Family furniture firm is set on expansion after move to manufacturing

PUBLISHED: 08:51 20 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:41 25 April 2018

Valdivian Furniture. 

Valdivian Furniture. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A father-and-son team’s search for job satisfaction has seen them transform their upholstery business into a million-pound furniture manufacturer.

Valdivian Furniture. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYValdivian Furniture. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Justin and Liam O’Donnell had been working in partnership for seven years before making the decision to rebrand and expand two years ago.

Now, Valdivian Furniture has moved to enlarged premises, grown its team and is working on a project for football club Tottenham Hotspur.

The company, which is based at Scottow Enterprise Park on the former RAF Coltishall site, produces contract furniture for the hospitality sector, including products for restaurants, hotels, pubs and nightclubs.

The company worked with designers on contract projects across the country as well as designing some of its own bespoke furniture in house.

Valdivian Furniture. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYValdivian Furniture. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Liam said: “We moved to bigger premises because we wanted to expand and it seems to be working because we are getting more work. Our name seems to be getting out there now.

“We used to do a lot of upholstery, companies would ship in hundreds of chairs and we would finish them, but that wasn’t where we wanted to be so we have started manufacturing our own furniture because we knew we had the capabilities.”

Among the projects Valdivian has worked on are furnishings for Hilton and Marriott hotel groups and benches for Spurs.

Since the move to Scottow last year the company has expanded from around 14 employees to 20 with some of the most recent recruits hired from nearby Oyster Yachts after the boatmaker’s collapse.

As well as keeping on top of orders and finding new clients Valdivian has to keep up with trends and styles.

Liam said: “You’ve got to have your finger on the pulse. We need to know what the trends are going to be and make sure we have the capability to make it here.

“For the last two years we have done a lot more industrial products, a lot of exposed metal and pieces that aren’t given a finish.

“We are now seeing more of the finer things coming in. The items coming in are more luxurious, comfortable and ‘boutique’.”

The O’Donnells are expecting growth of around 20% for the current year, taking them past the £1m turnover mark for the first time.

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