An established Shropshire based specialist oak timber merchant and bespoke joinery company is expanding with the addition of a dedicated sales and administration coordinator.
Cheswardine based Venables Oak, the trading name of Venables Brothers Limited, has taken on Sarah Whittingham to take over the company’s growing online and telephone enquiries.
Sarah, who lives in Market Drayton, previously spent ten years as telesales team manager at stationery suppliers Lyreco.
“I feel I can make a difference at Venables”, says Sarah. “As I’m local, I’d obviously heard of Venables, and I keep my horse in the field next door to the sawmill, but I didn’t realise what a huge and varied range of product we produce, and how wide our customer base is. When I walked into the offices and felt the buzz around the place and heard fluent French being spoken I knew I wanted to work here. But more than that, I’m passionate about our product. It’s a privilege to watch our incredibly skilled joiners take something from our raw material – timber – into something of beauty and I realise I’m lucky to be involved in the selling of it. It’s wonderful to be able to walk into the sawmill in the morning and see stunning work being produced by hand that might be used in a famous restoration work, or simply someone’s kitchen – the skill and attention to detail we apply is the same.”
Sarah Whittingham with Chuck Venables
Venables Oak is currently undergoing a marketing refocus and branding. “I’d like to see Venables expanding, with more people knowing about our range of handmade furniture and joinery”, says Sarah. “We’ll be launching our new website shortly and I’m particularly glad that we have established ourselves on Social Media with a presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest. I’m look to take that forward by expanding these new marketing platforms to introduce new domestic and trade customers while looking after our existing loyal customers in more traditional ways.
“We supply oak as a raw material to trade customers all over the world, but as bespoke joiners we also supply domestic customers with single items such as handmade furniture, or made to measure doors, staircases and flooring, kitchens, garden rooms – basically, if you can make it from hardwoods, Venables do. I’d like to see more domestic customers approaching us for their interior projects rather than simply going to the chains for MDF and laminates.”
Outside of work, Sarah describes herself as a country bumpkin who likes to walk the dog and ride her horse. She’s also a rower. “I row for Ironbridge Rowing Club, in a four or eight. I’m taking part in the Women’s Head of the River Race on the Thames in March – it’s basically the Oxford – Cambridge boat race rowed backwards. I’ve just been voted the Most Improved Oarsperson in the team, so I’m pretty proud of that.”
Sarah concludes; “The Venables name stretches back into the 19th century in this area and I want to help it to continue in the 21st, using new media platforms to engage with customers new and old. The story doesn’t change, but the way we communicate it does and it’s important that we keep abreast with that.”
Chuck Venables is Director of Venables Oak and great, great grandson of Henry Venables, who started the first timber and joinery company over 150 years ago. “I’m very happy that Sarah has joined us”, says Chuck. “We are a tight and dedicated team here and with the continuing upturn in orders on both the bespoke and timber merchant sides, we needed a dedicated sales adviser to deal with our growing customer base. Sarah has great organisational and interpersonal skills and also understands modern marketing trends. As the first full time female member of the team she’ll be the friendly voice on the end of the phone but will also deal with all of our online and email enquiries, while ensuring that we engage with new markets.”