Furniture makers the Original Sofa Co have opened a new concession in luxury department store Harrods thanks to a £110,000 investment.
The Team Valley-based firm was approached by Harrods on the back of success at its newly opened Sloane Square showroom in London.
A second investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund helped the 14-year-old firm to open the concession, which is expected to create jobs back home in the North East.
Three new staff, including two upholsterers, have been taken on in the last month as the firm is hopeful Harrods presence will generate sales.
The £110,000 investment, led by NEL Fund Managers, follows a £100,000 Growth Fund injection at the beginning of 2014.
Bespoke OSC creations are visible across a number of locations, including Google’s London offices, Harvard University, Cambridge University Union, Red Bull’s headquarters, the St Pancras Hotel in London and several Dunhill venues around the globe.
David Robinson, founder and managing director of The Original Sofa Company, said: “We’ve made a great deal more progress over the last year than even we expected, and opening the Harrods concession really is the cherry on top of the cake.
“Our London showroom has really taken off, and there’s been a huge appetite for the high quality, traditionally manufactured products that we’re creating in both domestic and overseas markets.
“Much of the interest we’ve had so far in Harrods has come from international customers, and it’s great to know that North East manufacturing expertise is in such high demand around the world.
“The North East will remain as our manufacturing base as the company continues to develop, and it’s a real hive of activity. Adding two new upholsterers to the team is a real indication of the confidence we have for the future, and we’ll be looking to create further new jobs on the back of the new opportunities we’re now seeing.
“Making everything happen over the last year has meant we’ve needed to put a lot of new infrastructure in place, which obviously requires capital to achieve. We’ve had a great relationship with the NEL team over the last year, and going back to them for a second round of funding was very much the natural thing to do.”
David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “The Original Sofa Co has made fantastic progress in a relatively short time, and they’re all set to do even more through their expanding London presence.
“The availability of a ‘funding escalator,’ where vibrant North East companies can gain ongoing access to capital investment as they grow and their needs change, is crucial to both their individual success and the wider regional economy.”
The Growth Fund is part of the wider Finance for Business North East Fund, managed by North East Finance.