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A HERITAGE OF BRITISH DESIGN - BORN IN SUFFOLK
The Jim Lawrence Story
‘Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, inspiring us with the passion to create
authentic lighting and home furnishings.’
From farming roots...
The story of Jim Lawrence began in 1994 at his Suffolk farm. Jim was busy rearing pigs and cows but it was clear that stock farming on such a small scale was not going to be profitable and Jim needed to find something else to do. He decided to set up a forge in one of the farm buildings and experimented by making specialist pieces for friends and neighbours.
From this modest beginning, Jim began producing a small range of candlesticks and chandeliers and selling them at fairs and markets. He then moved on to gates, railings and curtain poles and from the reaction of his customers’ he realised there was a demand for stylish, designer quality fixtures and fittings for the home, made with natural materials.
Following the company’s first substantial order – making park fencing for a local farmer – Jim was able to expand, refurbishing the farm buildings and employing more people in order to start selling by mail order. When a customer asked if his candlesticks could be made electric, the lighting side of the business began and now accounts for 60-70% of the company's sales.
...to manufacturing success
By 2000 Jim Lawrence had expanded to such a degree that Jim knew he had to move. The business had outgrown the farm buildings it was housed in and customers, staff and delivery men struggled daily down a bumpy farm track to find it. Since most of the staff came from the nearby market town of Hadleigh, in 2008 Jim moved the company there, taking over an empty bottling factory on the outskirts of town that came with lots of room for workshops, offices and a warehouse.
Over the past 20 years Jim Lawrence has worked very hard to build up a reputation for making classic, high quality products using traditional, handcrafted techniques. Today we employ a skilled team of 150 engineers, welders, painters, seamstresses, designers, lampshade makers and technicians, alongside a full cohort of support staff. The workshops sit alongside a large and airy showroom where customers can view our full range of products, all clearly displayed to make choosing your perfect lighting and home accessories as straightforward as possible!
Even more exciting, we are planning to open our first shop outside Suffolk this autumn when we will transform a beautiful Georgian building in Bath into a fabulous new shop and showroom. A grade II listed building, the new shop is located in Walcot Street, the traditional artisan quarter of Bath that is full of independent shops, restaurants, galleries, artists and makers. This amazing selection of interior shops and expertise means you can get everything you need for your home on the same street - from paints, carpets and antique mirrors, to upholsterers and interior designers.
‘To be an outstanding British manufacturer creating iconic, traditional designs. By focusing on quality of materials, craftsmanship, outstanding customer service and the well-being of the Jim Lawrence community, we will empower each member of our team to create a sustainable and profitable business for generations to come.’
Jim Lawrence is a truly family business, still run by Jim and Sheena and employing up to three generations of local families, as well as several pairs of husbands and wives (mostly amicably!) and recruiting the best skill that Suffolk (and beyond!) has to offer. People tend to stay…we have an amazingly high staff retention rate ,averaging 90% annually, which is testament to a genuine belief that our business is only as strong as the links that bind it.
Our products are designed and hand finished, using traditional metal working techniques, here at our Suffolk workshop. When you buy from us, it really is us you are dealing with. It is our belief that by selling directly to our customers, we can guarantee that every product we sell meets the exacting quality control standards we have set and for which we are renowned.
We have come a long way since our farm days and you may no longer have to bump down a track to find us. But our ethos remains the same: to provide individually handmade products and the highest possible levels of customer service.