For the first time on “It Runs In The Family”, we’re joined by partners in business and wedlock alike – the husband and wife team behind Herringbone Kitchens, William Durrant and Elly Simmons. This episode offers us a unique opportunity to delve into how marriage contributes to the dynamic between the two Directors of the Canterbury-based business.
Will and Elly join Liz & Leila to document the trepidation that came at the start of their business journey, how influencer marketing helped make a big name for their small brand, and their uncompromising commitment to the team’s culture.
This episode covers:
● Juggling emotion with analysis when making business decisions
● Appreciating and rewarding your team for helping achieve your vision
● How Will and Elly’s business and family lives are often interwoven
● The value-based culture at Herringbone, where everyone looks after each other
● Managing a unique relationship as partners and parents away from being business partners
“Originally, I was sort of terrified of losing a sale. We did it on a shoestring budget, and we did a bit of everything. If you came in for a kitchen it didn’t really matter what you wanted, I’m pretty sure we could do it. It was probably a necessity at the time, but now we have a style. If you come in for something we don’t do, we don’t do it, and that’s perfect. I love that we have our herringbone style.” – 2:15 – William Durrant
“We didn’t have a backup, so we had to really make it work at that point, which is when we started working with influencers. Instagram, actually, made a huge difference in the business – just getting our name out there instead of just being a little shop in Canterbury.” – 7:00 – Elly Simmons
“I’ll always be a part of the strategy, but the 24/7 wasn’t sustainable for us as a couple. Kitchens are Will’s dream and I’ve absolutely loved helping grow it and doing it together and getting it to where it is, but I had a career and PhD beforehand, and I want to make sure that I’m able to go back to that.” – 11:50 – Elly Simmons
“Since lockdown, even if you don’t have your own business loads of parents have experienced that same thing where you’re on an important phone call, and a little one is at your knees. Before lockdown, not everyone understood.” – 20:21 – Elly Simmons
“In our industry, it’s very unusual to employ people as fitters, and that was a really big thing for us. So we really wanted to employ everyone – subcontracting for us wasn’t really an option. We wanted them to be paid well, we wanted them to feel part of the team, we wanted them to have their holidays, and have their family time.” – 26:25 – William Durrant
“Will doesn’t think of himself as a manager, but I’m often so in awe of how he works with people and gets the best out of people. He doesn’t think he’s done it. He doesn’t give himself the credit, but he really gets the best, and I think Herringbone is what it is because of Will.” – 33:20 – Elly Simmons
“We didn’t start this trying to be some big, multinational, impersonal company. We never wanted to be like a Wickes or a Magnet. That’s not what we wanted, and still would never be what we want. We love that it’s a smaller business, and it’s personal.” – 42:20 – Elly Simmons