A YOUNG entrepreneur who set up an online furniture business a year ago has seen his idea hit the hot spot with restaurants and bars.
Joe Nicholson established J. N. Rusticus in October 2016 to source and sell unique, ethically sourced home and office furniture from around the world.
The 21-year-old has travelled to India and China to source his products which range from tables, chairs and benches, to rustic outdoor garden furniture.
The fledgling firm has proved a winner in the leisure industry with bars, bistros and cafes purchasing J. N. Rusticus furniture with Joe personally delivering each item himself.
He said: “The private domestic market is going well, but it’s the restaurant trade where things have been really exciting. The range is finding its way into bars, bistros and restaurants across the country, mainly through refits and refurbishments and there is a chain of steak houses which has taken a lot of produce.
“Through the summer, there was a lot of interest in garden furniture so I will be looking to push this range next year with specially-coated outdoor tables and chairs. The products look great and really tap into that rustic look which is very popular.”
Joe, from Sadberge near Darlington, took an apprenticeship route following A Levels rather than join many of his friends at university. His entrepreneurial streak was recognised by his dad David – boss of Billingham-based Nicholson’s Transport – who put Joe in charge of storage business Box Clever when he was just 19.
Joe added: “With my dad running a transport business, I have been involved with the industry most of my life. I knew my business idea had to have something to do with warehousing and logistics.
“I have really enjoyed the first year especially the travelling. But it’s not been without its challenges, such as securing the best quality products from the other side of the world and getting the e-commerce site looking the best it can.”
Dad David Nicholson said: “On a personal level, I’m incredibly proud of what Joe has achieved in just a year. It has really helped his confidence and his business acumen grows as each month goes by.”
“I’m really looking forward to seeing where he goes next with this business and other ideas that he has. He’s planning a showroom at Billingham with a converted 40-ft storage container with windows and doors where people can see the furniture first hand and who knows what will happen next?”
For more information, visit www.jnrusticus.com
TEESSIDE’S The Nicholson Group has been highly commended for its service levels at the North East Business Awards.
The Billingham-based group – which comprises several transport and logistics businesses – finished runner-up to shipping giant P D Ports in the ‘services’ category. This award recognises; service excellence, service differentiation, business growth and innovation.
The Group provides support, mentorship and guidance to help other businesses to thrive and prosper and provides mentorship to young entrepreneurs. It includes storage firm Box Clever; training provider Learning in Logistics; lorry mounted crane operator Nicholson’s Hi-ab; e-commerce furniture retail specialist J. N. Rusticus and Nicholson’s Transport, a founding member of the The Pallet Network.
Bob Forster, Chairman of The Nicholson Group, said: “It’s a fantastic honour to be highly commended in the prestigious North East Business Awards. We were up against some very high profile service businesses and there’s no shame in being runner-up to one of the UK’s biggest port operators.
“The honour recognises the hard work and dedication of every member of the Nicholson Group team and the clear vision and shared values that permeate through all of our operations.”
Well done to the Nicholson’s team – this is a great accolade
A YOUNG entrepreneur has set his sights on e-commerce success after launching an online furniture store.
J. N. Rusticus will source and sell unique, ethically sourced home and office furniture from around the world.
Twenty-year-old Joe Nicholson travelled to India to source his first container of tables, chairs, benches, cabinets and cupboards, handmade entirely from reclaimed boat wood. He is now planning trips to China and Indonesia to find more high quality products to introduce to UK customers.
Joe, who is from Sadberge near Darlington, said: “Getting the first container of furniture from India was incredibly exciting and made me realise that now I had a business and was ready to go. The website looks amazing and is supported by a targeted online marketing and social media campaign.
“We want to bring high quality, ethically sourced hand-crafted furniture to customers here. Items that will enhance the look of their home and in many instances be a talking point. For example, some of the dining tables are retractable so can be raised up and down with a winding mechanism – that’s not something you see very often here, but it’s a beautiful piece of furniture.”
Joe, who is already working as business manager for Billingham-based storage company Box Clever, took an apprenticeship route following A Levels rather than join many of his friends at university. He said the practical experience of running a business had helped him realise his entrepreneurial aspirations.
He added: “With my dad running a successful transport business, I have been involved with the industry most of my life. It’s a sector I understand, so I knew my business idea had to involve logistics and fulfilment.
“I always wanted to do something on my own and the J. N. Rusticus idea had been forming in my mind for a while. Eventually, the aim is to bring in a container of furniture a month from a range of designers and manufacturers across the world.
“Travelling to India was an incredible experience and I was able to set up some meetings with great people. I chose the name Rusticus because it means rustic and rural in Latin and hopefully that reflects the ethos of the business as a supplier of beautiful, ethically sourced furniture from some incredibly talented craftspeople.”
J. N. Rusticus launched in September 2016 and can be found at www.jnrusticus.com
The Nicholson Group, which comprises three transport and logistics companies based in Billingham, has appointed Bob Forster to the role.
