July 4, 2013 by Ville Raivio
‘I was born in December 1961 in a small hamlet in the Lyth Valley, Cumbria, England. I attended Crosthwaite Primary School again in Cumbria then went onto The Lakes School at Windermere in the Lake District. I have one daughter who resides in Germany but I am soon to have a second daughter who will also live in Germany with my partner. Both my partner and daughter believe whole-heartedly in the Abbeyhorn products and my daughter is learning quickly how to make certain items.
It was my Grandmother who saw the advertisement for a horn craftsperson in our local newspaper in 1980 and encouraged me to try for the position, which I duly did and was given the position by Mr John Barnes who owned Abbeyhorn of Kendal prior to myself. During my time as a horn craftsperson I learnt a great deal about the manufacturing process but I also had some knowledge as my family were in the farming industry.
Mr Barnes decided to retire and I purchased the company in 1991 as he did not have family to take over the business and had I not of taken over Abbeyhorn the business would have died out. We then moved the business to a small industrial estate in the village of Holme where I changed the name to Abbeyhorn of Lakeland. I always knew I wanted to work for myself so this was the perfect situation for all concerned. In 1998 we purchased a Scottish horn works called Horncraft from the Buyers family and combined the two businesses to form Abbeyhorn.
Abbeyhorn is always introducing new items to the range but my favourite item would have to be the whiskey tot. All our items are hand crafted and we have recently employed 3 new members of staff to help with the uptake in business, this can partly be attributed to our website which was made live in March 2011 and has grown from strength to strength, along with programmes such as Game of Thrones where our traditional items feature.
There are very few horn working companies left within the UK and we are proud to be able to say that we have been making products since 1749, still using some of the same machinery today. Our items are produced from Ox horn (Bos Indicus). Our products can be seen as they are being made within our factory which enables customers to learn about the manufacturing process which most of the smaller horn companies remaining the UK cannot offer.
Abbeyhorn offers an engraving service to its customers, which allows a personal, or business approach when required but we also brand a percentage of the goods with the Abbeyhorn logo, as we believe it defines the quality and enhances the product, where so few things are manufactured in the UK ensuring that the goods are truly genuine Abbeyhorn items. On a personal note, I enjoy playing golf, walking the Lake District and playing snooker. I have an eclectic dress sense and do not favour any one designer for clothing or footwear, but quality being foremost.
My main inspirations, I would have to say, would be my father and Mr Barnes who both taught me well but sadly neither of which are with us any longer. If I had to pass on a “gem of wisdom” to other men it would have to be that you follow your own style, enjoy being yourself and never let others dissuade you from your own beliefs.’
Pictures: © Abbeyhorn