Hemel teenager's business Castaway Cottage wins highly commended prize at the Inspiring Herts Business Awards

Archie was highly commended in the Family Business of the Year award

Monday, 27th September 2021, 12:13 pm

A young entrepreneur from Hemel Hempstead has been celebrating after his business won a highly commended prize at the Inspiring Herts Business Awards.

Archie Major, 14, came up with the idea for Castaway Cottage after visiting the Lavender Field near Hitchin in 2017, from there his business has expanded and there are now three generations of the family working for the business.

The Inspiring Herts Business Awards celebrated the achievements of the county’s businesses and charitable organisations over the last year.

Archie and his grandad at one of the stalls

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Ashbourne’s highly commended prize went to Castaway Cottage of Hemel Hempstead who is led by the youngest entrepreneur and CEO present at the awards, Archie Major.

The awards were presented after guests experienced the magical Harry Potter tour and an elegant black tie dinner.

Briege Leahy, CEO of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Local businesses, large and small, are at the heart of the growth of our county and our annual awards ceremony is an opportunity to recognise business leaders’ hard work, innovation and contribution to Hertfordshire."

Briege Leahy, CEO Herts Chamber of Commerce centre with Archie and his grandfather

Castaway Cottage, creates bath bombs, bath crumble, soaps and wax melts using simple cruelty-free ingredients that are kind to skin and the environment, including a vegan range.

Archie, who attends Hemel Hempstead School has shared his experience of setting up the company, and what he hopes to achieve over the next few years.

He said: "We started Castaway Cottage after going to the Lavender Field, I wanted to do something with all of the lavender I had picked.

"We decided to make gifts for the grandparents for Christmas and we sold them at the school fayre.

Archie at the awards

"Castaway Cottage was inspired by one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books that I was reading, I thought it sounded like a location that would pop up in one of their intrepid adventures.

"After a couple of years we became a limited company, involving three generations of my family.

"We have a website and have a good following on social media.

"We were making it in our kitchen, but now we have our own workshop, it used to be our garage."

Archie in the workshop

Archie's parents, and both sets of grandparents, are involved in the business.

Louise, Archie's mum, said: "Archie's dad helps him with production. One of his grandads is on the stall with him, and the other does the point of sale bits for the stalls.

"One of his grandmother's makes bows for the gifts for us and the other does Castaway crochet, everyone has their role and it's a real family bsusiness."

Each and every product is handcrafted, handmade or hand-poured by the family, and their ethos is to create products that are kind to us and our environment.

Archie added: "I really enjoy doing it and I can't believe how much it has grown over the years.

"It felt good to be highly commended for a family business at the awards.

"I never thought we would be here doing this from when we started at the primary school stall, and making gifts for my grandparents.

"I want to open a shop but mum thinks we should stay online, so that's something we might think about soon.

"I would like to win an award one day and I would like to increase the products we do, like expanding the types of bath bombs, and bath products, like bath salts and conditioner bars."

Louise added: "It's a long process to go from an idea to the actual product being sold.

"There's a lot to do from the initial idea, to testing the product, getting it professionally checked, and all the documents getting uploaded online so that it's all legal and meets the right checks."

For more about Castaway Cottage visit: castaway-cottage.co.uk.