A month or so ago, I had the pleasure of working with the Westmorland Services team to film Channel 4’s A Lake District Farm Shop (made by Purple Productions).
Over the years I’ve sold various products to their shops at Tebay, Cairn Lodge, Gloucester services and the Rheged Centre. We always make a point to stop (or if my wife’s involved, plan a road trip around stopping) at their services. They are a family business with ethics and sustainability at the heart of what they do, people we are proud to be associated with.
So, as much as I might cringe at the sight of myself on TV and even more so at encouraging others to watch me sweat on primetime telly, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get some new products into these wonderful shops.
Tune in at 8.15 tonight on Channel 4 to see a slightly embarrassed, camera shy woodworker pottering around our woods and workshop!
To celebrate Hampson Woods turning TEN, we’re running a series of giveaways, the first of which starts now! We’re giving 100 spoons to 100 NHS staff – and we need your help!
If you know of someone who has been working in the NHS during the pandemic – nurses, doctors, administrators, technicians, cleaners alike, then please
go to our online shop
pop a porridge spoon in your shopping basket
complete the checkout process using coupon NHS100 (this means it will be free)
put the name and address of the NHS worker in the Shipping Details section of checkout (if you are buying other products to ship to you, include the NHS worker’s name and address in the Notes section instead)
The first 100 names we receive will get a spoon and a ‘thank you’
And remember…10% of our sales are still going to MIND, The Mental Health Charity. We’ve been giving back for nearly a year now and are continuing right through this current UK lockdown.
We’re feeling extremely grateful and a little bit old over here because 2021 marks TEN YEARS of Hampson Woods! If 2020 and the last decade taught us anything, it’s the importance of taking a moment to reflect…
From making our first humble serving board in the corner of a workshop in Hackney Central in 2011 to working the cobbles at Broadway Market and a chance encounter with a fallen London Plane tree in Russell Square, here we find ourselves ten years later having made 20,000 boards, supplied over 300 stockists worldwide, featured in a variety of wonderful galleries, architectural and interiors businesses and delicious restaurants and in thousands of homes around the world. From our first signature boards, we’ve designed over 100 products, working with hundreds of beautiful British Ash, Elm, Oak, Plane, Sweet Chestnut and Sycamore trees. And we’ve been lucky and humbled to be featured in several brilliant print, TV and online media publications over the years.
We’ve worked with like-minded arborists and timber yards up and down the UK, many of whom made huge efforts to keep us from having to use cheaper, less sustainable American or Asian timbers – believe us when we say we’ve learned a huge amount over the years from our friends at English Woodlands and many more.
We couldn’t begin to thank any of you nearly enough for your support, but we’d like to give a special shout-out and huge thanks to those who marked major milestones with us –
to e5 Bakehouse, SCP, ARTILLERIET, Conran Shop (UK, Paris, Japan), The New Craftsmen, Fortnum & Mason, Globus, John Lewis, Hawksmoor, Geoffrey Fisher, Tom Kerridge, Alex Eagle, Soho House (London, New York, Berlin), The Geffrye Museum of the Home, Hole&Corner, Ambiente, Design Week, The Guardian and Observer, The Sunday Times magazine, The Telegraph magazine, The Gentle Woman, BBC, Elle Decoration, Broadway Market, PlumRed Spaces, Sascha Gravenstein, Arthur Woodcroft Photography and Magda K Photography and many more, you know how you are… we simply wouldn’t be here without you. Thanks without end.
And as for the next ten years? We can only hope it’ll be as eventful and challenging as the first! We’ve got a sustainability plan in place, several new products in the pipeline and many more giveaways planned for this year to show our thanks. Follow HW on Instagram – we’d love to hear from you!
2020 has been… a year! We have managed to keep our workshop open throughout the pandemic and amongst Brexit uncertainties (so far). The lockdowns have given us a moment to take a breath, be grateful and plan a road ahead that reflects our gratitude.