Having worked in a non-executive and HR business partner role for the company, Forster now hopes to bring greater independence to each business in the group’s portfolio; Nicholson’s Transport Ltd; Nicholson’s Hi-ab and Box Clever.
Throughout the recent economic downturn, The Nicholson Group managed with reduced overheads and turnover. However, it has now increased its workforce from 40 to 55 as the outlook continues to improve.
“The group was set up six years ago but was immediately hit by recession,” said Forster. “Now we are through that and stronger than ever, it was the right time to re-focus to free up each business to develop its own identity and leadership skills.
“We have staff who managed through recession, where they had to make tough decisions and experience prolonged periods of zero growth and downsizing but they have learned so much from that process.”
Managing director David Nicholson added: “Bob Forster is the ideal person to lead The Nicholson Group; he knows our businesses inside out, understands the industry and most importantly, understands how to manage people.
“We know the scope and nature of the challenges in front of us but are ambitious and confident as we focus our board and business competencies on further growth and investment in people and new enterprises.”
A TEESSIDE transport business is helping to sow the seeds of success for a fledgling horticulture entrepreneur.
Graduate Dan Robson launched Green Digit Gardening to supply herb and flower seeds in environmentally friendly packaging.
Dan recently secured an order for 10,000 seed dispensers from department store giant John Lewis and used Nicholson’s Transport to send the packages safely on their way.
But bosses at the Billingham-based business are also helping Dan to grow his business by providing support, advice and mentoring.
Dan, who is 26 and from Hartlepool, said: “It has been amazing to launch a business and have such an immediate impact. I was already supplying garden centres and independent shops, but the John Lewis order really took things to the next level.
“But it presented an issue where I had to safely transport 10,000 seed packages to the south of England to my distributor. Fortunately, the Nicholson’s Transport team has been amazing and has even advised me on managing the business and marketing and sales.”
Dan launched Green Digit Gardening after graduating with a Masters Degree in 3D Design from Northumbria University. While studying, he developed an interest in guerrilla gardening where ‘undercover’ gardeners tidy up and tend to neglected patches of wasteland or public green spaces.
Dan’s interest in ecological issues influenced his graduate design project where he developed an environmentally friendly seed dispenser which can be planted into the earth and produces no waste.
The patented seed cell is particularly appealing to children and visually impaired gardeners as it reduces the risk of tiny seeds tipping out from the packages.
Green Digit Gardening produces seed dispensers for a variety of herbs and flowers including jalapeno chillis, sunflowers, basil, parsley, sage and thyme. With the likes of B&Q, Homebase and Marks & Spencers showing a keen interest in the product, Dan hopes to soon expand his range while using Nicholson’s Transport as his distribution hub.
He added: “The whole ethos of the product is to be ecologically minded, minimising waste and energy use wherever possible. All of the materials are sourced and manufactured in the UK and it was important for me to use a local transport company and Nicholson’s has been ideal because they are on my doorstep.”
David Nicholson, Managing Director of Nicholson’s Transport, added: “When we were approached by Dan about transport, the innovation of the product and his enthusiasm really impressed me.
“He is a true ecological entrepreneur and we wanted to help in any way we can to help the business to grow. As Green Digit Gardening continues to prosper, we will be able to provide Dan with both warehouse storage space and transport to get his products safely to market.”
Please join us in welcoming Keisha Cox to the Nicholson’s Group. Keisha takes up this newly created role having just completed a BSc (Hons) degree in Business Systems Design at the University of Teesside.
Keisha, who describes herself as ‘enthusiastic, hardworking and not afraid of challenge’, will bring a fresh approach to the Group with her recently acquired business and technology skills. This will ensure we move forward with the fast changing technological developments of the logistics industry.
Keisha begins her role within the operations team. However, in the next six months she will understudy all roles within the Nicholson Group to gain an understanding of the key processes and systems, with an objective of extracting optimum operational performance for the Group.
Welcome to the team Keisha!
Nicholson Group provides start up capital and management support for new company Nicholson Hiab. Led by Neil Campbell, the company will provide specialist support to utilities companies in the gas and oil sectors throughout the UK.
The Nicholson Group are delighted to announce the appointment of three Non Executive Directors. Bob Forster, Ian Kinnery and Paul Higginbottom join David and Moira Nicholson to create an experienced Board that will provide continuous tailored support to the management teams of each of our individual companies.
Their complimentary skills include operations management, sales and marketing, finance and professional development. The comprehensive remit involves development of the Group’s long term strategy and working alongside the management teams of each individual business to provide step-by-step guidance in key areas to improve efficiency and direction.
We are delighted to announce the launch of The Nicholson Group. With its roots in the logistics sector The Group has transformed into an organisation with an increasing and diverse portfolio of businesses. We specialise in the growth and development of small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a flexible approach to our three key areas; Investment, Acquisition and Management.
We plan to invest in and acquire a variety of businesses operating in different sectors. The common theme is to identify companies with robust business plans, strong management teams and real growth potential.