Who are we? I'm Shah, I run The Workshop Below with my partner Katie.. And yes, partner in business and partner in crime, so to speak (I know, it’s tough but it works) We are lucky to have a great team of 4 people who now work for us, Sam, Mitchel, Tom and Raza.
We started our business way back in 2013 making lights out of jam jars in our flat in Birmingham, sourcing materials in the UK and as local as we could, to be fair this was a bit of a side project as we both worked full time, but it quickly took off, soon we were Jam Jar lights doing trade shows and ordering pallets of Kilner jars to our flat.
As Jam jar lights we opened our first shop in 2014, on Bristol Street in Birmingham, just on the outskirts of town, where we sold our creations in store which were now made in our basement workshop. We were starting to get noticed as well, featuring on This Morning on ITV and more recently George Clarke’s Old House New Home on channel 4.
Soon our first shop became too small, we moved to a larger shop, only 5 doors away, which had more than twice the space. It was a beautiful, listed building dating back nearly 200 years, it was a corner plot and had the character and charm we wanted, it was perfect for where we trying to take the business. Crucially it had the large basement we needed for our workshop.
It was just before our shop move that we had decided to change our name to The Workshop Below, I am sure you can guess how we came up with the name……. We had a great run as Jam Jar Lights but we now did so much more than lights in jars. We started to do our own sockets and switches which we assembled in house, we cut and threaded conduit down to size and powder coated it in unique finishes that no one did, we made light up fairground letters in any colour you wanted, of course still, as we always had, sourced materials local and mostly in the UK.
We opened the new shop in April 2019 and had a great first year trading from our new location, business was going well and then the pandemic hit us all out of the blue. The first two months were bleak, the shop was closed, and everyone was on furlough except me, we were getting a couple of orders a day which was good, as long as we could get the post collected, we could continue, and we did continue, we continued to trade and continued to grow, all with the shop closed. Thank you, to all who supported us.
In the face of the last year the future is as certain as it is uncertain, the business is thriving even after the on off restrictions over the last 18 months, again thanks for supporting what we do. But what does the next year bring? I don’t think anyone can answer that question, cities are changing, retail is changing, who knows.
One thing we do know is that we will continue to bring more British made products to the market, made with sustainability and quality in mind, whether that be through our shop or website.
Sam, Mitchel, Raza and I will continue assembling and shipping your orders, Toms got the social and imagery and Katie has been quietly working behind the scenes on new website which I think has already launched, because if you are reading this, she finished it and you are now on the about us page, but anyway enough about us………..