Furnish&Fettle – Established 2016
Inspired by our own post about New Year’s Eve being a time of reflections and also our uncompleted task of starting a blog for Furnish&Fettle I thought I would finally take the plunge with a few thoughts about our journey so far…..
This time last year Glyn and I had already made our offer to buy the James Brindley Wetherby business and spent much of the festive season in excited anticipation as we made our plans for the New Year. Little did we know at that stage that, the process of buying of a business would make buying a house look like a walk in the park! In fact, it took us until the end of May to finalise the details of the contract and be introduced to the team.
That day is one which sits alongside the death of my father and birth the of my children as one of life’s BIG moments. All of sudden, Glyn and I were stood in the Interior Design department of one of the most well respected interiors businesses in the north of England surrounded by a team of expectant faces. Thankfully Glyn knew what to do and began to speak as I was just feeling overwhelmed. We were mindful that this group of people had been through un-certain times and that we were likely to be viewed as unwelcome outsiders, however within minutes I felt the frost start to thaw and felt a genuine sense that these were people we could work with. I remember only two questions – were we from the industry (I was, sort of), and what were we planning to do about warehousing? Glyn and I exchanged a “what warehousing” look which also included as a postscript of “lucky we have a spare double garage”
We didn’t stay long at the first meeting, conscious that it was lot to take in for everyone involved, including ourselves, choosing instead to arrive the following Monday with our plastic crate of files and our big plans for the future. Those first few days were a whirlwind. I felt like l did nothing but fill in account application forms and make payments, whilst we were being introduced to customers and reps as the new owners. It felt hugely exciting, but also more terrifying than I could possibly have imagined – I slept little if at all during that first week! Fortunately, whilst we dealt with the roller coaster ride of business acquisition, our fabulous team, having experienced several changes of ownership within the same family over the years, held together the day job.
We officially took ownership of the business on the morning that Brexit was announced – another of life’s heart in mouth moments! Job number one was to remove the James Brindley signage which had always been a background concern for us – was the James Brindley brand crucial to the ongoing success of this business? Whilst we had initially worried about how the team would feel about removing the iconic brand it made us smile when Ian arrived in his van that morning with the branding already removed. We had joked during the transition period about putting stickers on the phone to remind everyone to say “Good Morning, Furnish & Fettle” – but again that seemed a fairly painless transition (and it sent a tingle down my spine the first time I heard Steve say it!)
The next task was to make the rest of the showroom look as good inside as it now did outside. Luckily, we had a resident team of experts that knew exactly how they wanted it to look! Ian quickly got to work putting up a partition wall in the upstairs showroom and the designers swung into action selecting new flooring, new paint colours and wallpapers. We have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most amazing suppliers who have been incredibly supportive during this process and we look forward to developing our business with them and supporting them in return over the coming years. Sadly, we have also realised that some companies did not share our customer service ethos and we parted company with them, choosing instead to work with companies that are nice to deal with – life is too short after all!
Meanwhile, Donna was busy ordering new stock for the festive season and having sleepless nights planning the Christmas windows which were revealed, along with our refurbished showroom, on 12th October at our Charity Night which raised over £1,400 for Martin House. We then went onto do two further open evenings meaning that over 250 people had enjoyed fizz and canapes in our beautiful new showroom that week.
Somewhere in amongst all of this, we realised we couldn’t manage to do all of the project co-ordination and administration as well as the marketing and all the other things that we needed to do so we recruited Katie and Rachel to join the already 6 strong team.
We had been working with local press to raise awareness of our new brand since we took over, but November saw us catapulted into the lime light with a three page spread called “In Fine Fettle for Christmas” in Yorkshire Living. This involved Glyn and I handing our lounge over to Steve to work his magic before the YL photographer came too capture Christmas at the Goddard’s – in September! We knew our team were good by this point, but this was a real epiphany moment for us when we realised just how much difference getting the experts in can make. From this moment forward, we have been whole heartedly evangelical in our recommendation of our Interior Design Service!
Amongst all this excitement, Glyn was meanwhile working with our good friend Property Pete at Montpelier Properties, to secure the building at the back of the showroom to provide the much need warehousing and office space (as well as car parking for our expanding team and fleet). So, by the end of the year we are proud to boast of a refitted showroom, exclusive car park, warehouse, open plan office & 2 new liveried vans. Not a bad start!
But perhaps most importantly we have a truly fabulous team that presented us with a Christmas present and said “It’s been good – so far”, as well as a notice board groaning with thank you cards from delighted customers – I have a feeling 2017 is going to be even more amazing!