Indie Oxford Interview: Oxford Upholstery
This week we catch up with Rachel and Stuart from new member Oxford Upholstery. They offer a range of services to breathe life into loved but worn furniture, and even provide courses so you can learn how to restore your favourite pieces too.
Tell us about Oxford Upholstery and why you set it up.
We are a specialist Upholstery and Soft Furnishing company based in Horspath 3 miles outside of Oxford. Rachel and I set the business up 20 years ago in Kendal in the Lake District, before relocating back to Oxford 4 years ago. The motivation was a passion for furniture and textiles, but also to do our bit to challenge the throw away society. With a bit of thought and our expertise we can create truly original furniture by reupholstering rather than sending chairs and sofas to landfill.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into upholstery.
I’ve had two careers; the first part of my working life as a Nurse, which is the connection to Oxford, working at Sobell House Hospice and Luther Street Medical Centre, the GP practice for single homeless people.
After 20 years I decided I needed a career change. I wanted to develop a creative skill that would end with a tangible finished product, something that was physical with a high level of tactile satisfaction. Working as an upholsterer fitted the bill.
Which are your favourite upholstery jobs to do for customers?
There is a high level of satisfaction with most of our work. The most rewarding are those that require a wide selection of skills and techniques. I enjoy the challenge of larger projects that include restoration of fine upholstered furniture and the creation of furnishing schemes including curtaining, soft furnishings and on occasions, sourcing that special accent piece of furniture. We are not interior designers but we know a lot about fabrics and have a vast selection to choose from in our showroom.
Who are your customers?
Hopefully your readers! We work across a wide range of customers. We are a team of seven including upholsterers, machinists and curtain makers, so we are able to undertake a range of work for private residential customers, businesses like hotels and Universities, and we support Oxford’s leading interior designers. So if you want a single armchair recovering, the coordinating of the interior furnishings for your newly decorated house, or the seating in a hotel dining room, we can help.
What is Oxford Upholstery best known for?
Attention to detail, whether it is the restoration of a valuable antique or the recovering of a 1950’s armchair we strive to deliver a high quality product that will be a delight for many years to come.
Away from the practical making of beautiful things, we go that extra step to engage with customers to ensure we give the best advice to meet our customers expectations.
What would your advice be for anyone wanting to try out upholstery?
Come on one of our workshops, we’ve been running them for the past 15 years for the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers. There are a variety to choose if you’re looking for a new hobby, or are considering a career change, give us a call and we can arrange for you to come and have a look round.
All the course information is available on www.oxfordschoolofupholstery.com
Just to give you the heads up, in September we are starting a one day a week course on a Friday, details to be announced shortly.
Lastly, which are your favourite Oxford indie businesses?
It’s difficult to choose from such an array of creative businesses, I’ve always enjoyed Annie Sloan’s wonderfully colourful shop on the Cowley Road. Living on a boat on the Thames, The Perch is my local, there is no better place on a long summer’s evening, or to receive a warm welcome on a cold wet night in February, enjoying a beer and sampling the delights from their kitchen. I’m looking forward to my first visit to the Sneaky Supper Club at the end of July. The business that chimes the most with my philosophy is the Tap Social.
We’re really excited to have Oxford Upholstery on board this year, and love their environmental values.
Countryfile LIVE Competition!
This year, indie Oxford member Oxford Upholstery have a stand at Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace, in the Great British Crafts Marquee on 2nd to 5th August 2018. To celebrate, the team are giving away two pairs of tickets to you, indie Oxford readers!
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning, please answer this simple question! Be quick though, the competition closes Friday 20th July at midnight.
Please make sure that you regularly check the email address you provide as we will use this to notify the winner. The winners will be notified on Monday 23rd July. If we do not hear from the winner by Tuesday 24th July, we will redraw the winner. Tickets must be redeemed by Friday 27th July.