We are so proud of the business we have built up over the last ten years. It has been our brand ethos, focusing on sustainability and our longstanding relationships – the boutique shops, department stores, galleries, pop-ups, websites, restaurants and countless individuals – which have kept us standing during difficult times.
We never would have thought way back in 2011 when we had the idea of putting provenance before profit that we’d still be one of the only brands in the UK designing and making by hand in Britain with local sustainable materials. We feel very proud to have made 20,000 boards without ever having to compromise on quality or our ethos.
But there’s always room to do better. We’ve been taking time to reflect on what we can do in 2021 and beyond to keep going, hopefully for another ten years. We’ve made a HW sustainability plan, and we’ve made a commitment to continue to give back as much and as often as we can to causes that help make our world more inclusive and equal.
We also want to do more to support the amazing businesses and social enterprises up and down the UK and around the world that are making well-made, sustainable products the norm. We’d like to celebrate these organisations more – and we hope you’ll continue to join us on our journey to tread lightly and to support others pushing our community to do better, too.
Over the last decade we’ve worked hard to ensure our business treads as lightly on our planet as we can. From our suppliers, the provenance of the wood we work in small batches, the energy we use to run our workshop, through to the materials used to package each product, sustainability is our priority. Here’s a little update on where we are with our sustainability journey.
We’re proud to work with a network of local suppliers, from micro sawmills down the road to timber yards with a shared ethos, and within our own woodland to ensure our products are made with responsibly-sourced local timber.
Provenance, fallen trees and off-cuts
Since we made our first board back in 2011 and for the 20,000 boards we’ve made since, we’ve known the provenance of every single piece of wood that’s come through our workshop and we’ve shared the provenance of every product we’ve sold to the person who bought it. Several products like our spoons were born from the off-cuts of our signature boards.
From using fallen London Plane trees to reincarating English Ash with dieback and using Sycamore felled to make way for mighty English Oaks, we’ve focused our business around using timber in the most sustainable way we can.
Workshop and packaging
We’ve made great strides in making our workshop/studio space more eco-friendly, too. We’ve planted trees and built re-wilding zones to give local wildlife habitats around our workshop and woodland.
And we’re pleased to say that as of last year, our packaging is 100% recyclable, biodegradable and plastic free.
The next ten years…
But the work is ongoing – in this, our eleventh year, we are building an eco-friendly studio/workshop extension that will run off of energy sourced from solar, wind, water and our woodland. We’re working with The Forestry Commission on a long term woodland management plan to improve wildlife populations and plant hundreds of new trees over the next ten years. And we have new off-cut inspired products in the pipeline, too, so watch this space…
Our goal always has always been to give back more than we take.
It’s difficult to know what to say at a time when there is so much uncertainty and suffering alongside what feels like an overload of new information. Like many of you, we are taking time to reflect and consider our place in this world – what it is and what it can be.
We are pleased to be exhibiting at Europe’s biggest trade fair from Friday 7th to Tuesday 11th of February 2020. Located in the Kitchen Trends Hall 1.1 stand D08 – if you’re at the event, please come say hi!
Looking for an eco-friendly gift that will last for years to come? We’ve got a few ideas for you!
HW products are designed and handmade in Britain using sustainable materials. And the provenance of every piece of timber we work with is written on the product tag, so you know where the tree once stood.
Most orders will ship next day (UK first class post)* using recyclable packaging.
Thank you for supporting small, local business!
The stocking stuffer Our porridge spoons will last for many winters to come! Made from elm or london plane, these spoons are the perfect utensil for stirring porridge, making jam or flipping an egg.
For the chef What better way to thank your favourite cook than with an HW end grain board? Made by hand with beautiful Ash, it will brighten any kitchen and bedeck a festive table for many years to come!
We have decided to bring to an end our Saturday trading on the Broadway Market cobbles.
After 7 wonderful years of touting our wares and making many friends each Saturday, we feel the time is right to shift our focus to the areas of business that are growing most – our online shop and our continued work with design shops, stylists and restaurants in the UK, Europe and abroad.
