Creative Women: Krystyna Patey, founder and director of Parkminster Products.
Back in 2012, I was given a candle by my lovely friend and colleague Jayne. In a small brown box with a beautiful label and cut out stars, it had the most divine fresh lemongrass scent, burnt like a dream and scented my home all Christmas. My love affair with Parkminster Products was born; I simply NEEDED to stock them in our shop.
Fast forward four years, and almost every time a customer walks into the shop we hear the exclamation “What is that lovely smell?!” It could be Fresh Fig, Cucumber & Mint, Pomelo & Ginger, Mandarin Spice, to name but a few; all are equally gorgeous, and there is something for everyone. Krystyna & the team are committed to using only the very best raw natural ingredients and traditional methods to make Parkminster products, meaning that they are welcome alternative to the sickly sweet synthetic candles you can find anywhere.
Since we’ve known Krystyna and the Parkminster team, we have seen the business grow from a true ‘kitchen table’ industry to a well-known name stocking over 300 retail shops in the UK, plus worldwide destinations such as Paris, Japan, Amsterdam, Ireland and Ibiza. With this expansion has come an inevitable move to larger premises, but we have always been struck by the feeling that however busy they become, Parkminster retains the friendly, traditional feel that makes it such a special brand to deal with.
As the founder and director, I have always really admired Krystyna for her vision and ability to move the brand forward without compromising its unique identity. She is such a lovely person to work with, so I was absolutely delighted when she said she could come along to our ‘Stardust & Alchemy’ event, and took the time to fill in our Q&A. I hope the story of how she created Parkminster Products inspires you…we can’t wait for you to meet her!
The current range of Parkminster Products.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I started Parkminster Products back in 2010, initially making body salt scrubs for friends and family to try. I then moved onto selling at local craft fairs. The product range evolved to scented candles and home fragrance products and I then started selling to local shops. I took the plunge and took at stand at Top Drawer London in 2011 and it was then I knew I had a business as I picked up 20 new accounts and received great feedback on our product range and brand.
What did you dream of doing as a child and has your career panned out the way you expected?
I’ve always been creative and initially I wanted to go to art college to study to become a ‘Window Dresser’ (as it was called in those days , now I think we use the term Merchandiser.) As I wasn’t offered the course I wanted I decided to go out into the big wide world and earn money… this lead me to working in finance for a number of years and then eventually after having my daughter Tia I started working in the events industry which was a lot of fun.
Krystyna, the founder and director of Parkminster Products.
Describe the moment you decided on the path you are following now.
On a business trip with my husband to New York I came across a lovely body scrub in a small independent eco shop in the East Village, and I thought “Do you know what, I could make something like this!” This is when I started playing around with ingredients and testing out on friends and colleagues. My husband has always run successful businesses and he encouraged me to start something for myself and so Parkminster Products was born!
Parkminster Products are made in a simple, traditional way using the very best natural raw ingredients.
Have you stuck to a set plan, had an epiphany that has made you suddenly change course, or do you just ‘go with the flow’?
Our product range has grown throughout the last few years and we are always looking for something new. Running a small business it is hard not to get trapped in the ‘now’ and we do try our best to come up with new and exciting scents and styles to add to our range. We have grown from a kitchen table to now employing 5 staff and have a great workshop in our local village.
The Parkminster team. L-R: Aya, Sharon, Krystyna & Debbie.
The Parkminster workshop in West Sussex.
How is fashion important to you? Would you say the way you dress has any impact upon your work, or vice versa?
At the workshop, it’s a jeans and top covered in a waxy apron. When out meeting customers I try to portray a stylish image, which normally combines jeans with a nice top and mandatory scarf!
What is your first fashion memory?
Not sure if it was fashion but I had a pair of purple jeans that I absolutely loved and would always swear by. Another memory dare I say it trying to be a ‘New Romantic’; I failed miserably!
A colourful scarf is part of Krystyna's signature style.
Where do you get your style inspiration? Do you have any favourite Instagram/Pinterest accounts or bloggers you follow?
I like to look at what people are wearing on the street, when I go to London or when I am lucky enough to travel to New York I get great inspiration there.
Who is your style icon?
I love Sienna Millers style, it always looks effortless.
Describe your style in three words.
Boho, Mish Mash!
Which item in your wardrobe would you never get rid of?
My Frye biker boots, as they can be worn with everything and they never wear out. In fact, they just get better with age.
Sienna Miller is Krystyna's style icon.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
I want to create a long lasting family business that thrives on selling quality artisan products to people all over the world. Parkminster Products hopefully won’t just be about candles and home fragrance I want to build a brand that people recognise for unique craftsmanship across a wide range of items.
The latest addition to the Parkminster family; the luxury Regency collection.
Find out more about Krystyna and the Parkminster ‘family’ by visiting http://parkminster.co.uk . She will be at our ‘Stardust & Alchemy’ event from 6pm-9pm on Thursday 24th November, so do come along for a cocktail or two and a chance to chat to her in person.