We’re really excited to be able to share an amazing business with you. We met Martin, the founder of Sitting Spiritually, over at Blackdown HQ in March and very quickly found ourselves adoring the collection. From wooden swings with beautiful carving to luxurious swinging day beds with extra details, to benches designed to delight the eye, and more. We were in awe of the range, the quality, and the story behind the brand too… so much so we wanted to tell you more about it…
How did Sitting Spiritually start life? What was your first product?
In 2004, Martin Young felt he would like to open his newly created garden under the National Garden Scheme. He remembers the day the inspector came to visit, clutching her Yellow Book and clipboard full of the necessary criteria, “It’s perfect but our members like to sit down and contemplate the garden, the planting and the view” the inspector explained, “but you have no seating so I’m afraid we can’t include you this year unless you can sort this out in the next few weeks.”
Martin had always loved the type of evocative solid wooden swing seats he had seen in American films and he saw this as an excuse to buy one, but as he began to do his research— through retailers and online— he quickly realised that he simply wasn’t going to find what he wanted and was astonished at the lack of choice, ‘I must have sat on at least 20 seats and looked at the same amount again online‘ he laughs, ‘but they were all horrible; flimsy and badly made from foreign hardwoods or clunky metal or plastic ones, they didn’t meet my expectations at all.’
In frustration, Martin turned to the home of the swing seat, the USA and sent for some swing seat plans he found on the internet. After they’d arrived and he’d begun to unfold them, Martin could see immediately that this was what he had been looking for. With a few aesthetic tweaks, and using the Carpentry skills his father had insisted upon him, this was something he could make himself. Martin will never forget his father’s words to him when he was a young lad, as he persuaded him to do that Carpentry Apprenticeship, ‘It’s like swimming Martin, you’ve always got it to fall back on and you never know when you might need it.’ He cleared a space in his garage, bought some local Devon Oak and began work.So the first of Martin’s swing seats was created and can still be seen in the Sitting Spiritually Garden today. Two months later the inspector returned to see the swing seat in situ and announced that they would be delighted to add Bramble Hayes to their list of gardens to visit.
How do you source the materials you use in the products you make?
We insist on only the finest quality FSC registered timbers and will reject any piece we don’t feel is up to our high standard.
Tell us about the name of the brand and how you came to it.
One day, when Martin was sitting on that first ever swing seat, meditating, a friend wandered into the garden & said “Are you sitting spiritually, then I’ll begin” and Martin knew instantly that he has his new company’s name!
What’s your favourite product/most recent product?
Our most recent product is the Knole Garden Bench, which Martin loves, but one of his favourite products is the Swinging Day Bed, the one in the photo is in his garden and he and his family get so much use out of it and it brings them such pleasure, it is certainly a favourite. The Kyokusen also holds a special place in his heart.
We love the personalised element to the Sitting Spiritually collection – have there been any commissions that really stand out?
Someone once asked for a carving saying “don’t let the buggers get you down!” that tickled Martin no end!
Can you tell us about your connections with the RHS?
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been licensing products for more than 25 years. Its licensing team works with carefully selected companies, often leaders in their fields, to develop products meeting the highest standards of quality and design. In return for using the RHS brand and its intellectual property, manufacturers pay a royalty that goes directly to the charity. Sitting Spiritually is one of those manufacturers.
In fact our bespoke garden swing seats and benches have been licensed by the RHS for seven years. Being an RHS licensee is something we are immensely proud of. But it all began in a very low-key way. In 2012 we supplied a wooden swing seat to RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. The then Licensing Manager greatly admired the swing seat and got in touch with us. This modest beginning led to our application to become an RHS licensee. Today a number of bespoke wooden swings seats can be found along the Riverside Walk at RHS Garden Wisley.
Our latest RHS Licensed product is the Knole Garden Bench.
Cathy Snow, Licensing Manager, RHS, says: “The breathtaking designs that Sitting Spiritually has produced are a constant delight. Its RHS licensed range has always exceeded our expectations.”
You can find Sitting Spiritually here:
Web – https://www.sittingspiritually.co.uk/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sittingspiritually/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sitspiritually
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sittingspiritually/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/sitspir#g/u