Rachel Watkyn is an award-winning entrepreneur, businesswoman, keynote speaker, and sustainability advocate.
She started Tiny Box Company from a bedroom in her parent’s home, and went on to receive investment on Dragon’s Den. She is the winner of the 2010 National Small Business Recycler of the Year, the 2020 NatWest Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the 2020 Rural Business Award, and the 2021 Entrepreneurial Business of the Year Award.
Now a popular keynote speaker, Rachel’s mission is to encourage female entrepreneurs to follow their passions and fulfil their dreams.
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Rachel Watkyn had a very traumatic upbringing, experiencing physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents, illness, continual moves from house to house, a childhood spent in a children’s home, and a disrupted education. This taught Rachel how to adapt, and eventually, she put herself through her A-Levels and a University course where she studied business.
Her studies took her on a varied career path, working in treasury and finance, software selling, and working with the Sierra Leone Government, where she started planning a fairtrade jewellery business to help the disadvantaged people there. However, after a routine appendix operation went wrong, Rachel was bedbound for nine months, taking a further three years for her to be able to work again. Currently in remission, she has also lived with lung and breast cancer, and has a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Rachel has always known she wanted to be a businesswoman, but unsure where to turn, she worked with the John Lewis Partnership on a training scheme where she learnt more about management and accounting.
After rehabilitating following her surgery, Rachel returned to her jewellery business idea; however, she met a stumbling block when she couldn’t find environmentally friendly packaging. This led her to set up her own packaging company, and Tiny Box Company was born. In 2009, she appeared on Dragon’s Den, where she managed to secure £60,000 for investment. The company grew rapidly after this and now has a regular annual turnover of over £10 million.
Throughout her entrepreneurial career, Rachel has been passionate about helping other female-led businesses, providing free clinics for any small business owner who wants help.
Rachel also worked alongside the founders of Know The Origin. Following a factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, two students from the UK founded the company to provide modern, slow-fashion items to draw attention to the poor conditions that affected the workers in the Bangladesh factory. The company went on to open online and physical shops thanks to significant investment. However, after the first COVID-19 lockdown, they had to file for administration, and the company shut down. Rachel had been so inspired by these students that she brought the brand out of liquidation and is helping to re-establish it as a sustainable mini-department store.
Kathryn describes herself as an eco-entrepreneur. She ensures that everything sold at The Tiny Box Company has strong green credentials, is recyclable or sustainable, and that her staff continue this company ethos. Any products that are no longer usable are donated to schools for arts and crafts.
In 2022, she launched Chief and Turtle, a site which helps makes sustainable sportswear easy to find.
– Sustainability and the Environment
– Female-led Business
– Overcoming Adversity
Rachel is a much sought-after keynote speaker and has spoken at various events, including at The Boundary Club in Sussex, Brighton & Hove Chamber, Brighton Fireside Chat, and Brighton Unite Summit.