Have you always wanted to work in this industry?
Not really , I evolved into it somehow. I am also the co founder of a company called nzyme. It’s an agency which provides consultancy and sales engagement solutions for pharmaceutical companies . I’d worked in the pharma corporate world (sales) for 30 years. I couldn’t go to my grave not having started a company in the field I have so much experience in.
The Christmas tree business, Trinity St Christmas Trees, has been going for over 30 years . I realised it was fun and I could make some spare extra money when money was very tight. After moving to Dorset, I could see an opening for something in Dorchester as no one was selling good quality trees or offering a good service.
We are now the most well known, biggest Christmas tree grower and supplier in Dorset.
What are you most proud of?
The service and the wonderful feedback from our customers. We also do some good charity work through the trees; our biggest charity commitment is we recycle 1000 trees each year for Weldmar hospice and raise over £10,000.
What advice would you give to someone keen to start a business but unsure where to begin?
Who is one of your biggest inspirations – either professionally or personally?
Not one in particular but people who manage to be good business people but retain their integrity and give back.
Many years ago I used to buy from wholesalers and decided to cut out the middleman and went on a road trip to Scotland and Ireland and visited dozens of plantations to find the best grower of Nordman fir. I found a great guy in Scotland (a Dane – the true experts in tree growing) and started to buy trees from him. I still buy some trees from him to this day but we also became great friends and are still great buddies now sharing many interests and time together outside of the season.
What’s the hardest thing about your job?
The weather somedays – facing horizontal rain and still having to put on a brave face for the team.
It can also be frustrating when people complain about the price of trees- if they only could see the work which went in over the 7 years or so it takes to grow a decent tree . We are so passionate about the environment and want to do our bit for climate change and growing our own, thus reducing the miles the product travels.
Which part of your job do you most enjoy?
The countryside, and the people. I’m always happy with my dogs in the Land Rover and tending to the trees at any time of the year
Many people ask why I do it in view of my other busy business commitments – the answer is simple “ I love it”. It’s such a great business, we bring smiles on people’s faces and have such a great customer base. People say they know it’s Christmas when we appear. The feedback is so rewarding.
Do you find it easy to balance work and play?
I don’t believe there is such a thing- they are all interwoven. I think we are alll too hung up about the dividing line between the two , just enjoy what you do
Talk us through your dream day – from waking up to going to bed.
One which lasts about 7 days as I seem to need that to fit everything in
I am lucky to have a wonderful understanding wife Tamzin who gets really involved with the business too together with my 14 and 15 year old daughters , Isla and Lola. It is real family affair but it needs to be because it takes so much time.
It’s not all work and no play in our world – we have lots of interests that enrich our life – the girls are keen on the horses, I’m into boating, fishing and country sports. I wish I had more time but don’t we all. I’m very lucky to have such a diverse fruitful life.