19 May 2024, 21:50
By Furniture News Jun 09, 2016

Matt O’Flynn, Collins and Hayes Furniture

In 2014, Matt O'Flynn was appointed MD of renowned upholstery brand Collins and Hayes, based in Hastings, East Sussex. Formerly, he was a founder member of Meadowmead upholstery brands Henderson Russell and John Sankey. Matt is the chairman of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, the co-ordinator of the biannual Long Point exhibition in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, and chairman of the British Furniture Manufacturers’ association (BFM).

How did you enter the trade?
I spent many a school holiday in furniture factories, so I suppose it was inevitable. When my father asked me to join his new venture in 1992 I felt my calling – and the rest is history.

Who was your inspiration?
I wouldn’t want to lay the blame at anyone’s door! I would describe myself as independent and not one for following any particular path. I like looking for new ideas and opportunities.

What was your career high point?
I don’t believe in them. Make the most of every situation every day. Work with people you enjoy working with, and be brilliant all the time.

… and low point?
Walking out of my family business was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wish them all well.

… and the turning point?
I’m working on that one – aren’t we all?

Describe a typical working day
Dream, dare, design, develop, deliver … do it again.

If you had to start over, you’d probably pursue which career?
I can’t sing or dance or play a musical instrument, so as my original plan was to be an architect, I’d give that a go.

What date on the business calendar do you most look forward to?
I like to be busy, so any time there is a lot of activity, preferably with new product and plenty of customers.

What is the most important issue affecting your business right now?
We have a lot of modernising to do. This is a great business with a fab reputation. However, when it comes to being more customer-centric, challenging how we work and adopting lean principles, we can perform more strongly.

What company do you most look up to?
NASA … get it?

What would you most like to change about yourself?
New knees. And hair growth – I’d like a bad hair day every now and again.

What do you enjoy most about working in the trade?
A great product, in an engaging part of the home furnishings market, using interesting methods and materials, working with fab people. Travelling to see people and engage with their needs or offers, converting ideas to delivered goods – all of it …

Leave us with an industry anecdote please!
I wouldn’t want to single anyone out in particular – I have worked with many talented and funny people over the years, and have many memories, for life. All I’ll say is if you haven’t found yourself in a compromised or uncomfortable situation once in a while, you haven’t tried hard enough.

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