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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Harriet Campbell, Founder and CEO of BowlOvers and Hunter Gatherer Our Coverage Sponsored by Bergen Linen

Harriet Campbell

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Harriet Campbell was born in the Worcestershire countryside in 1961. After school, she did a BA in History of Art at Courtauld Institute of Art in London and went and worked for Sotheby’s in their publications department for 4 years. 

In 1986, she married a Scottish baronet and together they dabbled in property moving house 7 times in as many years. When the first of 3 children came along in 1990 the moving slowed down and Harriet worked part time for a couple of interior decorating companies and then Thomas Pink the shirt company in their newly set up Mail Order department on the customer relations team. The property development and working for the decorators cemented her love of finding fun and unusual pieces for the home and Thomas Pink instigated a desire to set up her own on-line business.

In the millennium year, Hunter Gatherer was born – a mail order business sourcing practical gifts for the home with an unusual or quirky twist – the kindle cone firelighters – just one of the products became such a best seller they are now wholesaled throughout the UK including a bespoke set for Highgrove – the home and gardens of Prince Charles.

In 2002 the Campbells moved to Dorset to a converted Victorian village school with 3 children and growing collection of dogs, cats, horses and chickens. The house was featured in several magazines before being sold in 2008. 

Hunter Gatherer began to sell on and has been growing from strength to strength but Harriet was becoming more conscious of how much food is wasted in this country and became determined to reduce the family’s contribution to landfill. A light bulb came on and BowlOvers were born. The elasticated washable cotton covers for bowls were an instant hit and came runner up in the Country Homes & Interiors rural business award and were finalists in the Mumpreneur awards – they are now selling around the UK, in several outlets in Europe, Dubai and the USA. The plan is to develop the range, offer a more bespoke service and of course think of the next big thing! BowlOvers Earned Whom You Know's Highest Recommendation:

We are so pleased to present Harriet Campbell as our latest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Harriet for Whom You Know.
Peachy Deegan: What is your first artistic memory?
Harriet Campbell: 
First artistic memory. From when I was very young my parents used to take us every holidays up to London to go and see a museum or gallery and my favourite one was always the Victoria & Albert Museum – I remember loving the paintings and the jewellery and even at the age of about 6 thinking how amazing it was that everything was made by someone who was no longer alive and in a time that I could hardly imagine. There was a book I loved – and still read called the queen Elizabeth Story by Rosemary Sutcliffe and just wanting to wear a ruff and live in a house with old oak furniture and rushes on the floor!

How did your art background influence your creativity that is reflected in your business today?
I think more that I am amazed by the creativity of others and that it is wonderful if you can think of something that might be used in future generations.

What is Worcestershire like and is that where the sauce originated?
Worcestershire is indeed where the sauce comes from and I grew up in a little village called Colwall at the foot of the Malvern Hills where Malvern water comes from. The Malvern Hills are beautiful and were inspiration to the composer Edward Elgar.

Please define Baronet for the Americans that have not read Mover and Shaker Carol Wallace’s “To Marry an English Lord” and please tell us how you met! (and maybe tell us how to marry one…)
My husband is baronet it is part of the peerage – you are called Sir – it is an inherited title and came to him after his father died and was awarded to his ancestor for saving Gibraltar for the British. We met at a tennis party, were engaged 10 weeks later and married the following May. – it was our 30th wedding anniversary yesterday!

What should everyone know about owning an online business that they might not know yet?
Having an online business and working from home seems a great thing to do – keeping to your own hours and seemingly low overheads but have all the usual worries mainly cash flows and getting the message of the business out there – it is often harder to build a story when you don’t have a bricks and mortar shop and I think I still find it hard selling things that sell rather than always selling things I like!

Please tell us how Hunter Gatherer was born and its evolution over the years.
Hunter Gatherer came about as after I had children I just didn’t want to work full time for anyone else. My time at Thomas Pink made me realize it was quite easy to set up an online business (mail order was in its early stages in the year 2000). I chose the name as it seemed to encompass almost anything you wanted to sell – it has ended up by being home orientated – we have just invested in a laser cutting and engraving machine so we can now personalize a lot of the items.

