For a new generation of creators and consumers alike, the pandemic was a chance to break away and begin again. And one such COVID entrepreneur is Susan Cameron, founder of Echo Beach Designs.
The year 2020 began badly for Susan Cameron – having come to the end of her fixed-contract as a project manager at a large bank, she was told due to the downturn from COVID-19 her contract would not be renewed. Inspired by the words from the fabulous 80s hit by Martha and the Muffins; “My job is very boring, I’m an office clerk, The only thing that helps me pass the time away, Is knowing I’ll be back at Echo Beach someday”, Susan saw an opportunity to use her creative skills and realise a life-long dream. And in October that year, Echo Beach Designs was born – a bespoke small business where Susan designs and hand paints ceramics with timeless designs.
The pandemic also rewrote the rules on how we shop. Until lockdown, most of us were accustomed to any-time, any-place shopping, with very little thought of what we were buying or why. Now there is an increased focus on finding either a gift or something for yourself that is a bit different and unique, a shift to local artisan products. Echo Beach Designs slotted into this marketplace perfectly. A massive draw to customers is that as well as a range of ready-made designs, Susan offers free personalisation on the majority of her items.
Susan currently sells her stunningly beautiful pieces at retailers in both Dunbar and Linlithgow along with Facebook and Etsy, and online from her own website. Her pieces are a delight, from afternoon tea stands painted with quirky puffins, vibrant gerberas and gorgeous sunflowers, to coasters and delightful mug and plate sets decorated with highly imaginative and creative designs.
With Christmas just around the corner, Susan is working on adding some Christmas cheer to her collection. She says; “I have a new design called Mistletoe Kisses, which is a bit different from the traditional Christmas item, albeit there is a dash of gold!” She has also launched a personalised Christmas bauble which will help raise money for the RNLI station in North Berwick. Susan adds; “These have a small amount of sand from beaches around East Lothian and are the perfect Christmas gift for those in East Lothian and further afield who dream of sunny days on one of our stunning beaches.”
After only six months in business, Susan won the Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday award – an amazing accolade for a young business. And a year on, Echo Beach Designs continues to grow from strength to strength. Having found her creative spark in the midst of the pandemic darkness, Susan says; “I have turned my life around from being stressed everyday with my office job, to being a much calmer, contented person and mother – my son is delighted! I hope my designs offer you the same calmness they give me.”
ECHO BEACH DESIGNS