Posted on 06/04/22

Established in 1973, Silver Lady is a family-owned business based in Barnsley. Rick Jennings first began working there around 30 years ago, eventually taking over ownership from his parents 20 years ago.

The company offers a range of services from bespoke presentations, through to silver repairs and valuations. However, one of their most impressive services is creating silver centrepieces for the military, which capture key moments and campaigns in history.

One such example was a piece commissioned by The Royal Artillery after the Queen Mother died. Silver Lady produced a centrepiece depicting the funeral cortege, which formed part of the procession carried out by The Royal Horse Artillery. This piece was later shown to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.

Whilst the military accounts for around 80% of Silver Lady’s customers, Silver Lady also carry out work for corporate companies, stately homes and sporting organisations.

“We offer a bespoke service providing unique pieces. When a military regiment contacts us to commission a piece of silver they know that it will be individual to them.”

Moving to a professional location at The Business Village

Originally operating from their own building in Cudworth on the outskirts of Barnsley, Rick decided to move Silver Lady into The Business Village around seven years ago.

“We were split over three floors, and I wanted the team to be together in one office.”

After hearing about The Business Village from a friend, Rick arranged a viewing of the facilities and immediately liked the feel of the place. He also thought it would provide a more professional space when hosting visits from Colonels and Generals in the military.

“When we visit a regiment, they host us amazingly, so we decided we would like to provide the same experience in return.”

The reception service also is a great benefit to the company, for providing a professional and welcome feel to their visitors, as well as managing parcel deliveries when the team is out of the office.

Whilst the company is established enough not to need business support, Rick is appreciative of the local information which comes from The Business Village team.

“They’re great at keeping you updated and informing us what’s available in the area, particularly during COVID period and more recently grants for IT. It’s the kind of information you don’t have time to look for yourself when running a business.”

Work experience student from Barnsley College has helped fill an important role

Silver Lady has also recently become involved in supporting local students. When their artist retired, the company was in need of someone to create sketches for centrepiece ideas and so Rick contacted Barnsley College to see whether they could help.

The Work Experience Coordinator identified a potential student who did a great job and has since begun working for Silver Lady on work placement one day a week. It’s been such a positive experience that Rick is considering taking on another student next year and has been asked by the college to speak about his business.

“I received an email from the college to say that, as a result of being on work placement, the student has transformed from being shy and unconfident to someone full of ideas and excitement, ready to try new things. I loved hearing that he now has lots of Silver Lady designs pinned on his college workstation and shows pride in the work he’s done with us.”

Focusing on personal service rather than growth was the best decision ever

Silver Lady clearly has lots of scope for growth, but around three years ago Rick made the decision to focus on providing a more bespoke and personal service.

“It was the best decision ever made. When a company grows, you can sometimes end up losing professionalism and that personal touch with customers. We’ve chosen to remain a small business so that we can continue providing beautiful bespoke centrepieces, maintain a good repair service and provide in depth silver valuations which are respected within the insurance community.”

 

It’s this personalised service which sees Silver Lady sponsoring several military events each year. One in particular is a bi-annual boxing event at Sandhurst, the officer training centre where the company sponsors the event with Holt’s bank and has done for over 16 years.

Rick’s success has come through hard work rather than education and he’s keen to inspire others to do the same.

Rick has been on many dinner nights in places like Buckingham Palace and The Tower of London and met The Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Frank Bruno and Tom Hardy to name a few. He has travelled the world with the military and met some amazing and inspiring people. However, he’ll always remember his roots from the company name, Silver Lady, which his Dad named after his Mum.

Find out more about Silver Lady by visiting their website 

Or contact Rick directly :

T: 01226 713 181

E: rick@silverlady.co.uk