I began Satori in the depths of the mid 80’s mainly down to a happy mix of chance, luck, synchronicity and random spontaneous happenings. This together with a £40 per week Enterprise Allowance incentive from Maggie (probably one of her best ideas!) was the beginning.An appetite for a more intuitive outlet for some dormant creativity on my behalf saw the very gradual emergence of Satori the business.
Satori means: the moment of spiritual enlightenment or awakening. It is a Buddhist word and became my trading name as significantly it went from being a word unknown to me to one I came across three times in as many days.
1. From a Buddhist friend.
2. David Bowie ‘Memory of a Free Festival’ which I was listening to.
3. In a book called The Snow Leopard, that I was reading.
There was no choice. There was no other name for me to use and the logo flowed with just a couple of brush strokes.
For the next year or so many an hour was spent sitting behind a trestle table at some or other freezing craft event displaying my wares and generally going home happy if:
1. There was enough profit for a few pints that night.
2. My trusty Austin Maxi would get me back without breaking down.
It was at one of these events in the far flung corners of my universe (Ledbury, I believe) where I met my long suffering partner and wife, Jane, who was understandably impressed with my newly acquired juggling skills (learnt to alleviate craft fair boredom syndrome) and the rest is history.
Just 17 (if you know what I mean) Jane was doing ceramics at college and also selling her hand painted miniature houses and cottages on the craft circuit. Although not for long as in April 1989 we took over a small unit at the Hay On Wye craft centre (newly built by the DBRW) as we combined and concentrated our efforts on our shop.
The shop was a good move. Hay was on the up. The festival of literature was in its infancy and still in those days close to our shop. Our range of jewellery was well received by locals and tourists alike and the concept of interesting designs at affordable prices was a winner. We also began selling a few crystals to accompany our jewellery, only amethyst, rose quartz and quartz at this time, as interest in crystals was far from being mainstream.
We learnt much in this our first year in Hay and became a bit more organised much to the relief of our accountant who now had a little more to work on than the usual carrier bag of receipts and guesswork. During this time we also had our first daughter, Annie, and also began to make, and in the end manufacture by the thousand, our own style of wind chime, ‘Aeolus’. Trade shows as far a field as Aviemore and London were attended and we built up a customer base of approximately 150 shops which we supplied with our wind chimes. To this end we took over another unit in Hay solely for the production and retail of our chimes. We supplied our chimes for the musical ‘Miss Saigon’ and exported them as far as Barbados.
1994 was a disaster. Jane was pregnant. We took on another shop in Aberaeron (West Wales). Had 2 new crazy products ‘The Wind Flower’ and ‘Dreamscape Lantern’, both of which we were having problems with. It must have been plain for everyone but us to see – we had taken on too much. Jane and I split up for a while and Satori got scaled down.
1995 – new house, new baby (Becky), new staff and a fresh start. Candles were becoming popular, so we created a Candle Cave in both Aberaeron and Hay. We had great staff in both shops – Susie and later Anna in Hay and Chris and Jenny in Aberaeron, and things began to settle down. Satori took over the larger wind chime outlet which gave us more space and eventually our workshop area receded giving way to Geospace. This meant we could vastly increase our range of crystals, minerals and fossils, luckily at a time when their mass appeal was growing rapidly. Generally this was a time of gain with no pain, which suits me fine! A period of dogs, ducks, kids , music festivals and the infamous Whizzy Wagon !
Not content for long though we began The Fudge Shop in 1999. However that has its own story told elsewhere.
The years 1995 – 2005 have not been uneventful although it is true to say they were not as frenetic as the early years. Much of this time was spent doing new designs, sourcing new products and adding new displays, features and ideas to keep the Satori vision expanding.
So this takes the story virtually to 2009, apart from the sad news that we closed our shop in Aberaeron at Christmas 2008 after 14 years. As for 2009 and beyond cyberspace looks a big and frightening place and a long way from a cutlery box with half a dozen designs at Brecon Craft fair Christmas 1985. However it is the 21st century after all and high time that Satori embraced a new awakening online.
Below is a role of honour for all those who have worked and collaborated with us over the years. There have been greater and lesser contributors all without doubt having had a hand in shaping the everlasting entity that is Satori.
We would like to thank the following people:
Alan, Alistair, Anna H., Annie E., Annie L., Becky E., Carol & John N., Chris H., Claire B., Dave I., David G., Edwin & Dawn, Emma B., Frank H., George, Glynn W., Harry H., Ian M., Jenny H., Jonathon B., Josie, Kate, Kit, Lynn, Mal H., Mel W., Michael C., Mick G., Mum & Dad, Nic K., Pam, Rachel, Sarah, Susie W., Suzanne D., Valerie R.