Collins and Hayes Furniture Limited

Sitting pretty

Collins and Hayes is a designer and maker of bespoke furniture, and going forward is focusing on efficiency, modernisation, and increasing its reputation

Situated on the coast in the South East of England and steeped in history, Collins and Hayes has been successfully designing, developing and manufacturing upholstered furniture of the highest quality for over 140 years. It takes pride in offering its customers a wide choice of beautifully designed and styled products.

Collins and Hayes’ upholstery has always been handmade. Over the years the company has earned an enviable reputation for elegantly designed and well crafted furniture, based on skilled and knowledgeable craftsmen with a deep understanding of materials and construction techniques. The large collection of fabrics and leathers are specifically selected and sourced from all around the world in order to enhance and complement its furniture.

A great deal of effort and experience goes into crafting Collins and Hayes products, so it comes as no surprise that the company has recently received a number of awards. Managing director Matt O’Flynn explained: “The first recognition we received this year was at a Birmingham trade show in January where we won an award for best design. Then in August we won the Interiors Monthly award for the best UK furniture manufacturer of 2016. This award was voted for by the readership of Interiors Monthly, which is made up of retailers and the supply chain – and this represents a really broad spectrum of professionals from the industry including importers, wholesalers, manufactures, retailers and traders. So the award really demonstrates the impact we had in the market last year, and it’s something we plan to build on.”

The awards are a clear recognition of what Collins and Hayes is striving to achieve – to produce the best quality for its customer All Collins and Hayes models employ close attention to detail in their construction. The handcrafted frames are engineered to slot together, then glued and screwed by highly skilled craftsmen and come with a lifetime guarantee. The furniture is also bespoke. It can be customised to fit a specific space and tailored to suit requirements, including increasing or decreasing the width of the sofas.

In addition to the extensive focus on customer preferences and material quality, there is a range of new product designs that are likely to prove popular throughout the rest of 2016 and into 2017. Several of these deserve special note. There is the Dalston, which is new for Autumn 2016 and features feather seat and pillow cushions inside a tailored natural fibre covered frame, which is designed to provide a comfortable space to relax. Then there is the Shelby, a refined, architecturally designed corner unit that provides large seating capacity and is available in modular combinations, which the company has designed to be a stylish option.

There have been a number of improvements to the business by Collins and Hayes, and this is something that Matt elaborated on: “We have continued to bring new products to market, and improve the quality of the merchandise we are making. But we have also advanced the manufacturing side of the business. Internally a great deal has changed. We have reduced the amount of space we operate out of in order to increase efficiency and to become more customer orientated. The result of all of this is that we now have a higher capacity, and have been able to focus on reducing costs and making the product even more appealing for the market.”

Collins and Hayes has made other improvements to its facilities, as Matt explained: “We have completely refurbished our wood mill with a clean supply of electricity and a new extraction system. We are investing in new machinery, and we have also upgraded our IT capability with a new ERP system. This has provided us with a much more robust and modern platform and has made the whole order processing more slick. One example is that we have now electronic order acknowledgments and invoices.”

It is clear that Collins and Hayes is embracing the future, finding new ways to provide its traditional quality with modern systems, processes and equipment.

The company is focused on increasing its reputation both domestically and internationally. One of the methods it is employing to achieve this is by attending trade shows and exhibitions, and Matt elaborated on this: “The Long Point open trade show, based in Long Eaton, is actually the centre of excellence for furniture manufacturing. With around 40 or so exhibitors it is a significant exhibition, and provides us with the space to show off what we have to offer which adds value to our business.” Internationally the company is looking to increase its exports, and Matt gave more details: “We are looking to take a stand at the Milan furniture show, which will provide us with an opportunity to promote our fine range of furniture internationally.”

The company has a number of plans for the future, and these include a complete revamp of the website and attending more expos. While Collins and Hayes continues to focus on making quality furniture that provides comfort and style, the company is determined to continue its forward momentum. Its ethos is a commitment to finding new innovative approaches to production, marketing and materials. Its aim is to create products it genuinely believes in, and without a doubt it will go on to collect many more awards in the future, and attract many more customers.

Collins and Hayes Furniture Limited
Products: Bespoke furniture