Hampshire entrepreneur Kirsten Robinson on setting up her furniture business Treasure Chairs
PUBLISHED: 11:56 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:56 18 March 2014
What began as a hunt for the perfect birthday present, turned in to a thriving online business for local entrepreneur Kirsten Robinson
The story of Treasure Chairs begins with owner Kirsten Robinson looking for a special first birthday present for her daughter Fleur. Wanting it to be memorable and unique, she decided a personalised chair would be a gift that Fleur could enjoy for many years to come. But after searching for a manufacturer, it soon became clear that such a company didn’t exist and she ended up commissioning a local upholsterer to create Fleur’s present. She explains: “I loved the fact that I was able to choose matching fabrics for my lounge and that the chair blended into my newly decorated room without screaming ‘kiddy, pink, playroom’! Fleur is more aware of her chair now, she turns two this month and uses the chair to watch television or to sit and eat her snack; whilst my eldest daughter Tamsin lounges on her very own chaise. The feedback from family and friends was great and they asked if I could make chairs for their children!
“After my third daughter Daisy was born last year I decided to take a career break from working in London as a creative director and corporate brand manager and approached my local upholsterer to develop a range of children’s seating.” Being a trained graphic designer and having experience working across different media platforms, Kirsten was well equipped to start her own business. Her keen eye for design and business acumen has meant that she has been able to design her products, and also drive the marketing initiatives needed to make her business a success; saving on her outgoings.
But it is her relationship with her frame maker and upholsterer that is the real key to Treasure Chair’s success.
“Our chairs are entirely custom made. You can choose everything from the colours of the legs to the fabric and style of the chair. We often receive colour swatches from curtains, for example, so we can make sure that the chairs are a perfect fit!”
The day to day running of Treasure Chairs is conducted from home, with Kirsten frequently visiting the upholsterers unit. Most of their orders come through their website and so online advertising is a key focus for the company; as is social networking.
Talking about what the future holds for Treasure Chairs Kirsten says: “Now that the main products are launched, Caroline O’Neill has been brought in to take over the management and to see the company through to the next level. I, in the meantime, have decided to go back to a job in the city, leaving Treasure Chairs in her capable hands.”
Name: Kirsten Robinson
Business name: Treasure Chairs
Length of time in business: 4 months
Number of employees: 2
Ethos: To provide excellent quality children’s furniture alongside exceptional customer service. We want to give children the ability to develop their own independence and to feel like grown ups.
Contact: Caroline O’Neill Manager, 02380 485702 or 07946 354352