Sophie runs PopUp Poetry, a shop passionate about creating fun, sustainable gift hampers that are one of a kind, with a touch of magic that don’t cost the Earth (in every sense!). Learn more about her handmade, eco friendly and magic inspired Gift Hampers, how Sophie began her business and her top tips and recommendations on how to buy the best gifts for any occasion.
Take a look at PopUpPoetryShop on Instagram
Tell us a little bit about your company? What do you offer?
Hey my name is Sophie, originally from Yorkshire (God’s Own Country!) but having moved to pastures new for University, I have now been a permanent resident in Liverpool for over 12 years. Where does time go!
My gift hampers include hand (or wand) poured Candles, Soaps, handmade Bath Bombs, knitted Pet creatures, hand painted and hand drawn illustrations / infographics and hand written poetry.
All of these items are related to each theme of the Hamper – you will find a felt avocado pet in your Vegan Hamper, and a dead man soap in your magic one! I like to promote the positive impacts of veganism in my products and everything in the Hampers is eco friendly, sustainable & the materials are either sourced locally or grown in my garden – from the lavender in my soaps to the ‘Grow Your Own Sunflower’ extracted from seeds taken from Sunflowers grown in my garden to go into my Isolation Hamper.
My making process is the best part of the job – I have a fantastic sturdy wooden workbench in my studio, and this is where I create my candles, soaps and bath bombs. I have an induction hob in my studio; this is where I use pans, candle / soap jugs and double boilers to melt and cast my soaps and candles. I use my lavender, calendula flowers & seeds to use in the soaps & candles, and I use the most organic & cruelty free soaps, fragrances & essential oils in the process.
The knitted & felted goods are created from sustainable materials, crafted by hand & are all unique. The hand drawn and handwritten items are constructed in the studio also – I handwrite all my labels, images, and infographics, and take care to always provide this personalisation in my work to make it very personal and special.
The eco element of my business is the most important part of what I do, and all my materials are sustainable, encouraged to be reused, and can be broken down naturally. My packaging includes eco-friendly tape, rescued unwanted card, kraft paper & packaging materials saved from various deliveries as a means of securing your package in transit, and even my business card is made from recycled card.
Visit the PopUp Poetry shop on Etsy and take a look at Sophie’s range of sustainable gift hampers. Including:
* My Little Magic Hamper
* My Halloween Hamper
* My Vegan Hamper
* My Little Christmas Eve Box
* My Horror Hamper
…and many more!
How did you get into creating personalised poetry, hampers and gifts?
My business actually began as a personalised writing service, where I would write custom poems or speeches for people, especially for Weddings. It was around Christmas one year where I decided to create personalised Santa Letter/Poems, and added the choice of a Gift Set to accompany these. When these proved popular, I decided to expand on this idea and began my journey making novel and themed Hampers, based around the idea of the ‘cosy night in’ – Gift Boxes full of comforts, treats and some kind of fun activity.
Every Hamper still includes a poem that fits with the theme and has been written by myself – from the poem about being a wonderful human in my Vegan Hamper, to my ‘spell’ in the Halloween one.
I actually was working in a full time job when I first opened my shop as a side hustle, and carried on like this for a few years, but when I first starting making my Hampers I was predominantly advertising and selling them on Facebook, and it was one of my close friends who told me to literally ‘just go for it’ and set up an Etsy shop – and this is where things really started to happen for the business. I have a habit of overthinking just about anything and everything but following the advice that it doesn’t have to be perfect, just get it out there, I took the plunge and gave it a go!
When I actually decided to leave my full time job and run my business full time instead, trying to explain to my parents and family why I would leave a place of security and certainty for risk and the unknown was really scary, but hopefully they are now just proud of what I have managed to create and bring to life!
Why do you think it’s important to support small businesses?
Supporting small businesses is so important – it brings community together, it raises up the power of the individuals and gives freedom to creatives to create some wonderful ideas and pieces which have so much more heart than corporations or big businesses like Amazon. It keeps the wonderful highstreet alive, it shows that huge heartless corporations don’t have to rule our lives.
