Having left King Edward VI school aged 16, Simon started at The Dartington Trust owned Staverton Joinery in July 1987. He began his apprenticeship in French Polishing there in 1988. During the three years of his apprenticeship he attended South Devon College to gain Craft and Advanced Craft in painting and decorating, passing with triple distinctions. He completed his apprenticeship in 1991. During the summer months of 1991 he worked for South Hams District Council as a gardener at Follaton House Gardens. In September he attended the first full-time traditional signwriting course at South Devon College and went on to a second year to achieve another set of triple distinctions.
While attending his City & Guilds course at South Devon College, Simon set up a very small workshop in his parent’s garden shed to restore furniture for local small businesses and provide a polishing service for local bespoke cabinet makers.
Simon opened the doors on the first Gilboy’s workshop at the Riverside in Staverton with financial and mentoring help from The Prince’s Trust.
Will Arscott joins the business as an apprentice restorer, goes on to become our head restorer and stays for 20 years.
Having outgrown the small workshop at Riverside, Simon seized the opportunity to move to larger premises based at Riverford Farm. The new workshops offered much more space, a dedicated office and the potential to create an antiques showroom in the barn next door.
Work was completed on 11th July. The new custom-designed building has a bigger workshop, office, dedicated spray-room, a showroom with a mezzanine level and is all completely solar-powered. For Simon the biggest benefit is being located directly beside the South Devon Steam Railway – as you may have noticed from frequent appearances of the steam trains in the ‘How To’ videos on our YouTube channel.
The pictures below chart the renovation of the building:
Archie joined the business and started his restoration apprenticeship the following January.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs recognised our beeswax furniture polish as a unique product and awarded us with tax relief for continued Research and Development over a three year period.
It was a great honour to be asked to demonstrate how our attention to ‘the little things’ has driven our success by one of the most exciting brands in the world today. We must be doing something right!
Read Simon’s blog about the whole experience.
To make it easier for customers to buy everything they need to professionally polish their furniture we introduced our polishing kits. Our kits contain the same ‘0000’ grade wire wool we use to apply our beeswax polish to furniture, the same cotton buffing cloth and a block of pure beeswax that we use to repair scratches and dinks before polishing.
Amazon’s Choice is a popular feature on the marketplace. Sellers are keen to get this badge and hopefully make improved sales. It’s basically Amazon’s recommendation of what to buy. It is especially related to Prime items as it was first designed as a service for Alexa to help shoppers easily find the best items to buy. It launched in 2015 to promote highly rated, well-priced products ready to ship immediately for the most popular searches on Amazon.
Gilboy’s wins Best Rural Manufacturing Business 2018/19 at the Rural Business Awards (South West).