Success Story: Bride Swaps Classroom Stationery for Vintage Crockery

Success Story: Bride Swaps Classroom Stationery for Vintage Crockery

Helen Aston felt ‘disenchanted’ in her career as a teacher and set up Honey Bee’s Vintage Teas after she got married back in 2009.

She’s now ditched the classroom to supply vintage decorations for weddings and other special occasions.

With help from the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity her business has really taken off, and she already has bookings for her services as far in advance as 2018.

“I started collecting vintage china for my wedding and could not stop once we said the ‘I dos’. I was disenchanted within my career as a teacher and decided to take a leap of faith and start Honey Bee’s Vintage Teas and have never looked back,” said Helen as she described how her unexpected career twist unfolded.

Helen began by hiring out her vintage china to loved-up couples wanting to make their special days unique. Now Helen supplies a range of retro wedding props to decorate wedding venues and offers customer’s individual consultations to ensure all of their needs are met.

To help her to develop and expand her company, Helen approached the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity in search of financial support.

When asked about her experience with us here at the Charity she said: “I created a business plan and was offered an interview with the panel, which petrified me! However, I should not have worried as they were lovely and were incredibly positive.

“They were genuinely interested in Honey Bee’s Vintage Teas and how I could develop my little business further. I applied for a business loan and this was approved after my interview.”Success Story: Bride Swaps Classroom Stationery for Vintage Crockery

The latest extension of Helen’s business is an ice cream bicycle, which can be hired for functions to supply guests with delicious frozen treats. Helen used money from her loan to purchase her old-school food delivery vehicle but it wasn’t just the financial support that helped – she says that speaking to a STWLC Trustee is also what gave her the confidence to go through with her quirky idea.

“One of the panel members explored my idea of offering a vintage ice cream bicycle service as another element to my business. He gave me the confidence that this would work and I spent some of my loan on a sparkly new ice cream bicycle, now named Hetty.

“Throughout the wedding season Hetty is booked into weddings and corporate events most weekends.”

Being able to conjure up these sorts of plans and to go with them is one of the most rewarding things about being self-employed says Helen – and it’s certainly helping her business to flourish.

In regards to the best thing about working for herself, Helen said: “I enjoy being my own boss as I stand and fall by my own decisions and can run away creatively with ideas and themes. I can take the business along a path which I want it to go along.”

It’s easy to doubt yourself and your creative thoughts and plans but, as Helen shows, they can work – in fact they can be the very thing that makes your business work.

Thinking of applying for a loan from us? Helen’s advice to you would be: “Do not hesitate, go for it! It was the best thing that ever happened to me and has rocketed my business to a whole new level, I could not be happier.”

CLICK HERE for more information on our business loans.

To find out more about Honey Bee’s Vintage Teas visit