Business growth programme crafts new opportunities for ethical furniture firm

August 24, 2018

A sustainable craft firm that uses ethically-sourced timber to create furniture for major companies such as restaurant chain Nando’s is securing new commissions after taking part in a business growth scheme.

From its workshop in Bowden Hill, near the Wiltshire National Trust village of Lacock, Forest to Home handcrafts dining tables and other furniture that preserves the natural character of the raw wood it uses.

Its co-founders, award-winning craftsmen William Hibbert and Samuel Baker, have also created furniture for travel firm Jacada’s London head office and have recently been commissioned to make an 8.4m-long boardroom table from a single piece of timber sourced from Windsor Great Park, part of the Crown Estate, for a London-based business. They also undertake work for private individuals.

To further grow the business, the pair are taking part in the Swindon and Wiltshire SME Growth Programme, through which it is receiving expert advice from business coach Sue Marchant of Cool Ventures.

The business advice consultancy delivers the growth programme which provides free intensive support to small and medium-sized businesses like Forest to Home. They benefit from one-to-one business coaching and access to workshops on key topics including business planning, finance, marketing and management.

William Hibbert said: “The advice we have received from Sue at Cool Ventures has been indispensable in helping us to expand the business. She has supported us during a crucial growth period where we have gone from working part time to full time and employing staff.

“Sue made sure we have proper forecasts and budgets in place that enable us to make informed decisions about the business based on data, rather than deciding things on a whim and just ticking over.

“Things are much more planned out now and Sue has given us the tools and knowledge that we need to build the business further and sustain things on our own.”

Sue Marchant added: “William and Samuel make beautiful and unique pieces of furniture which convey their passion for the environment and sustainability.

“They now have a plan for growing the business and it’s great to see them winning new commercial projects for national companies. Having a proper growth strategy provides William and Samuel with a focus for their business, enabling them to make better business decisions that will help them achieve their goals.

“It’s been great to work with two such inspirational craftsmen and I wish them every success with their exciting expansion plans.

Cool Ventures also delivers the Bath & North East Somerset Business Support Programme, which provides up to 12 hours of free business support.

The schemes are funded by Bath & North East Somerset Council, Swindon Borough and Wiltshire Councils, the West of England Partnership and the European Union Regional Development Fund.

Pictured, from left: William Hibbert and Samuel Baker of Forest to Home

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