The Tinpot Alley site came about by accident really. Matt designed a hexagonal stainless steel planter that could be bolted together by the customer and could therefore be shipped fairly easily. I set the site up just to do a spot of market research in the form of a questionnaire. Within three days it was ranking #1 on Google for the term ‘stainless steel planters’ and was getting a fair bit of traffic and quite a few questionnaire click throughs. Now you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth so we decided to try and capitalise on the rankings and utilise it.

The planters have been adapted, which is a natural process as you take on board customer feedback, and we now weld the inside seam as we’ve found it’s easier for both the customer and ourselves to do it that way. We’ve also branched out into designing stainless steel water features and bespoke stainless steel work in general.

It never ceases to amaze where your enquiries come from and how you’re dictated to by various markets. The majority of our enquiries come via design consultancies in London for bespoke projects. This has come as quite a pleasant surprise as we originally geared the site to sell directly to individuals. However, there are plenty of planters out there which are being sold extremely cheaply and it’s always difficult to convince a customer of a single impulse buy for something that can’t be touched. Consequently, we stick frmly to the idea of high quality stainless steel design products that are difficult to design and fabricate. As the old adage goes; there’s price, quality and service, and you only ever get two out of the three. We concentrate on quality and service.

The whole operation has been running for a few months now and we’re happy with the initial response. However, we feel it’s time to get them stocked in one or two retail outlets, but first we hope to do the odd show and get them under people’s noses. We also hope to expand our product range and should be able to show you some new products fairly soon. We should also be able to keep you informed of any shows we do around the country in case we might be anywhere near you and you fancy taking a look at our stainless steel products.

But for the time being you can look at our stainless steel planters and water features here and some more of our work through Butler Sheetmetal here.