Jack Meeks

It started with a piece of driftwood. Jack Meeks, founder of the reclaimed home-decor brand Urura, grew up by the sea in Wales and would collect scraps of wood he found on the beach. ‘Hoarding, you could call it,’ he says.

Jack started small, making decorative pieces, and then worked on a bigger project: kitting out his van so he could travel between surfing jobs. A distinct style quickly emerged, one infused by Jack’s surroundings; diagonal patterns and blue-green colour palettes reflect the mountainous coast of North Wales.

Four years ago, a friend asked him to make them a piece and it ‘snowballed from there’. What started as a hobby turned into a career. But just as the business started to get going, Jack’s plans took a tumble.

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Ride it out

Over Christmas 2019, Jack’s biggest order came in and he decided it was time to double down on the business. At the time, he was making pieces out of his shed, so he put his name down for a larger workspace.

But then the pandemic hit and activity immediately dried up. ‘At the time, I thought: well, this is it,’ he says. ‘I didn't get a single email for about a month.’

With no orders in the pipeline, the business ground to a halt. Urura was also too new to qualify for any of the government grants or financial assistance. To make matters worse, Jack now needed to make a call on the workspace. If he wanted to keep it, he’d have to pay rent at a time when he didn’t have any orders coming in. ‘I had to decide whether to pack it all in or try to tread water and see what happened.’

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It was like someone had switched on a light switch. All of a sudden, people were messaging asking for wall art and tables.
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Sunnier times ahead

Jack kept going. The silver lining for him was that, other than the rent on his studio and his labor, his materials are free.

He was able to work on some stock and wait for orders to resume. As quickly as everything shut down, business picked up again. After the initial shock of the pandemic set in, people stuck at home on furlough started decorating. ‘It was like someone had switched on a light switch,’ he says. ‘All of a sudden, people were messaging asking for wall art and tables.’

In recent weeks, Jack took part in the UK’s Young Traders Market and won in his category. He’ll soon be competing in the semi-finals. ‘Sometimes you just have to keep looking forward to get through the hard times,’ he says.

Feedback will keep you going

‘One of the biggest things for me is hearing feedback, because you know you're doing the right thing. People really love your stuff and it's enjoyable to make someone feel happy and get their reaction. When you spend three weeks making a really unique piece of artwork or dining table and you ship it to someone, then they open the box and say it’s absolutely made their home, it's the centerpiece of the house, that really moves you. The connection I have with the customer is very personal.’

Superscript champions change-makers and empowers businesses to take risks by making business insurance accessible, intuitive and uncomplicated. Giving entrepreneurs the confidence to go all in.

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