Sit back, pour yourself a shandy and let us regale you with the story of Boyds of Bedford. Boyds is the brainchild of husband and wife Tom & Jessica Answer, a design obsessed couple of petrol heads and vintage freaks.
The pair cut their entrepreneurial teeth on The Vintage Suit Hire Company, but after running that business for 3 successful years they wanted a outlet which was more closely aligned to their personal interests - and thus Boyds was born in September 2018. If you are wondering, the name Boyd is Jessica's maiden name...
Initially Boyds was a rack of clothing within the existing Vintage Suit Hire store in the centre of Bedford, where the pair started selling vintage inspired clothing and gifts along side their range of tweed suits. Things really picked up when they purchased a battered old screen printing setup and started hand printing garments in an old auction house down the road from their shop
In the spring of 2019, Tom & Jess started hosting monthly motorcycle meets in the market square in Bedford which attracted up to 300 bikes and really put the Boyds name on the map within motorcycling circles and their following began to grow.
Following the loss of their warehouse space, Boyds and Vintage Suit Hire were relocated from Bedford to Kinsbourne Farm in Stagsden where over a period of 3 months Tom toiled to fit out a brand new location in an old chicken shed.
In January 2020 the new venue was opened and alongside the retail offering, a coffee shop 'Cafe Brat' was thrown into the mix offering amazing coffee, and legendary bratwursts and pretzels.
The new location got off to a really promising start - despite opening in winter (not great for classic and custom car and bike fans!), but sadly with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the massive financial strain this placed on the business, Boyds was forced to close its doors on the 13th of September before it collapsed in on itself and took Vintage Suit Hire down with it
At this point it looked like all was lost for Boyds as all the stock was liquidated to help make sure Vintage Suit Hire could survive a year of no income, but following period of reflection and the amazing support of customers and friends of Boyds, Tom and Jess decided to give it another roll of the dice.
In October 2020, a Crowdfunder was launched with the intention of resurrecting Boyds as a standalone online business, with a mobile shop and cafe which can be rolled out at meets and shows to keep the Boyds brand alive. The Crowdfunder raised £12,000 from over 300 supporters and Boyds was born again.
The business now is every bit the passion project with any money made being reinvested back into new stock and better equipment with the intention of continuing to provide a service to the community that helped enable its recovery.
We are redoubling our efforts and commitment to hand making product of the highest quality and collaborating with like minded folks and will be hosting regular car and bike meets and appearing at as many shows as we can.
Boyds is very much about people, friendships and a sense of belonging, so if you see us - please come and say hi.
Thanks for reading!
Tom & Jess