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June 28, 2024 —

Small Business Stories: Wood and Wire

A shared love of design and artisan craft brought Jim and Tim together, creating Wood and Wire - a business that is rooted in quality, excellent service and collaboration
91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire
91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

*Disclaimer: This blog post has been sponsored by the brand, but the content has been independently created by the 91 Magazine team. We only work with brands whose ethos is in line with our own and we believe will be of interest to our readers.

91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

A sponsored advertorial with
Wood and Wire

91 Magazine editor Caroline Rowland
Caroline Rowland
Editor,
91 Magazine

Photography

Mark Newton
Photographer,
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Not many small businesses happen overnight. Most are a slow evolution over time, gaining confidence and momentum along the way. This is certainly how things played out for Jim Leach and Tim Shilitoe, two men who followed different paths after education, until eventually those paths crossed, and common ground was discovered.

Jim left university with a degree in furniture design and spent several years working as a designer for furniture manufacturers before going freelance and making his own designs in a workshop in Hebden Bridge. Tim left school at 17, taking up an apprenticeship in bench hand joinery, before surrendering to wanderlust. He travelled in New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Japan, followed by a stint living in New Zealand. Eventually he returned to the UK and began working for himself, making furniture and creating campervan designs.91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

 

When Jim and Tim had a chance meeting during a night out in Hebden Bridge, it was their shared love of crafting furniture from birch plywood that brought them together. The pair began collaborating on furniture and kitchen projects, and before long another friend approached them about sharing a showroom space alongside his lighting business.

The name Wood and Wire was born, and Jim describes how they leapt feet first into the venture: “We took the plunge without a solid business plan, relying on our confidence that people would appreciate what we had to offer.” Their friends lighting business didn’t work out, but their plywood kitchens were doing well, and the feedback they were receiving was really encouraging. “This experience gave us the confidence to continue and helped solidify our unique – and now slightly confusing! – company name,” laughs Jim.

The pair are now 11 years into running Wood and Wire, and admit it’s been a journey with highs and lows along the way, “We’re not afraid to admit that Tim and I aren’t natural businessmen,” says Jim, “so the learning curve has definitely been steep!”

Making mistakes is how we learn, and the two designers now believe their business runs efficiently and more effectively from learning on the job. “We really understand the importance of doing our best on every job, whatever its size or value. That means every customer gets exactly the same high level of service and dedication from our team.”

91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

When they first started out, their offering of birch plywood kitchens with a wide range of colour options, was new and unique to the market. While the trend has gathered pace and competitors have emerged, Tim and Jim remain confident in what they offer, focusing on exemplary quality and excellent customer service. “Today, I honestly think that our experience, craftsmanship and dedicated team set us apart,” says Jim.

All of these elements have come together, built over time, but the pair also give credit to their location – the wonderful town of Hebden Bridge, which Jim attributes as a factor in their achievements: “Known for its history of manufacturing, creativity and alternative and ‘green’ culture, being in Hebden Bridge has certainly contributed to our success.”

Nestled in the heart of the town, it’s an exciting time for the business, as they’ve recently extended their showroom, adding new kitchen styles and materials to their offering. For those not based in the vicinity, this is not a barrier to owning a Wood and Wire kitchen – their installation team can travel all over the UK. The York home that is featured here also demonstrates the breadth of their work as it extends to other bespoke furniture – both built-in and freestanding – with modern designs completely unique to your home, including staircases, wardrobes, media units and seating.91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

As the pair embark on their second decade in business, they reflect on the many challenges that could’ve stopped them in their tracks – the 2015 Boxing Day floods that submerged their showroom, COVID-19, Brexit and the war in Ukraine, all causing supply and operational difficulties, not to mention Tim’s wife suffering a near fatal climbing accident in Majorca, a challenging time personally for his family and the business. Thankfully, none of this has curbed their drive and enthusiasm for Wood and Wire, and instead they focus on celebrating the good times – winning awards for their designs and embracing apprenticeships, offering young people opportunities and a bright future.91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire91 Magazine Small Business Stories with kitchen and design business Wood and Wire

Collaboration has become an important aspect of what they do too, and they’ve recently been forging new partnerships with appliance brands such as Fisher & Paykel, as well as architectural firm Gagarin Studio in Halifax. Small businesses thrive on these types of relationships and as Jim says, “Collaborations like this challenge us in a really positive way, allowing us to showcase our ability to deliver consistent quality across entire projects.”

What is clearly at the heart of this business is the customer and how happy they are with their project. Jim and Tim want to create a special experience for each and every client, delivering timeless designs that result in a home that brings many years of joy and contentment.

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To view Wood and Wire’s kitchens and bespoke design work visit:  woodandwire.co.uk

Follow Wood and Wire on Instagram for updates on their projects: @woodandwirecouk

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*Disclaimer: This blog post has been sponsored by the brand, but the content has been independently created by the 91 Magazine team. We only work with brands whose ethos is in line with our own and we believe will be of interest to our readers.

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