Adam Mosley and his brother bought Thomas Crapper two years ago, but before he “flushed his career away”, he worked in a plastics factory and as a schoolteacher. In his spare time, he is a special constable
Q: How did you come to own Thomas Crapper?
A: My brother and I bought the business in March 2016 from the previous owners. We heard about the sale from one of these flyers that occasionally crosses your desk in the business world.
I don’t know how many other people saw the Crapper one, but it read something like, “small business, five employees, £1m turnover, world famous bathroom company”.
David and I were intrigued. We couldn’t think who it might be, so we asked. We went down to visit and just fell in love with the brand. The first thing we did was appoint Paul Dwyer as MD, because we both realised we didn’t have the day-to-day experience.
In the first 12 months, we have more than doubled the product range and tripled the retailer base.
Q: What were you doing previously?
A: I’ve only been selling toilets for about two years. I think the old joke is that my career has been flushed away! All I can say is that I’m learning as fast as I can.
Before selling toilets, I had a couple of jobs. For 10 years, I worked in a chemical factory making plastic. That was bathroom-related, I suppose, because it was plastic for baths. Before that, I was a teacher for five years.
Q: Making plastic and teaching, that’s a bit different…
A: I quite enjoyed making plastic, when everything goes well it runs really smoothly. And if we were doing well, that might happen one day a month.
Teaching was a lot the same – a class full of people all wanting to do their own thing to their own timescale. It’s a bit like steering an oil tanker travelling at the speed of sound – tricky but fun.
The great thing about teaching is that everyone can remember at least one of their teachers. I was a science teacher specialising in biology, so it used to be great fun getting the Bunsen burners out and having proper science lessons.
I taught children with learning difficulties. Things like dyslexia or dyspraxia and even children with Asperger syndrome and ADHD. I did that for three years at a specialist school in north Wales before moving to Birmingham. There I spent two years supply-teaching in a variety of inner-city schools, again focusing on children with issues.
Q: How did you find it?
A: Exhausting. To be good at teaching you have to care about the children even when they want to give up on themselves. I still remember a couple of great moments that still make me smile. I said to my first class of pupils that I was going to give them a test, and the look of fear in their eyes astounded me. I promised myself that I would get them to the stage where they would take it in their stride. It took all year, but it was worth it.
Another time, I had a parent ask me at a parents’ evening how her child was doing. I said, ‘perfectly normal for this stage’. And the parent broke down in tears. No one had ever described her child as normal before.
Q: How different is it working at Thomas Crapper?
A: Well, no one cries on me for a start, but you still have to care. You have to care about the retailers, the customers, the product and the staff. So in that sense it’s the same.
Q: When you’re not selling toilets, what do you like to do?
A: When I’m not working, or with my family, I’m a special constable with the West Yorkshire police.
Q: So can you arrest people?
A: Oh, yes. As a special constable I have the same powers as my regular colleagues, but I find that talking to people and working with them is far more effective. Ultimately, if someone has to be arrested, my job is to keep the peace and uphold the law and that’s what I do.
I’ve been doing it for two years now. I started because I wanted to put something back into my local community. I wanted to meet different people and do something that was completely different from my day job. I also wanted my children to realise that if you want to make a difference, you’ve got to go out and do something.
Q: What things have you learnt?
A: Dealing with people who might be vulnerable, or just drunk. Ensuring good communication between myself and my colleagues and the public.