Destination #FH Avenue
Welcome to Destination #FH Avenue
This is the place for businesses to be, and to be seen. This month I am shining the spotlight on these fabulous businesses…
James Richards was born in Swansea and at the age of four, moved with his parents to Cape Town, South Africa in beautiful surroundings which he describes as simply fabulous.
He completed his school years followed by further education where he studied fashion design until returning to the UK aged 20.
James entered the world of fashion retail and worked his way up to manager at Jack & Jones.
James was approached by a friend who had a small gift shop in the Mumbles, Swansea, asking James to make a selection of cushions to sell in-store.
This reignited James’ passion for sewing, so he started creating more pieces which he then sold at a Christmas craft fair.
One day James posted a photo of a cushion he’d made on Facebook to show his friends what he’d been doing with his time.
He was bombarded with people asking where they could buy them from, and, what else could he make?
Within a week James had to make a Facebook page to keep up with growing demand. He was now selling his products via Facebook, Etsy, Instagram, as well as craft fairs and markets in and around South Wales.
James added handmade cards to sit alongside the cushions, but he felt he needed something else. He says he doesn’t know why - but - he wanted to make bath bombs! Totally random. However there was ‘something’ telling him “Make bath bombs.”
He Googled how to make them, along with what ingredients and oils he would need to use. He watched countless YouTube tutorials for different methods, then set about creating his own concoctions.
Once they were perfected through trial and error; he took them to a craft fair and sold out within a few hours, returning home to make a new batch for the following day.
They were so popular - James’ partner suggested he start making soaps - he promptly purchased all the ingredients so James could start brewing his potions immediately.
James insists on his products looking and smelling amazing. They have to be bright, stylish and special. He is a man who knows what he wants. It needs to be right - it needs to be perfect - and the sky’s the limit.
James now has his own studio in Swansea where he works and displays his beautiful products.
He’s worked hard to build his business from scratch, with no help or financial backing whatsoever. Although James says it’s been a slower process, it is definitely all the more fulfilling knowing he’s done it all himself.
James is happy with the way his business is developing and feels no pressure to expand his range. He is looking to perfect his brand, believing in quality rather than quantity.
The last two years have been spent building a good foundation and streamlining his products. Now he has a strong vision of what he wants to do and how he wants to grow his brand.
2016 is an important year for James as he is developing a new website and sourcing fabulous packaging to compliment his gorgeous products.
I ask James where he would like to be with the business this time next year.
He’d love to have a fabulous website, to bring in lots of new customers, including more international orders.
James would love to supply Liberty’s in London and small boutique stores. He would love to walk into a store and see his products on the shelves - it’s the ultimate dream!
James is passionate about his business because he enjoys it so much. He loves to surround himself with creative people and thrives off their energy.
He doesn’t want to settle for an average life. “There’s more out there - places to go - people to see - things to discover and more to achieve.”
As I sit here with James in his studio - surrounded by the most beautiful products giving off the most delicious aroma, talking about his plans and dreams - I can’t help but get excited by his infectious enthusiasm for life.
This is one talented man with a clear vision of what he wants to achieve in life.
I wish you the sweet smell of success and happiness James, and look forward to watching your dreams become reality.
This month you have the chance to register for a FREE Webinar with Swansea’s top fitness and nutrition expert Tara Hammett.
Tara will inspire you to start living a more healthier life and you will be given the chance to kickstart your own ‘lifestyle change’ journey.
So click on the link below to start living the healthy life you’ve always wanted, and get the body you’ve always dreamed of.
Some would suggest that there is no life beyond a golf course. Read on...
Danny Evans was a golf professional who unfortunately had to leave the game on medical advice.
However, it wasn’t long before he was approached by his business partner Richard Jones, asking Danny if he wanted to open up a coffee shop with him.
It was as simple as that!
They opened up Coast Cafe in Swansea’s Marina area, primarily as a summer business aimed at tourists, serving up coffee and goodies such as panini and dressed crab.
After opening the doors to Coast Cafe, within two months they had customers queuing up outside, which made them quickly realise that this wasn’t just for tourists in the summer months. It soon developed from a modest summer business into a very busy coffee shop, serving all the local Marina residents and attracting others from the surrounding areas who kept returning for more!
Their reputation grew with their food, especially the panini and dressed crab becoming quite famous and sought after in the area. They did things differently and in a fabulous location.
The business was going from strength to strength. Next was new premises on Swansea’s High Street, where they opened another Coast Cafe.
Coast Cafe was where I held the launch party for emmaheaven.com and this was the first event they had catered for.
The success of my launch really opened their eyes. Danny says it sparked off the idea that this could be so much more than a coffee shop, leading them to opening up as a restaurant in the evening too. With this came a change of name, from Coast Cafe to Coast Italia.
With the name change also came the Head Chef, Michele De Vincenzo and his wife Delyth.
Michele is originally from a small village in Southern Italy. He has worked in the kitchen all his life, opening his first restaurant at the age of 21.
Following the success of that restaurant Michele moved to Monte Carlo, France, which is where he met his wife Delyth, who is originally from Swansea.
After 25 successful years in Monte Carlo, Michele and Delyth returned to Italy for some rest and a chance to decide what their next move would be.
They decided to move to Swansea, with Delyth making the journey back to secure a new business venture for them.
This lead to a meeting with Danny and Richard, who were invited over to Italy to meet Michele and to discuss his vision for Coast.
Whilst visiting Michele and Delyth in Molfetta they were shown around the Puglia region to sample and source fresh, authentic Italian produce from small delicatessens, which could be shipped direct to Coast Italia every month.
There is a stall within the restaurant, selling Italian products and ingredients for their customers to use in their own kitchens.
As Danny says, the produce is phenomenal and you cannot get it in the UK. This, combined with Michele’s exceptional cooking, has made them a unique, authentic Italian restaurant.
Returning to my launch party, Danny said it kickstarted Coast hosting many different events, and this was the way they wanted to progress.
They’ve held many birthday and anniversary parties and wedding receptions, moving in the direction they want to go.
In recent weeks, Danny and Richard have set up a new business with the well-known, Swansea-born musician and entertainer, Mal Pope, called First Entertainment, hosting live shows from Coast Italia.
They have a stage and sound system, to create an intimate dining, theatre experience for their customers.
They host Mal Pope’s Cappuccino Girls. Steve Balsamo has had a live album launch. And their ‘An Evening with Mal Pope’ are always complete sell outs.
Why come to Coast Italia?
It’s a combination of many things. The atmosphere the place brings; the food which is absolutely delicious - my personal favourites are Michele’s lasagne and the (in)famous Nutella cake which is Mino’s pride and joy!; and the staff - including Michele, his wife Delyth, their son Joe and his fiancée Kenzi - it really is a family affair! The staff, they give exceptional service.
Danny wants Coast to develop not just as an Italian restaurant but also as a great venue to hold events.
He also wants to develop the entertainment side - where once a week they have a great live act, which they will also stream live on their YouTube channel.
I have the pleasure of being a special guest at Cappuccino Girls next week and the chance to have a chat with its creator (and BBC Radio Wales’ new weekday, early morning show presenter) Mal Pope. When does he find the time to sleep?! Does he sleep? I’ll find out, and update you on that and more, in next month’s issue.
This restaurant is really going places. If you want a unique dining experience , book yourself into Coast Italia. 01792 654366. You won’t be disappointed. Viva Coast Italia!
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