September 1978 I started out in the furniture industry (42 years ago)

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

One picture above shows me outside the London College of Furniture Commercial Road London in 1979 where I attended college one day a week for four years. The others show me on the croquet lawn in 1979 at Brooklands, Brockham Green our Surrey home. Also shown is my aunt Yolande Griffin. I learnt from her the gentle art of manipulation. She always got her own way and was late to any event or social gathering. She was adored by the Brockham community. Known to them as 'Lady Griffin'.

I have now spent 42 years in the furniture and home improvement industry. I wanted to be anything other than what I got pushed into. A fireman would've been preferable, but my adoptive father insisted I do an apprenticeship in metalwork or woodwork. Weighing up the options I opted for woodwork, worried about getting greasy. Looking back on it, it was more my adoptive father interviewing Peter Dovaston of H&E Dovaston Bishop's Stortford, rather than Peter interviewing me.

One thing that really impressed me over those four years of training & studying one day a week at the London College of Furniture, Commercial Road East London was Peter & his families incredible hard work ethic. One that I have adapted.

Looking back on it, it was enjoyable, though sadly when the firm became a casualty of the 1982 recession, it gave me & my best friend Gary Hayes, who had also been working with me, the opportunity to go it alone & set up our own business in antique & modern furniture restoration. This soon morphed into contract polishing plus Antique sales from our warehouse in Allens Green Hertfordshire. Working 6 days a week plus weekday evenings it soon took it's tole on our health sadly. But I had got the business bug & really enjoyed the marketing & had a bash at promoting business products, including mobile phones in the late 1980s with my business Amberquest.

I then found myself going more into high end in-period interiors & period property renovation. History & architecture has always fascinated me, growing up in large Victorian homes in Hertfordshire & Surrey.

I briefly worked for other firms, once I'd made the move to London in 1998 as I wanted to be commercially aware & learn all the techniques of how to close a deal face to face or over the phone. Armed with these new tools I went back into interiors in 2002 & focused on high end period refurbishments, putting in stunning modern interiors, utilizing Poliform & Deltalight products each & every time.

In 2003 I was persuaded to team up with my 2nd business partner, who owned a RIBA architect practice. He wanted to get more work in Central London, so I came up with a roof garden company which we set up & he is still running.

In 2009 I decided to take a break from being a designer, builder main contractor & have focused on Global marketing with my stores. Though now that i'm carving up a new territory, am going going back into property as a developer. As you can see.

Linkedin doesn't show us dyslexics in a good light, as like others, I prefer to make my own breaks & for people to judge me by my talent in what i do. I'm a creative, I have to create & I have to innovate.

John Rice C.E.O. Five Star Portugal ORBSEO

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