We often get asked what made us start The Den & Now, where the idea came from and how we juggle running a business with family life, as well as a myriad of other questions. With this summer marking our five year anniversary, we felt it would be the perfect time to answer some of those questions and say hello to all our new customers and friends we've met along the way...
A little bit about us...
The Den & Now is an online homeware business, run by myself, Charlie. Originally from Formby (think red squirrels and pinewoods) just up the coast from Liverpool, I moved to London back in 2003 to work in the fashion industry, before returning home to my roots in the North West. I now live in the beautiful city of Chester with my husband and our two young boys. I come from a creative background and although I have a degree in fashion I have always had a keen interest in interior design.
What made you start your own business?
Prior to launching The Den & Now, I was a PR Director within a leading fashion and lifestyle agency. I loved my job and working in the fast paced fashion industry, but I began to to feel like I needed a new challenge and had started to toy with the idea of setting up my own business - one that would also give me more flexibility and could work around a future family. The kick start to this was in early 2013, when I relocated from London to Chester with my fiance, now husband - it was literally a decision that we made over a gin one evening! We were looking to buy our first home and very quickly realised that we could get so much more for our money further afield. My husband is an artist and sign writer, and works all over the country and I was open to new opportunities, so it really was a drop a pin in the map kind of decision! But that move up north, planning our wedding and renovating our first home, marked the start of an exciting new chapter. Starting my own business, just seemed a natural fit and next step.
Where did the idea and name, The Den & Now come from?
I have always had a love for interior design and mixing one-of-a-kind vintage and reclaimed pieces, full of nostalgia and natural charm, with industrial and Scandinavian products. It really enables you to create a home that’s full of character and is unique to you and your lifestyle. Our online store combines this natural love of mixing the old with the new, the then and now. The Den is a play on words - a Den being a hidden home, a secret lair, somewhere you can retreat to that is special to you.
What have been the challenges to starting your own business?
I started the business literally from scratch. We’ve come a long way in five years and it’s been a huge learning curve, and one that I am immensely proud of! One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced however is time. When the business was just over a year old we welcomed our first son, who is now 3 years old - and five months ago we welcomed his little brother! Juggling children and all the sleepless nights that come with them, whilst running and growing a business, certainly has its challenges, but I wouldn’t change a thing - well, except for maybe a few more hours in the day!
What’s a typical day like?
Whether I’m out sourcing products, styling shoots, packing orders, speaking to customers and journalists, redesigning aspects of the website, uploading new products, or keeping on top of admin and accounts, no two days are ever the same! I have to wear a lot of different hats and juggle roles, but I love the diversity and challenges that come with it.
What have been the highlights?
When you start your own business, every small accomplishment can mean the world - that first order we received all those years ago, the excitement of finding a new brand or product, becoming a Notonthehighstreet.com partner as well as teaming up with Oostor.com to offer a selection of our products on their curated online marketplaces, securing press coverage in top interior magazines and then last year the re-designing and launching of our new and responsive online store - there have been a lot of highlights over the past five years! One of the nicest though has been our lovely customers and the connections we’ve made along the way - the interior industry is such a creative, inspiring and supportive community!
What are your personal favourites this season?
It’s hard to choose favourites, as each piece is carefully handpicked - we only stock pieces that we love and feel have a special quality. But some of my current favourites are our new seagrass wall hanging, natural shaggy Moroccan Berber cushions, industrial round hanging mirror and gold geometric wire photo noticeboard. I'm also a big fan of lighting and creating ambiance within a room, so I love our range of handcrafted lighting.
What's next for The Den & Now?
We have so many plans for the future, but one of our main focuses for this year is to grow the furniture side of the business. Our Nordic Grey range has been hugely successful and we'll be looking to add new pieces to the collection later in the year, as well as to increase our overall furniture offering - we'll also be releasing new products across our other ranges, including home accessories and lighting. And make sure you're signed up to our newsletter and are following us on social media (see links below) as we'll be introducing some new product giveaways over the coming months, as well as lots of other exciting things in the pipeline!
Any words of advice?
Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, but believe in your idea and yourself - the hard work will pay off! Be honest and true to yourself and of course your customers. Customer care and service is paramount, as you wouldn’t be anywhere without them! Be inspired by others, but be unique and an original. But most of all, enjoy it! Running your own business is incredibly hard work and time consuming, but also hugely rewarding and we for one can honestly say, we love what we do!
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