We are bowled over by the Bowl-Overs. Please share with the readers the story of this creation.
I have always hated wasting food and how much ends up in landfill – not just the food but what we use to cover things – plastic wrap and foil. One day my husband threw a tea towel over a bowl and I realized you could make a cover out of cotton that you could then wash and re-use over and over again. The printed messages are to encourage you not to waste food as well. 

What is Dorset like?
Dorset is the most beautiful county famous for Thomas Hardy, Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, miles of unspoilt coastline where you can find fossils in the cliffs and hills covered in wild flowers. We live at the foot of Hambledon Hill which is an iron age hill fort.

Please tell us about your animal family.
Animal family at the moment is 2 dogs: a border terrier and a black Labrador – new puppy coming in the summer, a cat and 4 chickens until recently ponies too but now my daughter is at university they have gone but missing them so much will probably have to get a new one.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
I have always admired my husband’s cousin – the decorator Nina Campbell – she has always been a mover and shaker in the decorating world and still it – she has always kept her style but has adapted it to suit the trends of the time. Other than that, my father always said that you should never do anything unless it was the best you could do.

What are you proudest of and why?
Proudest of – Ok it probably is what everyone says but my children who are now 25, 21 and 18 – all great company, pursuing what they love doing and have great lives ahead.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do?
Professionally – Hmm Im not sure but wish I could master photoshop!

What honors and awards have you received in your profession?
Not received any really – The BowlOvers came runner up in the Country Homes & Interors rural business award.

What one word best describes you and why?
What one word describe you – kind – I am not a hard person perhaps that’s weak but think that kindness goes a long way in all things.

What do you take your sense of identity from?
What do you take your identity from – my parents were amazing and I hope some of their qualities have rubbed off a bit on me.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? And the UK?
Because I don’t go to New York that often, I just love every bit of it: it all seems so iconic. So standing on Brooklyn Bridge, walking past any of the iconic buildings probably the Flatiron is my favourite. Here either on top of Hambledon Hill or if in London standing on any of the bridges and looking up the river Thames.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? And the UK?
Fave shop Manhattan Dean & Deluca – I love foodie shops everywhere and there is a great one in Bath called The Foodie Bugle.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
I'm not sure of an actual person I am very disorganised and would like someone to coach me in starting one job and sticking to it.

What is your favorite drink?
Definitely a cup of tea but otherwise a very, very cold glass of champagne 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party?
Usually reminiscing with old friends where the stories over time have become more and more exaggerated and seem hysterical to us but are probably very dull and tedious to everyone else.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? And the UK?
I love the Odeon in Tribeca but any typical USA diner is great it all seems so different from the UK– we don’t often go out to smart restaurants here and are not often in London but there is a great seafood restaurant called Shellbay by Studland beach near us which is great.

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? And the UK?
Must be Eloise by Kay Thompson which I used to read to my daughter when she was little - 
Hmm re UK book – I love reading and have a book on the go all the time but one I read again and again and still love is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Who would you like to be for a day and why?
I would be happy to stay as myself but would love to be able to write so to have a brainwave from some amazing writer in that direction would be amazing

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? And the UK?
Gosh no idea maybe a cocktail in a famous bar- here, maybe a beautiful English rose?

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? And the UK?
Because I don’t know the city very well I just love walking everywhere and always try and pick a different route just to see what's round the next corner - I love walking here too and in London hardly ever use the tube or bus.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? And the UK?
I think actually that view as you fly into New York and see Manhattan from the air – it's incredible. In the UK: watching the changing the guard at Buckingham Palace.

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
Maybe Leonardo da Vinci or Queen Elizabeth 1st .

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? And the UK?
All the galleries are amazing: MOMA, the Guggenheim, any of them are fantastic! Love the V&A and Museum of London in London but with music in the 1990's we saw Georg Solti conduct The Magic Flute at Covent Garden which was incredible but love all live music and have seen people from Michael Jackson to The Rolling Stones at Wembley stadium.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world?
Well I hope that my BowlOvers will do a tiny bit to encourage people to eat up leftover food and not contribute to landfill and help do their bit to save the planet.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? And the UK?
Underrated - how friendly New Yorkers are - overrated some of the big department stores 
Ditto the UK!

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite WhomYouKnow​.com​ column and what do you like about it?
Chez Peachy!  I love all the homey things.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I would just like them to try BowlOvers and give them a go.

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Contact by email 

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