The Dowsing & Reynolds story started with James (Dowsing-Reynolds), concrete sculptures and vintage light bulbs.
To cut a long story short (you can read more about James’ journey below)… D&R has now grown beyond James’ wildest dreams into a successful company that not only sells gorgeous vintage light bulbs, hardware and lighting accessories, but that is more widely concerned with home décor. No ordinary home décor though.
Everything we sell has to go through the D&R filter before it makes it into the store. We’re looking through a lens of home décor with an edge. We’re always on the lookout for lighting and home accessories that are a little bit different – sometimes even quirky. Things you won’t find on the high street. They have to be design-led AND affordable – no easy combination to achieve.
We’re an online store; we don’t have a bricks and mortar shop or showroom. We do have an HQ though in a lovely old mill in the centre of Leeds. The perfect environment to house James’ vintage knick-knacks collectables… And the team of people behind D&R.
And on the vintage theme… We’re very much about vintage industrial style with some Scandinavian influences thrown in for good measure. Our varied range of beautiful and bespoke lighting products means you can buy, or create, your own lights to match your own interior personality style perfectly. What’s more, we have an ever-expanding collection of hardware that’s ideal for coordinating with our lighting. We pride ourselves on getting your vintage light bulbs, fabric lighting cable, ceiling lights and designer lighting accessories ready to post on the same day – across the globe.
Best Home & Garden, DIY & Tools eCommerce at the Ecommerce Awards 2018
Small eCommerce Company of The Year at the Northern eCommerce Awards
James set up, and is the creative innovator behind, Dowsing & Reynolds. He is obsessive about industrial-style lighting having originally fallen into the industry a little by accident… He was creating concrete sculptures in his spare time when his wife (the lovely Ally) spotted a concrete light fitting in a magazine and suggested he could make a more stylish version. He dutifully set to work and did indeed improve on the design. His sculptural lights needed vintage-style light bulbs to finish them off and having sourced a few too many he decided to sell the spares on eBay. Much to his amazement, they sold fantastically well and before he knew it a business was born – the rest is history as they say. He is now fully immersed in lights and hardware – there has never been a more enthusiastic advocate of vintage bulbs, fixtures and fittings. He’s the one who researches and sources new product ranges and specifies the exacting standards that ensure you get great products. James is seriously into his food (don’t mention corn syrup unless you’re prepared for a rant) and weekends are spent either full-on socialising with friends and family or getting away from it all completely in the country. Art is another passion of James’ and this is reflected in the street art murals he commissioned for the wall of the Mill where our HQ is based.
Ally is quite possibly the busiest person we know – the amount of stuff she manages to fit into a week is quite breath-taking. She not only has a demanding job as a successful digital marketing strategist at a leading advertising agency but has her own lifestyle blog, Digital Diva, which means working with many well-known fashion brands and attending numerous restaurant openings and parties. Glamorous! There is a certain sparkle about Ally and her enthusiasm for anything she’s involved with is infectious. Ally oversees all our marketing and very patiently lends her ears to help James sound out new ideas and supports him to drive the business forwards.
Director Tony is the man who oversees everything. He’s the guy we call when we need help, and his method for fixing the team usually involves tea, sweets or cats! He can turn his hand to anything but is genuinely just an amazing people person – the father figure of the office…hence the frequent dad jokes and desire to fatten us all up on fish and chips. Tony is a quite unassuming chap but is actually a well-known promoter of hip-hop nights. He also runs online magazine Rhyme and Reason, has a radio show on KMAH called the 7-inch Disco AND is the manager for Released, a Leeds based independent record label. He’s super-human! All this with two kids, I swear he never sleeps!
Lyz (with a ‘Y’) has made herself quite at home since joining D&R – in fact, it’s like she’s always been here. She’s our eyes and ears online, sharing, publishing and generally keeping our website in tip top condition. You’ll know Lyz if you meet her, she’ll be wearing black. All black. We don’t think it’s a morbid thing, it just suits her best. She loves the glitz and glamour of the Art Deco period which brings an edge of feminine contrast to our 20’s NY loft apartment house-style. Ally once let slip that Lyz is also a nutrition coach and come to think about it, there’s been a distinct lack of bacon butties around the place lately. She also enjoys working in a gym and would apparently rather spend her evenings working out than shopping at Ikea or taking a trip to Costco – weird. She’s amazingly fussy about her espresso coffee… And pretty much everything else actually.
