Back in 1990, Glasgow was the European Capital of culture. Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister, the Pound Sterling joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism and Channel Tunnel workers from the United Kingdom and France met each other 40 metres beneath the English Channel seabed. Little did we know back then that years later our company would move to the Scottish central belt all the way from Bristol! Also in 1990, Aldi the German discount food supermarket chain, opened its first store in Britain, in Stechford, Birmingham. It was the year that Simon James founded the commercial interiors company Amos Beech. Years later we supplied them with German furniture here in Scotland at their regional office and distribution centre in Bathgate.
A brief History of Amos Beech
After a successful career in marketing and selling a variety of products, Simon James decided to set up on his own at the age of 36. A brave decision with a family to support. Amos Beech was founded on the first of November 1990 in Bristol.
In this early years Amos beech had already quite an impressive list of customers like Wellbeck Financial Services, Sevalco (carbon industry), Ross Systems (software for the healthcare industry), Hargreaves Lansdown (financial services), Dun & Bradstreet and The Insurance Service (now Royal Insurance).
This early success was based on client loyalty from previous employment in the office interiors industry. By applying office analysis he understood his customers needs. He then came with a solution that was then subsequently ordered by the customer, something we find very normal in current times.
Company name and branding
Also very common these days is SEO, search engine optimisation, or the geeky 'art' of making sure that people will be able to find your website when looking for the products or services that you provide. The same back in 1990, because back then the telephone book and the yellow pages played the role like the search engines Google and Bing do today. It made therefore perfect sense to start the company name with an 'A' followed by a 'B' and a 'C'.
The original ABC logo or name typography was used until 2006.
The beechnut logo magenta colour is spontaneous and impulsive, yet resourceful and organized. The a-symmetric acute-angled triangle of the beechnut leaning to the right expresses a natural fall from the tree. Amos Beech used this logo for over 10 years.
The current logo representing the customers fingerprint on the commercial interior design solutions that today's Amos Beech provides its customers.
Apart from the 'ABC' bit as described above, the name combines the meaning of carrying the customers challenge with the hard, pale and fine-grained timber that is traditionally used in worktops. Beech has long been associated with the workplace.
The office interiors market back then
The buzz-words at the time were Safe Wiring and Office Analysis. Power to the desk, floor boxes and data-cabling were hot items. Before that only the secretary's had typewriters. Now there was a computer on almost every desk and they were interconnected with a central network and a printer.
With the Office Analysis a lot of questions were asked to understand the business and to find out who people work with and what do they work with. So actually the same thing as today, but now we call it workplace consultancy, leading to space planning and interior design.
Simon recalls a big job (The Insurance Service) that he won from BDG. A combination of efficient cost calculation (something he is still keen on today), space planning with magnetic boards and visualization by watercolour. He commissioned an artist to do a watercolour to visualize how the new office interior would look like. Today we use the Revit® Architecture Software, but we are pretty sure that if we would challenge our interior designers, they could still do a manual drawing today!
Pedestals as we call these small metal rolling cabinets under the desk today, were called 'a set of drawers' back then and Simon reckons the word 'pedestal' would probably not mean a lot to people these days either. He is probably right, because a little research with the Google keyword planner learns us that people look for 'stand(ing) desk' instead of 'height adjustable sit-stand desking' and 'desks in a row' instead of bench desking.
Amos Beech Scotland
In 1993, Simon moved to Scotland because of family ties and the opportunities he saw in the Scottish market for commercial interiors. Where the company in Bristol started out as a fit out company, up here in Scotland the company started as a trading company in office furniture. The personal drive to provide solutions instead of simply selling product meant that Amos Beech's product portfolio quickly expanded from the then current mainstream office furniture to high-end furniture and seating solutions. The introduction of the revolutionary BMA Axia task chair is just one example of that. In the meantime eldest son Sam joined the company, later followed by his brother Roy. Solution driven sales also lead to bespoke in-house designed reception desks and this brought Amos Beech back into office interior design, fit out and office refurbishment.
In 2004 the company had outgrown their old premises and needed a matching showcase in line with the design market Amos Beech was serving.
The a-symmetrical full-height glass front created a working environment and showroom with ample day light. To cope with the increasing workload, staff numbers increased and this year, ten years after we have moved in, we are looking at refurbishing an re-fitting our own offices. Watch this space!
A lot has changed over the years and thanks to our loyal customers and staff we are where we are today. However in the ever changing world there is no reason to be complacent. Here at Amos Beech we are doing the utmost to renew ourselves and to be visionary and at the forefront of our industry's developments.
At the heart of our approach will remain Customer Focus and Fit For Purpose!