"Our customers get really excited when the box gets delivered as they know that each month has a new theme ranging from laid-back florals to funky-fun flamingos."
Danielle Stanley formed her business, Under the Rowan Trees when she decided to leave teaching after the birth of her son Rowan to create a better work life balance. The business, which was run from her dining table was named after the two Rowan trees at the bottom of her garden in Heddon on the Wall from which she hung a hammock and considered it to be her “happy place.”
Sadly, a severe storm brought down one of the trees but now, her brand-new garden office and stationery store is located on the same site maintaining her happy place.
Originally Danielle started selling craft items at local fairs and set up her own Etsy shop online finding a niche trade in Washi Tape and glitter filled pens.
In 2019 she took the huge step of mingling with well-established industry leaders at a trade show in London and realised that her products and expertise stood up against the big boys - especially in the calligraphy and brush lettering markets.
“Being small and flexible means that I can react to new trends and stay one step ahead for my customers, “she said. “Having my new work space means that I can buy in bulk, pass on economies of scale to my customers and look to take on an apprentice.”
During lockdown the popularity of home crafting and stationery rose dramatically leading to Danielle working long hours to satisfy her growing customer base. She also had to be creative and adapt to ensure that she could meet the demand from her customers.
“Many of my suppliers closed down or had staff furloughed so supply became a challenge. Thankfully, I was able to find new suppliers making my business more robust and even more customer focused.”
The growth of her business has also resulted in her recently being nominated for three national stationery awards but it’s the feedback she receives from her customers that motivates her the most.
“We’ve recently our subscription service and rebranded it “Rowan Berry Box” and each month our customers get a package filled with unique, exclusive, themed designer collections of stationery and the feedback has been tremendous.
“Our customers get really excited when the box gets delivered as they know that each month has a new theme ranging from laid-back florals to funky-fun flamingos. I’m already planning boxes for the next 12 months ahead. The boxes are really popular and that is one of the reasons that I need extra help in the business.”
To that end, Danielle is looking for an apprentice who has the same passion for stationery
that she has to help with social media, customer service and also package stock for posting.
“It’s been a fantastic four years for Under the Rowan Trees and being a mentor for my new apprentice really appeals to the teacher in me. In Celtic mythology, the Rowan is known as the Tree of Life and it’s certainly opened up a new exciting branch of my life and career and I’d like to pass that on to someone starting out too,” said Danielle.