The United Kingdom is an old nation with a broad history of entrepreneurs. And sometimes, businesses pass through generations whilst keeping a family-centric vein and fusing in an increasingly modern approach. One such company, with a rich history and energetic future ispost-war-founded furniture retailer Barker and Stonehouse.
Barker and Stonehouse was first founded in 1946 by two Royal Air Force veterans, Charles Barker and Alex Stonehouse. After enduring the trauma of WWII, the two friends dreamt of bringing a bit of pizzazz to British homes after the dreary years of the war. In the time since, Barker and Stonehouse has remained a family company, with the Barker side buying Stonehouse out in the 1970s. They’ve also grown considerably too, since starting out on Stockton-On-Tees in the ‘40s, expanding around the north-east with stores on Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Gateshead, Darlington, Hull, Knaresborough, Leeds and Nottingham – ultimately reaching London. The brand has also been able to be agile and nimble enough to change with the times, shifting towards a more conscious approach to retail.
Over the past decade, Barker and Stonehouse has vowed to become more sustainable, with some well-meaning initiatives. For starters, they’re founding members of Trees4Trees, a reforestation initiative in Indonesia. Focused on helping the environment, Trees4Trees doesn’t just plant new trees in deforested areas, they also host educational programmes on communal reforestry, advocating for a more responsible treatment of trees. Indonesia is arguably one of the world leaders in sustainable forests, with government policies aimed at reforestation and a solid commitment to transition to a low-carbon economy. Many British and European furniture brands have joined the Indonesian efforts towards responsible forest management to create durable pieces that respect our Earth.
In the same vein, Barker and Stonehouse has made a strong effort by partnering with local and foreign ethical companies. One of the most interesting businesses you’ll find in Barker and Stonehouse is Little Tree Furniture, a British brand with workshops in both East Sussex and India, specialising in beautiful handcrafted items.
Recycling is also a big part of the Barker and Stonehouse initiative towards a more sustainable business. For the past decade, they have recycled packaging whenever possible, striving to eliminate single-use plastics. The company also offers to recycle individual wrapping when delivery goods at customers’ homes. Going one step further, they also offer to recycle old furniture and electrical goods.
Customers can opt for the Barker and Stonehouse furniture recycling service after purchasing new items. The general idea is one of quid pro quo: if you buy a sofa from them, you’re eligible to recycle your old one. If the item is in good condition, they’ll drive it to the British Heart Foundation, where it will be resold in their stores and passed on to a new family. I think this is brilliant and shows sincere devotion so sustainability. Otherwise, they’ll directly recycle the item. In either case, the service is £40 on checkout, and they only ask that customers cover the item being recycled and dismantled before the crew collect it at your home.
Meanwhile, their service directed at recycling electrical goods is actually free for their customers, regardless of the device. All you need to do is head to your nearest Barker and Stonehouse store with the item you want them to recycle and an email confirming you placed an order with them.
Many Barker and Stonehouse locations also have a little extra when it comes to environmentally friendly practices, my personal favourite are the live gardens. Some of their stores have living walls on the side of their buildings, hosting varying flora and fauna, granting city dwellers with a little more oxygen. Their Teesside Park location actually has the best green credentials of any UK furniture retailer, a fact the company proudly announces on its website.
As a long-standing furniture retailer, with decades of experience and knowledge of the market, you can rest assured that you’ll find whatever you’re searching on Barker and Stonehouse. From beautiful tables to accent pieces, lamps and the works, the selection is extensive but refined. You’ll find a broad variety of materials, including organic and reclaimed woods, with British and European designs for timeless pieces.
In terms of sustainable shopping, one of the great upsides of Barker and Stonehouse is the amount of stores they have. Spread out in 11 stores and 2 outlets across the United Kingdom, conscious Barker & Stonehouse shoppers can simply ship from their nearest location, thus lowering their carbon imprint. Every little bit helps!