Meet the couple behind home decor business Dowsing and Reynolds bringing a touch of luxury to Leeds homes
James and Ally Dowsing-Reynolds design luxury fittings and bespoke lighting with their own Far Headingley home in mind.
Frustrated with cheap plastic light switches and bland design, their Leeds home décor business Dowsing and Reynolds started in 2013 selling bespoke lighting on eBay.
From a mint green kitchen tap, beautifully finished gold dimmer switches to leather kitchen door handles, the couple have now expanded their range "beyond their wildest dreams" - specialising in stylish finishing touches.
“Dowsing and Reynolds started from being stressed in my previous job,” James, 41, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Ally encouraged me to get back into art and sculpture, what I used to do. She came across a concrete light bulb by chance and I realised I could do it better. I explored doing lighting as a side business.
“At the core, we have a vintage industrial feel and I was seeing what I could come up with.”
Their striking lighting and fixtures were an instant hit with customers looking for touches of luxury in their homes.
Following the success of the eBay business, Ally, who had worked in advertising for 20 years, created the first Dowsing and Reynolds website which quickly drew in a "cult following" online.
All pieces are carefully designed by James and created in an old mill in Sheepscar before getting the seal of approval from Ally.
James said: “I design stuff that I haven’t been able to find. When we’re doing our own house, I get very frustrated by bad design."
“I think people wanted something different,” Ally, 41, added.
“It’s those moments of everyday interaction in your home. That cheap plastic light switch is something that could be much better.
"We make smoked gold, copper, silver and white switches which are beautifully finished. James is brilliant at going round a home and finding those little things, that feel of a dimmer switch on your fingers just to give you a little smile every day.”
The business expanded almost by accident, Ally said, and they opened the first Dowsing and Reynolds showroom in the Victoria Quarter in September 2019.
As the pandemic hit just months after the showroom opened, James and Ally fell back on their strong online presence - launching an online interior design service with the showroom team.
“It's like having a best mate that knows design come and help you on Zoom,” Ally said.
“It’s been a challenging time for the showroom and, like other businesses, we’ve had to adapt quickly."
The couple are excited to draw new eyes to their products now their showroom has reopened, but Ally never wants to lose the ethos of how it all began.
Ally added: “James was stressed in his previous role and I suggested doing something creative just to get some mindfulness.
“That ethos is now at the heart of the business, we want our whole team to be happy, and then our customers to be happy because they’ve got good design in their homes.
"Even our kitchen tap range with pops of mint green and white - something quite ordinary can make you smile and give you little moments of joy every time you wash up."
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