Where to begin with Abigail. By her own admission has felt old since she was fourteen – She has a most delightfully artful character, and it has to be noted, is a person of many unusual talents and experiences. She amazes us every day with her quirky talents, it takes a brave soul to ask how her weekend went – prepare to be blown away. Abigail loves making things. She’s highly proficient at crochet and is currently working on crocheting taxidermy animal plaques and a square granny blanket. She also does a spot of Morris dancing, has started growing rhubarb and sunflowers and also does something with puppets that everyone is too scared to enquire about. She even lived in Norway for a while and definitely prefers Norwegian death music to run of the mill death metal… The things you learn about people on a night out. You’ll encounter Abigail on the phone, via email and on chat if you need help or support with any of our products. Ever keen to help out wherever she can, Abigail mostly works alongside Sarah in operations and director Tony, but she is literally capable of everything and knows more about our products than the rest of the team combined. The girl’s a machine!
In her interview, Danni let slip that a lifelong passion of hers was to work doing the graphics for the theme parks at Disneyworld in America. But with a husband and an energetic toddler she settled for second best…a honeymoon to Disneyworld and a career at D&R! It’s like a modern-day fairytale. Danni lives for graphic design and photography, and we think she’s fabulous at both. She loves to capture a photo every day to post on her Instagram feed. Always of something that makes her smile and she’s been at it for five years solid. That’s a whole lot of smiles. Danni is our marketing manager. Working in our marketing team she helps run our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds as well as doing all of our design work, creating advertisements for magazine features, packaging, artwork and PR. She’s pretty magical!
After completing her English literature degree Keren joined our ever expanding marketing team as our product manager. Her main role is taking charge of all the new and exciting potential products that arrive at D&R HQ. When she’s not doing that Keren supports Lyz in all things copy related, blog writing, product descriptions and listing! Keren loves tea, tattoos, Florence Welch, dinosaurs and all things Gothic. An eclectic mix of interests we think you’ll agree, but she fits right in here! In her spare time Keren can be found doing a whole host of quirky activities, finding sloths to cuddle, sleeping in windmills, teaching her cats Tallulah and Pete to sit, and getting married in a cave are just a few of the rogue things she does on her days off. Keren also loves exploring European cities, primarily for amazing food and beer, but also to see the beautiful sights.
Fred is basically our saviour – As technical e-commerce manager he prevents the website (and the staff) from imploding and we’re pretty sure he’s sick of hearing his name being cried across the D&R HQ already. Fred attempts to keep us all sane by telling us terrible dad jokes – he’s almost on par with Tony! Fred studied TV production at uni and was once in as an extra in EMMERDALE, where his role involved reading a newspaper in The Woolpack. We are all surprisingly jealous of this feat – we are a Leeds based company after all. In his spare time, Fred can be found either in the kitchen, cooking up a storm or watching Forrest Gump with his cat, I’m sure he does many more things. He joins us on the marketing table (also known as the cat table) three days a week, where we have a weekly cat catch up and music debates while he tries to convince us to do some Karaoke…Never gonna happen!
Ellenor (or Elle as she’s more affectionately known) has been working up a storm in the marketing team since the first day she started. She is infectiously bubbly with a passion for all things interiors, and this makes her the perfect girl for running D&R social media. However, she does have a serious side (who knew) and loves compiling analytics reports – it’s an unnervingly nerdy fascination with facts and figures that she shares with our illustrious Marketing Director, Ally! In her spare time, Elle writes a lifestyle blog, An Edited Lifestyle, where she shares her experiences of life, love of coffee and her passion for fashion. She’s a real city slicker and if there’s something she doesn’t know about Leeds it ain’t worth knowing… A British Carrie Bradshaw we think you’ll agree.
Sarah is probably the coolest person in the office. She always has AMAZING T-shirts and dresses, and her love of dinosaurs, graphic novels and roller derby are just a few of the things that make her a superwoman! Sarah’s latest hobby is learning to ride her shiny new ‘baby bike’ Honda 125. We all know she’s going to look pretty badass riding it and are secretly jealous of her fun-filled lifestyle. Sarah is also pretty awesome at her job. As part of our assembly team, Sarah is responsible for creating our bespoke lighting products and putting together our best selling lighting accessories – she’s one multi-talented lady!
