Some of you may recall a while back, me writing about a development with this site.
The idea is to create an opportunity for shops and businesses to offer an insight into the business, more so than they might be able to glean from a website. More of a light hearted overview than a dry news story. This is the first.
Rob – So where is Shire Archery based?
Trevor – We are exclusively online at the moment but are looking to change that in the near future. I am a few miles north of my home town- Chesterfield famed for its bustling market and Church Spire which is both twisted and bent! It is a good spot to live being close to the Peak District National Park and having the ‘Dukeries’ on my door step, which are contiguous and include Sherwood Forest- famed for a certain Mr. Hood. All in all I feel rather lucky to live here, so the opportunity to welcome customers to the area I am enthusiastic about.
Rob – So readers might like to know about you or the business in general? How long have you been doing what you do?
Trevor – About 13 years now including the official opening. I had shot and had some experience early on but my first real taste of Traditional archery came in the summer of 2003. I was living and working with a blacksmith just outside of Budapest. He had four Hungarian bows made totally out of wood, horn & sinew laminate. He had made them himself as a deep interest in his cultural heritage. As you can imagine being English and romancing the Longbow we had a lot to talk about. One warm evening whilst he was tending to the fruit trees beside his workshop, he went inside and along with two beers, brought the bows for us to shoot… I was hooked.
Rob – What a great way to start a journey into archery.
Rob – How did the business get started? Was it a hobby that grew into a business or maybe, a family business?
Trevor – I had worked as a blacksmith in Wales after University for about 5 years traveling back and forth around Europe and the UK, I met some amazing people, skilled and incredibly welcoming. So I took the idea of operating a ‘craft business’ seriously from 1st hand experience of its highs and lows. With a wealth of knowledge and contacts I did not realize i had at the time I started to lay the foundations for my own endeavour in 2008 whilst working for a local engineering company.
Local archers and people from all over had contacted me throughout that time on recommendation to make arrows or source hard to find materials, so I took the plunge with Shire Archery opening as a business in March 2012. It took everything I had and then some, but it has been worth it.
Rob – I always think that launching your own business is incredibly brave but if it’s something you love and feel passionate about then go for it.
Trevor – I will tell you a little secret- made the phone call to register on a windy day in Edinburgh from The Doric Tavern, a pint of Ale in front of me, with the realization of the enormity of what I was about to do.
Rob – If that had been me I think it would have been a large single malt. Please carry on.
Trevor – I wanted to create a workshop space to carry on making, with a specialist web shop & physical sales space, all for the traditional archer from the ground up.
Rob – So is it a one man show or a team of archery enthusiastic people behind the scenes?
Trevor – It’s just me at the moment but I have a really good team around me I can call upon, whom I trust in their own specialisms be it technical, photography or administrative support, they have been absolutely essential to the business as it quickly grew beyond my original plan and expectations. I am always doing something so it certainly keeps me busy; I can only dream of a day spent chewing the fat with customers and drinking more coffee than is good for me.
Rob – Sounds great. It might be worth explaining the range of products you sell, whether you manufacture them yourself? The hobby or sport of archery is incredibly diverse, from target to field, traditional to very technical Olympic set ups.
Trevor – The product side of things is pure Trad and I have no plans to change that. It has expanded in range and scope to well over 200 core items with more expected. The choice goes beyond the usual stock of wooden shafts, fletchings, arrow heads and equipment for the archer. Although this is an essential solid base we also stock many archery related items of kit, gifts, supply hard to find natural materials and make arrows on request.We also take a lot of pre-orders and special requests which I am happy to see if we can help with.
I am always searching for interesting products or crafts people who would like mutual support- I would like to expand the bow side of things next.
Rob – Do you see yourself as a specialist in one area and if so why did you specialize?
Trevor – I do yes my personal interest and background is in the Trad and crafts side of things, so I lean heavily in that direction, product quality is paramount to me so I don’t sell anything I am not happy to use myself. It is not that I am not interested in the modern stuff its amazing to be honest and the technical side of it astonishing. It’s just not ‘my cup of tea’ and as a business I want to be concise in what we offer and what we do.
Rob – Where do you see yourself fitting in?
Trevor – We aren’t the biggest but we are certainly trying hard to be up there with the best in our niche. No one, not even the big pro-shops can stock everything in every conceivable variation there is just to much choice and its always changing. I have no interest in expanding so much so that it becomes ‘just a job’ or that I feel like I have become a slave to it. I love archery and that is something shared by our customers. The support out there from the traditional archery community has been amazing and I can only say thank you, as without it we would not exist.
Rob – What’s the appeal to you?
Trevor – The modern notion that items which are made by hand are cruder, quaint, expensive or inferior compared to those that are mass manufactured or branded I find utterly bizarre.
Rob – Where’s the Love! The time! The passion!
Trevor – The real appeal beyond working for myself is ‘seein folk rayt’ as they say around here, our customers span the whole gambit of traditional d archery (http://shirearchery.co.uk/traditional-archery) and are international, being able to either help them out or supply them with something they value in our shared passion is the driver for me
If I had to have a simple mission statement for ‘Shire Archery’ that summarizes all this it would be-
Trevor – “Raising the Profile of Trad-Archery”
Rob – thanks Trevor
I sincerely hope you find continuing success with both the business and your archery. I’m sure this article will help to increase people’s awareness of Shire Archery.
For those wanting to to contact Trevor Lilley at Shires Archery here are their details.
Website – http://www.shirearchery.co.uk/
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone – 01246 477119 / 07581726161
Thanks for reading