Young entrepreneur award for Old Autumn House founder
Baby Iris was six-months-old when Laura, a former physiotherapy assistant decided to take the plunge and invest in her love of vintage-inspired home decor.
She was able to test-trade her venture, Old Autumn House, risk-free for six months in Stockton Borough Council’s Enterprise Arcade which is aimed at start-up companies before she moved into her own shop in the town centre.
Now, 95 per cent of her customers reach her online and she has a unit on a nearby industrial estate where she stores and photographs her vast range of dressing tables, coffee tables and sideboards which come in heritage colours white, off white and cream as well taking orders for items in a delicate shade of girly pink.
Less than two years after setting up her venture she won the Young Entrepreneur category at the Best New Business Awards for 2014 earlier this year, at the age of 28. “I was really not expecting to win at all so I was thrilled but surprised when Old Autumn House was called out.”
Her shop on Dovecot Street also sells smaller accessories from picture frames to bunting and a range of personalised glass and wooden gifts made by her friend Lauren Dye of Rockery Cottage.
Laura employs her parents, Wendy and Keith Plunkett, to help run her retail and warehouse operations while she manages the online orders from home as well as looking after Iris, now almost four, and five-month-old Adam.
“It can be hard with two small children as it’s very difficult to switch off, especially when I’m promoting the business with social media.But it’s also given me the chance to spend more time with them whilst doing something for myself, which I have really enjoyed,” Laura explained.
Together with the website, she also attracts orders through eBay and regularly runs competitions on Facebook.
She added: “I want to expand the range of products to move into children’s bedrooms and dining furniture and I want to make a bigger impression online so we are well known for our shabby chic furniture.
“It is a style that I love as it’s timeless and as my furniture can be used in different rooms around the house, the pieces are timeless too.”
Old Autumn House, 31 Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1LH
Website: www.oldautumnhouse.co.uk Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @oldautumnhouse Pinterest: @oldautumnhouse
Facebook: Old Autumn House Instagram: @oldautumnhouse