International jet set

Well, what can we say? If someone had told us all those years ago that buying a 4ft dog kite would eventually lead to us attending some of the world's greatest international kite festivals, we'd have probably just laughed at them.

Now here we are in 2019 having been twice to the Alfarsi International Kite Festival in Kuwait, Satun Kite Festival in Thailand, Pasir Gudang Kite Festival in Malaysia and Berck Kite Festival in northern France, plus one visit to the Xiamen Kite Festival in China, as well as attending hundreds of events and festivals in the UK and Ireland.

We have enjoyed some incredible experiences and are grateful for the opportunity to meet kite flyers from home and around the world. We've made so many wonderful new friends over the years and are loving our kite adventures!

So what was the key to unlocking the world stage? Building a record-breaking 64ft purple teddy bear called Oscar!

Introducing the Kites

From one kite to one hundred, perhaps. We lost count some time ago.

Over the years our kite collection has grown not only in size but also in scale with our first giant kite being added in 2012 - a Peter Lynn gecko measuring nearly 100ft.

Once Craig got to grips with an industrial sewing machine there was no stopping him. He designed and built a 32ft hippo, quickly followed by a giant manta ray, lovingly handcrafted from tents left behind at Solfest Music Festival.

In 2014, a record-breaking 64ft purple teddy bear called Oscar was born, and the kite world wanted to see him. He still gets the invitations, we just drive or fly him there.

New kites for 2015 included a red manta ray, multi-coloured rainbow cuttlefish, and our biggest kite to date - a 120ft octopus (previously owned by the Al Farsi Kite Team) - all designed and built by Peter Lynn Kites of New Zealand.

2016 - 2017 saw us add a giant red, green and black guppy fish and two kites by English designers and makers - a 45ft scuba diver by Martin Lester, and a limited edition Phoenix kite by Karl Longbottom.

At the end of 2017, we became the extremely proud owners of one-of-only six super-ultra-light manta ray kites in the world - perfect for very light wind days and proving to be the star of the show on more than one occasion. A 42ft whale shark, purchased during our adventures to China, completed the 2017 kite buys.

Entering the world stage

February 2016 and we’ve just returned from an incredible adventure, joining flyers from across the globe in the desert at Bnaider, Kuwait.

The Alfarsi International Kite Festival hosts some of the greatest names on the world kite stage with kite flyers travelling to Kuwait from over 15 countries.

SmileFactor10 would like to say a massive thank you to the Al Farsi Kite Team for inviting us to represent England. We are incredibly honoured and delighted.

First steps into Europe

Wow. We’ve certainly had a packed summer schedule this year (2014).

We took our first steps into Europe at the must-be-seen-to-be-believed 10-day Berck Sur Mer International Kite Festival in France, then, on consecutive weekends, we travelled from Portsmouth International Kite Festival on the south coast of England to the very top of Scotland to fly for the opening of a new wind farm.

After that, we hopped over the water to Northern Ireland and flew at the Giant's Causeway before continuing on to the one-day Downhill Demesne Kite Festival on the clifftops of County Derry.

Kites at The Castle

Thank you to everyone who made our first SmileFactor10 event, in our home town of Kendal, such a success!

Around 1000 people joined us for the two-day Kites at The Castle event to fly kites, parachute teddys and watch the professional kite displays.

The weather was kind, and the skies above Kendal Castle and Kendal United Junior Football Club were filled with colour as large and small kites delighted visitors over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend.

How it all began

On a Sunday drive in 2006, we stumbled across the Catch The Wind Kite Festival in Morecambe. The sky was filled with kites of all shapes and sizes including an assortment of sea creatures, but it was a large black and white cartoon-style dog with floppy ears that really caught our eye, even though it was proving difficult to fly in the light wind.

We'd never flown a kite before, but taking a trip to the festival kite stall, we spotted a miniature 4ft version of the big dog, and knew that was the kite for us. We bought all the bits and pieces and got some professional instruction on how it all went together, before heading home to start our new adventure.

Within a few weeks, we had purchased an 8ft dog online and were perfectly content for a couple of years, until a chance meeting with the “big dog owner” changed our lives. We found out that he was the designer and maker of the dogs, so we begged him to make a 16ft version for us.

Dog number 3 was soon followed by octopus number 1, and with our collection of kites expanding rapidly, SmileFactor10 was born.