Would you believe it? We are celebrating our 40th birthday!

We’re celebrating 40 years of British Design & Manufacturing this month, having first started out building pine beds and furniture from our workshop on Chart Farm in September 1980.

Shortly after, the team responded to a request for some kitchen furniture, with our first product known locally as The Wooden Kitchen. This was to be the beginning of a long lasting love affair with bespoke designs and high quality, door in-frame cabinetry.

We spoke to our Managing Director, John Stephens, to hear his thoughts on this memorable occassion…

“To reach our 40th birthday is a huge milestone and a credit to everyone involved with the business. As you may expect, there have been ups and downs along the way. We’ve navigated through recessions, we’ve won awards, we’ve installed kitchens for celebrities, some of our furniture has ventured abroad, and, of course, most recently we’ve had to adapt to the challenges caused by the coronavirus. Yet we are still here, we remain strong, and I am proud of the excellent reputation we have established both locally and within the wider industry.”

What is the secret to Rencraft’s longevity? John reflects “For me, it’s about striking the right balance. We may sell kitchens, but we don’t consider ourselves to be sales people. We’re designers and manufacturers and we take pride in what we do. Sure, our business may have grown since 1980, but we’ve always been careful to keep sight of who we are. Even today, we hold true to the values that were at the heart of the company when it first began. Never compromising on the quality of our product or the personal approach to what we do.”

That personal approach is apparent from the moment you walk through the doors at Chart Farm (Yes, we are still based here, with our workshops housed in the same converted cowshed we first started out in – albeit a slightly extended version!) Clients are welcome to visit the workshop, and you may even find yourself speaking directly to ‘the boss’ as John can often be found sketching designs, conducting site visits or helping in the workshop.

In addition to our Chart Farm home, we also opened a second showroom in Tunbridge Wells in 1985. In preparation for our 40th year, our three storey showroom on Calverley Road has recently been refurbished to showcase our three product lines – Rencraft Bespoke, The Modular Kitchen and SieMatic by Rencraft.

How else will Rencraft be celebrating? “We had talked about a big party”, says John, “But with everything that’s happened this year with lockdown and Covid, we’ve reconsidered. Instead, we will be having a small celebration with the team followed by a series of events and announcements over the coming 12 months. I can’t give too much away, but I’m really excited about the year ahead!”

John’s excitement and enthusiasm for the business is backed up by a strong work ethic that has stood Rencraft in good stead. He adds “This isn’t some overnight success story, and nor would I want it to be. It’s about learning and evolving as a company, building strong relationships, both with our clients and our partners, and always having pride in each and every piece of furniture that we produce. It’s about innovative design backed up by good, honest British craftsmanship. Designs that stand the test of time. As long as we can keep doing that, then I’m confident that 40 really is just the beginning.”

Find out more about our story and the history of Rencraft here.