Tim thought carpentry career change wood work

Kidderminster Shuttle: Wooden heart: Tim Lewis. Wooden heart: Tim Lewis.

A STOURPORT man has swapped a career in farming to follow in his father’s footsteps and turn his passion into a business.

After 13 years working in the farming industry, Tim Lewis has turned his hand to carpentry and set up his own venture, The Village Carpenter.

As well as creating bespoke wooden furniture, he is specialising in producing handmade wooden crucifixes and rosary beads. Mr Lewis has secured a major contract with Cenacle, the largest retailer of Catholic gifts.

He decided on the career change after spotting a niche in the market for church memorabilia and gifts, which he produces under the brand Ecclesia Domestica. Each item is handmade from oak, cherry or walnut.

Mr Lewis explained: “I had reached a point in my working life where I was looking for a new challenge and the inspiration came while searching for wooden religious memorabilia for myself but everything I came across was either poorly made or extremely expensive.

" It struck me that there was a very distinct gap in the market for items that were of a high quality and produced with a lot of care and attention yet still affordable.”

His love of carpentry came from his father, who he had watched from a young age. To turn his interest into a viable business venture he sought support from Ready for Business, an investment readiness start-up programme.

He was introduced to Debbie Assinder at Staffordshire-based Business Enterprise Support, who offered guidance about creating a business plan and marketing as well as how to build relationships with potential retailers.

Mr Lewis added: “While I had gained a great deal of commercial experience during my time as a farm manager, setting up your own business is a very different prospect and there are a vast number of areas which require consideration."

He hopes to increase his presence in gift shops and retail outlets across the country as well as targeting the overseas market, starting with the United States. He also has plans to invest in additional equipment and as orders continue to grow he will look at creating jobs, bringing in additional team members on either a full or part-time basis.

Ms Assindersaid: “Tim has very astutely identified a clear gap in the market and this, coupled with a quality and bespoke product, has resulted in a very successful launch to his business. "

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