Way back in the late 80’s with a yearning to travel and see the world I headed off on a journey of discovery.
Starting with Africa, then India and finally the Far East my eyes were truly opened to a world of wonder after spending ten years in the family antiques business on the infamous Kings Road in Chelsea. I loved travelling but it was India that captured my heart, with its ancient buildings steeped in history, incredible countryside from the plains to the Himalayas and her wonderfully generous people. After buying a 1970’s Enfield that carried me over 10,000km I knew I had to return and no better way than to start my new business venture in India.
The 90’s were spent making frequent trips on buying forays and building relationships as well as gaining an insight into this wonderful country, where people still worked everything by hand. Seeing these crafts long since lost in the West, inspired a feeling of longing and creativity. Here the antiques of the future were still being produced, by hand working pieces of stone, metal, wood, fabric and other natural mediums into beautifully crafted objects. It is a paradise for any designer who values these skills, where attention to detail is still important, combined with using recycled materials and working with some of the loveliest people you could ever hope to meet.
2004 was our launch at the Chelsea Flower Show wining a Merit for building an ‘Outstanding Trade Stand’ and from there to designing and making a range of hand carved sandstone planters and features to grace any English garden. As the business grew so did our collection of wonderful products on offer. Including the large wrought iron Kadais once used throughout Rajasthan as cooking bowls at weddings, festivals and in the home. Initially we sold them as decorative planters or water features. Then a chance moment one chilly night with friends, I converted my Kadai into a fire bowl to keep warm and the idea was born. A year later I added a grill, when my old barbecue fell apart, which made me realise just how brilliantly versatile they really are. Not only do they look beautiful, with their hand riveted plates and large handles, but the shape lends itself perfectly to cook on whilst chatting to friends, then you can enjoy a roaring fire long into the night.
Soon demand outstripped supply of old Kadai bowls and I set up our first workshop in Rajasthan with a family who previously had been making them for generations and still had all the old tools and skills necessary. To watch a Kadai being handmade is poetry in motion and something to behold, where a small group of men tap and shape each plate from recycled metal sheet, then rivet them together and finish with our distinctive logo.
In 2011 we won the first ever Chelsea Product of the Year Award for a small Charcoal Maker, with Prince Philip personally buying four for himself! Now we have designed and made over forty great accessories, inspired from medieval cooking methods, customer suggestions, other countries or just looking at something with a slightly different approach. So now you can grill, bake, roast, poach, smoke or just toast a marshmallow and enjoy being outside.
As we continue to evolve, it is always for the same reason: to make well made products that last and give pleasure with consideration for those who make them and for those who buy them. And yes I still travel to India regularly and love every trip as much as the first (with the exception of 2020 of course when foreign travel was not possible).
My thanks to all those who supported this seemingly crazy journey.