The taste makers – 15 minutes with Hayley Southwood

Over the next few weeks and months I will be sharing our new taste makers feature, 15 minutes with some of the most inspiring woman in creative businesses across the UK and many found through the amazing instagram community. A place I am using more and more in my own business to connect with other artists and businesses. It has been such an honour to speak to these woman and find out what inspires them. This week Hayley from the AMAZING Southwood Stores talks us through her journey, what she thinks defines good design and how Instagram has helped build her business. Thank you so much Hayley.
1. What started you on this journey?

I am an accidental entrepreneur! I lost my mum to cancer when I was very young and in a moment of madness bought an ice cream van from eBay. My plan was ambitious, the intention being to create a bubble of happiness, to escape  the sadness I was facing in day to day life. I had intended to just potter about the local villages selling homemade artisan ice cream and old fashioned sweets but it soon became apparent that weddings and parties were the way forward. Over an 18- month period Mrs Scoops and her vintage ice cream van were featured in over 100 publications including YOU magazine and Country Homes. Vintage Scoops was my second business I had launched, the first was a specialist boutique Nursery School in East Northants called Little Stars which is still thriving today.

I was fitting work in around bringing up My two boys (now teenagers) owning and running Vintage Scoops for 3 years I felt better about life and wanted my weekends back. With a large following on Social Media I launched a blog along with a photographer I had met through the wedding industry. ‘Breathe Happiness’ it was an instant success. Whilst blogging I was racking my brains trying to come up with another business idea that could draw on the experience and knowledge. I had a passion for styling and a love of the creative world so I decided to curate a collection of quirky home-wares and clothing that you couldn’t find on the high street. Southwood stores was launched in 2013.

2. Who or what inspires you?

Strong women who are living the dream inspire me! Women who have overcome struggles, I have never been one for following celebrities, I am always more influenced by the real women kicking ass. Single mums or the girl that is sticking her two fingers up to cancer inspires me more!

I also love to surround myself with positive happy people that are determined and dream chasers.

3. When you were little you wanted to grow up and…. ?

When i was little I always dreamed of having my own family, I wanted a family more than anything else. I craved a happy family home. I also used to doodle what I would call my shop from the age of about 6/7. I used to set up shop on the street pavement selling potatoes to the neighbours for a penny each.

4. What makes a home?

To me a ‘home’ is wherever my husband and boys are….. end of!!!

5. Describe your ideal day off?

I don’t really ever do days off but if I do it is spent with my family, usually sitting in the garden sipping a gin or two!

6. What is your favourite part of your job?

I love my job! I really love every single aspect as I have created my ideal job. I love being my own boss and cannot ever imagine working for someone else!

7. What are you most proud of?

I am proud of my boys, that goes without saying! But I am really proud of my business. It feels like my 3rd baby if I am honest. I have started quite a few businesses over the years but Southwood Stores feels so good in so many ways. I feel like I am helping other women with the social hub and I love supporting makers and artists.

8. Whats your biggest weakness?

My biggest weakness is trying to remember everything in my head! NOTE TO SELF It doesn’t work and I continue to try and work in this way! I need to remember to write more down.

9. Instagram is a very powerful tool has it changed the way you do business?

INSTAGRAM is HUGE for me, It has enabled me to launch and grow my business. I love being part of such an amazing community. I now teach other women what I have learnt over the years and give them tips and advice on how to market themselves online.

10. What defines good design?

Good design for me is quality, good design is honesty in a product, an eco friendly element also screams good design to me.

11. New York or Copenhagen?

Funny you should ask this question as I went to New York in January for the first time and CPH in March, first time too. Copenhagen won hands down for me!!! I am already planning my return visit for this summer.

12) What makes you laugh?

My blogging partner cracks me up. Shaneen has an amazing sense of humour. She is also my reality check!


To find out more about Hayley’s workshops or to visit the GORGEOUS shop please click here


Clean lines, soft white light shines in, and stunning minimal design throughout what’s not to love about this beautiful 1930’s top floor flat right in the centre of Edinburgh? Owned by Artist and Writer Sylvie Docherty. She lives there with her husband Sylvian and their two (GORGEOUS) daughters. The house is an amazing lesson in how to scale back and live with less. The white floors and white walls bring a real sense of calm to this families home. Sylvie uses pops of colour to bring warmth, especially in the girls bedroom. With multi coloured bunting and a really cool contemporary mobile it’s the perfect space for the girls to play. The master bedroom is the real winner for me, the high ceilings, enormous windows looking out over Edinburgh’s skyline and shades of soft grey used on the furnishings make it the perfect chill out room. Abstract art adorns the walls in most rooms. Art painted by Sylvie’s Artist father and other works collected from friends are propped up on sideboards and mantles, leaving the walls free and stark white, making the flat appear spacious and beaming with light.

To say this house reflects my own personal style would be an understatement. I also love to live minimally, having a big clear out and paring back on possessions makes me less distracted, less cluttered and truly able to relax in my home. The phrase knick knacks actually makes me shudder!! although a small disclaimer here – This can be challenging with two small boys, a giant boy and Ruby! But the simple life is very appealing to me. Minimalism is essentially the art of being able to comfortably live with less. While this may look easy in reality, it is a lot easier said than done. A beautiful, functional home with a minimal look can be the hardest to design and takes a lot of discipline. Especially for those among us that bring home pretty much anything and everything! (or have daily amazon deliveries HB?!!)

I love Sylvie’s home she has created a beautiful simplicity by living with less. A simpler and more meaningful life? maybe the message is, Be more with less.