Handsome Furniture Co

The Cobbler’s Thumb development opened its gates on December 2014. It took just 10 weeks to complete the development of 8 small business units, which range from 5 to 28 sq m.

The scheme, which is fully demountable, has a temporary 5-year planning consent. It has proved very popular locally and was fully occupied within 2 weeks with a lengthy waiting list.

Fine Art graduate Harvey Lidbetter founded Handsome Furniture Co in 2015, one of the first businesses to be based at Cobbler’s Thumb. Coming from a wood working family, Harvey uses his experience in the trade to create beautifully crafted objects and installations.

As the winner of a competition supported by QED Sustainable Urban Developments, Harvey secured himself a free unit at Cobbler’s Thumb to help grow his business.

Handsome Furniture Company has now outgrown the space available at Cobbler’s Thumb and is moving on to bigger premises. We caught up with Harvey on his experience of Cobbler’s Thumb:

Do you think there is suitable accommodation on the market for small business?
“There is but premises are few and far between, trying to find a practical and affordable space in Brighton is most definitely a challenge, a frustrating challenge. Places like Cobbler’s Thumb are ideal for start-ups looking to take the next step from their living room or spare bedroom.”

How did you find working in a repurposed shipping container?
“I found it challenging but in the best possible way. Running a profitable workshop involves managing a lot of components and it was always going to be a tight fit for my type of work. It forced me to really think about what I was doing and consider what I actually needed to run the business, ultimately it made me better at my job.”

Is there a sense of community amongst the businesses at Cobbler’s Thumb?
Yes and I definitely will miss my neighbours Mark and Dizzy. Being around people in the same boat as you is really reassuring and invaluable; it gives you the opportunity to discuss your business and ideas with likeminded individuals.”

Why are you moving on from Cobbler’s Thumb?
“The business has grown and I now need a new space to meet the challenge. I wanted to take a risk as staying where you are comfortable for too long can be detrimental. I’m proud of what I achieved at Cobbler’s Thumb, and incredible grateful for all the help I was given.”

What does the future hold for Handsome Furniture Company?
“Keep making, keep growing new staff, new city and bigger projects!”

Cobbler’s Thumb Case Study Handsome Furniture Co
Cobbler’s Thumb Case Study Handsome Furniture Co
Cobbler’s Thumb Case Study Handsome Furniture Co
Cobbler’s Thumb Case Study Handsome Furniture Co