Successful business launched from one oak off-cut branches out with expansion

Wood you believe it! A couple who began crafting items from oak as a hobby during lockdown have turned it into a business and have just moved into bigger premises on Bradford Estates to meet the ‘amazing’ growth in demand for their products.

Charlotte Fensome was putting wood into her log burner one day during lockdown when one of the pieces suddenly sparked a Eureka moment, inspiring her to transform the wood she was holding into a candle holder – and HartWood Staffordshire was born. The company has gone from strength to strength since that moment last year with Charlotte and husband Richard giving up their jobs as property developers to fulfil orders for their personalised luxury gifts and home accessories made from oak.

The expansion has seen the couple, who live in Slade Heath, Staffordshire, move into premises on the Bradford Estates at Tong – a workshop and office space better able to meet the demands of a growing business. Charlotte said: “We have been going for just over a year and it’s just brilliant that the business has grown quickly enough for us to actually move into premises where we can have bigger machines to produce our new range of occasional furniture for home and garden.

“The reaction from customers has been tremendous and we have seen amazing growth in demand for our products. From chopping boards to garden planters, specially engraved with our customers’ own message, they make ideal gifts for any occasion, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter. Our customers really appreciate the high quality of our products and the fact that they are unique to them.

“It all started because I had some off-cuts of oak that I was feeding into my log burner at home. I looked at one of them and thought that it would make a great candle holder and the idea grew from there. We sold pieces locally, opened our online shop, added to our product range and it’s grown and grown. It’s been great!

Prior to lockdown Charlotte and Richard were property developers, buying, selling and renovating houses, but that effectively shut down during Covid and set them thinking about what else they could do in unstable times. Charlotte added: “We acquired a lot of skills renovating houses and we specialised in period buildings which provided us with a set of woodworking skills ideal for this venture.

“We are extremely excited about the move onto Bradford Estates, much more suitable premises, closer to home and in a lovely rural setting which really fits with what we want to do – a great environment for us.

“We are still an online business and people can visit our website to see what we do. We produce a lot of bespoke pieces for people who call or email and anything else we sell through the website, Etsy, Amazon and eBay.”

Bradford Estates’ landholdings are home to generations of farmers, residents and local businesses contributing to the economic vitality of Weston-under-Lizard, Newport, Shifnal and Telford. Alexander Newport, Managing Director of Bradford Estates, said: “HartWood Staffordshire has come a very long way in a short space of time and the creativity which goes into the quality oak products produced by Charlotte and Richard should be applauded.

“They needed to move into bigger premises to accommodate the growth of their business and we are delighted they chose Bradford Estates as their home for the next stage of their development.

“We have a thriving, successful business community here which boasts talented business owners who we are all very proud to welcome to the Bradford Estates’ family.”

For more about HartWood Staffordshire, email or visit the website at