STELLA and Gareth Whitcombe didn’t let a little thing like not knowing anything about furniture stop them from opening a furniture store.

Eight years to the month from their ‘leap of faith’ their Bournemouth branch of BoConcept, purveyors of stylish contemporary Danish design, is flourishing, and now they’ve opened up in Bristol, too.

Stella says: "In 2007 I was working for BoConcept as their management accountant, sourcing new people to run their franchise stores. When it came to the Bournemouth store I couldn't find anyone I thought was good enough to do the job and hit a complete dead end.

Then Gareth said: "Why don't we do it?"

At the time he was running businesses in Salisbury and Stella was travelling all over the UK for BoConcept as their management accountant.

"We also knew nothing about furniture,” she says, “But we went for it.”

The Whitcombes took on the franchise - one of 255 BoConcept franchise brand stores worldwide - in October 2007.

Transforming the Avenue Road store’s design, they placed an emphasis on stunning room sets and introduced a free interior design service offering home consultations and aftercare.

Their diverse customer base now ranges from young professionals to retired people, spanning Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Devon, with repeat customers representing 70 per cent of their business.

They have also gone on to open a further BoConcept franchise in Bristol, which is run by their son, Grant and they are planning new and exciting changes to the store.

Gareth says: "It was a huge learning curve to start with and we inherited a building which we have had to change significantly. But it all paid off and opening the new Bristol store has been the icing on the cake."

And, with son Brent also working in the business, he points out that: “We’re now Bournemouth's last remaining, family-run, town centre furniture store - so it's obviously working."