Craig and Leela Hope had long wanted to find a way to combine their joint skills with their family life – hoping to build a bright future for their children and a more satisfactory work-life balance for themselves.
Craig became an apprentice carpenter at 16, and is passionate about woodwork, while Leela had worked in administrative roles for a number of local companies, but yearned for something that was more fulfilling and enabled her to work alongside with her husband.
Leela says: “Craig is brilliant at the carpentry and creative design, and I have the admin skills to complement him. We hoped that going into business for ourselves would give us the flexibility to juggle our work life and our family commitments more effectively, but we didn’t know quite where to start.”
Leela heard an advert on the radio for Outset Torbay, and that gave her the idea to enrol on Outset’s workshops to brush up her business skills.
Craig says: “The Outset programme was fundamental and extremely valuable to us; it gave us the knowledge and insight into aspects of business that we wouldn’t otherwise have known or thought about.”
They worked through the Introduction to Enterprise and Business Start-up programmes with Outset, gaining confidence in their idea, and the essential skills to turn that dream into reality.
The couple launched their business in July 2013, becoming the 200th business to start-up with help from Outset Torbay. They now provide handmade kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, each made to measure and tailored to fit the budget, space and lifestyle requirements of each customer.
Craig says: “We want to change the perception of custom-made carpentry – it doesn’t have to be more expensive than buying an off-the-shelf product from a big chain store, plus you get the personal touch of something that has been designed to suit your space.”
The couple are now working hard to spread the word and establish their business with the aim of expanding and taking on staff as they grow.
The Custom Cabinet Company can be found at Unit 4, Marble Court, Lymington Road, Torquay, or online at https://www.facebook.com/CustomCabinetCo