Hi, I’m Julie, I am the Owner of The Medal Box Company. I have a passion for creating bespoke personalised boxes making each box special and unique. Each customers order often comes with its own story, that’s why I spend time ensuring a design proof is completed before I begin work engraving the boxes, then each box is hand finished.
I love hearing my customers stories, and history about why they are commissioning a box. However this is my story and background, hopefully it will give you an insight into me and my business.
I don’t class myself as a conventional person. I grew up on a farm on the rural outskirts of Leeds and my first taste of business at six or seven years old and urged on by my Dad was selling turnips to the local village shop, and haggling over selling prices. At around the age of eleven I asked for a pig for my birthday! It had a litter of piglets, that I reared and sold on, with the profit I bought two more sows that were expecting litters…. I had a fantastic childhood, I was a complete tomboy spending most of the time climbing trees, making things and rearing different animals.
When I left school I knew I wanted to work in the construction industry, and started a course in Building Studies at Leeds College of Building, back then there were only a couple of other girls in the whole college. I soon had to learn how to hold my own, I gained the respect of the guys on the course, however I was relieved when I was joined the next year by two other girls. I went on to complete a HNC and also a BSc (Hons) Degree in Construction Management. These were completed part-time whilst working on site as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor, this took nine years. So it kind of shows what a determined person I am…
I worked on a array of exciting projects however the story starts when I went to work building the new (AFC) Army Foundation College at Harrogate as a Senior Quantity Surveyor… when I met my husband who was a Corporal, training the new recruits!
Since we have been married we have travelled around quite a lot following my husbands postings around the UK as well as Germany and Cyprus. I have been lucky enough to experience different cultures and we have made lots of friends and have some amazing memories. When we had our first child and my husband was posted abroad for five years my own career was put on hold…
I always strived to keep busy, my friend and I ran a small shop in Germany on camp, when we moved to Cyprus I decided even though I was pregnant with our second child I wanted to open a shop again! Gosh it was easier growing a baby then renting a shop on camp, all the red tape….but I succeeded eventually… then 6 months later my husband was posted… arggghhh oh well that’s how it rolls when you are married into the army !
We were posted to Bulford, our married quarter was a new build and I was so excited as we moved into a building site literally, no garden at that time, just hoarding around our house as next door was still being built. I hoped to start work part-time on site, although the building company didn’t even reply to my CV, I don’t know if it was because they knew I would be moving on at some point in the future. But if one door closes, don’t keep banging on it, there is something better around the corner!
At this point I was wondering what I could do… I realised I needed to establish a business that was flexible. That could travel with us creating stability for me in a otherwise unstable lifestyle and more importantly for me was working around my children.
My husband Alex was forever losing his Mess dress jewellery, after functions he would come home only slightly worst for wear (ha ha right! only slightly drunk) I mentioned making a keepsake box to store everything in one safe location, he wasn’t too interested until I said I would put his cap badge on the lid… he agreed it was a great idea and given his encouragement my new business was born.
Working in the garage of our married quarter staining and varnishing boxes and then engraving them I think I paid myself about 50p an hour. When I first started engraving boxes, there was no-one in the UK doing similar work. I really love my work and it gives me the flexibility to work and still look after my family!
I have since rebranded to The Medal Box Company, we have now moved into our own home next to where I grew up, and I look forward to growing my business and teaching my own children about rural living, climbing trees and rearing an ever increasing flock of chickens xx