The story of how Fire Drums started is a strange one and we hope that by seeing an insight into our journey it may inspire something within yourself and show you that you can turn any idea into an amazing business! It will also give you a better understanding of just how hard we have had to work to bring Fire Drums to the place it is now!
The idea of a washing machine fire pit was something that first came to light when Daniels dad (Gaz) had built himself a fire pit from a washing machine drum. We had all been down in England visiting Daniels dad where we first witnessed the fantastic garden fire pit that he had created. Extremely impressed with the heat, safety aspect and whole experience of the fire pit we asked Gaz if could make us one. He agreed reluctantly, as removing the drum from the first washing machine was "A Bloody Nightmare" he told us. Around a year later when Gaz and his wife Lisa came to visit us in Scotland for a family break, they had built and brought with them a washing machine fire pit for us to keep and enjoy!
The original fire pit that we received over 6 years ago and we still use today!
In the early May of 2020 (a year most of us would like to forget) our washing machine had broke down and was too old to spend the money on to repair so a new one was bought for the house. The broken washing machine was abandoned in the garden for a month or so when the idea that we could possibly take the drum out of this one and make a fire pit from it to sell on. Having very minimal hand tools, no knowledge on how to remove the drum, Daniel set about dismantling the old washing machine. It took all day to remove and involved a lot of swear words!
The first washing machine we ever stripped down, the start of Fire Drums
With the drum now stripped out of our old washing machine, it was now putting legs onto the drum that we wanted to do. Steel angle iron was a great choice as it allowed us to customise the look and give it a practical height to use as a fire pit whilst maintaining great stability on the ground. We had some angle iron left from an older project and Daniel is already skilled with a hand angle grinder (the tool we use to cut and shape the legs) so was able to make the legs for our first fire pit! He then drilled and bolted on the legs to the drum in the desired position. Getting this part right was very important because if the legs were somehow not equal in length or distance apart from one another then the whole safety and stability of the fire pit would be compromised!
Our first ever fire pit
After advertising this fire pit for sale, it started to develop a lot of interest and quickly sold! That would be the end of our fire pit building or so we thought, however our creation was desired by more people and it wasn't long before somebody else wanted one of our fire pits. We enthusiastically said to anyone that came looking for a fire pit that we would make them one, the only problem was we had no more washing machines to strip down for their drums! We then locally advertised that we would collect anyone's unwanted washing machines for free which to our surprise was very popular, it seemed everyone had a broken machine! At the time we didn't have a van or trailer so we had to collect one machine at a time and carefully maneuverer it into the boot of our car (and we love our cars). Some of the machines were disgusting and putting one in our car was the last thing we wanted to do, however we felt that we might have a special thing going if we just gave it a chance. The second fire pit we made had all the same features and dimensions of what we now know as The Classic Fire Drum.
The fire pits we were making were so popular that our garden quickly began filling up with washing machines we had collected to make them. Not only were we making great, long lasting fire pits for customers but we had discovered a new problem with building so many fire pits . . . Waste! A lot of waste began to accumulate in our garden which was a terrible eye sore and not ideal for when customers came to collect their new fire pit. Making one or two fire pits holds no problem in recycling the waste, however when done on a scale that we now do it hosts a massive problem and has to be dealt with correctly! Saving most of the money we made, we put it towards one of the first major purchases which was on a little van. Perfect for collecting those stinky washing machines and getting rid of all that plastic waste that was in our garden!
The Wagon, The Waste and The Washing Machines
We now knew after just a few months of starting to make fire pits that we had an amazing opportunity to create a business and a brand that has now went on to serve thousands of customers to date! The name Fire Drums was originally thought up by Andrea! Daniel agreed the name of our business Fire Drums was an excellent name, very well suited to the product that we were making. And so it was decided, Fire Drums would be the name! We then began building a brand around the name Fire Drums, including the logo that Daniel used a phone app to create. A Facebook Page where we now do most of our marketing including monthly giveaways. And this website that Andrea created from scratch with no help!
Building the brand . . .
The Fire Drums were and still are our main product and we noticed some drums were bigger and smaller than others after stripping them from the machines. The smaller drums were branded as The Classic Fire Drum using thinner steel and finishing the legs in the matt black paint. With the bigger drums they were given much thicker steel and more length, finished in the matt black paint and branded The Daddy Fire Drum! We started to notice a few drum that didn't fit in with either of the Classic or Daddy Fire Drums as it had a completely unique drum, with the metal rudders still inside. We designed this drum to have curved steel legs and feet and finished with silver paint. As we noticed a lot of these drums were coming from much older washing machines so the name was decided, The Retro Fire Drum.
We always have continued to add relative products that fit in with the Fire Drums brand and are always on the look out for what people would want with their Fire Drum. Some of the first products we added were the Flame Colour Changers and Starter Wood Bags, but have a range of great additions to add on now! After only a few months, and loving every moment of building a great business, we were asked if we would be able to engrave a message and a date onto a Fire Drum for a customer. Andrea is very artistic and always up for a challenge so we agreed to engrave the desired message. We bought a cheap £20 hand engraver online and when it arrived, Andrea wasted no time in practicing some engraving on an unused drum. The results were amazing, so she took to the customers Fire Drum and completed our first ever hand engraved Drum! Since then we have custom engraved hundreds of Fire Drums and every Drum once complete is branded with our logo to ensure you are getting every aspect that we promise!
Chaz and Dave with the first ever engraved Fire Drum
Only in January 2021 were we able to find a local shed building to rent to move our entire operation to, a whole 7 months after starting Fire Drums! That's 7 months of walking out into our garden and seeing nothing but washing machines, concrete and plastic waste. But the journey we have been through to get to where we are now is one that our entire family is grateful for as it has opened so many doors for us and even allowed Daniel to leave his previous full time working job. Expanding the business to offer even more including Whiskey Oak Barrel Products and even Hot Tub Hire!
Its extremely exciting for our whole family creating amazing, long lasting, environmentally friendly products that our customers love and cannot speak any more highly of! Saying things like "I wish we had bought one sooner" and "Much better than any other fire pit I've had". Since starting, customer service and satisfaction has always been our top priority!