Think pre-loved and handmade children’s clothing and accessories, with a passion for ethical trading, low waste and oodles of fun, and voila! You have Mini Eden! With its first anniversary fast approaching, founder Linnhe Harrison explains why she created the brand. 

What’s the story behind your business? How did you get started?

I first moved to Kirkby Stephen in the late 90’s and ran a successful stop-motion animation studio with my sisters, working on campaigns for the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi, Dulux Paint as well as making short films for festivals around the world. I then met my husband, and began a 10 year career as a sailing instructor at Glenridding Sailing Centre.

I left Glenridding in the winter of 2016 as, although I loved the work,  it was becoming really difficult to balance the long working hours with my young family. My twin sister suggested a kids clothing shop, and as luck would have it, a little shop came up for rent on Market Street in town. The ethos behind ‘Mini Eden’ is recycle, make by hand or trade fairly (and NO plastics!). I never wanted it to be ‘just a shop’, hence the Lego, books, and train sets for the kids to play with when they come in. It’s been hard work setting up a new business from zero, financially and mentally – but I really do feel that a year on, people are starting to really appreciate the ethics behind the shop front. I had a lot of help from some very lovely friends in the setting up and refurbishing of the shop – I can honestly say I could never have done this without their help!

What’s a typical day like for you?

I’m lucky that Kirkby Stephen is a chilled little spot, so I don’t open until 11 am which gives me time to do the school run (something I had missed out on for the years I had been at Glenridding), and knock back a couple of espressos before heading into town! I like to keep the shop fresh, the stock moving, and am always thinking of new ideas for the future of Mini Eden.

What’s the toughest part of running your own business?

No sick pay or holiday pay!

And the best part?

I love the responsibility, and the freedom to grow my business the way I want it to evolve.

What are your top three business goals for the future?

I do want to expand the business, I have some really exciting ideas but they are under wraps for now – sorry!

What’s your top marketing or social media tip?

I don’t like to use social media to sell sell sell, it doesn’t feel very polite, so I mix the odd sales post with some fun photos, news, chat etc. No one likes to be just told to buy things! And if you can make folks smile, you’re half way there.

Mini Eden is based at 11 Market Street in Kirkby Stephen. You can also buy from the online shop, or follow Mini Eden on Instagram and Facebook