A moment of clarity can occur at any moment.
For Beth Pollard, hers came on a beach in Cuba where, enjoying a holiday with her partner off the back of being made redundant from her previous job, a clear decision was made: whatever came next, Beth wouldn’t be working for anyone other than herself.
From that point, House and Home Bespoke was formed – in concept at least. With the help of an interest-free loan from The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity, today, House and Home Bespoke is providing bespoke property sales, lettings, lifestyle management and holiday homes. The business itself is a culmination of experience Beth had enjoyed in roles up to the point she started her own company.
“I fell in love with property and dealing with people whilst getting to know them and their stories,” Beth explained. “I worked in Leicester city centre, Halford Street, which is the epicentre of Leicester’s estate agents. I really loved it, but I didn’t want to be sat behind a desk negotiating. I worked my way in the corporate environment, which is a case of hitting targets all the time. We managed to exceed those targets and I became branch manager and really enjoyed it. There came a point when I moved away from Leicester and oversaw 25 offices with Land and New Homes. That was different angle of agency, a different market and I learned so much about different areas.”
A couple of other roles followed, the last of which was working in point of sale with a number of high-profile clients; the role that came to an end through redundancy preluding that holiday to Cuba.
“My partner said that we should just go on holiday and chill out,” Beth said. “Whilst we were on holiday, we had the conversation about what I wanted to do and the one thing I said was that I didn’t want to work for anyone else. I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to open my own estate agency. I literally sat on the beach writing my business plan. That’s how it all came together.
“I think it was the right time, the right place – and probably the right age in the sense that you have a bit of maturity in your 30s, at least I’d like to think so,” Beth joked. “I wanted to be different, but I didn’t know how to put that into place. I’d been out of the industry for a couple of years and I went with the flow a little.
“During the pandemic, it gave me time to evaluate how I wanted to run my business. I wanted to focus on high-end properties and I realised I had free licence to, pretty much, do anything I liked (within reason). Until then, I was still thinking I had to do things a certain way.
“The process was liberating,” Beth added. “I was doing the same amount of work for a £200,000 house as I’d do for a £500,000 house and I wanted to change that. I wanted to ensure that I was doing something different from what the average estate agent was doing. In turn, I think there’s more respect for the properties I market, from a buyer’s point of view, because they realise the time, effort and energy that I’ve put into it. I’ve received some great feedback for that, which is nice. You often get feedback from a seller, but when you get it from a buyer it can be a turning point because it means they WANT to buy properties from you, because they love how we present them.”
By focusing on being different from other estate agencies and putting energy and effort into delivering a customer journey, Beth ensured that House and Home Bespoke put stock in delivering unique and detailed presentation into the properties the company was marketing, with an emphasis on creative writing, as she explained:
“I hate reading that a house has double-glazing and a radiator on the wall. I hope it has if I’m spending half-a-million on it! You want to understand the seller’s journey in that house, their memories, what their favourite season is. I want to ensure that, as soon as a buyer walks in the door, they know more about the house than they ever thought.”
It was in July 2019 that Beth met The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s Martin Hageman, who introduced her to the charity’s unique interest-free loans; something that, by her own admission, wasn’t considered before.
“After I came away from that meeting, I realised that if I wanted to grow, this was a great opportunity. The loan would enable me to put different marketing strategies in place and training for changes to the industry. It enabled me to grow my team and take things to the next level. I was underpinning what I was doing all the time, so that the customer journey was seamless. I wouldn’t be able to deliver that if I hadn’t taken on my business admin and that was possible through The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity.
“I met Martin a few times after our initial meeting and voiced that and wanted to ensure that it did align with what I was trying to do with the business. I know a couple of other people that have used The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s funding – but it’s definitely a hidden gem! It’s got a fascinating history too – and I think that Leicestershire and Rutland is very lucky to have a charity like this that benefits businesses. It’s not something you see on a wider scale of this nature.”
With the Government roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions moving forward, albeit with a slight delay, Beth has growth on her mind for the company in 2021 with a desire to be renowned for the way House and Home Bespoke provides its service.
“Plans for 2021 include growing the letting side of the business. I want to double that, ideally and there are plans afoot to make that happen. Really, I want to keep the momentum going and effectively for House and Home Bespoke to be seen everywhere. I’d love people to say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen you all over the place’. I don’t want or need to be market leader, but would love to be highly regarded and known widely.”
For more information on House and Home Bespoke, please visit www.houseandhomebespoke.co.uk
Alternatively, please click here for more on The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s interest-free business loans.