HAPPY: Crafty Couple Graeme and Amanda Edwardson in their workshop                   TM pic
HAPPY: Crafty Couple Graeme and Amanda Edwardson in their workshop TM pic

TWO years after making the life changing decision to quit their stressful jobs, sell their home in the south and move to Teesdale to begin a craft business, one couple say they couldn’t be happier.

In fact the craft business they set up, The Fabulous Tash Emporium, is doing so well they are looking for new premises.

Graeme, 47, and Amanda Edwardson, 44, were leading busy, stressful lives working as a chef and mental health manager, and trying to bring up their children, Felix and Till, in Essex when they realised something had to change.

Mr Edwardson, who grew up in Aycliffe, before joining the Army as an apprentice chef, said: “I was working from around 4.30am to 9.30pm and I was stressed all the time. Amanda and I hardly saw each other, never mind the children.

“We both were earning a great deal of money, but we had no family life.

“We were working really hard to earn enough money to pay someone else to look after our children.

“It was ridiculous – paying someone to spend time with our kids.”

The couple made the life-altering decision to quit their jobs, sell up and move north.

After settling in Staindrop the crafty couple set up their own company, The Fabulous Tash Emporium, making and selling handmade furniture from recycled materials.

Mr Edwardson said: “The business came about as I was trying to make some furniture for our new home. Although our cottage is lovely and old, there isn’t a straight wall in the place so creating our own stuff which fitted seemed logical.”

Then after posting pictures of the furniture online they began receiving requests from friends and strangers to purchase the items. Since then the business has flourished.

It was the couple’s daughter, Tilly, who came up with the unusual sounding name of the firm – The Fabulous Tash Emporium.

Mr Edwardson said: “At the time I had a rather ornate, curly moustache and she said it sounded really good.”

The furniture, which is made using reclaimed wood, is rustic in design. The couple have developed a range including bedside tables, coffee tables, traditional style hall benches with storage, bookcases and wardrobes.

Mr Edwardson admitted: “Our business isn’t that well known locally as the vast majority of our sales are online.

“We have a website and use Etsy, which is a like Ebay, but for handmade items.

“We have customers all over the country, as well as Scotland and Wales. Some other pieces have even made it as far as France and Spain.”

The couple now spend all day working together in their workshop – in one of The Witham’s artist studios in Hall Street, Barnard Castle.

However such has been the success of their crafty endeavour they are looking for larger premises so they can install additional wood working machinery.

Mr Edwardson said: “The Witham has been fantastic and it’s been wonderful having the workshop here.

“And we do feel a bit bad having to look for somewhere else, but we do need a bit more space to get equipment in which will make things easier for us.

“At the moment we are having to turn down commissions for furniture as we can’t make anything too large as it we wouldn’t be able to get it out of the workshop.

“We might not be earning as much money as we were down south, but we’re far happier here.”