Welcome to our special series of blog posts as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our little-big business, 'In A Matchbox'. We've got some stories to tell, stories of how two mums, Hayley and Emma, grew a tiny idea into a global gift enterprise. Over the next 10 days, we're sharing our incredible journey from the humble beginnings at Gidea Park Primary to now, and every hilarious, heart-warming, and sometimes downright bewildering step in between.
So grab your favorite beverage, get comfortable, and join us for a trip down memory lane. Our first instalment, 'The one with...the competitive mum', reveals the very roots of our business – a simple school competition and a matchbox. So, let's get started!
No. 1 The one with… the competitive mum
Once upon a time, there was a competition at Gidea Park Primary to see how much you could get in a matchbox.
Young Kyle, 8 years old going on 18 was not enthusiastic.
His mother Hayley (a commercial photographer at the time) however, was thoroughly up for it and diligently crammed in as much as she could into the little box - a seed, a button, a pin etc.
Then it occurred to her that nothing had been mentioned about the items being actual things…
Inspired by her own “genius” and convinced everyone would gasp at her creativity, she started to put ‘concepts’ on a list of items in her matchbox - cunning eh?
A cumin seed and a grain of rice was added as ‘a curry take away’.
A picture of the Mona Lisa became ‘an art gallery’, a piece of paper with a smear of lipstick was a beauty salon, the ideas flowed. Kyle’s eyes rolled - “typical mum”.
Hayley managed to get well over 200 items on her list but the school was not impressed - it was obvious Kyle knew nothing about beauty salons.
She did not win. Boo!
However, one person thought it WAS genius - Emma a fellow parent at the school.
Emma was also looking for a creative distraction from normal life and LOVED the idea.
A year later, for reasons only known to themselves when they were painting Christmas cards on miniature canvases and easels, Emma brought up the subject of the matchbox competition and how she thought it could be developed into something people might want to buy.
Emma’s youngest had started school, and for a few months now Emma (a former Designer before full time motherhood) had been thinking up various ideas to start her own business.
Little gifts in matchboxes would be just the ticket…
Obviously, she had too much time on her hands and Hayley was not convinced, but they spent the next few weeks texting each other various ideas and how it could work and before they knew it a whole gift concept was coming together.