We love sharing the stories behind our ingredients here on the blog, which usually involve a trip out to a farm and fabulous photos of berries and pastoral landscapes dotted with cows.
So while this might be a radical departure from our usual ‘producers’, today I want to showcase our perspex supplier. While we tend to favour classical/natural materials in most of our branding (wood, vintage enamel, cotton tablecloths, etc) perspex is a really functional material for things like cup holders, cone holders and flavour labels. It washes well, is pretty affordable and, most importantly, it can be cut and moulded to a custom design. It’s given us immense freedom to design quirky things like cone holders to work specifically with our cones, or mount our scoop cups directly on our new counter at the V&A Market on the Wharf.
But a big part of these successful applications is the experienced, patient and unassuming brilliance of Kay, the gentleman who puts up with our outlandish requests, uneducated questions and unannounced ’emergency’ visits.
One block from Woodstock’s newest darling, The Biscuit Mill, Kay works out of a small shopfront that has remained almost unchanged for the 38 years he’s been there. We’re talking Old Guard Woodstock here, no cappuccino machines and mid-century modern fixtures, just functional industrial machines, a scarred wooden cutting table, and decades of fascinating perspex moulds, offcuts and paraphernalia. It’s like Aladdin’s cave of perspex treasures, and it’s at least half of the reason I stop by whenever I have an excuse, to hang out and see what a Real Business looks like.
The other half of the reason is Kay himself. He’s both an instinctive and highly experienced artisan, who always takes my roughly scribbled sketches and, gently conferring, makes great improvements to the form and function of my half-baked ideas. He pays scrupulous attention to detail, but also points out where costs can be saved. Each commission is a work in progress until the customer is happy (we sometimes go back for tweaks on an item two or three times), no matter how small the job. And since he often cuts-while-I-wait, I also get to hear his gently offered thoughts on the human condition and ethical business practices.
When someone mentions ‘fabulous customer service’, Kay springs to mind.
353 Lower Albert Rd, Woodstock