Despite assets more than adequately in excess of liabilities I might have to close down this business because of staff and cash problems. To the layman this will sound absurd but it is perfectly true (and I am not feeling sorry for myself or crying on anyone’s shoulder!). For many reasons, not least those which are pleasurably intangible or abstract, such a course of action would be regrettable. I choose to air these facts freely; firstly because I am, for better or worse, made that way and, secondly, it is not a ‘back-yard’ business as so many imagine and it cannot lightly be undertaken by any old ‘Tom, Dick or Harry’. It might seem opportune for some enterprising person or group of persons to pick up where we leave off but it takes a lot of cash (at least £30,000 so far) and not a little acumen. Just as our name is becoming known, just as our ideas begin to penetrate and just as our sales begin to substantially improve, we find ourselves in the grip of a vicious cycle of obstacles and problems. We are short of cash and short of staff and, ironically, we are short of cash because we are short of staff. We could employ additional Capital to meet our cash needs but it’s a bit daft doing that if capable, trustworthy, generative staff for office, shop and factory are not obtainable with the experience and of the calibre to meet our particular needs. I would ‘give my right hand’ for a few more employees such as ‘Skilly’ du Bois (now running the factory, founder and formerly owner of Wilrose Upholsterers), or Helen Gillespie (secretary, shorthand typist and bookkeeper – now unfortunately for Rhodesia in England) or Teresa Clatworthy (now worthily in partnership at Terra Nella – a Salisbury concern). The added trouble is that there is only one me – although some are no doubt thankful for that!
John Lentell – Barum & Sarum
January 9th, 1968