Meet the Maker: Mark Waldram, Product Development
Mark works in our Product Development team and is the man responsible for making each design a working reality. We speak to Mark about why he’s chosen to work with Arlo & Jacob, how he got into his role and what makes his job one of a kind.
How long have you worked at the Long Eaton factory?
I’m coming up to forty years with the company – I’ll be celebrating in August.
How did you get into your role?
I spent four years as an upholstery apprentice and then twenty-odd years on the bench. I amassed a huge wealth of knowledge during that time. And after that, I’ve been developing new products and styles for the past 16 or so years.
What makes an A&J sofa different?
Arlo & Jacob offer a real breadth of styles – some are traditional, some are mid-century modern like the Elton and then there are some really contemporary shapes like the Pembroke. I suppose it’s a bit like fashion – trends come in and out of favour but often come around again – it’s the same with design and furniture.
What training did you have to have for your role?
My apprenticeship was very helpful in terms of getting a good grounding, but really it’s been the hands-on time actually doing the job that’s taught me what I know. I particularly like being in development because it lets me be both practical and creative.
What’s the most important part of your role?
I produce specification sheets based on my early models so if any element is slightly out the process really could get disrupted.
Tell us one thing about your job we wouldn’t expect.
You do have to be pretty mathematically-minded. My job is to bring drawings from the designer to life, all in scale. I need to work out button spacing and depth, the width of seats, cushions and arms, and how the components may fit together on a real model.
What’s the most important skill required for your job?
You have to have a good overview of all the stages involved in the crafting of a sofa – from design, to frame making to upholstering the final piece.