Well, the first thing that springs to mind about Shirley is her laugh. How to put it delicately… We can’t, it’s dirty. There’s no other way to describe it and when you hear it, you’ll know Shirley is nearby. Not only that but it’s truly infectious, and she laughs a lot. Always smiling and always delighted to go the extra mile for anyone. She loves what she does and is never happier than when in the warehouse with ‘the girls’ picking and packing your orders. Shirley may tell the odd joke but she is deadly serious about precision and getting the right bits and pieces beautifully packaged up for you, and out of the door on time. Don’t mess.
Jake works in assembly here at D&R but also oversees the smooth running of the warehouse – a hefty task in itself! Jake’s the guy that knows where everything is – he creates order and is possibly the most methodical person we know. To most of the team, Jake is an enigma! There are rumours going around that he is a crazed scientist, carrying out experiments in his shed…But the truth is he’s just hugely passionate about physics. In his spare time, Jake makes electronic music, snowboards and is hoping to continue his studies into physics research.
You will probably encounter Jess at some point – she works in operations a few days a week, where she liaises with customers on the phone, email and live chat. The rest of the time she’s carefully packing orders with the rest of the packing team and entertaining us with tales of her travels and weekend exploits. Jess is a pretty interesting character, she’s done all of the things that make the rest of us look boring! Jess has travelled the world, joining the D&R team after living in Australia for 5 years, where she met her husband. Jess is a real outdoorsy girl, she loves walking her dog Charlie in the sunshine, but that’s a drop in the ocean compared to the time she climbed Kilimanjaro for charity! She’s a machine!
Jessie works with us part time between building her own music studio, songwriting and singing in a band. We really are a talented bunch! She’s an enthusiastic member of the packing team with a real passion for our products – she’s even decking out her studio in D&R! Jessie is a keen animal enthusiast and as a vegetarian loves ALL animals. On interrogation, she admitted that her favourite animal is a cat (we’re all crazy cat folk in the office) She does, however, have a dislike of anything wiggly or with tentacles! Jessie is always happy and chirpy – like the snow white of the office and brightens up the office with her easy-going nature!
Our product photographer Lucy is a bit of an enigma. She dances around her photography studio in the most liquid of fashions – a veritable photography fairy. Ask her to explain her vision to you and she will perform a ‘picture dance’ …And you know what? It works! Her basement studio is a treasure trove of fantastic objects that she’s purloined from her home, ready and waiting to be snuck into a lifestyle shoot sometime soon. And she’s always surrounded by a delicious cloud of sweet smelling elixir – she concocts her own perfumes and makes fabulous creams with all manner of essential oils you see. Lucy is a true creative, always making things and never idle. She loves to cook up a storm in the kitchen, sew her own clothes and even enjoys a spot of sanding and drilling. She’s a woman of many talents and dreams of one day owning a vintage car so she can scour her favourite coastal resorts for fossils, rare minerals and crystals. We didn’t even know she could drive!
Jim is our fantastic Operations Manager. His favourite thing about working at D&R HQ is the people – and who wouldn’t like us…we’re a lovely bunch. Jim makes sure everything runs smoothly between the warehouse and assembly, and you know what? He’s an absolute dab hand at this. You’ll often find him working quietly with a (sickly) sweet cup of tea regaling the team of tales of his French Bulldog Ziggy. And yes, he has been known to facetime his beloved pooch at lunchtime. Jim’s dream is to set up his own business importing furniture from around the world and he would love to do the trans-Siberian railway horse trek across Mongolia, although we’re not sure how Ziggy would feel about this.
Tom makes up part of our nimble-fingered packing team and works part-time to ensure that all of your orders are picked correctly and packed with love…under the watchful eye of Shirley, of course. When Tom isn’t diligently packing your orders he spends a lot of time listening to music and going to gigs around the UK. He’s also spent time in a few bands playing synth and being featured on BBC introducing and radio 6. As a journalism graduate, Tom also works for NME, writing music reviews and news articles. His life goal is to become a digital editor of a music website. He’s a pretty busy guy.
