Business profile - The Stripes Company
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 July 2019
‘Even royalty have put their bottoms on my deckchairs’
Maria Hopwood, founder of The Stripes Company, from Tarporley
When someone asks me about myself, I tell them that I'm single-handedly responsible for The Return of the Deckchair. Hollywood stars, sporting celebrities, aristocracy and even royalty have put their bottoms on my deckchairs.
I started my business, The Stripes Company, in 2007 after spotting some fabulous striped fabric on a market stall during a trip to India. I just loved it and brought home as much as I could. I was running a successful antiques business in Chester at the time and had noticed that clients had started asking me to find traditional striped fabric so they could renovate their old deckchairs. As garden furniture goes they'd rather fallen out of a favour in the seventies but I could sense they were making a comeback - and so my new company was born.
I was one of the first to start selling professionally over Ebay and it all went from there. In 2013 I opened our shop in Waverton near Chester. I'm still hugely hands on with the business. Although my husband Keith - a former popstar with the sixties' group Herman's Hermits - is interested, he still works as a composer and producer. This is my baby and sometimes I can't believe it's all gone so well.
We've branched out into other products - blinds, aprons, cushions and bunting, the latter of which Cath Kidston uses as it compliments her florals. But deckchairs will always be our signature product. The double ones are popular for wedding gifts and our footballer customers like them made in their club colours. We've supplied Downton Abbey and BBC's Sherlock with the more old-fashioned styles.
Thankfully it's not just a summer business for us. We ship globally and have American and Australian websites. After all, it's always summer somewhere.