Coniston Stonecrafts (and their workshops) are comfortably nested at a mountain’s foot in the Lake District. The brand creates hand-crafted house signs, clocks, cheese boards, place mats, rolling pins and other kitchen pieces from slate quarried down the road.
Coniston Stonecrafts derives their slate from local quarries, and their power comes from a hydroelectric station on Church Beck, just 100 yards away.
The company refuses to use oil to cool their machines, and they prefer to divert mines beck and use the cold fell water to cool their machines, making their slates far more tactile and clean felt as well.
They also use recycled packaging, and source their double-walled cardboard from two local bike shops and cloth swatches from a cotton dealer in greater Manchester.
Brendan Donnelly turned the business around just 19 days before the first COVID lockdown in March 2020, and he bought the long-standing slate company out of administration.
Standing since 1976, he drove up the online sales, and orders boomed – resulting in the company hiring two more apprentices to cope with the success. Now, the business is sending hand-carved bookends to customers all the way in New York.
For most of his life, Brendan worked in sales, and prior to buying Coniston Stonecrafts, he owned a franchise in the Midlands – selling cleaning chemical products. But, his ambitions sat elsewhere, and he was more interested in acquiring a business in Cumbria, preferably in the manufacturing sector, and Coniston ticked the boxes.
Brendan bought the business back from 12-year-long-owner, Alex Robinson – who decided to sell, as he was recovering from cancer, and he refocused the business to work collaboratively with their customers, offering them the option to design what they wished for, and trusted Coniston to create it for them.
Brendan proudly said: ‘we have recently been awarded a green small business accreditation, and we have been so busy that we have taken on two apprentices, and our order book is full.’
The business was also running finalist in the In-Cumbria Business Awards in 2020.
You can find out more here: https://conistonstonecrafts.co.uk