2nd May 2017 A Lot Can Happen In Ten Years

From Humble Beginnings

‘From humble beginnings come great things’ or so goes the saying right? Suffice to say, an eBay based hobby started in 2006, buying and selling furniture for ones own home, was never quite expected to turn into a fully fledged business celebrating its 10th birthday!

Blog: The Orchard - Vintage Inspired Homewares

That was the backdrop to the inception of The Orchard.  Whilst taking an all too brief career break, founder Laura Marlowe found her productive itch to great to resist.  Back in the summer of 2006 she unwittingly sowed the first seeds of what would become The Orchard.  A private eBay account very quickly became an eBay store and shortly after a very basic standalone website cobbled together with some savings.  Back then customers seemed to find the site without any clever marketing and a spare bedroom became a warehouse, which then spilled into a hallway, then into a lockup storage room and then another, and another!

Changing Times

By 2008 offices and warehouse space were long overdue. This year also saw the doubling of the team with Laura’s partner Mat coming on board with a background in head office retailing behind him.  It was at this stage that The Orchard really began to take root (all puns intended) however as you may recall, 2008 was not a great year for the world economy.  Many businesses are unfortunate to have ‘difficult’ conversations with their bank managers at some point, often the end point, in their life cycle.  The Orchard ‘proper’ (i.e. with staff, an office and a warehouse) got off to an inauspicious start when the day it was due to sign a lease on its first shop premises (and take on a large bank loan), a kindly bank manager gently suggested there could be a problem! Overnight the first of the big banks in America had gone under (thank you Lehman Brothers). The bank didn’t quite know what it meant for the UK economy at that time but urged caution. After a hasty re-think the bank loan was drawn down but the burden of a three year lease was passed up. The Orchard team fled from the capital and hunkered down in rural Leicestershire with family whilst the ‘economic blip’ blew over. As we all know too painfully, blow over it did not. Partly shaped by world events and partly by exploring a country pub one Sunday lunch time, set on an old farm site with lots of empty buildings, The Orchard found its new home.

Back To The Future

Fast forward to 2016, a fast evolving political and technological world has seen a whirlwind of change over the last decade.  Everything is different, and arguably much more challenging, yet The Orchard is blooming and the founders more optimistic and ambitious than ever before. In this context the company is incredibly proud to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

With Laura and Mat still at the helm, but now with an invaluable team sharing the load, The Orchard Home & Gifts have begun celebrations with the launch of a brand new look and website.  The launch of the new site signals the start of a raft of new initiatives for this ambitious family firm.

Blog: The Orchard - Vintage Inspired Homewares

Work is also underway for the commissioning of a new in-house paint finishing facility for their bespoke British made furniture collections, Old English Painted and Rustic. Both ranges are due to double in size over the coming months creating more employment opportunities and reducing the dependency on overseas imports. 

Blog: The Orchard - Vintage Inspired Homewares

To commemorate their anniversary The Orchard is also launching a charity initiative with fruit trees being donated to local schools and an on-going charity project via the website to support British woodland.  Partner Mat Brown stated, “We are really proud of what we have achieved to date as a tiny family business. Our first decade has seen us trade through the most tumultuous time in the UK economy so only now do we feel we are truly getting going.  We want to really grow from this point and the planting of trees seemed a perfect symbolic idea to mark the occasion”.

Today The Orchard offers a unique blend of vintage inspired items for inside the home and also out in the garden. With a focus on British designed and manufactured product, in addition to their own bespoke ‘made in England’ ranges, The Orchard is a leading stockist of ‘Great British’ product from the Royal Kew Botanic Gardens collection, Newgate Clocks and Poppy Forge ironmongery. Shop the collection.

The Orchard x


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