Who are we? How long have we been trading?
We are known as Dorothy Grace, Rose Cottage and our other businesses include Hedgehoghill, Rose Cottage and Rose Cottage Ceramic Gifts. We are all under the umbrella of Cudmore Empson.
We have been trading online since 2012 and have many wonderful direct dispatch shop owners selling with us. We are a vat registered, limited company in England.
As of February 2017 we are opening our doors to non online shops. We have tested this market in 2016 with a very positive response. We are now currently merging Rose Cottage into this one website.
We sell directly to the general public as well - through this website and other 3rd party channels like notonthehighstreet. We do not allow our items to be sold on sites like eBay or Amazon. We feel this undervalues our products and the ethos of our brand.
What is our brand ethos? ...
ahhh that's simple. We believe "It's not about competing, It's about being creative".. so we don't worry about the competition out there, there will always be competition. No point running a one horse race!. So instead of worrying about what other businesses are up to - we concentrate on designing, creating, new, fresh and exciting products. We focus on getting you your order on time, we focus on the quality of workmanship, we focus on doing the right thing for the business. We try to keep every thing very simple. Think of us as the most minimalist business out there. We simply do what we enjoy and what we do best.
So where did we start?....
We started from our kitchen table (quite literally) and soon outgrew our home and quite quickly realised we needed premises. After spending a considerable amount of time searching we decided to 'not' grow the business and to keep it at home. (this is now known as 'being secure in insecurities!')
Many a night was spent wondering if this was the right thing and after speaking to a few business guru's within the community we soon saw this was actually quite a bad decision.
So the wandering thoughts started again.. Are we growing too fast? Are we doing the right thing? Can we afford premises? What will we do with the dogs, pigs, goats, chickens... child... whilst at work? Will the tutors tend to my son whilst we're out? Will the costs of having premises ruin our business? All these natural thoughts were at the forefront of our minds constantly day in day out.
Then we decided to 'give it a rest' as it was becoming stressful and time consuming and rather a repetitive conversation over evening meals.
We left the decisions to fate knowing faith will provide the answers, some folk thought we were crazy! But we kept the faith - knowing that the right place, at the right time would come along and in the meantime, we had a spare bedroom - so we converted it. And made it work.
A year went by and we managed.. we struggled a little. We were now feeling like we were 'living at work' and not 'working from home'.
Then out of the blue during a very cold gloomy week of winter, a sunny wonderful afternoon spontaneously arrived, so jumping at the chance of a cup of tea and an afternoon of wallowing in the sunshine - we decided the lighting was right, so we'd go out and start taking photos of products, out in the garden.
And call it a divine intervention moment or a moment where the sun was shining too brightly.. whatever the reason, it made the pair of us turn our heads quickly to the direction of a little run down building over the road... and we looked over across to the Old Chapel that stood there neglected, lonely and tired.
And we starred... and starred.. without talking, without gestures to each other.. Just silence for a few moments. It was like the whole world had taken a deep breath and was waiting for us to say something. That moment you know when you could hear a pin drop, even the birds had been muted. It was 'that moment'. A moment hard to describe to other people.. only us there at that moment can really understand it.
(Our best friend who is now a retired Franciscan Monk said it was a calling. It would be wonderful to think that. And we'll keep that thought)
The Chapel had fallen victim of being a place that no one wanted anymore. The village attended the local church and there was no more need for the silent Chapel.
The village tried turning it into a 'village hall' for parties and social events. But either we're all very boring here and don't party that much or it was simply too tired to host events. We came to realise it was the latter.
One of the owners in the group is a master craftsman and could turn his hand to any job - especially carpentry.
As we sat there in the garden we then started speaking about doing up the Chapel and what if...... With the sun still shining on it - it looked beautiful.
That afternoon we contacted the Chapels trustee's and enquired about buying it or renting it from them.. as premises for our business.
Our phone call was open heartily welcomed..
Hallelujah the big man had answered our prayers.
The conversation went along the lines of... 'we've been wondering what to do with it and was going to ask the village this week in a questionnaire to see if anyone wanted to lease it, as long as they are prepared to do all internal work' said the Trustee..
WOW... this blew our heads off. It's only a stone's throw from our home.. I can check on the dogs, I can check on my son, I can pop the washing in and go to work.. I can do this.
With our own ready made builder / carpenter ready to do all the building work, we set about signing agreements and getting things ready. The whole village was supportive and happy.
We signed the lease in the January of 2013 and completed the work by Easter. It was wonderful. My son could walk over the road and see us if need be, it fell into place perfectly. And it was A CHAPEL... which really was the icing on the cake for us.
Where else better... a seller of religious gifts working from a Chapel. The atmosphere in there is beautiful, the feelings, the silence are all wonderful. We have kept the original stone blocks that state the Chapels date of 1880 and hopefully they will be restored and put out on show soon.
So... we're sellers, makers, designers of religious gifts and we work in a Chapel. Can't say better than that hey..
So all in all..... FAITH... have faith and when it's the right time for you... well... it's the right time. Just keep the faith.
Ros and the super team.