When David Finney’s family building business found itself under crippling financial pressure thanks to the sharp downturn in the building industry, he knew that something had to give. And give it did, the family business which since 1902 had supported four generations of David’s family, finally had no choice other than closure. For David, he found himself at an unexpected crossroads in his life, and one which turned out to be the beginning of a whole new chapter.
“At 49 I was faced with the prospect of starting another career – this was as much daunting as it was exciting,” David says. I had always been self employed and the prospect of working for someone else simply did not appeal and did limit my options somewhat. It was then that I guess I had my ‘eureka’ moment of what I could actually do, and where the Sezitall story really begins!”
Some years earlier David and his wife, Teresa, had been hunting for a personalised bookcase for their son, Jack, and when they failed to find what they wanted, they had one made for him. Even back then, David saw the business potential in the idea.
David continues, “My son absolutely loved the bookcase with his name JACK spelt on one side and LUFC (Leeds United Football Club) on the other. That coupled with comments from his friends who wanted one too and positive feedback from other parents, we knew it was a nifty business idea.”
Ten years on in 2007, and the nifty business idea was about to become a business reality. But before it did, David held a couple of focus groups with mums for their candid opinions, and extensively scoured the internet to verify that no one else did anything similar. Then, armed with the knowledge that the idea still had legs, he secured the copyright of his design and set about getting the business well and truly off the ground.
“After outsourcing product manufacture and building my website, I contacted as many online retailers specialising in kid’s furniture as I could find to see if they were interested in promoting the product.”
Today, Sezitall shelving units can be purchased from the Sezitall website as well as from numerous online retailers. David has begun to expand his range, and in line with the football season and the forthcoming World Cup, he recently launched a ‘Football Crazy ‘collection whereby favoured football teams are spelt out on the units. David says,
“The business is still young and is growing at a steady and manageable rate. I am building a reputation for good customer service and for providing great quality bookcases, so customers come back for more!”
David adds, “One of the great things about the Sezitall unit is that it can be increased in height and more letters added at any time.”
David works from his home in Cheshire and rents a small warehouse to hold stock. His business affords him the flexibility to see his family far more than when he worked for the family building firm. Between his work commitments, he is able to help out with day-to-day family things such as school runs and out of school activities.
“Apparently, I am a dadpreneur! I never really knew what a dadpreneur was until I started Sezitall, but if successfully juggling work with family makes me worthy of that title, then it is a label I quite like! But I couldn’t run the business without the continued support of my wife and three wonderful boys.”
The transition from helping to run a building business with a £15 million turnover to starting up and then running a children’s shelving business has been big, but now the foundations of Sezitall have been firmly laid, this family business is here to stay.