LEARNING to slow down and appreciate the things we have and the people around us has been one of the defining features of 2020.

The pandemic’s impact on England has seen two lockdowns and numerous restrictions on how we spend our time – and so the ‘new normal’ has largely been spent at home.

There have been many hardships and sacrifices but also silver linings too such as more family time for many and the chance to take stock of what is important.

For Graham and Jess Reid, it has been an adventure but also a bit of a whirlwind.

This year, four-month-old Woody joined their growing family in Lymm alongside two-year-old Cooper.

And if that was not enough, the husband and wife team have a business in its infancy at a time when a number of home-grown companies are struggling due to the coronavirus crisis.

Despite this, the couple are managing to keep their heads above water with their cooler table brand which is predicted to have 100 per cent growth for the third year running.

From an idea in his head to almost 3,000 of the products being shipped all over the world, photographer-turned-designer Graham has built the brand from the ground up.

The cooler to store and chill beers and wine and serve drinks from has been a hit in the UK, USA, Australia, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and the Cayman Islands.

Warrington Guardian:

And Jess thinks lockdown life may have helped rather than hindered with people finding a new appreciation for their outdoor spaces, particularly earlier this year during the likes of VE Day celebrations.

She said: “While we have all been stuck at home, I think a lot of people have invested time in their outdoor spaces.

“People have said things to us like this is great because during lockdown I re-designed my garden and now I have a little area to relax and spend time with family.

“We all had to learn to slow down a bit and appreciate what we’ve got. We realised you don’t always have to invite loads of people around to have a nice time outdoors.

“We were guilty of making plans every week and going out but since lockdown we realised there is so much we can do in the garden and it’s lovely out there.”

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – and that’s how it was with this.

Jess added: “Graham felt like something was missing from barbecue set-up. You have all this equipment for preparing your food but there isn’t necessarily a place for drinks. He just really wanted to create something that wouldn’t rival the barbecue but go alongside it and take the entertaining space to that next level.

“Initially the cooler was focused on camping but since getting to know our customers, and how people use it, we’ve noticed that way more use it in their gardens.

“We changed our direction quite quickly.”

READ MORE > How pop culture greeting cards have helped an Orford designer thrive in lockdown

The bowls for the coolers are manufactured in Stone before each product is hand finished by Graham in his Lymm workshop.

The couple, whose company is called Outside Gang, knew the product would benefit their own lives but they have been overwhelmed by the response since it went on sale at Amazon, Etsy and Joules.

Jess said: “It’s taken us by surprise to be honest. As soon as we started going to trade shows and we demonstrated the product and saw people’s faces light up it became apparent to us that this could be a big deal.

“It’s crazy because we’ve had emails asking how much it would cost to send it to places like America.”

But ‘crazy’ is fine because fast-paced is how Jess and Graham like life.

They started working together in 2014 when Jess, a graphic designer, made a website for Graham and helped him with branding, social media and marketing.

They got together in 2017 and within those three years they have got married, had two kids and launched Outside Gang.

Jess added: “When Graham and I went on our first date we said to each other: ‘I think we could just get married’. It’s ridiculous but that’s pretty much what happened.

“From the off we’ve realised we’re the kind of people who get things done whether that be in our personal life or in business.

“We don’t mess about. If we have an idea then we’ll do it. I think that’s why the business is doing so well.

“We’ve had two children in between the madness as well. We’re hoping things will slow down a bit but we’re not the type to just dwell, we get on with it.”

Visit outsidegang.com