Doug Farleigh Kitchens – Transforming Spaces, Inspired Designs
Keeping the faith in a roller coaster 12 months
Can you relate to the ups and downs of this business journey..?
Doug Farleigh Kitchens is driven by going above and beyond to make a difference.
Over 12 months, everything in the business was put on the kitchen table, shaped and purposefully developed, inspired by a clear definition of what success for this business looks like.
Being ‘High Calibre’ was the vision; a business run from a prestigious office with a professional team, with increasing experience in their chosen field.
What happened; at the end of 2020…
In the middle of a lockdown, the business had previously evolved over 5 years, shaped by Doug’s experience in building and narrowed down to designing 5-Star kitchens. The best.
Starting by himself from home, designing, fitting, and outsourcing where necessary, doing this in the day, and working on in the evenings.
His wife Jayne joined the business, bringing a different perspective. Doug said; ‘We wore different hats, disagreed, and arrived at loggerheads as to how to move the business forward.
The lockdown forced a change, less fitting, and trusting letting go, with 4 guys, Doug in reserve, and stepping in when required. The Issue was, he came from a doer background, not a manager background.
“It was like being in bubble, I was unable to switch off for family time. The office and roles were muddled, not organised, and thrown into the mix was home schooling”.
It still felt like a new business after 5 years – and it was not ok to carry on this way. Time for thinking about the next phase…
Based on the experience gained over 5 years, Doug and Jayne created a clear destination for what a successful business life looked like for them.
Jayne said ‘my thoughts came out in language, creating the clarity’.
It felt like an exciting time to fine tune a business that had evolved by default, ready to now shape and design – like their high-end kitchens.
The driver was ‘going above and beyond – kitchens for people to fall in love with’.
And there was lots to do, starting with a 3 month focus, labelled ‘Streamlining the processes’, which had evolved by default, and training themselves to be organised.
A quick win was stripping out the home office, the shoes and coats tidied! Creating a clearer office environment.
Then working on weekly routines, rather than feeling like passing ships, prioritising time for meetings on issues becoming urgent.
It initially felt like a treadmill, the business at capacity, with the brakes on for any more design appointments, combined with home schooling and Jayne working at night on her paintings for exhibitions.
The next anxious, but exciting step, was a 3 month focus entitled ‘Building the Team’, starting with taking on a suitable designer to begin outsourcing work.
Then the brakes came off again – we need to find work for the new designer!
And they became very frustrated at how the business was running, Jayne feeling undervalued and underpaid, and making time for a business meeting on their wedding anniversary.
Shortly after, Jayne decided to step out of the business. “I realised I like meeting people, and was only doing the quoting for this purpose. The business was controlling our home life, which was not healthy or comfortable”.
The structure had served its purpose in getting the business to where it was so far.
This caused a breakthrough step. Doug found an ideal office to move in to for 2-3 people, and took on the first part time employee to help take over the admin from Jayne – separating the business and home life, which immediately felt lighter.
It was the right time for this, and the business progressed with velocity – in one week Doug had all of this on his plate;
- Speaking to a new accountant
- Moving in and out of the new office for decorating
- Covid & home schooling back again
- Processing urgent orders
- Dealing with problems with suppliers
- Organising a new software licence
- A tech guy switching over to Office 365
- Office plants
- An ‘Indeed’ advert for a new a specialist fitter
- And his new admin lady starting next Monday!
It was exceptionally busy, with unsustainable 4am starts and silly mistakes. “It’s shit, I hate it!” was Doug’s verdict. “Really tough – but deep down it feels good”.
Some epic fine tuning!
Helped by some sunrise therapy bike rides on Dartmoor to clear the head – until it finally felt like we were getting there.
The Outcome, the start of 2022;
A fresh start with a new team in a good office environment with capacity to attract and process the high calibre work we wanted with supplier options, plus an improved healthier diet.
A transformation of the business in 1 year – all the experience coming together.
Doug said; “Although it has been a real slog at times and very stressful, it has always been moving in the right direction.
I am exceptionally pleased to be where I am now and looking forward to a more settled stage in my life and work.
There will always be fine-tuning to do, but it is a relief to reach a point where I am comfortable to just knuckle down to some steady, high-quality work with my new team”.
When the going gets tough, it takes an empowering context – or a bloody good reason why, with a powerful vision – to come through the challenges for the rewards on the other side.