19 Mar 2021
Phillipa and Neil have turned their passion into a successful business with BC Bespoke Furniture. Starting out fixing and customising their own home furnishings, both Philippa and Neil recognised that they could create unique pieces for customer’s homes by setting up their family business.
Philippa explained: “The business has really evolved from where it started. BC Bespoke Furniture actually started when our puppy ruined our dining room table! I knew what type of table I wanted but I knew I wouldn’t find it in a shop, so I set about making it myself.
“I have a quirky style when it comes to furniture, and my vision was to have something unique. I made the table from scaffold boards and tubes and the finished product was exactly the look I was going for.”
From their dining room table, the couple also realised that during the pandemic they needed extra desk space as Neil was now working from home.
Philippa commented: “When COVID started, Neil ended up working from home and using my desk, so we needed extra desk space to accommodate us both. We made a new desk ourselves, then some shelves for the living room and it grew from there.”
Philippa and Neil clearly had a passion and talent for creating bespoke and unique furniture, but after relocating from Northampton it wasn’t until their young family was settled into St Helens that the pair took the next steps towards setting up BC Bespoke Furniture.
Philippa explained: “I moved from Northampton nearly 5 years ago and I had tried to go back to work when I came to St Helens. At the same time, we were going through the diagnosis process with my son who was diagnosed with ADHD at age 14; so, trying to work for someone else and get him into school moving was too much of a juggle for us.
“Once the whole family was settled, it felt like a great time for me to get back into work. I realised that setting up our own business would give us the flexibility we needed to balance family life with our work lives. Unfortunately, Neil was made redundant too, but this ultimately helped us decide to set up on our own and we started looking into the premises and machinery we would need.”
Once they had decided that the time was right for them, both Neil and Philippa set about researching what they would need to set up their business – enlisting the help of St Helens Chamber’s Start Up team.
Neil commented: “We had some conversations about starting up properly, and we knew we needed machinery and that our current workshop was far too small.
It took us around 8 months to get the website built, find our new premises and commission the workshop, but now we are all set up and operating safely.”
BC Bespoke Furniture now make a range of different products, all unique and bespoke. Each product is created with passion and the business has now evolved further into making bespoke Garden Rooms.
Philippa explained: “Now we have the machinery we need we are creating these amazing garden rooms. There’s a full range to suit all different sizes and matching all budgets. We actually use one of the garden rooms ourselves as an office in our workshop.
“These rooms have electricity, UPVC doors, cladding and add a really useable space to your garden. Once lockdown has been lifted we are planning to have a collection service from our workshop and we will allow people to come in and see one of our garden rooms fully set up so they can get a feel for it before they buy.”
Through Enterprise Hub, St Helens Chamber’s Start Up team supported Philippa and Neil while they created their business plan and will continue to support them as their business grows.
Neil commented: “Steve was really helpful. He put a framework together for us and showed us everything we needed to consider while setting up our business.
“Steve then helped us with our business plan, he gave us lots of helpful feedback whenever we sent him the plan and helped review our cost plans. He’d often come back with questions we’d not thought of, which was really helpful when starting out.”
St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside. Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business, including help to:
Understand the process of starting a business
- Research a business idea
• Build a comprehensive business plan
• Develop a marketing plan
• Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your business and potential income
• Identify sources of finance to get started
Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Now BC Bespoke Furniture is set up and business is growing, they have become Chamber Members. Chamber Membership helps them enjoy great links with local businesses and plenty of other benefits.
Philippa commented: “The factsheets I requested were really helpful – they helped us know what to consider when it came to health and safety, we had one on social media marketing too.
“Anything we needed like business insurance etc we were able to go through Chamber Members and felt much more secure going to someone who is associated with St Helens Chamber. All the support has been great, from the start up team to our Chamber Membership”.
To find out more about BC Bespoke Furniture visit: https://bcbespoke.co.uk/