On the blog we are taking a deeper look at our national winners, and what it is that makes them so special. Each week two different winners’ profiles will be posted, so keep checking back for more rural business success stories!
2018/19’s Best Rural Creative or Media-Based Business is Rapture and Wright! This Gloucestershire-based business stood out because of its exceptional levels of skill and expertise, in addition to the beautiful products it creates. The judges commended Rapture and Wright’s innovative use of traditional techniques, as well as their strong demonstration of growth.
The business was started in 2004 by Peter and Rebecca Thwaites. The couple identified the opportunity to create innovative and interesting hand-printed designs in an industry which had been savaged by offshoring, and was dominated by just a few large companies.
The business’s aim is simply to create beautiful fabrics and wallpaper, designed for the modern country house, but with an Arts and Crafts attitude. To accomplish this, Rapture and Wright use age-old hand-printing techniques, adapted for the modern day. Hand-printing creates a level of flexibility and quality that would otherwise be unachievable.
Each piece of fabric or roll of wallpaper is hand-printed to order, which means that the firm can offer bespoke options to their clients. This has proved to be very popular with their clients, and now represents up to 40% of their offering.
The business is passionate about making a British product, and supporting other rural businesses, with twelve of their major makers and suppliers found within a 15-mile radius.
Rapture and Wright believe that the highest customer experience is essential to their success, and as a result invite many of their prospective clients to visit their studio, based in a former agricultural building on Rebecca’s family-farm.
The decision to diversify by locating the business on the farm means that more people are now employed on the site than at any time in the last 100 years of the farm’s history.
The business is going from strength to strength, and plans to expand into more of the farm-buildings. This will be a low-impact development, and the Thwaites intend to create a world-first ecological print waste treatment system – this will involve digging a series of ponds which will in turn create habitat for wildlife. They hope this will become a blueprint for other rural manufacturing businesses
Also key to the business’s future will be the expansion of their popular print courses. Rapture and Wright intend to run courses in a variety of disciplines, lead by other artists and craftspeople, which will draw visitors to the area. Alongside this they are in the process of building several holiday lets, which will take them one step closer to realising their dream of creating a rural hub firmly rooted in Arts and Crafts ideals.
Peter Thwaites, Director of Rapture and Wright said “We are completely delighted to receive the Best Rural Creative or Media-Based Business Award. We are one of the few remaining hand print studios, adapting age old techniques in clever ways to make our range of fabrics and wallpapers, and are proud of the bespoke, high quality nature of our products. The business is based in former agricultural buildings on the family farm, and has brought employment opportunities to the area and support for other rural businesses that supply us. Our rural location is very important to our identity, and it feels great to have a chance to celebrate the opportunities being rural has generated for our business.”
To find out more about Rapture and Wright, visit their website: www.raptureandwright.co.uk
To see all the blogs in this series on the winners of the 2018/19 National Rural Business Awards, click here.