The Story of Our Antique Furniture Store
If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
We’re delving into the journey the Penderyn Antiques team have taken in the last six years. From the corporate world to a famous pilgrimage to opening the business they could never be without. Read on to discover the story of our antique furniture store!
A Bit of Background
In 2015, Dan, Nia and Leigh were all at different stages in their respective careers. Leigh, an experienced carpenter, felt something was missing as he undertook his routine construction contracts. Dan had undergone several career changes, from becoming an electrician to trialling a marketing role to mountaineering. However, he couldn’t quite seem to pinpoint his passion. Nia had recently completed a master’s degree and had entered the corporate world.
Dan and Leigh, in particular, felt that they were at an important crossroads in life. They were both content but not fulfilled, and they knew they wanted more. This led to the decision to embark upon Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage for some much-needed contemplation.
The Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage
Dan, Nia and Leigh spent ten days walking the network of pilgrims’ ways. The challenging but beautiful walk offered ample reflection time, leading Dan and Leigh to a simple revelation. They didn’t want to go back to reality—at least, not reality as it was.
They knew they wanted to live a life of meaning, spending their time doing something aligned with their values and passions. This led to discussions about Dan’s love of history and Leigh’s love of traditional carpentry. Leigh was also adamant that he wanted to do something where he could still utilise his lifelong skills. After all, it wasn’t carpentry itself but the mundane reality of modern construction work for which he lost his appetite.
Moreover, the two discussed their growing frustrations with today’s throwaway society. As such, Dan decided he wanted to drive a societal mindset shift towards more conscious consumerism.
The Early Days
Leigh’s love of carpentry and Dan’s love of history drove them to start a business that could combine both passions while tackling societal issues. However, Nia was still fresh into her corporate job and didn’t feel that the time was right for her to leave.
With Nia as a sounding board for the process, Dan and Leigh started making handmade storage boxes. They wanted to build them with the same techniques and love seen in quality antique furniture. Dan drew inspiration from the wonderfully handcrafted furniture from different historical periods, and Leigh enthusiastically applied his knowledge of historical carpentry techniques.
Fortunately, Leigh had already bought Soar Chapel before starting the business. Originally, he wasn’t sure what he would use it for but knew he didn’t want it to fall into disrepair like so many chapels in the area. The stars aligned, and the chapel became the hub of the business.
Over time, the idea evolved from storage boxes to various handcrafted furniture, and Leigh and Dan enjoyed modest success. Their pieces were beautiful, and the quality was fantastic compared to modern furniture. However, there was still something they felt wasn’t quite right.
From Furniture Store to Antique Furniture Store
Although they made their bespoke pieces to last far longer than today’s furniture, Dan and Leigh couldn’t help feeling they were still adding to the problem.
Why create more furniture when the world already has so many wonderful pieces?
They realised that a more sustainable process was to restore antique furniture into fully functional pieces. They wanted people to get practical use of their restorations for generations to come, in addition to enjoying the beautiful craftsmanship that we’re simply unable to match today.
At this point, the business was well on its way to becoming Penderyn Antiques, transitioning from furniture store to antique furniture store.
Nia Joins the Business
Having been the sounding board for the first three years, Nia felt it was time to play a more integral role. The idea of restoring antique furniture clicked for her, and she left her corporate job for something with a little more soul.
Therefore, Nia joined the business as the third owner in 2018, filled with ideas about taking their mission to the next level. She believed everyone should enjoy antique furniture. Therefore, she made it her mission to expand their online presence and show people across the UK how to incorporate beautiful antiques in all settings.
Online success came quickly. It was apparent that recent shifts towards more conscious consumerism had created more demand for antiques. Moreover, antique furniture’s versatility soon proved how it could enhance modern décor, making it an ethical AND stylish choice.
In addition to selling online, Nia initiated a rebrand. The store officially became ‘Penderyn Antiques’, and Nia introduced a fresh and modern feel to an age-old industry. She even painted Soar Chapel Penderyn pink!
Looking to the Future
There is still so much to achieve when introducing antique furniture to contemporary markets, and Dan, Nia and Leigh are determined to lead the way. What is more, they are also committed to demonstrating the quality of their offering to long-standing antiquers.
The team are also aware of the community of people who simply love the brand and want to invest in a broader range of high-quality furnishings. Therefore, they recently expanded their product line to offer 100% wool, Welsh blankets, which have proven a big success! As such, there may be further expansion in the future, going beyond antique furniture to offer complimentary homeware—providing that they are sustainable, functional and high-quality pieces.
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