The year is 1978. With a first year at West Surrey Art & Design College, and five years in international banking under his belt, John Allan, set off to Italy to visit his very first two trade shows. Having spent a little time dabbling in the world of footwear, and despite selling lots of shoes to the likes of Timpsons and other big companies, John felt more drawn to the world of home decorations. In February 1979, John did the Blackpool gift fair with wonderful Italian contemporary giftware in tow, and well, didn’t take one order!
John spent time refining his craft and after being a little more triumphant at the next few trade fairs, he met his now wife Philippa, who shared John’s passion for product. The two decided to join forces, invest in a little blue minivan and a lock-up garage, and set out to offer products that enabled everyone to furnish their homes with the individuality and style that they deserved. With an eye for the extraordinary and a real love of things handmade and handcrafted, John travelled to the far corners of the world finding treasures people could only dream of.
An eye for design
John’s thing is design. There’s nothing that quite makes his eyes light up like finding a product or material he really loves. He often goes away and tweaks, redesigns and refines something he’s seen to come up with a product that he’s really passionate about, and is entirely exclusive to Stone the Crows. Over the years, John’s eye for detail has not waivered, and he has passed on much of his wisdom to those around him who are keen to continue this legacy.
A family affair
Fast forward to today and Stone the Crows remains a family business, with that same passion and enthusiasm demonstrated across a whole team of staff. With the introduction of John’s nephew, Martin, in 2020, the company is full steam ahead looking to continue to grow, all while retaining that quirkiness that Stone the Crows is famous for.