & Bracken

This is Ailie and I defy you not to be utterly and jaw-droppingly impressed with her story. Ailie is seventeen years old, is in the second year of her A-Levels and runs her own business, Bramble and Bracken. Although Ailie’s is super busy I managed to catch up with her and she was kind enough to share her story here.

You run your own business, Bramble and Bracken. Can you describe it in just three words?

This is so tricky – I’m rubbish at this sort of thing! I decided instead of answering myself that I would ask friends and customers how they would describe us and use a mix, (is that cheating?!) they said:

Individual, Loveable, Chic! (Must say I was pretty happy with those!)

Bramble and Bracken You are so Loved

At only 17, you are a great inspiration for younger people. What has been your own inspiration behind Bramble and Bracken?

The inspiration behind Bramble and Bracken stems from a lot of things really. I have always wanted a shop of some form since I was a little girl – I used to constantly be pretending that I was working in a shop: folding jumpers, writing out receipts and playing on my toy cash register!

When I started using social media more often and writing my blog I was always discovering lots of small and unique companies that are making amazing things but aren’t always that well known. The ‘finds’ posts on my blog became my most popular and friends and family were always saying to me ‘where do you find these things?’, so I guess it was then that I thought maybe I should combine my love for shops and finds together and form what is now Bramble and Bracken!

What are your three favourite Bramble and Bracken products?

Well of course I truly do love all our products but at the moment I think my favourites are definitely the ‘365 Days More Lovely’ birthday cards - I just love the simplicity of the design and think the quote is just adorable, plus they’re made nearby too and it’s great to support local artists.

Bramble and Bracken card

I also really love the Life is Lovely’ cushion cover…I may have kept a sneaky one for myself to pop on my bed!

Finally, my final favourite is probably the mint green ‘Excuse Me While I Instagram That’ phone case. It was our first ever product, I designed it myself (as it certainly applies to me and my huge IG addiction!) and is currently our bestseller so I guess it’s a little bit sentimental too!

Bramble and Bracken Please excuse me while I Instagram that

What do you think makes Bramble and Bracken so different?

I guess the fact that Bramble and Bracken is run by me (and I’m only 17) makes it pretty different to most of the other online shops out there! I have quite a grown up taste for my age I think and the items in the shop are a real reflection of my style.

Plus, the fact that we have a real mix of items that are sourced from small companies all over the globe seems to appeal to people, as they know that they are getting something that is special for themselves or their home.

Bramble and Bracken stamps

Describe a typical day in the life of Bramble and Bracken…

As I’m currently in my second and final year of my A-Levels, I’m still at college full time and of course getting my qualifications has to come first.

Luckily for me though, the way my timetable has worked out this year is that I finish college at 2.30pm most days meaning that after a short train journey, a quick cuppa and usually a biscuit or two I can start my ‘working’ day at about 3pm.

I print out any orders that have ‘pinged’ through during the day and start wrapping them (this can take quite a long time as I like to get them all looking perfect before they wing their way to their new homes). I then form a pile to take to the post office in the morning. At about 6.30pm I try to tidy my desk up and then set to work on replying to any emails that I may have received.

I then have dinner with my family and afterwards post a few pics on IG, tweet a couple of tweets, pin a few pins and even say hello to the lovely people over on Facebook too! This often leads to a few more orders so at about 9.30pm I tend to get set on them if I’m not too tired! Then at 10.15pm the latest I go to bed to get some rest before I get to do it all over again the next day! I really do love it!

Bramble and Bracken You are amazing card

What can people expect from their Bramble and Bracken purchase?

With any Bramble and Bracken purchase you can always guarantee great quality of products that are a little bit different to what you would find in your average shop, and for great prices! We take the wrapping and packing of all our orders really seriously and I personally package each item up in pretty tissue and twine and add a little note to you too…I want all our customers to feel as though they are receiving a present and that Christmas has come early when their parcel pops through the letter box!

Finally, what dreams do you have for Bramble and Bracken?

I really want to focus on getting more brilliant products on the shop and maybe expanding into clothing too. I also hope to continue to provide the best customer service and opening experience possible and then hopefully one day you will see a bricks and mortar Bramble and Bracken shop appear near you!! That’s the ultimate dream right there…I can see what the shop would look like already!

You can find more information on Bramble and Bracken on the website here.

Thanks Ailie.

If you have an inspiring story to tell and would like to feature in the Five Minutes With series. Please drop me a line and we can chat!

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Happy, content husband. Clever, confident, clean children. A tidy, stylish, happy home. Healthy, balanced and interesting diet. Regular exercise. Looking great ALL the time. Always replying to texts from friends in a timely manner. Successful and glamorous career. Exotic, luxury holidays with a weeks’ skiing thrown in too.

Just a few of the aspirations that I strive for in my everyday life. Most of which are completely unrealistic. No matter how charmed or challenging our lives are, we all seem to have our own set of aspirations and desires but don’t seem to have the hours in the day to achieve them. I find all of it really overwhelming sometimes and for the past few years I have always relied on a faithful ‘to-do’ list. Until, it actually became less and less faithful.

I needed more control in my life. Instead of everything flooding past me and sweeping me along, I needed a mechanism to pull the reigns. One day I titled my list ‘Things I need to do to keep control in my life’. Rather long winded, but what I found was that I started to write my jobs down in a different way. In a way that seemed achievable and that would then allow me to do or pursue the things I really want to do.

So here is my Control List…

1. Commit between 4pm-7pm to my children (no phone, no emails).

2. Plan 5 meals a week.

3. Order groceries online.

4. Put the clean laundry away immediately.

5. Empty the dishwasher every morning before breakfast.

6. Hoover living areas everyday (or as needed).

I know these things seem like completely tiny things but for me, without doing these, the rest of the day/week falls apart. I know that if I have this list around and stick to it then the rest of week falls into place.

What are the key factors to success for you? 
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