It’s all go at the Mill

29th November 2013

By Paul OLeary

I posted a blog showing the work in progress a couple of months back and since we are getting close to being finished I wanted to show everyone how amazing this place is starting to look. I also posted our underwear shoot a while back and no-one could have guessed what an impact those photos would make on my underwear business.


These photo’s of the new showroom were taken during this week and the interior is starting to look the part, even though the spiral stone staircase is missing, the room feels like a room; a big one. You get a sense of how it will feel now that the windows are in and the plastering is mostly done. At the end of the day, when the builders have left, the room takes on a unique character. The big pain of toughened glass that will go in front of the mill wheel hasn’t been fitted yet, which means it’s still freezing in there, but the sound of the water rushing under the wheel fills the room. It’s odd, it’s an outdoors noise but you’re inside, so your brain can’t quite make sense of it. It heightens your fight or flight senses so that you find yourself looking all around just to check you are not about to be swept off your feet. It’s kind of a shame we’ll lose that noise, it’s part of the wonder of the ancient workings that are all around the mill.



Hopefully, just seeing the wheel will still wow our visitors. We made the oak staircase up to the mill front doors with two landings, so it took everyone as close to the wheel as possible and allowed them a moment to take it all in before you get into the mill proper. We’ll be fitting a beautiful tumbled marble floor next week with huge 900 mm flagstones; can’t wait!



We added another extension to our planning application and we’ve just got started on that. Angry Rob dug the footings in the last 2 days, the concrete has just been poured and the brickies are coming in on Sunday to get up to blue brick level. We’re pouring the floor slab on Monday or Tuesday and the brickies will be back next weekend to get up to roof height. Roof on by Christmas, we’re aiming for. After the massive barns, this little room seems like a really quick job. It will house the Floors of Stone staff, so they are next to their new showroom, which will be the downstairs room. Upstairs will be the new Air kitchen display. The cabinets are up there, waiting to be fitted. It will be spectacular, looking from the original mill across the open space to the Air kitchen display some 30 meters in the distance.


That photo-shoot we did for Shreddies Ltd (my unusual underwear business) that I posted on this blog went very very viral. It was for a time the 3rd most popular story in the world a few weeks ago and has since been picked up by CNN and even Jo Brand featured our pants on the Paul O’grady show last Friday. As a result we now have seven machinists and packers and everyone has been drafted in to help. Zoe, Helen’s daughter, who normally does deVOL’s PR is packing pants, so are her best friends Megan and Georgia. Our cleaner, Rachel is cutting fabric. Louise, our only original machinist is now in charge of a mini sweatshop with 2 Romanians, an American Lady and Louise’s friend and another Georgia nicked from deVOL. We are making about 400 pairs a day now, which is good, because we have about 5000 pairs paid for and due for delivery by Christmas! How did that happen to my littlest business.



Shreddies ltd is six years old and was beginning to look like a hobby, hardly a business at all. But, it just goes to show that trending news stories can change a business overnight. Hundreds of thousands of facebook likes turn into thousands of orders and half a dozen jobs. De Montfort University’s IP department came round yesterday, they invested in the business 6 years ago. They said they had brought an empty suitcase to fill with all the money! I hope they were joking. Still it looks like they will be getting their money back after all. If so, it will be one of only a few Patents that they invested in that will have proved to be profitable.

The front doors of the new showroom will be open by Christmas, which will be a real relief because it’s been a shame that all of our customers have had to be diverted to come up the back fire escape, which isn’t a great first impression. That said, It hasn’t stopped deVOL having it’s busiest month ever for kitchen sales. It seemed like it would never happen, but it’s clear the recession is well and truly over. The fact that all of the builders merchants have run out of breeze blocks is testament to that. Hallelujah!

Need any help?

Cotes Mill
01509 261000


St. John's
020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street
020 3837 5900


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New York
+1 212 210 6269

Need any help? Please email:

Cotes Mill 01509 261000

St. John's Square 020 3879 7900

Tysoe Street 020 3837 5900


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New York  +1 212 210 6269

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Cotes Mill, Nottingham Road, Cotes,
Loughborough, LE12 5TL.