for Trugs Hand Made in Sussex
Your Trugmaker Kevin
(Packaging & handling Department) or
Leader of the Opposition
'If ' you can find hand crafted Sussex trugs cheaper than mine, I'll polish your car with a cotton bud! The reason! My overheads are very low, no office staff, no company car (I haven't driven for 20 years) and fed only once per day. Last year while attending a woodcraft fair, a nearby maker, after (I assume) examining my prices cleared his stock and went home!
As at this moment in time, I have never, yes never had a dissatisfied customer, on the contrary, I could not possibly show every lovely letter of thanks I have received over the last year, let alone of all time.
To see just a few of the most recent feedbacks just click the 'My feedback' link above.
Just about me
I commenced working life at fifteen as an apprentice watchmaker, which disappointed my father as he was a woodsman who expected me to join him and considered watchmaking was a job for 'pansies'!
Three situations led me into trugmaking:-
Firstly, some bright spark invented the digital watch forcing many watchmakers to reconsider their means of income. Eventually one could buy 10 digital watches for the price of a service to a mechanical watch and to be truthful, they were infinitely better timekeepers!
Secondly, my Father died when I was 17 and as my mother died four years earlier, I had to enter the world of bedsit-land on an impossible apprentices wage of £4 10shillings (not an hour - per week!!) and listening to Leonard Cohen (music to cut-yer-throat by!!).
Thirdly, I felt an underlying obligation that I should be working in wood, as my father wished. So, to cut a very long story short, I eventually became a trainee trugmaker and learned the trade.
Some years later, I was lured into carpentry and spent several years building Log Cabins all over the country (Dad would have been proud of me!). Whilst this was very rewarding, enabling me to see the most beautiful parts of this country (and others) I was travelling an average of 2,000 miles per week before being on site for 45+ hours per week. If the site was in excess of 2½ driving hours, we would stay in accomodation.
During these periods away from home, I spent many evening hours in B&B's & Hotels. I used much of this time making notes to be converted into manuscript back at home for a book, later to be entitled 'How To Solve Cryptic Crosswords'. Surprisingly, the first publisher (Eliot Right Way) I approached liked it, published it, and has since sold over a million copies. Sadly, if you google Kevin Skinner, you either get an American Folk Singer or myself coming up as an author not a trugmaker!
While working in Inverness, during breakfast in a B&B a resident brought in her daughter who was very like one of my daughters, Stevie. I missed Stevie and Lori so much that I decided I could not continue spending all this time away. I decided there and then to find a workshop in my hometown of Hailsham, return to what I enjoyed most and see my family daily. So that's what did - and here I am. I don't mind Monday mornings anymore, I look forward to the day, going to work and doing what I love.
I am constantly asked by customers "why are your trugs much cheaper than others"? Easy! I enjoy working hard, I have no large overheads (just Jaqui!), Employ no-one, No flash car and I won't supply the trade who want a 50% discount. I go to work when I wake and go home when I'm tired. My only extravagence is a pint up the pub with Jaqui after work. Finally, I believe those that sell at higher prices sell less numbers; I'd rather be busy, that's what I like. So there we are.
Me as a lad
Me as a Grandad
(I know, you can't believe it!).
About Trugs and Me, now and then!
All trugs are hand crafted by myself in the traditional way of steaming and bending the component parts and all materials used are F.S.C. approved. Finished Trugs are signed and dated by me. Following a final check by Jaqui, a unique Sussex Trug stamp is added on the base. My Trugs come in five sizes 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 and the Daffodil (see the individual trug descriptions for Dimensions and capacity).
My wife Jaqui PhD (Packaging and handling Department) as the title suggests, is responsible for receiving, packing and shipping your orders. We offer very rapid delivery, if a trug is ordered before 10:30 A.M. you will receive it next day by courier, ideal if it's a last minute present. Jaqui can also include a personal message on a card if you wish (no extra charge). If you view our Feedback page, you will see that rapid post is greatly appreciated.
The word Trug is a derivation of the word Trough and was originally used for measuring grain and seed volume, hence the variation of sizes. As mechanical scales eventually replaced the the trug as a tool of measurement, the trugs were then utilised as a basket for carrying garden produce and hand tools. In a recent nationwide survey by a popular gardening magazine, the Sussex trug was voted the fifth most essential gardening accessory.
In 1970 while working for another company, I designed 'the Harlequin' trug. This was submitted to the British Design Centre and subsequently awarded the Standard kite mark for design excellence. Although the design has now been copied I like to think 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'!
In June (2011), this trug was chosen as 'best-for-style' in the very popular Grown-Your-Own magazine. Trugs I made 45 years ago are now being sold in Antique shops and collectors fairs. At the famous Ardingly Antiques Fair I discovered one of my very early trugs for sale and introduced myself as the original maker to the seller. He asked me if I would sign it (good idea I thought), so, from then on, all my trugs are signed and dated on the bottom board.
There are foreign imports available from garden centres made in China and Poland which are usually higher priced than my trugs even though they are of a very poor quality held together with staples! I offer a lifetime guarantee, impossible for imported models.