MY COUN­TRY BUSI­NESS

Light­ing de­signer, Emily But­ter­ill

Country Homes & Interiors - - THE HOME OF MODERN COUNTRY -

Emily But­ter­ill cre­ates tai­lor­made light­ing so­lu­tions from her work­shop near Har­ro­gate

‘Light­ing is in my blood,’ says north york­shire-based emily but­ter­ill.

‘my par­ents owned a com­mer­cial light­ing com­pany and my hus­band mike also owns one. i guess it was my destiny. i love how light­ing can be used in so many ways to trans­form a space.’ but emily’s path to own­ing her own light­ing busi­ness took a few turns along the way.

As a teenager, emily loved mu­sic and drama and be­gan a per­form­ing arts de­gree with mu­sic, but didn’t com­plete it. Her fa­ther, Philip Ap­p­le­yard, ran com­mer­cial light­ing com­pany trac, but when emily left uni­ver­sity, she didn’t want to work for the fam­ily busi­ness. Her fa­ther per­suaded her to work at trac for the sum­mer, which emily did and loved, so she stayed per­ma­nently.

emily gained a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in ev­ery as­pect of the busi­ness – she did tele­sales, pro­duc­tion, pur­chas­ing and ran the sales of­fice. then her fa­ther be­came ill and the light­ing in­dus­try started to change, mov­ing from high in­ten­sity dis­charge light­ing to LED. ‘in the com­mer­cial area, it was very hard to change to LED, and dif­fi­cult as a british man­u­fac­turer,’ says emily.

Philip, who was the driv­ing force be­hind trac, didn’t want to move to over­seas sup­pli­ers and the busi­ness started to fail, go­ing into ad­min­is­tra­tion in septem­ber

2013. sadly, Philip died three months later. ‘We didn’t want to con­tinue the busi­ness with­out him,’ says emily.

emily then faced a dilemma, ca­reer-wise. ‘i had three chil­dren to sup­port – os­car, now 16, Ja­cob, now 12, and Wil­liam, now seven. i’ve al­ways worked and i didn’t know what to do. i was in tur­moil, too, as Dad had died.’ so in 2014, emily em­barked on an ac­cess course at uni­ver­sity and was ac­cepted to do a mid­wifery de­gree.

be­fore she started, how­ever, she went to the Home Fair at the birm­ing­ham nec. ‘i’ve al­ways loved in­te­ri­ors and ren­o­vated houses. i had an epiphany mo­ment at the fair – i was hooked on light­ing and i knew about its com­po­nents. Light­ing was what i knew. i rang up mike and said i wanted to start my own light­ing busi­ness. i had learnt so much while work­ing for my dad and also when the busi­ness went into ad­min­is­tra­tion.

‘i be­gan con­tact­ing lo­cal sup­pli­ers such as wood turn­ers and metal pressers in sum­mer 2015 and then started Glow Light­ing. the com­pany’s name came about be­cause in my early years work­ing in the com­mer­cial light­ing in­dus­try, we al­ways called

‘Be­ing my own Boss is def­i­nitely the Best thing! i can work around the chil­dren, which is re­ally im­por­tant, and take an af­ter­noon off if i need to’

light­bulbs lamps, not bulbs. My col­league al­ways used to say “bulbs grow, lamps glow”, and it stuck with me. I love the idea of our light­ing glow­ing in­side our clients’ homes.’

Emily used a lo­cal com­pany, Bronco, to cre­ate her web­site, but she didn’t have an on­line shop at first. ‘I sold through no­ton­the­high­street.com, which I still do. I wanted to cre­ate good-qual­ity British light­ing – that’s the busi­ness’s USP. I tai­lor­make light­ing to peo­ple’s taste and if

I can’t do it, I’ll find some­one who can.’

Emily shares a work­shop with Mike. ‘We work well along­side each other,’ she says.

‘I started get­ting or­ders through from Septem­ber 2015. I de­cided I wanted to en­joy the busi­ness with­out feel­ing un­der too much pres­sure, so I slowly built it up. I love do­ing be­spoke work, as it has helped me de­velop new prod­ucts and move for­ward. I got some of my prod­ucts into Cox & Cox and into the emerg­ing de­sign­ers’ sec­tion at Red­brick Mill, near Bat­ley. We have had bril­liant sup­port from lo­cal busi­nesses and stock­ists such as The Light House in Har­ro­gate and The Lite Spot in Barns­ley. Peo­ple also just come and knock on our work­shop door. I work closely with an elec­tri­cal con­trac­tor so we can carry out in­stal­la­tions, too.’

The busi­ness has grown or­gan­i­cally, with Emily start­ing an on­line shop in De­cem­ber 2015. ‘I haven’t re­ally done Face­book or Google ads, as I wanted a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion,’ she says. Such has been her suc­cess that she has taken on a col­league, Ned Yates, to help her. ‘We de­sign the light­ing and bring in com­po­nents – most of which are British made, as my ethos is made in Bri­tain. We of­fer a be­spoke and a stan­dard range, both of which are made to or­der and can be turned around in a few days.’

The creative el­e­ment is one of the things that Emily loves most about the busi­ness. ‘I visit peo­ple and give them ideas about their space and how to ac­cen­tu­ate it.

Light­ing is a great way to set the tone of a room. For in­stance, in a kitchen you have var­i­ous types of light­ing: there’s task light­ing, which is work­able light, such as down­lights used for cook­ing ar­eas. Ac­cent light­ing is used to high­light spe­cific fea­tures, such as art­work, and am­bi­ent light­ing cre­ates a mood or at­mos­phere in a room. Us­ing pen­dant lights with warm bulbs is lovely in a space for eat­ing or en­ter­tain­ing. Hav­ing your light­ing on dim­mers is an­other way to get the mood just right.

‘I love be­ing my own boss. I can work around the chil­dren, which is re­ally im­por­tant. I can work on a Sun­day if

I need to and take a Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon off for the chil­dren.’

Emily de­sign­ing a lamp in her work­shop

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