Vanessa Arbuthnott kept the well-being of both her customers and her team at the forefront of any business decision made during the pandemic, and despite the need to work remotely, her team actually felt closer together.
‘Design with a conscience’. The business is mindful of sustainability and ethical business practice, with a true sense that Vanessa is driven by impact on the environment above profit and has a strong sense of community spirit. As a result the judging panel awarded Vanessa Arbuthnott Gloucestershire Live Best Place to Work at the 2021 Awards ceremony.
Key business points:
- Vanessa Arbuthnott is the sole designer and director of this family-owned business.
- Showroom in Cirencester opened in 2015.
- A team of 9 full and part-time customer-focused staff.
The winning entry:
Vanessa Arbuthnott designs a range of fabrics printed on 100% Linen or a unique Linen Union; a mix of certified organic cotton and linen. Designs are influenced by her rural way of life and surrounding countryside. Sustainability, environmental impact and ethical business practice are at the foundation of all they do.
Fabrics can be purchased by the metre and they have a popular ‘made to measure’ service for furniture and soft furnishings. Available directly from the shop by appointment or their beautiful website. Traditionally, people would travel surprisingly long distances to the showroom and whilst it was closed during Covid they offered Virtual Design Consultations which proved a great success and continue now.
Throughout the various stages of the pandemic, Vanessa kept the wellbeing of her valued customers and her all-important team at the forefront of any business decisions she made. Her team were kept up-to-date with everything, including essential customer feedback, and even sending photos from her visits to the printers to oversee new designs, making her team feel like they were there with her.
Her team were able to be flexible with their working patterns to allow for home schooling and they were provided with equipment where required. With regular Zoom meetings and a WhatsApp group to keep communications open and light hearted, the team felt closer despite being physically remote. The positive mantra which was portrayed via blogs, newsletters, and social media posts which highlighted the importance of well-being during lockdown, filtered through the whole company.
The business is mindful of sustainability and ethical business practice, with a true sense that Vanessa is driven by impact on the environment above profit. Their goal is to develop the best in functional design whilst ensuring long lasting products. They choose to work only with ethical and accredited suppliers, and they manufacture in the UK, using local craftsmen and women where possible.
There is a strong sense of community spirit which is best demonstrated by the creation of ‘The Bothy’ next to her shop (bothy is a Scottish term for free shelter) which offers classes and courses to and is used by many local charities.
Their 5-star reviews from happy customers speak for themselves and the team pride themselves on being friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable.
The Gloucestershire Live Business Awards 2022 will open for entries from 10 March.