SOFASOFA INTERVIEW: MEET THE UPHOLSTERY EXPERTS!

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We know you’ve all been itching to find out who makes these fabulous masterpieces at SofaSofa! From handcrafting our vintage leather chesterfields to our opulent velvet models, SofaSofa’s upholstery specialists Alun and Darren are here to share their journey into the upholstery industry, what it means to be an excellent craftsman, and what constitutes the perfect sofa for the modern family home.

What inspired you to pursue a career in upholstery?

A: I was studying ‘A’ level History and English in 6th form at first, before wanting to earn money like my friends who were all in employment.  I had an interview with SofaSofa early September 1981 and started the very next day.  I was amazed by the process of this quality product that was literally on my doorstep.  I couldn’t wait to make a sofa for myself.

D: I started working in this industry when I was 16 and had a job prepping for the upholsterers.  I found it really interesting and thought I’d give it a go myself.

Upholsterer at Work

 Darren Upholstering in One of Our UK Factories

 

Did you study to become an upholsterer, or was it a hobby turned career?

A: I learned my trade by watching and upholstering small end parts of several designs in my spare time until I was given chance to move onto the ‘bench’ and learn upholstery full time.

D: I started watching other upholsterers and then progressed and learnt on the job.  I started off with small jobs and then worked my way up to making complete sofas.

What are the top 3 important factors you need to consider when upholstering furniture?

A: Safety has to be top priority.  Upholstery tools are sharp and you definitely don’t want a staple in your hand! Attention to detail is a close second as you want every piece you’ve made to be as good quality as the last.  Finally I’d say pride – there’s nothing better than seeing a Chesterfield sofa that you’ve made ready to be delivered to a customer.

D: I agree with everything that Alan has said. A keen eye, quality and safety are my top 3 too.

Man holding watch in a box

Alun Holding His Watch Reward For 25 Years Service with SofaSofa

 

In your opinion what attributes make a skilled furniture upholsterer?

A: Pride and perfection.  There’s no point in doing this job if you’re not committed to every piece of furniture looking the best it can.  I’ve obviously enjoyed it to have worked at SofaSofa for so long. I was lucky enough to have received a watch for 25 years service in 2006 too.

D: Experience every time.  The longer you do this job the more skill and confidence you gain and you definitely get better the longer you do it – much like a fine wine!

What is your definition of a perfect sofa?

A: Deep, hand buttoned leather furniture is certainly my style.  I always work with leather so I appreciate a well made Chesterfield.

D: For me it’s all about the design, so how it looks, and the comfort.  A sofa needs to be comfortable or you’d never want to sit on it!

Richmond Sofa

Darren's SofaSofa Favourite, the Richmond sofa

 

Do you prefer to work with fabric or leather? Why?

A: I’ve always worked with leather so it’s second nature to me.  To start off I always worked with the more traditional antique leather but now I also work with vintage leather.  I find leather to be flexible, durable and timeless.

D: I’m the opposite as I’ve always worked with fabric.  I find fabric a much softer material to work with. I guess it’s what you’re used to and feel comfortable and confident with. 

Is it trickier to upholster a modular sofa, like the Genoa range?

A: Yes it can be more of a challenge, especially when trying to marry the both parts together.

B: I've never upholstered a modular range before but I'm sure it won't be long before I need to.

Is there anything unique to the way SofaSofa upholster their furniture design?

A: We take extreme pride in our work and every piece is hand crafted in our South Wales factories.  We only use quality hardwood frames and superior quality leather and fabric in our range.

D: All of our designs are exclusive to us and you won’t find our furniture in any retail shops.  You can rest assured that your sofa is made just for you and comes direct from my upholstery bench straight to your door.

What are the three biggest mistakes an upholsterer can make in their line of work?

A: Cutting corners, slack finishing and not examining the finished article would be the worst things.  If you don’t take care and pride in your work then you probably shouldn’t be an upholsterer.

D: Yes I agree.  We have a great quality control team so if for any reason we aren’t 100% on our game they will be quick to spot any problems and we’ll soon know about them!

Leather Chesterfield Sofa

Alun's SofaSofa favourite, the leather Chesterfield Sofa

 

Finally, what is your favourite SofaSofa, and why? 

A: A leather Chesterfield such as the one below is hands down my favourite model.  It’s both classy and timeless and you can see that a lot of love and craftsmanship has gone into making it.  Chesterfield designs are as popular as ever so I’m certainly not alone.

D: My favourite SofaSofa model is the Richmond.  Not only do I enjoy making it but I think it looks great too, plus it’s really comfortable.  Sadly I don’t get much time to sit down on one though…

 


We'll be back with more insights into the world of SofaSofa, so don't miss out on next month's team in the spotlight!

 

Posted in Contemporary Sofas, Fabric, Leather Sofas, Sofas, Uncategorized on 12th Sep 2017

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