What's your story? Case Study: Riverhill Himalayan Gardens, Sevenoaks

What’s your story? Most business owners that we speak to had a pivotal moment in their lives where something clicked and ta-dah – they’re running a business. Sometimes it’s that lightening bolt of inspiration that occurs while you're eating your cornflakes which seeds the growth of a business, while other times it might be a life changing event such as redundancy or death of relative which finds you in charge of the family business. Whatever it is, there’s a story behind each and every business out there, and I firmly believe that being honest about the reason you got into business is key to engaging with your customers. I’d like to share with you the story of Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks, and the success that publicising their story has bought them...

‘I was 21 when my father died suddenly and it was with some trepidation that I took up the reins of Riverhill. I had grown up here and so knew every secret path and hiding place, but now it was different; the very walls I had hidden behind were now mine to repair! Thankfully, I haven't had to face this alone. Four generations of the family currently live at Riverhill and we are all very much involved.

My great-great-great grandfather bought Riverhill in 1840. In its glory days it was fully staffed both inside and outside, but after the Second World War it entered a period of decline. We now face significant restoration projects in the house and gardens.

In 2009 we were approached by Ruth Watson and the 'Country House Rescue' team and their subsequent involvement has been invaluable. A team of volunteers now assist us, visitor numbers have vastly increased and the resulting income has meant that we have taken significant steps on the restoration ladder. It is great that so many families enjoy exploring the gardens and woodland, discovering its magic as I did as a boy and as our children do today.’

I absolutely love that this takes pride of place on the homepage of their website, and is accompanied by a gorgeous informal snap of the whole family. If you caught the Rogers family on Country House Rescue, you’ll know all about the massive amount of work undertaken to turn Riverhill around, and I’m so pleased to say that the family have enjoyed an incredibly successful year since Ruth Watson’s team got involved. I’ve no doubt that this was helped in no small part by their brand new website, social media activity (Catherine from Riverhill recently attended one of our workshops!) and the masses of PR that you enjoy from being on national TV – but I can’t help but wonder if the Rogers family would have seen the same results if they hadn’t have been so open with sharing their story. The charm and passion of the family is what drives this business, and it’s really that which we all love with them for.

The story of your business may not be steeped in quite as much history, but there’ll be one there nonetheless – and probably one that your clients would love to hear. So go on, tell me: what’s the story behind your business?

Image credit: riverhillgardens.co.uk