Made in Britain: Moat House

What does your company do? What products services does it provide?
We are the UK’s only manufacturer of handcrafted wooden eyewear.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
From the limb of a fallen Oak tree in the grounds of the medieval Moat House in which we live. We handcrafted the very first pair of ‘Moats’ from that tree.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
The idea began in April 2013, and we have grown the business from there. We keep all parts of the process in-house, as this gives us full control of our manufacturing and it means we keep a low carbon footprint, making our wooden sunglasses one of the most eco-friendly, sustainable products on the market.

My husband, Nick, and I set up the business together and we had the valuable support of a Growth Coach in 2014. She helped by bringing a fresh pair of eyes to the business, and supported us in growing the business as demand rocketed. It is for this reason we’re now supporting the Business is GREAT Britain campaign, as it highlights to other small businesses, like ourselves, the support and help that is available right here in the UK.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Our biggest achievement has been securing some really well-respected stockists to buy and sell our products, this includes the Queen’s personal Optometrist, Roger Pope and Fenwick Bond Street.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Where do we start?! Owning a small business you always feel like there’s more that can be done, but I guess the biggest challenge has been finding the right people and organisations to help us get our products out there.

How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Our determination to make these products ethically, using only certified and sustainable wood and by refusing to give in and have the products made abroad. Also our designs, quality and customer service are superior.

What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
To fully commit to our business by investing in all machinery needed to keep the whole process ‘in-house’. This ensures we have total control over our products, prices and timeframes.

Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
I see a big expanse in our British network of stockists, I see a new premium collection entering the market and some very exciting dual collaborations with very special and renowned British designers.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
By all means do what others are doing but be sure to do it better!

What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
Lots of things – I love the feedback we get about our products, and how people smile when they first touch, hold or wear them. I love the freedom self-employment offers you in regards to your ideas and your opportunities. The world is your oyster and you are responsible for your own success and failure. I love that.