March’s Featured Supplier:
Sarah, Founder of Baxter and Snow
Sarah designs and sells homewares made from authentic French wine boxes and Port crates and has been a firm favourite on my Instagram feed. I was thrilled to have her key shelves adorning our beach hut walls, along with a tray in Harley, as I had already purchased a vegetable and magazine rack for my home. Knowing how popular these are with our visitors, I caught up with Sarah to find out more about her and her business.
Tell us a little bit about your business. What inspired you to start it and how has Baxter and Snow developed?
Baxter and Snow actually came about quite by accident or fate, I’m not sure which. I spotted a wine merchant throwing lots of the boxes onto a bonfire which I thought was an awful waste as they are so decorative. When I enquired, he said he didn’t have room to store them and didn’t have a use for them once they had been emptied, so I bought as many as I could save.
I began by making things for friends and family in my garage, and eventually took on a stall at a large craft market in the Cotswolds, where thankfully, they were very well received. I’ve now upgraded to an old barn workshop on a farm where I spend most of the day.
Your recycled wooden wine boxes have so many uses – beds, magazine racks, kitchen storage, shelves, cat bunk beds. The list seems endless and I’ve loved seeing so many different uses on your Instagram feed. How did you decide on their design or did this just come naturally to you?
They are such versatile boxes and I’m always finding new uses for them, as are the customers. I began with the beds and home accessories, but upon opening a Facebook page back in 2011, I was encouraged by other crafters to make some storage solutions for them. It’s so lovely to see them all in use and I get some wonderful photos.
I’ve spotted some amazing uses posted on Instagram including artists brushes. What’s been the most unusual request or use so far?
I have to say; my strangest request so far was to make a coffin for a much loved and sadly departed cat named Merlot.
I will admit to enjoying a good glass of wine and it’s amazing seeing the huge range of vineyard panels on the wine and port boxes you recycle. What’s your favourite panel and why?
I love so many of the panels, seeing the tiny pictures with pretty gardens around them. I think one of my favourite is the ‘Louis Jadot’ as it has a beautifully decorative image of Bacchus, who was the Roman god of agriculture and wine.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love the freedom of working for myself as it has fitted so well with having a family and being at home when needed. The constant supply of vineyard panels means my materials are always changing so I never get bored of making each product. Having the workshop also is a great sense of freedom as I can sing along to the radio to my heart’s content without harming anyone’s ears! A major highlight has been meeting so many amazing people through social media and fairs.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m fortunate to live in a lovely part of the Cotswolds and we have so many beautiful towns and villages close by. I love to wander around quaint shops and find nice riverside pubs where I might just have a glass of wine to relax 😉 My big aim is to one day move closer to the sea.
I love seeing your gorgeous dog Bailey pop up in our social media feeds – can I assume he has his very own Baxter and Snow Dog Toy box?
Bailey certainly is a real character! When our much-loved cat Tuffy, who has always been our logo, sadly passed away, we decided to adopt a dog and began the search. We originally thought an older dog might suit us but during a visit to the Dog’s Trust, we were taken into a room where a very small puppy was introduced to us. He had unfortunately been previously mistreated so resistance was futile! He has now been with us for nearly two years and I am (almost) getting used to mud splattered walls!
Running a small business can be tough at times – what’s been your biggest challenge so far?
I think the biggest challenge for anyone running a small business on their own is the lack of contact with other people, it can become rather lonely at times. However, having social media has been a great help as there is always someone to chat to on the Facebook page.
What would be your top three tips for starting a new business?
• Research every aspect of the business and try to be different to anyone else
• Make friends with other small business owners so you always have other like-minded people to bounce your ideas off
• Take time out for yourself once in a while because it can become an all-consuming task when starting out
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Baxter and Snow?
After a two-year break, I’m re-opening my stall the Cotswolds Craft Market this month. I am really looking forward to it as it is lovely to meet customers face to face and to make contacts with other local crafters. I’m also getting to know a new wine box supplier so I’m hoping for a larger variety of vineyard offerings this year too.
You can find Baxter and Snow at:
If you are local to the Cotswolds, do pop in and see Sarah in the Corn Hall, Cirencester on the 2nd Saturday of each month.
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