The Original Sofa Company's expansion plans helped with £100k funding

The Original Sofa Company, based on Team Valley, has won a £100k funding boost from Finance For Business North East Growth Fund administered by NEL

www.crestphotography.co.uk David Robinson, left, of the Original Sofa Company, and David Thomas, NEL Fund Managers
David Robinson, left, of the Original Sofa Company, and David Thomas, NEL Fund Managers

A Bespoke furniture company in the North East is to open a showroom in one of London’s most prestigious addresses thanks to a funding investment.

The Original Sofa Company, which specialises in manufacturing Chesterfield furniture by hand, as well as stocking a large collection of second-hand sofas, has clinched a £100,000 investment from the Finance For Business North East Growth Fund administered by NEL.

Based on Team Valley, the 13 year-old firm’ sells to trade and individual clients, with orders coming in from across the UK and a growing range of overseas markets, including China, North America, mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

A new showroom off Sloane Square in London will help open in May, helping to increase product visibility in what is already its most important UK market, while plans for in-store concessions at leading department stores and a New York showroom already in place for the medium vterm.

As well as the growth fund injection, further capital has come from the Funding Circle, HSBC and the firm’s management team.

The firm cemploys seven at its Team Valley premises and at least four more jobs are expected to be created in the near future.

Founder and managing director David Robinson said: “We’re one of very few manufacturers to use traditional methods and the highest quality materials to make our Chesterfield pieces, and both domestic and overseas demand for these products is continuing to grow as a result.

“We’ve got a strong online presence which is serving us very well, but for purchases of this type, people want to get a tangible experience of the products that they’re considering, so a ‘bricks and clicks’ business model enables us to meet this need.

“We regularly have customers travelling great distances to see us, including from as far afield as Italy, Germany and even South Korea, and the new London showroom will give us even greater access to a market in which we’re already finding great demand for our products.

“The North East will remain as our manufacturing base as the company develops, with plans already in place to recruit a further two upholsterers in the near future.

“NEL’s funding model fits well with our requirements, and going through the investment process gave us some excellent ideas for how we can further improve our existing financial housekeeping systems.”

David Thomas, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, added: “The quality and detail of the Original Sofa Company’s products set them apart for their competitors, and they now have the resources in place to make further ground both at home and overseas.”

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