Kelly Compton

Mum-of-three Kelly Compton has left her high-flying City banking career and turned her love for crafting into a career. Lizzy Dening pops round to chat about raising boys and making bunting…


Description: Kelly Compton


While I really like kids, the prospect of motherhood and all that comes with it – sleepless nights, cutting back on your career, not to mention giving up wine for nine months – seems a bit daunting. That’s why when I meet mum-of-three Kelly Compton, it’s a relief to see she’s been bending the rules.

While she used to be a high-flying banker in the City, she quickly realised that kids and commuting don’t really mix. But, ever enthusiastic, the youthful blonde set up her own business instead…at lightning speed!

When I join Kelly – and her youngest son Henry, 3 – for an enormous slab of homemade cake and a cuppa, it’s barely been six months since she launched her business, Saffron Crafts, during which time she’s set up her own website, established a client base, attended numerous craft fairs and already has a pile of fabric put aside for home is spotless, her two older sons are due home from school at any moment, and she’s raising an adorable – if enormous – German Shepherd puppy called Buster, who eyes my cake with interest. Phew!

Kelly, 41, explains how she turned crafting into a new career: “I was quite artistic when I was at school, but then I drifted in and out and hadn’t really done anything since I had kids. One day, I wanted some bunting for Henry’s bedroom, but couldn’t find anything that was quite right, and I wanted it personalised, so I made some myself and I was quite surprised by how good it was.”

She pauses to pour Henry some Smarties, as he babbles happily beside her. “I launched in September and I never imagined in my wildest dreams it would grow so fast; it took of really quickly. But it does take every spare minute.” Her range has expanded to encompass peg bags and adorable frilly aprons, as well as the customised bunting.

She laughs: “I do everything at 100 miles an hour, and was actually disappointed to have launched in September, 12 days later than I thought I would!”

Her house runs like a carefully choreographed dance as the older boys George, 11, and Oliver, 9, and a friend arrive hom and rush upstairs to get ready for a sleeppver and a school disco respectively. Kelly uses this time to chat to me, give Henry some medicine (his flushed cheeks attest to a cold), put the dog out and root through her sons’ school bags for crumpled school letters. We even have a spare 10 minutes to run up some bunting, as she shows me how to wield a sewing machine. It’s no wonder she loves to retreat to the basement, which is her own private workspace – although her husband Derek has conceded to move his PlayStation downstairs too, so that the couple can spend their evenings side by side.

While her family have been supportive, she admits Derek practises ‘quality control’, and will tell her if she’s wasting her time on a particular project: “He’s trying to educate me in business, telling me to buy in bulk. He wants me to take over the world! It’s been a big adjustment for him, but he’s actually impressed by it.

“The boys,” she says, “are happy as long as they have everything they need, although the other day one of them did look at a piece of my work and say, ‘You made that? You couldn’t have done, it’s too good’.”

And with that she’s off upstairs to make sure the boys are packed and ready for their evenings, planning the dinner out loud, offering me another cup of tea with a big smile… and suddenly motherhood seems pretty fabulous to me.

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