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A craftsman from Devon is the latest business to take advantage of the Start Up Loans Scheme from SWIG Finance to develop their operation.

Andy Westlake of Shabby Shacks collects wood and timber from his environment to combine his passion for design with woodworking.

“I love to work with wood and using everyday recycled beach materials to bring my designs to life,” Andy says. “I literally have stacks of wood everywhere in my workshop.

“As a youngster I’d pick up all sorts of beach debris left and exchange these for treats with his family” Andy says.

After graduating from Falmouth College of Art in 2002, Andy led a career in Education for 13 years. Recently he found a way to mix his beach foraging trips alongside his passion for woodworking.

“I just started making miniature beach shacks for Friends and Family, to remind them of their seaside trips using keep sakes they found on the day.” Andy says.

A married father of two, Andy still works as a part time teacher and recently started the business this summer. Andy took advantage of using the government-backed Start Up Loan Scheme through SWIG Finance combined with business advisory support from UPBEAT Solutions to get his idea started.

The business now sells over 5 wooden toy beach shacks a month along with miniature furniture and bespoke storage solutions all from reclaimed timber.

“Some people can’t see it, but reclaimed timber bears the scars of its life. I love the idea that an old piece of wood has really been tried and tested and has withstood the challenges of life.”