When Martin and Catherine Ollerenshaw first set up their bespoke furniture business they started out from a small shed in their back garden.

The couple set up The Rustic Mill Company Ltd, which specialises in handmade rustic-style furniture, back in January 2020 and were making a few small sales online.

However, things took a remarkable, and rather unexpected turn, for the Thornton-Cleveleys nine months later - that would change the lives of the Lancashire couple.

Telling OK! their story, Martin and Catherine explained how Mrs Hinch bought one of their custom made stair gates for her stunning Essex home.

They said: “We started the business in a small shed in our back garden in January 2020, at the time we were advertising and selling our products through Etsy, making a few small sales.

“During the first lockdown we expanded our business slightly to a larger cabin also situated in our back garden, still advertising through Etsy and only had a small following of around 100 followers on Instagram.

“Then the unthinkable happened in September 2020 when Mrs Hinch bought one of our custom made stair gates for her beautiful home.”

The Rustic Mill Company Ltd are a small family run business who produce bespoke baby gates and other furniture
The Rustic Mill Company Ltd are a small family run business who produce bespoke baby gates and other furniture

But they didn't realise that the purchase was going to make their fantastic business an overnight success.

Mrs Hinch has built up a huge following on Instagram, with four million fans following her home hacks and tips.

She's renowned for making items sell out on website after posting about them on her Instagram page, and she had the same effect when she shared her stair gate from The Rustic Mill Company.

Martin and Catherine added: “She then posted her new gate on social media and tagged our company in the post, after this our phones were non-stop with thousands of messages, with people enquiring about also getting a gate like Mrs Hinch’s.

“This we never expected, and although we tried our best to reply to everyone we just simply could not keep up with the volume of messages.”

Martin told how his wife Catherine did her best to reply to all the messages and take pre-orders for their custom made gates - but it was tough work.

Their social media following rocketed from a few hundred to 17,000 and they have told how grateful they are to Mrs Hinch for her support.

Mrs Hinch and her husband Jamie

They said: “We couldn’t believe the experience and to this day we are still grateful to Mrs Hinch for the exposure that she gave us.

“Within 48 hours this number had increased again to 25,000 followers and the messages were still flowing and other public figures were getting in touch with us to enquire about our products.

“We were shocked to find that a short while later Mrs Hinch purchased another gate from us for the downstairs of her house. Again once this was put on her Instagram page, our followers grew further along with the messages and enquiries.

“This time we were slightly more prepared, although nothing could prepare us for the volume of messages we were receiving again, thanks to the exposure.”

But Mrs Hinch isn't the only celebrity to get in touch. The company were surprised to hear from TOWIE star Lydia Bright who requested two gates for her stairs.

Mrs Hinch shared her purchase on Instagram

“Following on from this in December 2020 we were contacted by Lydia Bright, who also asked us to make two gates for her stairs, after she had put a post out to her followers asking people to suggest a company who could make gates for her,” the couple continued.

“A great number of people recommended us which then prompted Lydia to get in touch to design and make these for her. This has also prompted messages to design and make products for the likes of Josh Wright and other famous figures. We now have 18,000 followers on Facebook and 36,000 followers on Instagram.”

Martin has told how the purchases, made by the likes of Mrs Hinch and Lydia Bright, turned their small shed operation into a manufacturing furniture business, which has given them the opportunity to employ staff in their new 2,000 square foot workshop.

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