Our team

A family business appreciating beauty & getting results

We are a husband and wife, so team matters to us, and we bring a blend of creativity and process that makes for impactful and enjoyable projects


About us

We are a husband and wife team who work together to bring our skills and expertise to the table, making you look great.

We went freelance in 2010 to support a semi-itinerant lifestyle, working internationally in France and Morocco; across sectors, including tourism and petrochemical; and all the way from charities to big projects with multi-national bluechip companies.

We are driven by making an impact, getting visible results and building good relationships.

We help entrepreneurs, small businesses and charities achieve their communications goals stylishly and with impact.

We work with integrity, are transparent and aim for excellence.



Creative Director

Rachael is a graphic and website designer who enjoys working on projects and starting new ventures. She loves nothing more than getting the creative juices going!

Outside of work she's busy creating eclectic crafts (like making industrial lamps, American quilting, and creating luxury art prints and cards), renovating the Edwardian family home in Derby or weeding at the allotment.

Last, but certainly not least, she's a mum to three fantastic daughters - there's lots of glitter and pink in their place!

Rachael's passionate that you get the product and site that fits your business or charity that takes you to the next level.

Rachael worked wonders on the branding and created something first class that really does wow our clients.

- Sharon Broadbent, Gingerbread Interiors



Founding Director

Simon is an eclectic beast with experience in the Army, mountaineering world, corporate management consultancy and charity sector.

Nothing excites him more than a business plan and engaging an audience through a campaign.

Variety is the spice of life for Simon, so his latest pursuit is swinging around a kettlebell, but he's equally happy leading a rock climb or simply rustling up a curry.

Simon has historical family links in Derby, and is proud to put down roots again in the East Midlands and help business in the area.

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Simon’s family links to the Nottingham lace industry and his grandfather’s role with St Chad’s church Derby explains why he feel close and has a special bond to the local community and business.

His grandfather Bishop George William Wright gave talks on cross-cultural work at the now-demolished St Chad's church in the 1920s.

Simon previously founded a start-up outdoor pursuits business in France and Morocco, while taking time to develop his understanding of working in the Muslim world.

Together with his wife, Rachael, he now runs The Apple Yard, a creative design boutique based in Normanton. They both love working in this diverse and stimulating field.

Simon studied Classics with Oriental Studies (Arabic) at the University of Oxford, with stints in Lebanon, Tunisia and Jordan for travel and language work.

Outside work, Simon enjoys cultivating the family allotment on Glebe land off St. Chad's Road; and is father to three daughters.

He also enjoys swinging his kettlebell, and in a former life was an officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and a winter mountain leader and rock climbing instructor.

We are a happy team of two, and have a select group of talented colleagues with whom we collaborate. Our goal is to remain small and focused.

Simon is also a regular at the Derby-based ‘Not Another Networking Group’, supporting the Me&Dee charity. Read more about his tips and thoughts on networking here →

Why 'The Apple Yard'?

So, it probably didn’t take you long to start wondering how we got the name. Well, there’s a few things going on there.

Partly it’s a play on our surname, ‘Cox’, after the apple; a classic English dessert apple. In fact, we grow our own apple trees on our allotment, but some East Midlands varieties, not Cox’s.

It also reflects our desire to be a studio where work and play sit side-by-side; allowing creativity to ooze out at every opportunity.

There’s also the slight rustic quality, which resonates with our love of: our Edwardian semi-detached house; botanical prints; antique items with a story.

Our story

We’ve got a long and interesting story that is rooted in Derby, but weaved its way through Ireland, North Africa and America. It explains why we love nature, beauty, creativity and the way we work.