Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer of Dowsing & Reynolds
Dowsing & Reynolds is a premium home decor and retail brand specializing in design-led home furnishings.
Founded almost by accident in 2013, the interior design company is all about bringing personality, creativity and inspiration into the home – from kitchen handles to bespoke statement lighting to beautiful dimmers and switches.
To learn more about the fascinating story behind this unique brand, Digital Editor Scarlette Isaac interviewed Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer at Dowsing & Reynolds.
What is your main USP?
“Our goal is to make everyday items in your home special. Objects that you interact with daily in your home can actually put a smile on your face when they are well designed.
“We are truly amazed by the ability of your home to make you feel something.”
When and how did your business start?
“The company was launched in 2013 and founded almost by accident by my husband James Dowsing-Reynolds.
“He was experimenting with concrete sculptures as a hobby, and one day I saw a concrete lamp in a home decor magazine and I said to him, ‘Oh, you could do something like that.’ To anyone else that would have been a casual remark, but James immediately set about building a lamp.
“To produce the lamp he saw some nice lightbulbs, some fabric cords from Italy and he sold the surplus that he didn’t need for the lamps. The bulbs and cord sold really well and so they kept coming… he never got to finish the lamp.
“It really all came from a place where James wanted to relieve stress by doing something creative. We’re almost 70 people now and that ethos has stayed with us. We want the team to be happy and enjoy the journey with us.”
“Online was simply our basis of competence. I used my experience as a seasoned digital marketer to put the original website together in my spare time and the business really grew from there.
“James has previously managed garden centers so he understands physical retail very well, but he also understands how difficult it can be. We have tested physical retail and will continue to experiment until we find the right format that works for us.”
Are you currently on marketplaces?
“I think there’s something on the horizon for us. We look at what feels right for our brand. We currently sell through Not On The High Street but that’s it. “Marketplace” is definitely the buzzword of 2022 and I think every brand is creating one. It will be an interesting year to see all these developments.”
How are you using new technologies to support retail growth?
“We’re looking at what you’re expecting – AI, VR and the like to help people envision our products in their homes.
“As a retailer and manufacturer, we are unique in our ability to quickly launch our own products. However, it means we have to manage two sides – so we are looking for new technologies and systems to help us with that.”
How has the pandemic affected your business?
“We have seen so many new customers embracing home decoration which has been very nice and has given us much more growth than expected. I think many home and garden retailers and also many general e-tailers are feeling the aftermath of the pandemic right now and are dealing with the drop in customer demand. We expected it and it has given us an opportunity to streamline everything that has grown over the past two years and ensure we are all focused on the right priorities.
“Right now we are expanding our offering in terms of products, new categories and also online home furnishing services that focus on how you want a certain space to feel and how you can achieve that.”
“We have some plans to enter different categories and expand on those we’re already in, as well as some exciting collaborations with some very well-known brands. We’ll be putting a big focus on our eCommerce tools and making sure we’re doing the best we can for the site.
“I think when you have an e-commerce offering, it’s like crossing a bridge — you start at one end, get to the other end, and then you have to do it all over again. It’s a never-ending job and there’s always room for improvement. But that is exactly what makes it an interesting and varied industry.”