Venables Oak is based in Chipnall near Market Drayton, Shropshire. The company was started by the present owners, brothers Chuck and Paul Venables but the name forms an unbroken link with the brothers ’ great-great grandfather Henry Venables and dates back over 150 years. The business has two established divisions, one dealing with the supply of European oak and selected hardwoods and the other offering bespoke manufacture of joinery, including doors, windows, staircases, furniture and kitchens. Venables Oak is the UK’s leading supplier of European oak and oak products, and has supplied many high profile projects with oak, from custom built private houses to oak wedding pavilions.
Chuck and Paul Venables have both spent their whole lives working with oak and are experts in wood.
“We live, eat and sleep what we do, but it’s easy to lose sight of how much business communication has changed in the last five years”, says Chuck, managing director. “We have a client list reaching back decades and much of our work, particularly on the timber supply side, is still by word of mouth and telephone. That’s fine and we will continue to support this fully. But with the bespoke joinery and supply of oak for building side, we want to reach out to private and domestic clients who are looking for something different or individual. We can offer a complete joinery package for a new house or refurbishment including windows, doors, staircases, flooring and kitchens, from the same craftsmen who have worked on our high profile restoration projects.
“New publishing media such as Twitter and LinkedIn give us the opportunity to share news of our latest projects and ranges and visual media such as Pinterest offers us an online showcase to reach out to a much wider and younger audience, for example, new homeowners who are looking for real craftsmanship and individuality that can be applied to their personal specifications and designs.
“Our trading site is always extremely busy and although at the end of the day, most of our clients pick up the phone to talk things through, they still have the ability to check our stock and order online for speed if they wish – that stays the same, but the website will be enhanced. Many of our contemporaries use social media now and it’s clear that it’s another effective marketing tool. We’ve had some staff changes recently and we want to assure our clients that the level of service and expertise remains the same.
“Embracing trends in social media means customers can follow what we’re up to, see new products and learn about new contracts. We can’t replicate the scent of freshly planed hardwood or the feel of a turned oak balustrade – yet! – but we can tempt our audience with descriptions and images of our beautiful products and keep them informed on new projects and the services and skills we offer.
“At Venables Oak we’re proud of our heritage. Our craftspeople have worked on many inspiring projects over the years and examples can be seen on our website. This level of excellence is available to all of our customers so we’d like to share this more – we’re part of a long and great tradition of English bespoke joiners and furniture makers and our catalogue of projects is testimony to that skill.
“Venables is here to show, using new marketing platforms, that centuries-old skills are behind some of the most contemporary craftsmanship and at Venables, we’re still leading the way.”