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
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.”