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Behind The ScenesDesigner InterviewsJewellery

Shropshire Business

By August 17, 2018September 10th, 20182 Comments
Meet Shropshire Business Owner Emma Cantillion -

Shropshire Business

Next up on our blog is an entry about a fellow Shropshire business owner, Emma Cantillion from The Barn at Lees Farm. It’s number six in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Emma as although she does not necessarily make products with ‘iron’ per se, her gorgeous BnB accommodation is based in the beautiful Ironbridge area of Shropshire and as one of our best local supporters, that link was good enough for me!

Our month six showcase is all about iron as this is the material which marks the sixth wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during August, I will also be making new jewellery with ‘iron’ in mind. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.

Shropshire Business Ironbridge

The Background

Shropshire Business Bed And Breakfast
How did you and Sarah first meet?

Sarah and I met at a WiRE training event nearly 3 years ago. Since then our businesses have worked alongside each other on several occasions including me hosting one of Sarah’s Jewellery Making evenings in my annex accommodation.

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

My career is really just beginning if I am honest. I spent 13 years as what is known as a “Trailing Spouse”. So, I am building a business on the foundation of my recently converted barn & annex at Lees Farm, Ironbridge. That is where it started. Where I am going? Well an ‘On Location’ venue, workshops and the list may grow…

What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

As mentioned above, my barn conversion,  what started as a personal necessity, very quickly planted seeds of a business idea to let out part of the accommodation and add a Yurt.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Yes, I had thought I would have to be someone else in business to make it work, in actual fact, I am very much the opposite, everything I do has elements of me running through it, even the scatter brain parts. I have accepted that now, it is how I work and how I work best.

Can I add another one? Support, ask, demand, whatever you can to connect with like minded people. It keeps you sane!

Women In Business

Shropshire Business Accommodation

How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

This is a strange one for me, as my business is quite new. However, even in the short time I have been running though, accessibility for guests to book and see the competition is at the forefront and demands are higher on the accommodation specifics.
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
I have recently been reading the autobiography of Gloria Steinem, I hadn’t really heard of her before but a quote on Pinterest struck a chord “I’m not just a dreamer, I am a hopeaholic.”
Sometimes that is all you have got and you have to go with it. Steinem is an American social political activist & journalist, she is 83 and still travelling all over the world. In the 60’s she was at the forefront of feminism and in 2005, along with Jane Fonda and poet Robin Morgan, set up the Women’s Media Centre which is an organisation that “works to make women visible and powerful in media”.
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?

Materials for me were using everything that was around in anyway that I could that they wouldn’t go to waste. The house I lived in was owned by the man who had the Madeley Wood Company, they made all of the red bricks for the local area, you can still see the factory over at Blists Hill Museum. So exposed brick is very much a part of my property, inside and out.

As far and my personal creativity, I dabble, I love playing with everything from cement to wood I find on a walk out with the dogs, to gold leaf and vintage door knobs.

Real Life Stuff

Shropshire Business Luxury Yurt
What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Creativity to me is not at all what I thought it would be, I was heading to London College of Fashion at 19, then things changed, quite a lot, so here I am.

My creativity is the little personal touches that make a guests stay special, quirky little niknaks, making use of the heritage of the local area (I am situated in the middle of UNESCO World Heritage Site the Ironbridge Gorge) red brick, iron joists, huge cauldrons that the iron ore used to be melted in.

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I have become less sentimental about objects in the past few years, I have 2 daughters and they are it. Running your own business often means you don’t have the ability to have things, but you don’t need things or money for memories, cheesy I know but true.

Materially – The Barn. Why, because I designed it, I project managed it, the girls visited site every day after school, they painted panelling, filled holes, planted the garden, helped build the kitchen and all sorts of other things. We really did do it together, our triangle.

What does priceless mean to you?

Priceless to me are memories. They are my memories with the girls.

Business wise, they are the reviews that I always dash to read after someone has checked out. Knowing that I have helped to make good memories for my guests is the best feeling, that means I have succeeded, that the hope is working and that the struggle has been worthwhile.

“Make Moments, Enjoy Memories” is my strapline.


  • Joyce Bullock says:

    I love reading this, especially as I know both Emma and the Barn. She is inspiring – who else has a chainsaw for her birthday? Then puts it to good use? She is awesome.
    Its so nice that you captured her own words Saloukee. Job well done, thank you.

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