In the beginning there was stainless steel, and the stainless steel was good.
Tinpot Alley started as a very different beast to the one you see now. Its first manifestation came as a reaction to just one hexagonal planter Matt designed out of stainless steel that all of us kidded ourselves would be the killer product which lead us from rags to riches.
Being a bit green behind the gills we wanted to market the thing accordingly and quickly fell into the trap of giving the impression we were some huge stainless steel planter conglomerate.
Planters Direct probably ticked all the wrong boxes in the wrong order. Essentially we were trying to impose a very small range of products until we’d heard enough. People were constantly asking us for different and varying sizes to what we were offering. Not only were we not too intent on listening, but we tried our best to stick to our guns.
It soon became apparent that there was quite a disconnect between what we wanted to offer and what we were asked if we could offer. In a way this is quite a blessing in disguise as it only required us to realign and cater to those requests.
It didn’t take long once we’d got our collective noggins round this to drop the whole Planters Direct cobblers. Let’s face it: we were never going to be the Amazon of the stainless steel planter world. If anything, we were confusing the issue by trying to offer exclusivity to the masses but at something of a premium.
Whilst this planter thing could operate as a fully-fledged business in its own right, the whole fabrication, production and design aspects fit fairly seamlessly into what Butler Sheetmetal Ltd already do. It’s very much an incorporated sideline if such a thing can exist.
Tinpot Alley was born out of a need to reflect a more customer oriented affair offering bespoke metalwork solutions for the home, garden and office. Does it not make more sense to fabricate 29 stainless steel planters to specific requirements than one or two so-called ‘products’ we’re trying to push? It keeps everybody happy.
I suppose we’ve been fortunate that we could make these mistakes without really impacting the customer. We’ve also been fortunate that it isn’t our core business. But, saying that, it’s playing a more vital and prominent role now than it ever has done.
We’ve decided to end up at the quality end of the market as it’s something we’ve always done and the quality end of the market also began to target us.
And who are we to argue?