Much to our delight, the owner of The Bottle Bin, Heidi Wyatt, agreed to take part in our Crafter in the Spotlight to tell us all about who she is and the things that she makes.
Heidi lives on the Somerset Levels, which is a beautiful area of coastal plain and wetlands in Somerset. Before setting up the business, she had an “incredibly varied career”, working in lots of different roles.
This included advising failing retailers on ways to increase sales and in one store she even managed to triple their target takings! She spent time hosting VIPs for a private airline and training with the RAF as an assistant in air traffic control.
Heidi decided to set up her business, after noticing that there wasn’t anything else quite like her product out there.
“I identified a gap in the market for this standard of bottle light, having seen alternatives at craft fairs, and it all started from there. I have been creating my lights for around 3 years now and have been investing a lot more time in it since April this year.”
If you visit The Bottle Bin website, you will see that the products come in all different shapes and sizes. You can choose the type of bottle from whisky and rum to vodka and gin. Whatever your favourite tipple, there’s sure to be something for you or a friend to enjoy! We asked Heidi where she gets her creative inspiration and she told us:
“Whenever I’m in bars or just browsing supermarket shelves, I find that rather than thinking about the contents of the bottles. Instead, I am looking at the styles and shapes and wondering what colour lights would suit it best.”
Customers have the choice of selecting one of the bottles that are readily available on the website or request a commission that you have in mind.
“I have a stock of bottles which I collect from a number of local bars and restaurants. These items are ready to purchase immediately.”
“I also accept commissions where either I will source a bottle requested by the customer, or they can provide me with their own bottle which I then turn into a light for them.”
In the past, Heidi has been asked to drill “everything from a prosecco bottle, etched with the date from a hen night, through to a very rare whiskey.”
Heidi went on, “Regardless of the type, every bottle receives the same care and attention as each one is a meaningful bottle to the customer. I have also had a customer request numerous bottles in a variety of colours to brighten up her outdoor living space during summer evenings.”
When it comes to matching lights with the bottles, Heidi uses the label and bottle itself to decide which ones to use. She said that her favourite combination will “always be the vivid intensity you get from blue lights behind blue glass.”
In the current climate, recycling and reusing has never been so important. We asked Heidi what it is she loves about upcycling and she responded: “Years ago, I heard someone say, ‘Everything has a second use’, and how true that is! I now look for a second use in anything before I rehome or discard it.”
As well as making great presents, The Bottle Bin’s lights are also great for decorations in your home and parties.
“The lights are incredibly effective and generally make for a good talking point. They come in a full range of bright colours for fun-loving party goers, or, for a more subtle approach can be produced with a warm white glow ideal for a unique wedding centrepiece.”
“I have hired some out for functions in the past and have always received enthusiastic feedback.”
One of the many accomplishments that The Bottle Bin has achieved is being crowned the ‘Queen of Upcycled Spirit Bottles’. We asked Heidi how this helped the business and she told us: “Since becoming ‘Queen of Upcycled Spirit Bottles’, I have received invaluable support from the other winners, as well as the lovely Andy and Dylan who created the awards.”
“It has also lead me to a business collaboration with #kingof winner C J Hanley, whose bespoke bottle racks and stands, designed by him specifically for this purpose, give an elegant and unique finish to my lights.”
When she isn’t busy making her bottle lights, Heidi enjoys spending time on other types of crafts.
“Like a lot of crafters, I have many different hobbies! Mine include paper cutting, card making, cross stitch to name a few. My passion for baking has led me to have had small catering businesses in the in the past. I spend a lot of time in the garden growing produce, and also walking the dog out on the beautiful Levels.”
We are excited to see what the future has in store for The Bottle Bin. Heidi said she is “looking to gradually increase sales, and look for additional space in retail outlets, as well as widen my marketing.”
“I am currently experimenting with different styles of glass bottles in order to provide a non-alcoholic alternative to the upcycled spirit bottles.”
We rounded up our interview by asking Heidi why it’s so important for crafters to have specialist insurance. She said: “Insurance is absolutely essential for any business, but especially a small business.”
“As a crafter, I attend many fairs and sales. My stock is made of glass and therefore more prone to damage than other materials.”
“With the additional bustle of the public it’s important that I have insurance in place to protect myself from and any losses incurred.”
“Having personal liability insurance is becoming a more common requirement when applying to attend sales, markets and fairs, making it crucial to myself and other crafters.”