One balmy day on holiday in Bali, Jolyon Alexander Allpress came across some beautiful reclaimed teak furniture. It sparked an idea that changed his life.
When he returned home, Jo booked a plane to Jakarta to meet a man in Java to talk about this beautiful furniture he had seen.
By August, together with his wife Lowri, they had managed to convince the bank to loan them the money to fill a shipping container with furniture and bring it back to the U.K. All they needed to do, was sell it.
Here is where the story of Jo Alexander, a husband and wife team, begins.
As it was the late 90s and social media wasn’t a thing yet, Lowri came up with a quintessentially British way of spreading the word. She booked the local village hall.
They put posters up and filled the hall with flowers, furniture, and wine and invited everyone they could think of. Jo and Lowri didn’t know what to expect that Bank holiday weekend, but they believed in the furniture and knew that there wasn’t anything like it in the U.K.
The container sold out on the day, and so began the Jo Alexander whistle-stop tour of British village halls. Summer weekends became a blur of b&bs and local pubs as they travelled from Devon to Battersea, Harrogate to Norfolk. Jo and Lowri were passionately devoted to supplying furniture to people who wanted to get outside and enjoy their gardens, just like them.
A summer of village hall tours turned into a decade, and when their children arrived, Jo and Lowri juggled their lives around the business. It became a family affair with help from parents, siblings and friends, who all pitched in to get the word out.
By 2016 the world was online Jo and Lowri decided to focus their efforts away from events and turned their attention to the website, giving them more time to focus on sourcing materials and developing new lines.
The team embarked on annual tours of Indonesia, and days of unforgettable trips, fishing and exploring soon forged lasting friendships with suppliers and makers. The strength of these relationships and a shared love of materials and craftsmanship is what makes Jo Alexander garden furniture so unique.
So there you have it, the story of a business that is more like a family and a product that is more about changing lives than a piece of furniture. It’s been over twenty years now, but Jo and Lowri are still just as driven by the same aim to create beautiful furniture crafted for the outdoors.