To understand us and our brand... I think we need to share a little of our background so you understand where we are coming from and a little bit of our BIG WHY!
A Little Background...
Since day dot we have always been entrepreneurs. We started in the Health, Leisure & Sport industry wanting to help other people with either developing digital products or to have entrepreneurial breakthroughs. We were both young professional's travelling the UK and World living an ambitious life. We met through work where Jax tried really hard to ignore Scotty who was being a clown and trying to impress her.
She finally caved in and we had our 1st date in 2010 at Regents Park in London (she nearly didn't turn up!) And our romance started! And this is our little timeline...
2012 she said yes <3 x x
2014 we dreamed big and designed our perfect life together (with babies & animals)... we bought an off-grid farm in north beds & got married... moved into a static caravan with no electricity or mains water or sewage #dreamy
DISASTER: A close family break up and 4 year legal battle started... severely knocking our world and hearts.
2015 Had our baby Harry, which gave us hope and a reason to do anything to survive and get our life back
Started to work & consult in the digital world mostly around the automotive industry - loved the work, Hated the culture!
Ongoing legal battle weighed heavy and started to cause health issues
2016 Scotty lost 30kgs in 2 weeks had to have emergency surgery on severe ulcerative colitis (UC) caused by heatache and stress. Our world plunged into more darkness as I was in hospital for 4 months... I got back out, weighing only 55kg and getting fed through a tube in my arm! Then got rushed back in again with infections and complications. Jax had a 3 month old baby and a husband who was bed ridden whilst looking after the farm and trying to survive on fumes. The pressure and darkness was real.
After 10 months without work or money coming in...it left us in a financial black hole and we have no funds to live, let alone develop our farm. We had to get back on top.
2017 back to work and landed some bigger consultancy / contracting gigs to claw us out the black hole. Kept the wolves from the door and started to dream once again!
2018 We found Progressive Property - A property investment education company. Scotty saw the way out... after being shown how to start a Serviced Accommodation business by the wonderful Kevin Poneskis (The UK's Leading SA Trainer & Mentor)
2019 We started Free Range Stays as a local test (in Bedford) to see if this Serviced Accommodation stuff could work. Jax fully supported Scotty in this journey and told him to "Go for it!"... but we had to do it her way :)
Starting to develop the brand..
When we sat down to think about starting the business we discussed what the business should look like and who our ideal guests would be... For some this is really difficult. But for us it was easy. We cheated! We designed our perfect guest avatar around our younger selves.
We were the young professionals who were travelling around at 1000 mile an hour from one gig to the next trying to find decent accommodation that would make them feel safe, calm and inspired for the next day of genius work. Most of the time we couldn't find that accommodation.
It would be tired old Guest Houses or run down B&Bs... we were expecting to be the best version of ourselves but were "staying in beige and magnolia".
How was we going to perform the next day if we were tired, nervous, anxious and on edge?
Jax went about designing a guest experience what would be welcoming, de-cluttered, calm and relaxing. She started to design a look and feel that was natural, full of texture and creating spaces to just 'Be!'
Jax wanted to provide some personal touches to show people that we care, that we understood that people are away from home and could feel a little on edge.
Scotty was getting giddy (as he does) and wanted to give some personality to the brand. He has a mantra that all you need in the morning is "Coffee, Eggs & Gratitude"
As we live on our offgrid farm and rescue ex-battery hens he wanted to provide a good start to the day and provide eggs and a decent cup of coffee; the gratitude piece is reciprocal. We are both very grateful when people choose to come and stay with us, and the guest would be grateful for the excellent accommodation that makes them feel great.
Its more than a Mantra...
Sooooooo... now we have our guest avatar chosen and our experience designed... why the fudge should someone choose us? why should we turn up everyday and try to connect with more people and help them feel great with excellent accommodation? Why will our business survive when so many don't?
We have to start with a bigger WHY! Free Range Stays started to develop a niche that was important to us and our guests. We always had the guest in-mind but we wanted to be more.
From our difficult challenges mentioned in the timeline above... There were a few key reasons how we got through the adversity. We had a handful of beautiful people who would 'turn-up' for us in hard (and happy) times. All you need in life is 1 person or a group who has your back. Who will turn up. This came from our family, our friends and our community.
Community become a very strong principle for us. Community became a vehicle for support, help and progress. As a business we connect with a few community programmes and charities that supports people and animals. Check out EggShed & The Kings Arms Project
The last part of our brand is bigger than everyone. And that is our planet. We all know about the environmental crisis we are facing and we wanted to do our little bit to contribute. We set about meeting the Green Tourism standards and we are working towards being a Gold Award!
We have 3 core focuses for our brand
- Providing great spaces for our guests to retreat too and explore from
- We champion the local communities and businesses
- We are focused on being green & sustainability
Plans for the future...
Our local test as Free Range Stays worked - yip peee!
As we grew and found out more about what we want (and what we didn't want) we discovered that we needed to transform a little and really emphasis our differences and our key focus areas.
Our NEW "Core Purpose" is to: "Connect with good people & help them feel great"
Essentially this is to grow our network and community with like minded people; and through practising reciprocity we will firstly give value and support to our people; and then we will receive fair exchange and support in return.
Our NEW niche is to provide "Excellent, Executive & Sustainable Serviced Accommodation & Retreats"
(more news on the "Retreats" coming soon! - very exciting)
Our "Core Target" is to provide 50,000 stays a year to conscientious, respectful and appreciative executives
& to give back £2m a year to our Community causes which will provide a "pathway" to personal development and happiness for a lot of people.
We will hold these statements and targets closely as we grow across the midlands, south east midlands and into other regions.
Here's to the future - its here and now! We hope to connect with you and help make you feel great x
Scotty & Jax