In the mid to late seventies, my wife and I embraced the lifestyle of the classic “Good Lifers.” We had a flourishing vegetable garden, goats for meat, cheese, yogurt, and milk, chickens for eggs and meat, as well as ducks, geese, horses, and a woodpile to fuel our home. As fully-fledged enthusiasts of the self-sufficient life, we took it upon ourselves to build housing for our animals. Little did we know that this humble endeavor would lead us down a path of unexpected entrepreneurship.
During those challenging times, we found ourselves seeking ways to supplement our income. With that in mind, we decided to test the market by placing a classified advertisement in the local newspaper, offering non-existent chicken houses for sale. To our surprise, the response was overwhelming, with fifteen eager inquiries flooding in. Our modest market research investment of £2.75 became the catalyst for a lifelong commitment.
From the very beginning, we understood that every house we built and every customer we served had the potential to become an advocate for our work. This realization propelled us to constantly strive to exceed expectations. As fellow animal keepers, we recognized the paramount importance of catering to the needs and instincts of our tenants. Equally vital was ensuring that the landlords, the caretakers of the animals, had easy access to functional and well-designed housing. Since our creations were destined to grace the gardens of our customers, aesthetics played a significant role. Attention to detail and those delightful, unnecessary flourishes that add character, much like the pattern on a plate, became our signature. One customer beautifully summed up their satisfaction, saying, “This is housing even my neighbor can be proud of.”
Over the course of four decades, our journey has been filled with laughter, tears, successes, failures, mistakes, triumphs, and thrilling adventures. On one occasion, we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a machine gun, while another had us holding a ladder for a real-life Friar Tuck, perched 20 feet high in his flowing habit, eager to have a go with our hammer drill. However, the true richness of our experience lies in the people we have encountered along the way, hailing from all walks of life. We’ve shared a drink at the pub with a Duchess, savored a farmer’s hearty ham and bread doorstep, enjoyed a bowl of cornflakes with a Lord, and spent a memorable day discussing doves and dovecotes with a renowned filmmaker and his charming actor wife. These encounters have left an indelible mark on our hearts and have become stories waiting to be told, chronicled in our blog.
As the saying goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” We remain steadfast in our commitment to our roots, staying true to the values and principles that have guided us for four decades. We continue to embrace the joy of crafting quality animal housing that goes beyond function, reflecting our deep understanding of the needs of both the animals and their caretakers. Our passion remains undiminished as we embark on each new project, eager to create homes that inspire pride and joy, honoring the legacy that began with that fateful classified advertisement all those years ago.