Eleanor Goddard is Fettling Interior Design
Eleanor and her husband Glyn bought an interior design business after careers in corporate. Were they ready for the world of running their business? No. Are they making a good fist of it after three years? Absolutely.
They run Furnish and Fettle. This was the name they settled upon once the business sale went through.
Eleanor and Graham have both opted to use the word “fettle” in their respective business names. Furnish and Fettle for Eleanor and Finely Fettled is Graham’s marketing services business, also based in Yorkshire.
What does Fettle mean?
The word fettle describes a process of trimming off the rough edges. Equally sound for interior design as it is for improving direct mail campaigns.
Eleanor made the point that there is a Shakespeare link as well. Her husband’s family are directly related to Shakespeare, so they would know! Shakespeare used it too. Clearly, the Bard had a Yorkshire friend and just copied.
Leaving the Corporate World
Honestly, Eleanor admits she wouldn’t have voluntarily have left the corporate world. The lure of a regular nice salary and company car! Unfortunately, Eleanor developed rheumatoid arthritis following the birth of her daughter. She left the corporate world.
Spending more time at home saw Eleanor going to sewing classes, and developed a homer business making curtains and blinds for family and friends. It was great at first, then faced with rolls of fabric and a sewing machine, the appeal of this cottage industry wore off.
This stir crazy period for Eleanor coincided with Glyn’s endless hours in corporate. In his words, he was heading for his first heart-attack. Time out!
Buying a Business
They started by looking at their skills. Glyn’s food industry background saw them look at food based businesses. But despite going a long way down that track, it didn’t feel right.
As they continued to look, they found a York based business, which was a smaller business than the one they went onto buy. It was absolutely what Eleanor wanted, but it wasn’t big enough for the two of them.
Then they saw the business they did buy, called James Brindley. It was a moment almost like you had found a house you know you want to live in.
A number of things came together to make this the right sale. The vendor was a friend of a friend. They really wanted the business. But, it was a long protracted process.
The business they bought had been pretty much in the same family for years. So there was some trepidation with the staff they inherited. They’d had stability. The concern was they new owners did not come from the industry, despite Eleanors passion for fabrics and making curtains.
It was a like a vertical learning curve.
A New Brand
As the purchase was for half the James Brindles business they didn’t have the option of taking the name. So, they needed a new name. Furnish and Fettle.
The good news is that their clients are beginning to think about their brand now and somewhat forget the original name. It is after all a new business.
A Great Marketing Idea for Furnish and Fettle
The Greatest Football Head Coach in the World, Marcello Bielsa lives in Wetherby where Furnish and Fettle have a shop. He manages Leeds United. Imagine if he endorsed the brand! Imagine how many Leeds United fans would be making a bee-line for Furnish and Fettle.
Here’s a picture of Marcello to help Eleanor spot him!
Leeds United fans absolutely adore Marcello. So, getting to know a celebrity who would endorse Furnish and Fettle would be a very smart move!
How do they connect with people when considering interior design? Often you are dealing with a couple and they might not have the same ideas!
Sometimes they have to work around furniture that MUST stay. It is not about the interior designer determining things, it is about working with their clients. Kevin has redesigned two bedrooms, after their children have flown the nest.
Interior Design is practical. They do take you out of your comfort zone. How do you get the best out of a space. They help you with that. Most people go further than they expected to go. The worse thing is to have people spending money on something they don’t like.
Sometimes someone will see a chair, love it, then organise the room around it.
Divorce is a trigger for redesign.
Challenges at Furnish and Fettle
- Legacy – it does look and feel similar, but the team have taken the team on a journey
- Is the High Street Dead concerns – they are about experience and service
- There are a lot of things to get their heads around.
Will they go out-of-town? Maybe. As the brand grows stronger, then people may well turn up at a larger off-site store. Lower rates and lower rents are important.
Wetherby has an affluent base and there are a lot of people who drive there.
How important is Social Media?
Really important, says Eleanor.
Half of her leads are coming from social media.
The posts of Instagram are very visual. Her interior design posts are stoppers. She has lots of options to photograph. Beautiful, eye catching material. She gets enquiries late at night after someone saw a particular lamp.
Now they are gearing up to offer a transactional website. They are blending offline and online.
They have done research and have seen another vendor who is making great strides in the right direction. nKuku based in Devon.
We all recommend stopping at Gloucester services on the M5.
Contact Furnish and Fettle