With small businesses, items are made from the heart, there is a real human there putting love and care into everything they make and do, and your product will be wonderfully unique to you. Finally and perhaps most importantly, it promotes the fact that anyone can be an entrepreneur, have a dream, or can bring to life the greatest ideas and imaginations and make the world a better place.
What do you think makes a great gift?
A great gift is creating or finding something for someone that just ‘gets them’, that you are so EXCITED for them to see and you are counting down the days until you know they will open it or experience it. I am also a big ambassador for sustainability and the environment so for me a great gift is from a shop that has considered and used materials that are kind to the planet, made to last or made from quality & organic materials that are good for you, the world and the recipient.
A great gift is something that makes everyone along the process feel good – from the maker, to the buyer, to the receiver – good vibes all along 🙂
What are your top tips for finding the right gift for someone?
Give yourself plenty of time to get the right thing, start looking early, and begin with giving yourself some inspiration by window shopping first, and make sure once you find it, get it with plenty of time to spare. However if you get a gut feeling about something at a Fayre or Market etc and you find yourself feeling excited about seeing that persons face if you gave it to them, then just go for it!!
I also like to keep a list on my phone when Christmas shopping to remind myself what I’ve already got so far so I don’t overbuy!!
Finally, my last piece of advice would be think about the lifespan of the purchase – from an eco friendly perspective, try and get gifts that aren’t single use or novel that will never be used again after that one occasion (unless it’s something like chocolate!!), or will fall apart quickly, and also what it will look like at the end of it’s life, ie. will it biodegrade or will it be more plastic to go into the ocean? I know it’s not a cheerful topic but conscious shopping is the way forward – and knowing something will last someone for a really long time, is fabulous quality and will itself be value for money, it’ll be a valued gift, and it shows the thought and time you have put in for this person 🙂
What are your recommendations for favourite places to buy gifts?
I would say seek out small businesses and makers – follow them on social media to keep up with offers they may have, find local fayres / markets / stalls and go see what they’re selling. Learn about what they make, how they make them and what they’re all about – you will literally make their day.
Visit your highstreet and go check out those little independent shops. Try Etsy, Not on the Highstreet, Numonday, Folksy where there is a plethora of independents all who make fantastic individual items and gifts.
Check out Vinted, Olio, Depop, Facebook Marketplace as well, where you can get handmade items or quality second hand goods too.
One of my favourite gifting sites currently is Lisa Angel UK – an independent buyer who showcases the works of so many talented individuals based around the UK right now, and I have just got a solar powered light up glass dinosaur night light I am head over heels for!!
What is the best gift you have ever received?
This may sound daft but possibly my bright yellow raincoat – I wear this every single day and have done for years. It’s lasted the test of time so well, stayed waterproof, is lightweight and so colourful it makes me smile every day when I wear it. However we do have a recent contender in a gift from my partner for my birthday this year – it is a full length mirror which opens up and has a massive jewellery & make up storage cupboard inside – I have literally managed to store everything in there and it is organisation heaven. It also rotates 360 degrees round and there is storage at the back too, where I can pop my hairdryer!!
Neither of those may sound fun but they’ve been game changers for me, and they are both gifts that have had me in mind, and they’ve got me down to a tee!
I love the individuality, thoughtfulness and creativity in all of Sophie’s hampers. They are truly unique, handmade, multisensory gifts that are bound to bring a smile to someone’s face. The handwritten notes, homely gifts and attention to detail really show how much love she puts into products and I’m sure this is reflected in people’s reactions when they open them. I love how they are all like a box of curiosities that you can sift through and really take time to appreciate each gift in the hamper.
Looking for other unique gift ideas from small businesses? Take at look at my Vegan Christmas gift ideas – Top 10 recommendations from Emma Bakes or maybe Emma Bakes, Christmas gift box – give someone a cosy night in this festive season with our chocolate gift experience
Want to be more sustainable with your gift giving? Take a look at my Vegan self-care from Etsy. Taking care of yourself and our environment. Win, win.