A birthday wish helped launch a business that has secured a raft of new stockists since its online shop went live six months ago.
Using reclaimed whisky barrels and recycled wood, James and Anita Peggie, of Rustic Simplicity, have created bespoke cupboards and gifts from their workshop in Dunfermline for the past four years.
Having initially grown the enterprise, which also renovates camper van interiors, through word of mouth the couple wanted to expand their reach and turned to Business Gateway Fife for advice.
After being put forward for help through the DigitalBoost Programme, Anita was able to create a new website herself adding an e-commerce platform to showcase and sell products.
Now, the couple’s handcrafted pieces have been picked up by a further eight stockists including Artery in St Andrews and Cranachan & Crowdie on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Anita said: “Business Gateway has always been a great help to us. I’ve completed a number of its free workshops, many of them twice, and after I’d attended Improve Your Search Engine Ranking I realised our website wasn’t working for us. Being put forward for expert help through DigitalBoost armed me with new skills and greater confidence. I filled out the Digital Health Check online and then received 18 hours of 1:1 support from a specialist adviser who was brilliant. He talked me through what I needed to do step-by-step and our new e-commerce site has helped us secure more orders from existing customers and attract new stockists.”
John Allan, Business Gateway, said: “Anita and James’ products are attracting a lot of attention and their new website has helped them reach a wider audience. They’ve listened to - and utilised - all the advice we’ve given them to push the business forward. As well as adding an e-commerce site they have expanded into camper van restoration, and have already completed the renovation of a horse box for a singer who will use it as her home while performing at festivals this year.”
When James and Anita found themselves unemployed in their 50s, after their catering business failed six years ago due to the recession, they entered into a turbulent job market.
Using their skills, Anita found a job running a nursery kitchen and James worked in a garden centre. At the same time commissions for his handcrafted cupboards kept coming in.
In 2012, Anita decided enough was enough and told her husband that all she wanted for her birthday was for him to give up his job so he could do what he loved full-time. He took her advice and started Rustic Simplicity in May the following year.
Last May, Anita, who had latterly been working as a nanny, left her position to join the business and grow the gift ranges she’d created in her spare time from the wooden off cuts James produced.
She said: “We faced bad times after our catering business failed but we picked ourselves up and worked hard to get to where we are now. We wouldn’t work for anyone else again as we love the freedom that comes with running our own business. We won’t make millions doing what we do but we’re comfortable and feel liberated. It’s a wonderful feeling to have.”
If you would like to find out how Business Gateway Fife can support your business, please contact us on 01592 858333 or email email@example.com