Coco Business Inspiration : Olivia Burton

Olivia Burton is a multitasking #Girlboss that juggles a full time job, a busy social life and a side hustle that is going from strength to strength. Like most women in business, Olivia fell in to life as an entrepreneur after somebody else fell short and she felt that she could do a better job.

#TeamCoco spent some time with her to find out more about her journey to where she is today, why having one job was never enough and what her plans are for the future…

Can you tell us a bit about Gifts and Grub and your journey to getting where you are today?
My business is Embee Marketing, and I organise the ‘Gifts & Grub’ Farmer’s Market & Craft Fairs throughout South Yorkshire. I do this whilst still working full time as a Marketing Communications Manager, so my family are heavily involved too, helping me out with the events – we make a great team and all pitch in!

It all started a few years ago, when myself and my mum started making creatively flavoured jam, under the name The Little Yorkshire Jam Company – simply having a job has never been enough for me, I like to work hard and used to make jam in my kitchen in the evenings and weekends, (amazing flavours based on cocktails like pina colada and strawberry daiquiri – with alcohol in of course!) then we used to sell it at weekends at fairs. We did really well, and became very popular, and it got to the point where it was turning from a hobby to more….but then we went to some really terrible fairs and markets, where no one came, no advertising had been done and I just thought…you know what – I can do better than this! So that’s what I did – and for the last two years i’ve been organising our Gifts & Grub markets.

What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
We’ve had some fantastic events since we launched our brand, and had record footfall at some venues! The highlights for me are the nice comments we get from stallholders and the public – last week a couple said to me that the fair they came to was the best one they had ever been to, and showed me their huge carrier bag full of purchases! I love to hear when stallholders have had a great day too – when people totally sell out, that is amazing! We also recently had Henderson’s Relish book an event with us – very proud moment to have such a famous brand working with us!

Gifts and Grubs is a real family affair, what different skill does each person bring to the table?
We work really well as a team, each bringing different skills to the group. My dad does all sorts – while I’m at work in the day he takes all the calls from customers and keeps things ticking over, he also scouts out new companies who might be potential stallholders and handles negotiations for new sponsors too. My uncle Phil and my boyfriend Tom bring the muscle, helping to get the venues ready, and they man the car park to get everyone in and out quickly and easily. My mum Jo is amazing at coming up with new ideas of ways we can improve and suggesting what we can do differently. I bring the marketing/graphic design element and overall organisation, and together we drive each other on!

Describe the brand in 3 words?
Gifts & Grub! It says it all – our markets are all about food and gifts – who doesn’t love those things!?

Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
Most days I am at work in my day job, then I head home and start my work, answering emails, taking bookings, making adverts and planning the next event – oh and lots of social media work too, I like to keep on top of that everyday!


Gifts and Grub is your side hustle, tell us what your ‘real’ day job entails?
I’m a Marketing Communications Manager for a well know garden tools company, so I make brochures and catalogues, product packaging, work on social media, and all aspects of marketing – which really helps when it comes to promoting my own business.

What sets your range apart from anything else that is currently on the market?
We get amazing compliments about our markets, our stallholders know how hard we work to promote our events and advertise, we want to make sure our events are special, and everyone has a great day.

We want to showcase local talented makers, bakers and everything in between and this passion really sets us apart from other event organisers.

Who/what inspires you?
All sorts inspires me, I love hearing about small businesses that are making it – a big reason why I love what I do! I love to help new companies and promote them, helping them to grow! We have a new company working with us now who run a monthly subscription alcohol business – I love the idea of this, it’s a brilliant concept, and an inspiring story! Chatting to our stallholders and learning about their businesses is great, and really keeps me motivated to make the business work.

What are your plans for the brand in 2016?
This year we are expanding to new venues and hoping to reach the point where we have a fair in every part of South Yorkshire. We’re really putting in the hours to get our brand well know and attract some amazing local companies to work with us!

You are clearly well travelled, where is your favourite place to go?
I’ve been to some amazing places with my friends and family. We always have a girls holiday every year, and last year we all went to Vegas & San Francisco to celebrate our 30th Birthdays! That definitely took the edge of the feeling of getting old!

Did you always know that one day you would be a #Girlboss?
I’ve always know that one day I’d like to be my own boss, having a job has never been enough for me and I’ve always had an entrepreneurial side, and I know that soon I will need to take the plunge and do this fulltime, I think I just need a little nudge! There’s nothing quite like being your own boss!

If there’s one #Girlboss activity you could get better at, what would it be?
Sometimes I find it hard to let people help me, I like to be in total control of everything and its hard to do that when you only have limited time each day, I wish I could delegate a bit more

For women aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Try it – what have you got to lose? It’s a great idea to try out your business idea while your still working if you can, then you can see if it works and would be a viable business in the long term

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