Neil Stevenson started his business in domestic garage back in 1984, but his dream to work with and craft beautiful furniture began even further back. Neil discovered his passion for furniture making in a traditional Staffordshire chair makers whilst still attending school.
After completing his A Levels, Neil went on to study Fine Craftsmanship and Design which marked his true beginnings into a long career in furniture design and craftmanship. Neil’s determination to work with wood is evidenced in his journey over the past 35 years.
Many of us have felt the uncertainty and insecurities that come with taking the path less travelled in order to obtain our dream careers or livelihoods and this business owner truly represents what can be achieved if you keep reaching for your dreams.
After completing his qualifications, Neil gained experience working with a number of furniture makers but encountered more obstacles. Finding himself unemployed and back living with his parents, Neil started to think about the possibility of working for himself.
His parents recognised Neil’s drive and determination to work with furniture and so, in January 1984 his father gave him the keys to his garage and £1000 to get some machinery. Neil’s parents did not have money to waste and he describes this major investment of their savings as a huge demonstration of their faith in him. Buying himself a 12-inch DeWalt planer/thicknesser, a DeWalt Radial arm saw, an orbital sander and an Elu router, Neil got to work. It was a rough start; finding suppliers was difficult and discussions with the bank manager painful. But, despite the odds, Neil continued to push past these challenges, turning his parents’ investment into a success.
Creating unique bespoke pieces of furniture for each client is at the heart of NEJ Stevenson’s’ founding principles and runs through the core of how this company operates. Without much advertising required, Neil and his team have been able to successfully capture the attention
of clients across the UK and internationally including the Royal Household. Gaining new business through recommendations and working with interior designers, architectural practises and building contractors the team at NEJ Stevenson work closely with each client to create one off designs that satisfy their every requirement. Making it a personal venture to produce artwork for the home and ensuring excellence in every bespoke design, NEJ Stevenson offer something truly exceptional.
At the top end of bespoke furniture, the requirements to work in multiple materials has pushed the company to establish ever more complex supply chains but always with a focus on the environment and sustainability. At least half the company’s supplies are sourced within a 50-mile radius of their workshops and there is an on-going programme of green improvements such as solar cells and air-source heat pumps.
We asked the team how the pandemic has affected the business and to their good fortune, it has only brought forward a renovation for the offices and workshop space. With staff members working from home, it has freed the space to begin development earlier than anticipated. Enquiries and orders have never been stronger with many owners looking to improve their environment and fill their home offices and living spaces with one off pieces of furniture, it is no wonder that NEJ Stevenson continues to grow.
The future of NEJ Stevenson sees the expansion of their office spaces and further development of the workshops to add an additional CNC router. Whilst this development may be ahead of schedule, it is a core belief for the team and board of directors at NEJ Stevenson that they are striving to be the best rather than the biggest.
Growth is seen in terms of quality and excellence and that is what can be guaranteed from both the experience of working with the team at NEJ Stevenson and the bespoke products they produce.