Case studies

J A Milton

Silverpreneur: David Elsley

J A Milton

A desire to continue a business developed over 30 years, by an inspirational master-upholsterer, led David Elsley to venture into the world of business ownership as an over-50s silver entrepreneur.

David’s background could not have been more different – he was formerly an operations director with an industrial vending machine business with a turnover of £50 million.

But in 2010 he took a change in direction and became supply chain manager of a small upholstery supplies company in north Shropshire – J A Milton Upholstery Supplies.

He took over the day-to-day running of the business in 2017 as general manager after the death of the business founder, Joan Milton. And when Joan’s husband decided to sell the business this year, David took the chance to become a business owner.

It was this new venture that led David to sign up with the Silverpreneurs® programme – a fully-funded scheme that provides Shropshire’s older generation of entrepreneurs a helping hand in setting up their own businesses.

He bought the business in November maintaining the company’s 31 year history and following in the footsteps of master upholsterer Joan Milton.

Joan originally learnt her craft so that she could renovate second hand furniture she bought at auction. She went on to become a well known and respected figure in the upholstery business with a company with an equally positive reputation.

Joan realised that it was difficult for upholsterers to obtain tools or materials and so launched the upholstery supplies business which is now based at Ellesmere Business Park, Ellesmere.

She died of breast cancer in 2017 but left behind a well established company with industry accolades, including the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers Crest.

Just a few months before taking ownership of the company, David decided to sign up to the Silverpreneurs® scheme. It
provides a structured programme of support, ideas, information and inspiration for those aged over 50 who are setting
up or revitalising their business enterprises.

David explained that he joined the programme in August 2021. He was taking on a well-established staff of five team
members and he wanted help and support with training.

“As a result of being involved with Silverpreneurs® we have received help with our marketing plan, social media, training via webinars, a podcast and our email marketing. We have now moved over to a different mailing system to get better potential. I would recommend the Silverpreneurs® programme to other businesses. We have learnt about the importance of branding and social media and we are looking forward to the long term possibilities of being part of a community of businesses”

David Elsey

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