We grabbed five with Ian Proctor, owner of the proudly local Knab Farm Shop, to discuss The Sheffield Hamper Company – a new venture which combines best produce from some of the city’s finest artisan producers to bring you a unique collection of hampers.

I was inspired to start my business by…

18 months ago, I took redundancy from The University of Sheffield and together with my partner bought Knab Farm Shop. Since owning the shop, we have tripled the number of suppliers with an S postcode to almost 60. It was by becoming aware of the amazing suppliers in the region that led to the creation of The Sheffield Hamper Company. You will see from the website that we have curated a number of different hampers with names like ‘Look After Thisen’, ‘Put Tha Feet Up’, ‘The Full Monty’ and of course, “Homage to Hendo’s”, to name but a few. We did a soft launch before Christmas; the hampers were very well received with requests to ship to all corners of the UK.

My favourite thing about running my business is…

Being inspired by the quality of what is being produced in this region – we really do have some fantastic artisan producers. As someone born and bred in Sheffield, I am really proud to be supporting local businesses and making people aware of what the region has to offer.

The four words that describe my business are…

Sheffield in a box!

The best advice I ever got was…

Have a plan.

The worst advice I ever got was…

It’s not the worst advice, but as a sixth former, the teachers called me the “young entrepreneur” because I started and ran a school tuck shop… it just took me almost 40 years to become an entrepreneur! But that is also due to my partner giving me the confidence to do it!

The main challenges facing my industry are…

The current difficulties faced by the food industry are well documented. These are felt more acutely by small independent producers, which for us was part of the motivation of working with our region’s small artisan producers as a means of expanding their reach.

In five years’ time I expect my business…

We believe the hampers make perfect gifts all year round, will appeal to businesses for corporate gifting, would make great welcome boxes in local holiday rentals – and you tell me a Sheffield ex-pat that wouldn’t love to receive one through the post! So, in five years’ time we expect the hamper business to have grown substantially, and you never know we may well be conquering a few other cities!

You can browse their selection of hampers (or design your own!) on their website here.