New business flocks to shepherd’s hut in Chesterfield

Rachel and Steven Avenier

The founders of Chesterfield-based Willows Shepherd’s Huts, which designs and installs handcrafted willow huts as alternative business premises, is has completed its first commercial contract since it was established earlier this year.

Boasting characteristics that are typical of Shepherd’s huts dating back to the 1800s, the wooden 15ft by 8ft oak chassis hut will now house beauty salon Little Bo Chic from its new home in the gardens of local contemporary French restaurant, Meison Mes Amis.

Law firm Banner Jones Solicitors advised on the deal, with Meison Mes Amis leasing the hut from Willows Shepherd’s Huts on a rolling agreement basis.

Willows Shepherd’s Huts’ business owner and founder, Steven Avenier, said: “The idea to launch Willows Shepherd’s Huts came about when I was in the South of France visiting my parent’s mobile home which was in need of serious renovation.

“I ended up stripping the van to its bare bones, redesigning the layout and refurbishing the interior finishes in order to make the space better meet their needs, and in doing so I got the inspiration to design and build my own shepherds huts.

“They’re flexible and pretty to look at, and because they can be designed to meet the bespoke needs of each customer they don’t come with all of the usual limitations that a traditional set up would. They’re suited to being accommodation, offices, man-caves, boudoirs, garden retreat or anything, really.”

Although still considered to be quite unique for business use, popularity of the unique huts has hit the headlines recently with former Prime Minister David Cameron investing in a similar structure to be situated in his own garden in the Cotswolds.

“Each hut is a blank canvas, and they can be designed and built to meet the bespoke needs of each individual client,” said Avenier, who runs the business alongside his wife, Rachel. “To that end, it’s no surprise that demand is increasing rapidly.”

Banner Jones executive director and property law expert, Chris Sellars, said: “It has been great to be involved in a start-up project that has been an ambition for Steven for many years. Willows Shepherd’s Huts is a truly unique business, with a very unique product, and we look forward to seeing the founders take it forward in the months and years ahead.”

Marcella Kirk from Meison Mes Amis, said: “Upon meeting Steven you can see that he is incredibly passionate about his new business venture. The addition of the unique property to Meison Mes Amis enables us to standout in our location on Chatsworth Road, and ultimately allows us to house Little Bo Chic – expanding our reach and target audience.”