10 years and still crackers – Kate Mills our cracker champion

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Our Head of Creative, Kate Mills shares with us her journey from Fashion to Christmas cracker champion

March 2024 saw the 10 year work anniversary for our Head of Creative, Kate Mills. It’s been so lovely looking back over photos and seeing how much has changed over the last decade.

When Kate first joined us, Heart and Soul Studio was Celebration Crackers – which is still one of our brands, with Heart and Soul Studio now being the Parent Brand.

Many people ask – How did you get into working for a Christmas Cracker company?  Here’s Kate’s journey that led her to this point.

Born and raised in Wimborne Dorset, Kate completed her BA (Hons) Fashion Design degree at Bath Spa University following her Art & Design foundation course at AIB which is now known as Arts University Bournemouth. After being scouted at Graduate Fashion Week, Kate went to New York to complete a 3-month internship with Diane Von Furstenberg in the design department over New York Fashion Week! A once in a lifetime experience, being only 22 at the time. She then moved to London to continue her love for fashion, working for a print-based fashion designer.

Kate has a keen eye for fashion and is certainly one of the best dressed in the office.  When the London designer sadly closed in 2014 it was time to return home to Dorset. Before she left London, Kate got together with her art foundation pals and her friend Aimee (of our Creative Director, Kim) let her know that Celebration Crackers was looking for a Design Assistant. It wasn’t fashion, but it was still creative.

Kate moved back from London on the Saturday, had a meeting with our Creative Director; Kim on the Monday, a trial on the Friday, then started the following week and the rest is history.

Kate is a stalwart in the process of Christmas cracker design, with an unrivalled eye for detail and accuracy, nothing passes her by. Kate has seen Celebration Crackers transition to be Heart and Soul Studio, diversify from just UK handmade production to bring in Chinese manufacturing. With a knack for processes and organisation (not always a quality found in creatively gifted folk) Kate is happy to add many accolades to her list of key moments below:

“I pride myself on the history I have and how integral knowledge and expertise is in our field, our customers very much appreciate our friendly open approach. The main goal for both us and our customers is to ensure the products we are making are the very best they can be. This is where our attention to detail really is key.

I feel very proud to attend our key account customer meetings and represent Heart and Soul Studio and be part of building strong relationships with our customers.

The creative role isn’t just designing Christmas crackers there is a lot of admin tasks that go with it too, for example ensuring the supplier specs for the manufacturers are correct is paramount.

Seeing our work in stores or in restaurants, there is no better feeling!

I’m super excited to see our new Licensee; Eleanor Bowmer Christmas crackers in store, I have loved her prints and products for the past few years and am so excited that we have been able to build a relationship and work together.

I love looking after my team and ensuring they have everything they need to work to their best abilities.

It is an exciting time for us, as we have diversified from just Christmas crackers into gifting, partyware and table scaping.”

Now working alongside our Head of Graphics and the creative leads, Kate is the powerhouse behind driving our innovation and creativity forwards.

Want to know more? Get in touch via our website or give us a call

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