Business in the spotlight
Every month, The Directory Group shines the spotlight on a different business at the heart of local life. This month, we met Malcolm Gingell, founder and managing director of Material Things in Farlington, as the company celebrates its 40th birthday in 2016…
A family-run business, Material Things has grown from humble beginnings in Malcolm’s dad’s North End garage in 1976 to become one of the most respected and renowned furniture companies in the south…
What inspired you to launch the business and how has Material Things grown during the last four decades?
After completing a degree interior design and a diploma in furniture management, I started out in North End – firstly doing reupholstery in my dad’s garage, before opening a small shop and eventually opening four more across the local area. We moved to our current site in Farlington about 20 years ago, initially with a small unit, but gradually increasing our presence as the company has grown.
You must have seen many changes in the industry during the last 40 years – how has Material Things adapted to these?
Reupholstery was our initial trade and remains at the core of our business today, but during the last four decades Material Things has evolved to offer a full range of furniture services, with beautiful products handmade on site and the best advice from experts in their craft – many of whom have worked here for 20-30 years.
Obviously the online side of things has grown beyond belief during the last 10 years, but what we aim to offer is very different – by making your sofa or chair by hand here in Farlington, we can ensure it is the perfect colour, material and measurement for you. Every project is fine-tuned to the customer’s requirements, and we always aim to exceed expectations.
What are your main aims for the business in the future?
We are always open to launching new products, and this year to celebrate our 40th anniversary we have just launched the 1976 range – a choice of four corner sofas for the special price of £1,976.
While Material Things has naturally changed with the times, our core values remain the same: a personal service, consistent quality and bespoke products made here on site – something you simply can’t find online.
Material Things, 28 Fitzherbert Road, Farlington, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO6 1RU, 023 9231 3000, www.materialthings.co.uk