Meet the makers
Nestled in the heart of Nottingham, Long Eaton has been the home of British upholstery for nearly 100 years, so the town is packed with generations of knowledge and experience. Each month we meet one of our makers, to find out how love, care and attention to detail go into every Arlo & Jacob sofa. This month we get to know John Round, one of our frame polishers.
Hello, John. Can you tell us how long you’ve been working at the Long Eaton factory?
“Well, I had hair when I started! I first started back in the 1980s. In fact, this year I’ll be celebrating thirty years with the company.”
And how did you get into your role?
“Well, it’s quite the family tradition. My brother has been an upholsterer here for 38 years and he’s the one that put me forward for the job. I enjoy the job so much I’m still here thirty years later!”
Lastly, what do you think makes an Arlo & Jacob sofa different to others on the market?
“:Every Arlo & Jacob piece is well-made with care and experience going into every element from screwing, gluing to dowelling. I think people can tell that an Arlo & Jacob sofa is made by people who really care about the end product.”
What training did you have for your role?
“I had no formal training, so don’t have a qualification on a piece of paper. I learnt on the job instead from highly skilled craftsmen who use traditional methods, which in my books is the best way.”
What was the first Arlo & Jacob piece you worked on?
“You know what, I can’t remember the exact piece, but you can be sure that wherever it is, it’s still giving good service!”
What’s your favourite thing to do when relaxing on your sofa?
“I like to put my feet up, glass of red wine in hand and some cheesy nibbles. There’s nothing better at the end of a long day.”
What do you think is the perfect sofa feature?
“At my age it’s honestly all about comfort. What’s the point if a sofa looks good but isn’t comfortable. My perfect sofa would be good-looking, durable and comfortable!”
Tell us one thing about your job we wouldn’t expect.
“One thing you may not know is that around 12 cubic metres of air per minute passes through our polishing shop.”
What’s the most important skill required for your job?
“It’s tough to pick just one. I’d say you need an eye for detail and patience in equal measure. And you can’t be satisfied with just getting the job done, you have to take care to do it well.”
Do you have a favourite Arlo & Jacob piece?
“I really like Darcy, because I’m a traditionalist at heart.”
Do you prefer making traditional-style pieces or more contemporary sofas?
“In terms of manufacturing I have no preference for traditional or contemporary. I think each piece and style has to survive on its own merit, and each has its own appeal.”
What is the most important part of your role?
“The most important aspect of being a frame polisher is the ability to stay consistent. It simply wouldn’t do to have pieces in a style coming out looking different!”