Life at the office

Life at the Coach House Forge Office.

What does it take to run a small creative business? People, lots of people! This is what you’d hear in the Cheshire-based office of Coach House Forge, where Amy, Jojo, and Michelle run the day-to-day of the business, while production happens in the forge workshop down the road.

There are two sites of the business, the first is a large blacksmith’s workshop, the second is the office, which used to be on the same site as the forge for a short time but the space became too small very quickly once the brains of the operation became THREE – the ideas running thick and fast, inevitably more space was needed for more people and more products, so the office was relocated a mile up the road.

Amy joined the business, officially, around the end of 2018 (she helped a lot at the family home before then!), then Jojo arrived soon after, in the Spring of 2019, after they’d met at a local creative artists support group; a place where other creative business owners met to talk about marketing, social media, photography, customer support, shipping, finances, and basically anything that is to do with running a business. Jojo, upon hearing Amy exclaim that she and her husband, Chris, hadn’t had a holiday for about 3 years (since he’d started the business) because they were too busy! Jojo stated, “I’m not so busy in my shop so I can help a few mornings a week and see where it goes!” So Amy asked Chris, and Jojo started a week later. That was 4.5 years ago!

Amy, Jojo and Michelle are used to working in offices and managing projects; Amy was an IT business analyst for a big corporation for the best part of 20 years, and Jojo spent the previous 6 years doing postgraduate research in various laboratories around the world and wasn’t shy of a few spreadsheets either. Michelle ran an award-winning pub and excels in all things to do with business. All the team are very creative, Amy with sewing, Jojo with Macrame, and Michelle in anything she puts her mind to!

Amy and Jojo share a passion for photography, which they’d each independently picked up in the last 6 years and studied hard reading books and buying all the proper gear; they went all-in and the results paid off (all of the product photography is done in-house, the majority of it by Amy).

Since moving to an even bigger office in 2023, and 5 different packers’ to date (including the eldest Danby son), the new office is host to various external consultants who help with marketing, website rigmarole and other specialist services. As well as the odd fortnightly meeting, the office is where all the orders are shipped, items photographed, listed and written about, Customer Service is a big part of the job; finding out where and why those lost packages are and keeping notes on requests and changes to orders, which requires a lot of to-and-fro between the forge and the office over text.

Another never-ending job is keeping the listings updated, which is like painting the Forth bridge! Between developing new ideas and trips to the forge a few times a day to pick up stock, the office is forever grateful to the team working together, so they can be working ON the business instead of FOR the business all the time. We’d be remiss not to mention our weekly visits from Claire, our Marketing Consultant from Evolve Together, we love those days!

It’s a happy family at the office, fueled by creativity, crisps, and lots of tea and laughter.

We love sharing news about what’s going on a the Forge and we have lots of exciting news coming up!

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