Career inspiration: Matthew Pike – Blogger and small business owner

Career Inspiration is a new series here on Prettygreentea. I’ve spent the last few months interviewing an inspirational and hard-working bunch of people from the blogging world. The aim of these interviews is to help those of you looking for career inspiration or simply a kick of motivation.

It’s very hard to know what you want to do in life and I’ve always loved finding out what others do and the journey they took to get there. So, I hope you enjoy my interview with Matthew – Founder of Buckets and Spades and Northern Goods Co.


What made you start your blog, Buckets and Spades and how has it evolved over the years?

I started in it early 2008, while I was studying Fashion Promotion at UCLan University. This was before I bought a decent computer so I had very little space to store images; I started off as a way to upload images and then go get them back when I needed. My partner, Hollie didn’t think I’d be able keep up a proper blog so I challenged myself to do so. Writing was never something I was keen on or good at so I thought it would be a nice to to try and improve that side of things too. The community was small back then and it was great finding blogs and clicking around on others.

It’s evolved a heck of a lot, and even though it’s outgrowing its current format (I need a whole new layout to make it more functional and for old posts not to get lost). I still feel I cover similar subjects to when I started. Though it was more “fashion” focused back when I started, but as I became exposed to new and exciting things at uni, my tastes changed, and so did my readers.

How do you think the way people blog and what they use blogging for has changed since you started out?

I think at first it was just a creative outlet but people realised that not only could you make some decent contacts out of it, but also make friends. I’ve met so many people via my blog and gone on to be friends with them in real life. The community is great for when you’re visiting somewhere new, in a second someone can hook you up with a friend who knows “all the good restaurants” in X. I think it went through a stage of people starting a blog because they saw there was an endless amount of free products to be had but I feel we’ve moved away from that now.I never thought I’d be blogging full time but if you work hard then things fall into place.


How did you take the first steps into full time blogging and did it have any connection to your other business, Northern Goods Co?

It didn’t really have any direct connection with Northern Goods Co, but I did see it as a good way to gain exposure. Our first stockist was at Weavers Door in Liverpool and I secured that via knowing the lads through my blog, so it does have a certain knock-on effect. Same with a few more I’d like to pursue.I decided to go full time with Buckets & Spades and freelancing August ’13, so not too long ago. I wasn’t happy in my previous jobs and they weren’t advancing as I’d hope, so I saw an opportunity to give it a go. Of course I’ve had to forfeit a lot to do so, (beans on toast for weeks!) but it needed to be done; I’m thinking long term. Since then it’s been hard but I’m getting involved with more projects as the months go by and hopefully will continue to do so.

Do you have any tips for others looking to start their own business or blog?

Well I would say this, don’t leave it too late. If you’ve got an idea then seek out people who you think maybe be able to make your ideas and dreams into a reality. You really have nothing to lose if it’s not an expensive venture, but if it is then that’s where people with experience in the field can help. You’ll regret it if you don’t give it a shot.

What’s next for your blog and business?

Next for the blog, to hopefully keep creating fun and exciting content, to redesign the whole site to make it more user-friendly and we would also like to expand our Northern Goods range. Turning Buckets & Spades into a fully fledge business is the bigger dream.

What are some of you favourite blogs?

A few I’m digging right now:

Uniform Journal
Take Courage
In Honor of Design
Love Grows Design

I want to say a big thank you to Matthew for taking part in this series. I wish you the best of luck with taking Buckets & Spades to the next level. You can find Matthew over on Buckets & Spades, Northern Good Co, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest

If you would like to take part in my Career Inspiration series then just drop me a message on Twitter.