We've been called many things whilst we've frequented these humble dwellings. The old boys who work in the wood shop adorn their battered overalls and steel toe boots simply don't get it, on occasion they do show signs of charm (mainly towards Tor -me not so much).
It isn't just the old boys on the yard either, we were recently called 'cagey' by one of our own customers and that's the one that stuck in my mind. Cagey, perhaps out of necessity rather than choice, but for good reason fortunately, let me explain.
Our space is 25 x 8 feet. It is our office, our warehouse, our design studio, the workshop, then the photography white screen also, occasionally the meeting room.
It leaks when it rains and wobbles when its windy, its 35 degrees in the summer. In winter, it's minus 10 below the knees and a 45 degree steam room at head height.
None of those reasons are why we're 'cagey' though. As much as we would love to have a beautiful retail space and workshop to show off our products, meet customers and convert vans. Being on a commercial yard, our insurance simply wont allow us to have 'retail customers.' Turning away physical customers with the 'you can still buy it online' response is painful and understandably the reason for our guy to use the phrase cagey.
The beauty of online retail on the other hand is being able to hide behind a shiny website for a minimal outlay. We haven't tried to hide our humble cabin from view, we feel we have actually embraced it. I have a rough idea of how S+S appears on social media and computer screens and we feel our customer perhaps enjoys supporting a genuine, in the trenches style start up, maybe they gloss over that fact? Either way, changes are afoot.
Containers and container living has always intrigued us here, I believe shipping containers share a common thread in more ways than one with vans and van life. Containers being modular and being built to a commercial grade. They are robust structures with no foundations, customisable and purposeful in the sheer nature of application.
The idea for a staggered and teared mini container structure suited STITCHES + STEEL and fitted the brands DNA whilst being affordable and expandable to some extent.
We have a personal affinity for architecture and design here at S+S and after three years of solitary portacabin life the prospect of designing, frequenting and finally inviting customers to come to touch and feel the products, meet us in person and sip coffee is a very big moment for us.
The new setup comprises of three used 20ft shipping containers stacked in a tiered configuration, we have worked closely with the local companies, the timber joinery on the yard in particular who are producing windows, doors, cladding along with a lean-to workshop setup that will eventually adorn and soften the rather agricultural exterior of our current battle ship.
So far we've dug and levelled the foundations, had the containers delivered and painted them. All we've got so far is a stark intimidating looking structure however, we assure you the plans are much grander. We will be keeping the blog posts coming with this project as we feel our 'boots in the sand' coverage of this project may inspire others to take a similar leap into this creative and affordable studio /workshop setup.
Exciting / nervy times ahead...ONWARD!