Interview with Emma Trigg, Founder of The Treasure Trove

Interview with Emma Trigg, Founder of The Treasure Trove

What inspired you to set up The Treasure Trove?

It was really a long awaited change in lifestyle that inspired me to set up The Treasure Trove. Having moved from London to Brighton in 2010 to be with my now husband, I suffered the commute back to the City for a couple of years and over that time, began planning the change in career from Office Manager, to running my own shabby chic furniture business.

Inspired by a love of vintage furniture and home interiors and years of rummaging car boot fairs and auctions around the country, it was time to make a weekend hobby a full-time reality. I attended painting courses and rented a local workshop in order to store the furniture we had started to acquire, and before I knew it, my City days were over and The Treasure Trove had begun!

What does a typical week look like for you?

Fortunately, no week is ever the same at The Treasure Trove, but you can usually find me attending antique fairs in and around the UK, or popping further afield to France or Belgium, sourcing beautiful new items for the website. Once I’ve found those special pieces, it’s time to get my paint brushes out and create a unique and individual look for each piece. I then photograph each piece at the workshop, upload the pictures and info onto our website and social media.

Aside from selling our furniture online, we also offer a ‘Furniture Sourcing Service’ for those customers looking for a specific piece of furniture for their home. After we’ve found it, we’ll custom paint it to our customer’s specific requirements, offering a free consultation to discuss colours and finishes in detail, then it’s ready to be shipped out.

What excites you about sourcing and up-styling furniture?

For me, it’s all about the transformation. I love the fact that each piece has its own history and once provided a function in a previous life, quite often as far back as the Victorian and Edwardian era! The quality and workmanship of these pieces really is incredible considering we are still able to use them today, it’s a true testament to those makers.

I love the creativity and freedom that upcycling gives you. It probably sounds strange, but when I look at a piece of furniture, it really tells me what’s going to enhance its look!

How would you like The Treasure Trove to develop?

The Treasure Trove is fortunately now in its 4th year, but as we’re still a fairly new business, you find you’re ever-evolving and developing, learning from good and bad decisions every day.

We’d love to develop our work helping interior designers and customers finding special items for their homes and projects.

More than anything, we’d still like The Treasure Trove to be providing beautifully bespoke shabby chic and vintage furniture well into the future!

What advice would you give to someone looking to change their lifestyle?

“Just do it!” I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier since realising my dream. It’s an incredible journey of personal learning and self-development which doesn’t seem to stop, and although it’s not all plain sailing, the rewards far outweigh any bad days. Even if things don’t work out, I always think it’s better to give something a go and have that experience … you never know, it could lead to another avenue you wouldn’t have thought of previously!

Based on your experience do you have any other advice for Little Brands just starting out?

With little brands, the more personal service you can offer the better! The likelihood is that ‘you are the brand’ and you’ll probably be dealing with your customers directly, so it’s important to maintain a high level of customer service and ensure you’re delivering quality products or services. Your customers will love you for it and probably won’t receive that ‘added value’ from the big boys!

As a little brand, you should be providing a service or product that is as unique as possible and stands out from the crowd, so it’s important to do your market research and find out what makes you different from everyone else. You’ll probably have to charge more than the larger companies, who simply have more capital, buying power and long-standing household reputations.

If you’ve done all this and still have a passion and enthusiasm for what you’re doing, then have patience … these things take time, money and huge amounts of effort, but success will come eventually I’m sure!

Find out more at:

www.thetreasuretrove.co.uk

Interview with Charlie Marshall, Founder of Loaf.com

Interview with Charlie Marshall, Founder of Loaf.com

Loaf---Beatnik-bed-from-£795-high-res.2For people who don’t know can you tell us a little bit about Loaf?

We make laid-back furniture for people to kick off their shoes and lead happier, more relaxed lives. I once lost a whole Saturday trying to buy a bed so I decided to make the shopping experience as hassle-free, affordable and speedy as possible. Two years, 187 mattress factories and some seriously comfy beds later, Loaf (Loaf.com) was born. In just seven years we’ve grown from our original 12 beds and one perfect mattress to become a one-stop shop for the whole home. Our comfy sofas and upholstered beds are handmade in Long Eaton, Derbyshire – the heart of British upholstery making. And our mattresses are made in Wiltshire! You can come and test out our loafing wares at our first store called the Loaf Shack which we opened in Battersea in Autumn 2015.

Why did you want to open the Loaf Shack?

Our aim has been to make shopping for furniture online as easy and as hassle-free as possible. But there are still lots of people that want to bounce around on the beds and sit on the sofas before they buy. So in answer to our customers we’ve created a seriously beautiful, bells and whistles store filled with things to make people smile.

What other treats do you have in the Loaf shack?

We want people to really kick-back and relax at our new home so there are chill-out areas with old school games (think Space Invaders and table football!) and you can even tuck into a couple of scoops of ice cream at our traditional-style parlour. There’s a fun-filled Little Loafers corner to keep the kids busy too.

For the first time we’re offering a cherry-picked collection of takeaway gifts and accessories including organic candles, cosy blankets and other essential loafing supplies.

Where else can people visit you?

We’ve also got our Notting Hill Den just off Ladbroke Grove which is our original 5,000 square foot showroom-style space. And we’re planning to roll out more Loaf Shacks in the next few years so watch this space. There’s definitely more to come!

What advice do you have for Little Brands just starting out and looking for creative ways to develop their company?

1. Start with one thing and do it really well – There’s a tendency to over-complicate in business, resist that temptation! Focus on being the best at that one thing – Pret a Manger have a strong understanding of what they’re good at and sticking to it – it’s all about more of the same, just on a larger scale.

2. Work out the question you’re trying to answer – Keep a concept simple and then work out how to achieve your goal. Once you have the answer, test one approach thoroughly – and if that doesn’t work test another – to get to where you want to go. Rather than trying everything at once in the hope that something – anything – will work.

3. Listen to your instinct – First thought is usually the right thought. If you’re over thinking it, it probably isn’t right. Indecision or ‘analysis paralysis’ can be one of the biggest inhibitors for growth. These are lost opportunities to test, learn and develop as a business.

4. Ask why? – Why should customers find this interesting? Why should we be doing this? Why is this going to give us a return? I think when people get comfortable they stop asking themselves “why?”. Then they’re in trouble.

5. Is the website easy to use? – Simplicity is key to creating a fantastic customer experience. Is the website so simple that anyone can use it? Would this newsletter make them smile? Would they get what we’re trying to say? If functionality is intuitive for the non-tech savvy the likelihood is that the majority of customers will have an enjoyable and easy experience too.

6. Treat customers as friends – There’s been a real shift to more natural and informal brand communications in the last few years. Consumers are responding to a transparent, ‘does what it says on the tin’ and friendly approach that works to strengthen customer-brand relationships. Innocent Drinks’ chatty tone of voice is a brilliant example of how to avoid wordy, corporate jargon – their messages are clear and they’ve built a strong customer community who relate to and trust what they do.

Find out more at:

www.loaf.com