Young entrepreneur award for Old Autumn House founder

MATERNITY leave is not the ideal time to become an entrepreneur for many new mums but, for award-winning Laura Brown, it was the perfect time to launch her ‘shabby chic’ furniture business, Old Autumn House.

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.

VINTAGE: A shabby chic dressing table and stool from Old Autumn House (as is furniture pictured throughout).

VINTAGE: A shabby chic dressing table and stool from Old Autumn House (as is furniture pictured throughout).

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.

IMG_1007IMG_0997Less 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.

INSPIRING: Laura Brown with her best new business 'young entrepreneur' 2014 certificate and award for Old Autumn House.

INSPIRING: Laura Brown with her best new business ‘young entrepreneur’ 2014 certificate and award for Old Autumn House.

“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.

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PERSONAL: Old Autumn House in Stockton stocks products by Lauren Dye of Rockery Cottage who personalises wood and glass to create unique gifts.

Together with the website, she also attracts orders through eBay and regularly runs competitions on Facebook.

IMG_1008She 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.”

CONTACT: 

Old Autumn House, 31 Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees, TS18 1LH

Call: 01642-913280

Website: www.oldautumnhouse.co.uk               Email: sales@oldautumnhouse.co.uk

Twitter: @oldautumnhouse                                    Pinterest: @oldautumnhouse

Facebook: Old Autumn House                               Instagram: @oldautumnhouse

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