A custom built Welsh dresser made out of mahogany with decorative plates, cups and teapot.

Crafting Legacy, Building a Family

It started in 1984

At just 19, I found myself studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering as an undergraduate. Little did I know that life ultimately had different plans for me.

After being laid off for the second time, Neil, driven by the belief that he “couldn’t do any worse” running a business, decided to make a bold move. He set up shop in his parent’s garage, equipped with woodworking tools, and thus, NEJ Stevenson was born.

One of Neil’s earliest masterpieces was an Oak Welsh Dresser, proudly displayed at the Bakewell Show, in Derbyshire. I vividly recall thinking, “If he could sell one of them every month, he’d be financially OK.”

Little did we dream that only four decades later, our venture would flourish, employing nearly 40 individuals and boasting a turnover equivalent to 400 Welsh Dressers.


In 1988, Neil and I got married. Neil relocated to Warwickshire (where I was working as an Engineer) renting an industrial unit only three miles from our current workshops. I always admired that from day one, his focus was on quality, design excellence, and impeccable customer service. Which are still the hallmarks of the business today.

Even when times were tough, he preferred not to be paid rather than to cut corners with the quality of materials and manufacturing time. But as my career in Engineering was established by then, I was able to support Neil through the leaner years.

I watched as Neil slowly built the business and by the time our daughter Charlotte was born in 1996, NEJ Stevenson employed eight people and had a turnover of a quarter of a million.

Understanding the business

In 1997, I joined the business, transitioning from Engineer to Finance Director, taking over managing the accounts from Neil’s retiring father. It meant that I had a much better understanding of day-to-day company life. This was particularly important a few years later when a contractor went bust, owing us £250,000.  But as I had an increased insight into the business, it was, if not an easier decision, a more informed one when we decided to remortgage our house to safeguard our employees’ jobs and ensure the future of the business.

A family business

Often labelled a family business, NEJ Stevenson is more than just Neil and me. Our dedicated and skilled staff form the backbone, celebrating milestones and evolving as a family. This year, two members mark 30 years with us, and a dozen have surpassed the 10-year mark. Colleagues turned friends have married, had families, and are now grandparents. For us, this embodies the true essence of a family business. We have all grown up together.

Our home reflects the legacy Neil has built over the years, adorned with beautiful pieces of furniture, each with a unique story.

Among them, the original Welsh Dresser stands proudly in our dining room, a testament to the journey that we’ve all been on and all that NEJ Stevenson stands for.