John Wyer, Co-founder / CEO of Bowles & Wyer
From private sanctuaries to the busiest public places and highest profile show gardens, Bowles & Wyer is the company behind some of the UK’s most looked forward to landscapes. John has more than 35 years’ professional experience and is a widely published and respected designer, lecturing on his work both in the UK and abroad. He co-founded the company in 1993 and continues to take a lead role in design, client liaison and the planning process. He writes a widely read monthly blog that explores his insights into the design process, ponders on the roles of landscape and maintenance, and relates his adventures with cycling and swimming ponds.
Episode Notes (by minute):
1:38 – John introduces himself as the CEO of the landscaping company Bowles & Wyer, and details the history of the company.
2:08 – John explains the various services that Bowles and Wyer provide, and talks about where the company is based, and where it operates.
3:45 – John details the range of clients to whom the company provides its services, and discusses the positive effects that landscaping can bring to a client.
6:05 - John expands on the different types of landscaping services provided by Bowles & Wyer.
9:50 – John touches on the creative process.
10:15 – John explains the structure of the company.
11:45 – John describes the difference between corporate and private clients and how to accommodate for both.
15:09 – John talks about how Bowles and Wyer acquires new clients.
16:14 – John gives an insight into how decisions are made within the business.
18:04 – John discusses the company's purpose and core values, and reveals the reasons behind them.
21:17 – What sets Bowles & Wyer apart? John highlights the importance of responding to customers' expectations and values.
22:50 – John explains why he started the business, touching upon his fascination with horticulture.
26:22 – John's hopes and dreams when he started the company, and how it evolved in a partnership.
27:56 – Are having inspirations and influences an important factor in starting and developing a business?
29:12 – John considers the element of risk-taking when starting up a company.
31:49 – John recalls the struggles and difficulties he faced on setting up the business.
34:14 – John talks about the "close shaves" in the early years, and how they coped with them.
35:28 – Alan and John discuss the strengths inherent in a partnership.
37:11 – John recalls the development of the business in its subsequent years, detailing its expansion from a design-focused company, to one also involved in construction.
39:15 – John shares some of the things he learned while developing the business.
40:33 – John reveals how external instances can cause a business to falter, and gives his suggestions on how to overcome such issues. Alan and John go on to discuss the importance of resilience.
45:02 – John explains the difference in goals and views within the partnership, how they were resolved, and the effects that followed.
49:37 – John talks about the recent process of developing and growing the positioning and re-branding of the business.
53:40 – John describes the future of the business, including their new project: developing an Academy.
59:21 – John considers the dichotomy of business growth and service quality, expanding on the question “how big is too big?”
1:01:48 – John talks about the company’s response to the Climate Crisis.
1:03:20 – John gives a piece of advice to new entrepreneurs.
1:05:33 – John describes the impact that owning a business has had on his lifestyle, and how being foolish can be a positive.