As exciting as this new phase of Hampson Woods is, we will miss our little East London market stall! It has been a great way to connect with people (you!) – it’s given us a space to meet fellow craft and interiors lovers and makers, informed us as to what customers want from wooden wares, given us an amazing foundation and inspired the work we love to create and sell for people’s homes.
Although I’ve personally manned the stall on many a Saturday, we have been lucky to have some amazing reps too – without them it wouldn’t have been possible and we’ll always be grateful.
A florist, a few musicians, a comedian, a nurse, a photographer, a charity worker and many others making their way in London, we have had the most amazing, charming and entertaining members of staff – a huge, heartfelt T H A N KY O U to each of you who has lugged the trolley early on a Saturday morning for us.
For centuries, outdoor markets have been a great way to connect a local community – so although our workshop has spread far north of our original tiny corner of Hackney Central, and our attention now further afield on new projects, we will always be proud to have been part of the East London community of makers. We certainly won’t forget how important it has been for shaping, growing and sustaining Hampson Woods these last 9 years…and for the next many more to come!
I’m looking forward to visiting Broadway Market with my shopper’s hat on, and continue to be inspired by its many talented and creative stall holders.
To move on in style, we will be trading the next three Saturdays in July with a whopper of a sale on all of our market stock – many unique pieces as well as our regular designs will be substantially discounted, so if you’re in the market for wedding presents, birthday gifts or an upgrade in your own home, come and see us this July. We will also be giving out discount vouchers for our online products through to the end of the summer. Matthew will continue to run things for the coming 2 weeks (the 6th and 13th of July) and I will man the stall on our closing day of the 20th July.
We hope those of you Saturday stall regulars will continue to support us through our online shop, newsletter, Instagram, our Monthly Drops and the retailers we proudly supply. We are planning some exciting one-off events in London and elsewhere and would love to stay in touch so we can share our news with you!
A couple of weeks ago we were asked to be part of the upcoming BBC CountryFile episode airing this Sunday 15th April 19:00. We couldn’t quite believe it and are pleased to be part of this wonderful programme featuring a variety of Cumbrians doing a variety of things!
We had a fine time hanging out with the BBC film crew, speaking with CountryFile host Helen Skelton about our love of the British countryside and our recent workshop move to the Lake District.
A pretty surreal day all in all (NOT a usual day at the office!), we walked through our ancient woodland and the workshop in our old stone barn with Helen and the crew, discussing the inspiration and peace we get from being in nature, the importance of managing the woodland that sustains our home and workshop and the British trees that started our first ever Hampson Woods foraged product back in 2011 – our Lakeland Oak Coasters.
These slivers-of-a-tree coasters were originally sold by Jonty at a market stall and the business grew from there – it set the brand’s ethos of reducing waste and making by hand, and was the start of our obsession with provenance, our commitment to only using wood if we knew where it had grown.
It’s nice to know where your product once had its roots!
Without giving too much away, Kolli walked the crew through the process of finishing one of our serving boards – never has a board been so lovingly oiled – and Helen had a go at making her very own HW board from a lovely bit of Cumbrian Ash from Penrith. Hopefully she’ll come back for a job!
It was lovely to be in the company of likeminded folks and to speak with Emma Love about our experience building Hampson Woods and finding a place in the market where we are able to create beautiful, handmade homewares with good quality British timbers – properly made, long-lasting products – at an accessible price.
At times when it seems as though the shelves of our retail shops are filled with disposable, poorly made products built for profit, it is comforting to know that there are more makers and craftspeople giving consumers an alternative – and that there is a group of people interested in supporting the work of those of us who are mad enough to take on the challenge!
Recently Hampson Woods founder, Jonty Hampson, was asked to be part of the I’m a Maker Because interview series on the American-based website Makerviews.com
Scott Mathson asked Jonty a couple of questions about his experience setting up and running HW – What inspires you to make things? What advice would you give other makers? Head over to Makerviews.com to check out what he said and to read the wide range of interviews from makers and crafts people doing what they love.