The fabulous Cotton Twist…

AC and Alexis, founders of Cotton Twist, photographed on location in Kew Gardens.

Today on the blog I have two fabulous ladies, Alexis and Anne-Clare, the brains behind Cotton Twist,

an inspiration for parties & play, we pride ourselves on making activities & decorations you’ll love to give, & children will love to receive. Nostalgic, chic, simple & inherently satisfying. Crafts are carefully designed to spark learning & play in a fun & imaginative way. Activities are perfect for party bags, stocking fillers, wedding day activities, travelling & rainy days.

Daisy and Bobby recieved the unicorn wand kit, the carnival mask kit, the superhero mission kit and the walkie talkie kit and they enjoyed every minute of it.

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To quote Daisy, ‘these are epic’ and they really are. Such a fabulous idea for our little people. They were superbly put together with everything needed in the bag and the instructions were very straightforward and easy to follow. I contacted them to ask them a few questions to find out more about the brand and to spread the love of their beautiful products. Their party invitations are to die for!

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1. When and how did you 1st come up with 
the idea of Cotton Twist?
I had spotted some party bag fillers (made by Alexis) at a friend’s house & was captivated by how they involved activities for the child rather than the usual plastic. There was a bracelet kit with enchanting instructions, & a poppy head with details on how to sow the seeds. I suppose the seed for Cotton Twist was (unconsciously at this point) sewn in my mind & I started experimenting with the idea for my eldest child’s birthday party. At the same time, Alexis and I were introduced, & over the coming months Cotton Twist evolved organically.
2. What were you doing before Cotton Twist?

I was a partner in a small jewellery company, & Alexis was working for a large retailer. We were both back & forth between various maternity leaves, but after Alexis had Henry (number 2) and I had Marni (number 3) we never returned to our ‘9-5’ roles.

3. How do you juggle work life and family? Any tips for my readers.

Ha ha – the endless juggle! The business is still run from our homes for now, so the lines can be incredibly blurred between work and home. Our children are totally accustomed to it & they love to get involved sorting beads, counting components, or making prototypes. They come out with all sorts of funny questions like, ‘are there other Cotton Twists in the world mummy, or is it just this one?’ and ‘why are you doing party bags for someone else’s party, do you know them?’. Overall though, I think they warm to the entrepreneurial side of things & we often catch Coco & Saskia setting up their mini businesses. So on the plus side, we’re around our homes, we have flexibility & can usually manage to juggle sick days, assemblies, & school concerts with relative ease.
Holidays are a bit more challenging, but we’ve come a long way, & it might mean a few more late night working sessions than normal…(if that’s possible?!)
In terms of tips, I think gauging the appropriate times to mix work life with home life is key. Sometimes I do more menial tasks around the children, like writing a couple of emails or preparing orders around them & it works out just fine. Other times, for the sake of all of us, the business needs to be put firmly to the side. Running your own business is addictive, but time out is also essential.
4. What's the best bit of running your own business?
 I love so many elements: the creative side, the ability to make things happen, & the flexibility of having multiple roles and swapping between them. The excitement of generating sales off the back of our own marketing, together with great feedback from clients is the ultimate high.
5. And the worst?
On the down side, just like any job, there are tough days when it feels like we have multiple obstacles in our path, & that our hard work isn’t paying off. I think you can feel those lows more acutely in your own business, it can feel like personal rejection. Luckily though, the passion & addiction carry you through, & there are usually brighter more positive events on the horizon. If anything, these tricky days are the ones which make me work even harder. They make me realise that I don’t want to give up & be beaten by some silly annoyances in our path.
6. What advice do you have for people wanting to launch their own business?
In terms of advice, I would say that having your own business is like having another child! It’s rewarding, exciting, & energy sapping all rolled into one, so know what you’re getting yourself into!
7. What are your 5 favourite things on your site?
Personalised Tropical Invitations:
I’m a definite subscriber to the latest tropical trend, & am considering using these invites for my 40th birthday party! The children love adding the stickers to the invites, it really helps to make them feel part of the build up to their big day. We have 11 themes in this range – from superheroes, to pirates, to dinosaurs, princesses, unicorns & fairies.
Make Your Own Walkie Talkie kit:
This is one of our latest packs in our pocket money / party bag filler category & it’s one of my favourites. The box is satisfying to make, & then I love love love the sticker. Children can have fun decorating it with gems & making the antenna.
Personalised bunting banner with balloon!
This is also a new product. A lovely way to send birthday greetings in a different format to a card.
The banner itself & the label on the outside of the gift tin can all be personalised.
Personalised Princess Bracelet Gift Kit
A really sweet little gift for a girl. This beautiful personalised gift tin comes with elastics and wooden beads to create a heart bracelet fit for a little princess. Great for a present, a party bag filler or a bridesmaid gift, there are plenty of occasions to snap up one of these. This range also includes a keyring for the boys, & fairy or woodland offerings for the girls.
Go On A Stegosaurus Spike Hunt
I can’t resist this dinky stegosaurus. Perfect for the younger age groups, this activity also includes a treasure hunt component. Children need to find the wooden pegs before they make their dinosaur, & then they’ll be rewarded with their chocolate coin.
The ladies have kindly offered a prize of a £50 voucher for you to choose whatever items you would like. This may be the personalised party invitations, the party bag fillers or the making kits, it’s your choice. To be in with a chance of winning hop on over to my instagram and follow the instructions.
You can find the ladies on instagram here.
Shelley x


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