Tom is part of our ever-growing operations team, working hard to give you the exceptional customer service that D&R is renowned for. Tom splits his time between Customer Services and Ops. In Customer Services he manages our trade and wholesale customers which involves processing all the orders, managing the packers’ time and deftly dealing with all kinds of customer service queries thrown at him. On his ‘Op’ days he works alongside Abigail ordering stock from our smaller suppliers and keeping track of stock and components. He’s a busy guy. Tom loves music and is a huge fan of drum machines, synths and techno music. It goes without saying that he’s the office DJ and chooses all the music! When he manages to escape D&R he spends his time making his own music, cooking up a storm or spending time with family. At the top of his bucket list is driving a Harley along route 66. In his own words he’s ‘up for it.’
Danny is a star member of the assembly team and is a master at making up the ‘create your own lighting’ orders. He also PAT tests them to ensure they’re safe for use before we send them out to you. Danny is the go-to guy when any of the team is wanting a bit of a naughty lunch, and can always corrupt someone into getting some chips with him. When he’s not working at D&R Danny can be found working alongside Tony at Released where he’s in charge of social media and marketing. By his own admission, Danny can play the triangle to a professional standard and when asked to describe himself in three words replied ‘I am a rebel’…Definitely not a stickler for the rules, but he works well here.
Georgie spends most of her time working her magic in our Customer Services team where she loves nothing more that making our customers happy. She’s also a dab hand in the warehouse, picking and packing your orders to a beautiful standard, whilst telling Tony how much she loves his music and stealing ginger biscuits from the staffroom. When she’s not dancing around the warehouse, Georgie makes her own music under her alias ‘Jorgie’. Her long-term ambition is to release enough EP’s to afford to go travelling the world, saving the planet and diving with Orkas – she has an obsession with whales. For now though, Georgie is perfectly happy sitting down with a builders brew, watching QI and making her own jewellery. This girl’s a machine.
Hanne is our Customer Services Manager. She is the one working furiously behind the scenes ensuring that our customers, new and old, are left with a warm, fuzzy feeling…and super stylish interiors of course! Like most of our team, Hanne is always up to something creative! She’s currently obsessed with upcycling things for her new house and when she’s not doing that you will probably find her volunteering with Oxfam as an events planner, helping out at her friend’s wedding planning company as an events coordinator or helping out with her mum’s amateur dramatics group…She is a girl of many talents! When Hanne gets a bit of downtime she loves nothing more than experimenting with hair and makeup (don’t get her started on eyebrows) and travelling the world, but you’ll never EVER catch her backpacking, she likes a real bed!
Ellie is a petite power house of wit and charm. She’s always smiling – a bundle of positive energy. We love her. Although she does have the loudest sneeze. Ever! Ellie works on copywriting with Lyz, whipping up delightful product descriptions to paint the perfect picture of our stuff. She also contributes to the blog offering advice and tips on interior design and how to apply professional techniques to your own homes. You see Ellie also has an interior design business so she’s more than qualified, and is delighted to share the things she learnt from her own experiences. Lucky us! Outside of D&R Ellie loves to travel. We think she’s a bit of an adventurer at heart – we heard mention of wild swimming and picnics in the south of France with her family. Sounds idyllic.
Fallie may be the baby of D&R but he towers over most people! He’s the newest member of our assembly team, working a couple of days a week, and more when he’s not a college studying Sports Science. He’s massively into fitness and plays football semi-professionally – definitely one to watch. When he’s not on the pitch, or up to his eyeballs in college work you’ll find him chilling out with his dog Roxy, listening to a bit of UK rap and munching on a burger and chips. He’s very happy in his own company and has confessed that he makes himself laugh a lot! Errm, can we have what he’s having please? Fallie’s a very cool guy so it goes without saying that he looks the part too. He’s obsessed with Nike Air Force 1 trainers and buys the same black and white ones over and over again. Apparently it’s all about the toe crease – once they’ve got one they’re out!
Conor’s spends most of his time in our assembly team, making and creating and fab and for most of the time. Within a few days of being here, he’d already memorised almost the entire warehouse, we don’t know how he does it! Conor’s big passion is technical death music, which he admits is very at odds with his love of his collection porcelain teddy bears that his nan bought him. If we’re honest, we’re not sure what technical death music is, but it definitely sounds very loud! He’s the bass player in his band and whizzes off gigging around the country in his awesome band van. He’s a really outdoorsy guy too and loves nothing more than a good camping trip. Throw in a spot of surfing followed by steaming bowling of carbonara and he’s a happy man!