19 May 2024, 02:54
By Furniture News Aug 25, 2015

Steed Upholstery marks 50 years of business

With the town now officially recognised as a UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture and the Autumn Long Point exhibition fast approaching, it’s a good time to be making furniture in Long Eaton – and what better time to reach a milestone? Furniture News caught up with Caroline Steed, director of the Steed Upholstery and Peter Guild brands, to find out more about the business as it celebrates its 50th anniversary …

What are you doing to mark the occasion?

We are having a party on the 14th to celebrate 50 years of business. This will coincide with Long Point, which runs from 14-16th of September.

Who founded – and now runs – Steed Upholstery?

The company was founded by my father Michael, and his brother Frank, in 1965. My father subsequently bought his brother out of the business in 1988. They both trained at Wade Upholstery.

Whilst my siblings and I trained to do other things, we are all now in the business – my brother is the production director, and my sister is the buyer and service manager.

What was the most defining event in the company’s history?

Probably the acquisition of the Peter Guild upholstery brand in 2007.

How would you describe your approach to manufacturing?

Our focus is on producing beautifully handcrafted ​upholstery. Manufacturing our own frames allows us the flexibility to produce designs to suit individual needs – be they contract, interior design or one-off commissions.

“The greatest challenge is retailers’ lack of desire to display high-priced items on their floors, with most going down the more mid-market route”

Has reaching this milestone prompted you to re-evaluate your approach?

Along with the Steed and Peter Guild brands, we also have the Ashley House name, within which we have introduced a more contemporary, affordable range, allowing us to open doors to a new market.

What is the greatest challenge UK upholstery manufacturers face today?

The greatest challenge is retailers’ lack of desire to display high-priced items on their floors, with most going down the more mid-market route. There is still a market out there for good-quality, UK-manufactured furniture, but in the main I don’t feel the consumer is being helped to fulfil this demand.

How do you envisage the company operating 10 years from now?

Going forward we will not change our approach towards standards – we pride ourselves on quality, and in particular service, which is central to the ethos of our business.

Naturally, trends change, and we will adapt to these and hopefully grow our export market too.

Steed will exhibit from its Long Eaton showroom during the Long Point exhibition, taking place from 14-16th September.

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