How Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired a unique Norfolk bath business
- Credit: Archant
Gracey Bennett, 28, from Gayton reveals how she started a quirky business transforming cast iron baths into sofas, much like the one in the 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Name: Gracey Bennett
Job Title/Employer: Business Owner at Barracuda Baths
Describe your job in a nutshell: My partner Dave and I, reclaim, recycle, and re-home cast iron baths by creating bespoke bath sofas, armchairs and chaise longues for your home and/or garden.
How did you get your job? The idea to create a bath sofa initially came to me after a holiday Dave and I had in Croatia last year. Many of the outdoor cafes had bath sofas as their outdoor seating and I really loved the concept and they were surprisingly comfortable.
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When we got home I had made up my mind to try and make one for our garden and started researching how to achieve this. It was then that I came across a photo of Audrey Hepburn lounging in a bath sofa, and, digging further I discovered that a bath sofa was a key feature of her apartment in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've always been a fan of the 1960's and the bold colours and patterns of this era, so to find out that an early bath sofa was from this time delighted me! They certainly do make a bold statement and are definitely a talking piece.
I decided to set up the company this year after the positive response we got about a bath sofa we had made for our garden. A friend wanted us to make her one and then someone else was also interested and after a lot of research, practice and hard work we created more bath sofas that people were really impressed with. At this point I decided that this is what I would love to spend my working life doing and so set up Barracuda Baths as a company. I left my full-time role in marketing and I have honestly never been happier. My office space is now my home and garage and I am constantly surrounded by fabric, paint, tools and baths.
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What do you enjoy most about your work? I love each and every step of the bath sofa process but seeing the end result and delivering a completed bath sofa to a happy customer is definitely the most rewarding part of the job. Having said that, a day spent working with my overlocker and sewing machine is pretty close to perfect for me.
What's the most challenging part of your job? The cushion! There is no standard bath shape so the cushion for each bath sofa is absolutely individual. It takes a lot of time and patience to create the cushion cover and to get the fabric to fit just right. Working into the early hours of the morning comes as standard.
Can you tell me something I might not know about your job? Cast iron is ridiculously heavy and transportation can be tricky.
What was your first job? My first job was as a waitress at my local pub when I was fifteen.
What does your ideal day at work involve? Sunshine! So that Dave can work outside cutting a bath into shape and I can get on with sanding and painting. Also, a continual supply of coffee is a must.
What advice would you give to others looking to pursue a similar career? If you want to give something a go then take that risk while you can but don't expect it to be easy. The worst thing would be to live your life thinking 'what if?' but you do need to be prepared to put in the hard work. We made lots of mistakes at the beginning but we've learnt a lot and have started to garner interest from shops, as well as individuals, which is very exciting.
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