- Sector: Manufacturing
- Region: East Midlands
In showrooms across the UK, you will find handcrafted sofas and beds made by Nottinghamshire-based Whitemeadow. The company has been operating since the early-1990s and, today, is the largest independently-owned upholstery manufacturer in the country, supplying the majority of blue-chip high street names, as well as premium independent retailers.
Whitemeadow still manufactures upholstery at the same site it started from, although it has expanded into a string of other workshops in the area and now employs some 450 staff across six sites.
Recent events in the UK have meant the business is having to cope with the consequences of the Brexit vote, which has pushed up its costs. "The main challenge we face, which came into effect following the Brexit result, is the hugely-significant price increases of raw materials," says Ian Oscroft, Managing Director. "In essence, every aspect of the cost of manufacturing has risen, from key materials, such as timber, fabrics and foam fillings, through to small sundry items, such as staples and zips." However, that hasn’t stopped Whitemeadow from pushing forward.
The company has responded by focusing on improving its infrastructure and investing in its staff, as well as its operations. The introduction of new production equipment, including automated, fabric-cutting machines, has allowed it to increase output efficiency, for example, and helped it to continue growing.
Ian says that maintaining its home base has also worked to the company’s advantage in other ways, as consumers are increasingly opting for products made closer to home.
"In recent years, we have seen a shift in our customers’ focus, with an increased emphasis on buying British as a preferred option," says Ian. "The general public is buying with more interest in the sourcing of materials, in where items are made and who makes them. Providing this continues to grow, we remain very optimistic about future opportunities."