Carole Middleton is not only the mother of the future queen of England—she’s also a savvy entrepreneur whose start-up gave her financial freedom and plenty of time to raise her family. Now she’s opened up to Good Housekeeping UK, sharing her secrets with us for the first time!
In 1987, I had two young children (daughters Kate and Pippa) and was pregnant with my son, James. We had come back to the U.K. from living abroad, and I was a full-time mum. I wanted to be there for my children, so I considered starting my own business.
Party Pieces was the result, and it sprang from my personal needs for my own children’s parties — you had to hunt high and low to find suitable supplies. I found suppliers and put up notices in my daughter’s playgroup that said “Planning a party?” and started getting orders.
My memories of those early days are vivid. We worked out of a studio in the garden that was a glorified shed. My husband, Michael, put up a tabletop, which was like a kitchen workbench; I put my stock underneath, and the top was for packing the parcels.
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