Rural entrepreneur couple finds the key to a family-first lifestyle
Swanage, Dorset, is a special place for Henry Baker and Tracey Broadway. “I came here for the first time in 2004. I couldn’t believe how happy and relaxed everybody looked,” says Henry, who has a history in corporate business and is now a successful seller on Amazon, just like his fiancée Tracey. They decided to move to Dorset in search of a more balanced and meaningful lifestyle. Selling on Amazon proved to be the stepping-stone they needed to turn that dream into reality.
I felt life can be really short, and I wanted to achieve something I could be proud of.
Henry: family first
Henry Baker spent the first part of his life between London and Southampton, working in a corporate environment. His heart, however, was somewhere else: “My father also had an office job, and he spent all of this time working or commuting. He could never see his family as much as he wanted, but he would always tell me: ‘If you have the opportunity to work for yourself, do it’. He never had a chance to do that, as he died when he was still very young. I didn’t want to go down the same road. I wanted to be around for my children.”
When Henry came across the possibility to sell on Amazon, what he saw was a chance to manage his own business and get time back. He had worked with entrepreneurs in the past and he knew some of the challenges small businesses often face: “Finding your customers and managing logistics are very onerous in terms of time and money,” he explains. “I needed a solution that allowed me to focus on sourcing high quality products and providing the best possible customer service. I wanted to give Amazon a try.” So in 2014, on his late father’s birthday, Henry launched Pampered Gardens, a store on Amazon.co.uk that sells garden and home products.
Success came surprisingly quickly. In a matter of months, Pampered Gardens was able to sustain itself. Henry decided then to completely outsource the logistics to Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA), which helps him take care of tasks like product storage, picking, packing and shipping, and to keep managing his business from his coastal home.
“The products we source are delivered to our home and we hand check them and sort them. Sometimes our two children help us! Then Amazon collects everything and handles storage and shipping.” Henry continues: “Putting that kind of process in place in a rural area like this would have been cost-prohibitive for us. While now, a laptop is all I need to run my business, most of the time.”
“For me, this is all about freedom,” says Henry as the sound of waves enters from an open window. The beach where he and Tracey go running every day is only a few steps away. “Before, my schedule was dictated by work. Now I decide when, how, from where and what I am going to work on, and I choose when to spend time with my children. Life has become easier, and a lot more fun. I haven’t looked back.”
Tracey: beating breast cancer
Only months after the successful launch of Pampered Gardens, Tracey Broadway was diagnosed with breast cancer. “At the time we were focusing on our Amazon business, things were going incredibly well. With one phone call, the whole world fell apart for us,” says Tracey.
Like many cancer patients, Tracey endured a long treatment: radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a final surgery. “I had to keep strong to get through it all,” Tracey recalls. “I needed something I could focus on that could take my mind away from the therapy. That’s how Henry and I started making plans for a new business.”
“I felt life can be really short, and I wanted to achieve something I could be proud of,” she says. Tracey’s inspiration came from real life and her fascination with natural beauty products: “During treatment I had become quite concerned with the cosmetics I was using on my body. I wanted something natural and gentle on the skin, but I couldn’t find the products I wanted.” The concept of HighBorn skincare, a collection of organic, luxury beauty products, was born.
It was only after winning her battle against cancer, with a final surgery, that Tracey set off to turn her plans into a business. She designed and developed a small range of high quality beauty products and started selling them on Amazon.co.uk. She wanted to infuse her business with the sense of gratitude and joy she was experiencing: “I was so thankful for being cleared, knowing many people had been less fortunate, that I wanted to help raise money for breast cancer research. With HighBorn, for every bottle sold we make a donation to Against Breast Cancer, our charity partners. It is a way of giving back.”
Today, Tracey can recall those months and smile. “In a way, I’d say the scare of that diagnosis made us stronger. It made us fight harder. And it made having our own businesses all the more important, as that was the key to having the life we want – spending time with our children, enjoying our time as a family. In the end, that’s what life really is about.”