Harris and Jones was started by my husband Steve (Harris) and I (Vanessa nee Jones) 2008. We decided that we wanted to run our own small, rural business and be involved with products that were useful, beautifully made and also had provenance. Also we wished it could be flexible enough to enable us to spend time with our children as they grow up and not on a big daily commute. Steve used to spend hours in his car, and before children I was a chef working unsociable hours.
Initially we tried to work with other companies in developing and making a range of luxury, handmade home and desk accessories. However it became apparent very quickly that this would not give us the flexibility or quality we wanted to offer our customers. So with a bit of re-jigging in our house we started making the products ourselves, with a few traditional tools and a very noisy gluing machine. We made the spare room into an office, dining room into the work place (therefore being able to use the dining table) and the utility room became my packing area! Harris and Jones had been launched.
As orders came in we decided Steve needed help with the making, so our good friend Maria joined us. Soon after this we built a workshop, at the back of our house, as more space was needed - no more noisy gluing in the middle of the house (bliss), dining table back in use (very handy), just a little more civilised.......
Not for long though, as the business continued to grow, so did the packing area and the area where boxes were piled up ready for despatch, in our kitchen. We survived like this for a few years, until the business was at a stage to take the plunge a find premises in which we could carry on making our home accessory and stationery products. Having been spoilt by working from home, we were quite fussy about how far we wanted to travel to work - luckily we found perfect premises 4 miles from our home (yes sometimes we do cycle!) and we haven't looked back.
The house is now back to a family home and somehow we are all still talking. Harris and Jones is now located in an old chicken hut (chickens long gone).
The business has evolved hugely since we started. We are a fabulous team of 9, all working closely together with various different skills to hand make all our products. Names are in order of how long they have been with us - Zoe, Clair, Jayne, Charlotte, Dawn, Prabath and Mary.
Like any business, it is never plain sailing, however we have to kick ourselves sometimes, we have got a business which we enjoy, we see more than enough of each other and our daughters, but most of all we love what we do.