SOURCE MATERIAL Despite some impracticalities , “ the stained-glass windows and 10,000 hand-painted tiles make the factory a really attractive place to work ,” says director Andrew of the company ‘ s unique headquarters near Liverpool .
The family-run firm that lovingly crafts soft furnishings and accessories for the Cotswold Company combines the very best of British fabrics with years of expertise
( Left ) Photography : Polly Wreford ; Styling : Katie Phillips . ( Right ) Photography : Ed Babes
“ We have an 85,000 to one return rate on our cushions , which we ’ re really proud of ,” says Andrew Tully , a director of the Cotswold Company ’ s soft furnishings partner , based on Merseyside . Each cushion is checked three times before it leaves the factory , but this quality assurance also comes from the skill of the machinists and the fabric they use . “ We ’ ve been working with the same few mills within the UK for decades , because we trust that the quality of the fabric they ’ re producing is exactly what we want it to be .”
Consistency is key . And Andrew should know – he ’ s been working at the firm for 27 years now , starting out in his school holidays . It was his dad who turned the business around after its original founder fell ill , and it remains
Today the factory is busier than ever . The sector is booming as a result of a housebound nation looking for quick , easy ways to freshen up their living spaces over the past year . This demand doesn ’ t come without its challenges , as the building that houses the factory is beautiful but far from practical . “ It was built in 1914 and is listed , so we can ’ t modify it ,” Andrew explains . “ There are cast-iron pillars and steps , so we can ’ t use forklift trucks .”
Yet , the factory can produce 6,000-plus cushions a week , with a good machinist creating up to 30 an hour in the simpler designs . It ’ s a skill that comes with years of practice ( the oldest machinist is 67 and has been at the firm for almost 30 years ). But such productivity also comes down to the benefits of being a close-knit company where everyone loves their work . A true family . “ There ’ s a real sense of humour in the factory , and you know what ’ s going on with everyone ,” says Andrew . “ In a small company , it has to be that way – but nor would I have it any other way .” ●
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