The Evolution of an RHS Licensee

RHS Serenity Cedar Range
RHS Serenity Cedar Range

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been licensing products for more than 25 years. Its licensing team works with carefully selected companies, often leaders in their fields, to develop products meeting the highest standards of quality and design. In return for using the RHS brand and its intellectual property, manufacturers pay a royalty that goes directly to the charity.

Sitting Spiritually is one of those manufacturers.

In fact our bespoke garden swing seats and benches have been licensed by the RHS for six years. Being an RHS licensee is something we are immensely proud of.  But it all began in a very low-key way.

In 2012 we supplied a wooden swing seat to RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, the flagship garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. The then Licensing Manager greatly admired the swing seat and got in touch with us. This modest beginning led to our application to become an RHS licensee. Today a number of bespoke wooden swings seats can be found along the Riverside Walk at RHS Garden Wisley.

In the early days, our RHS licensed products consisted of our Chestnut Range of swing seats, rope swings and garden benches. However, in 2013 we suggested to the licensing team that to commemorate that year’s centenary of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show we could design a wooden garden bench. That bench, we felt, could also be part of our RHS licensed range. With this in mind, we consulted a renowned Arts and Crafts movement expert. We then produced the RHS Centenary Bench, a bespoke hand-crafted and carved bench. It launched on our stand at the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show to great acclaim – and did indeed became part of our RHS licensed range.

In 2014, our tenth anniversary, we produced another Arts and Crafts movement-inspired design: the Heart Back Garden Swing Seat. It launched at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and, to our delight, was shortlisted for RHS Chelsea Product of the Year. The Heart Back became an RHS licensed product, and remains one to this day. In fact it is the second-biggest-selling back design in our bespoke furniture. 

Then, in 2016 our Simon Thomas Pirie Range Floating Bench was launched and became the latest addition to our RHS range of garden benches.  It too was nominated as a finalist in the RHS Chelsea Product of the Year awards. It was also loaned to two show gardens: the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, where both designers’ gardens won Gold medals.  It also attracted a lot of media attention, on television during coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace and RHS Tatton Park Flower Shows, and in the pages of newspapers and magazines.

However, as time went on we felt that the quality of chestnut being offered to us no longer did the RHS range justice. A change was due. After chatting with the licensing team our Serenity Cedar Range became the RHS Serenity Range. All items in the range are made out of Western Red Cedar. Every swing seat or bench we make in cedar produces a royalty for the RHS.

RHS Wisley
RHS Wisley
RHS Rosemoor
RHS Rosemoor
RHS Harlow Carr
RHS Harlow Carr
RHS Hyde Hall
RHS Hyde Hall

Today there are examples of our bespoke garden furniture at all four of the RHS Gardens: RHS Garden Wisley, RHS Garden Rosemoor, RHS Garden Harlow Carr  and RHS Garden Hyde Hall. We are always pleased to hear how much visitors enjoy them.  

And not just visitors. Cathy Snow, Licensing Manager, RHS, says:

“The breathtaking designs that Sitting Spiritually has produced are a constant delight. Its RHS licensed range has always exceeded our expectations.”

Our RHS range remains an important part of Sitting Spiritually’s story, constantly evolving and developing – a bit like this company itself.

Posted by Siobhan on October 11th 2018


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