Floral Chicken Upholstery Services is a family run business offering both recovery and modern or traditional re-upholstery services for residential and commercial clients. They offer full restorations services for old furniture like armchairs, sofas, dining chair seats, window seats, footstools, and ottomans. They also replace cushions and seat pads. The company has been producing high quality handcrafted products that are sold through local Artisan markets and online stores. Founder and Director, Stuart Townsend gave Herts Review some insight into the business.
Stuart and Gail are the husband and wife team behind Floral Chicken Upholstery Services. Stuart focuses on the practical side of giving a new lease of life to old furniture while Gail is an avid crafter that focuses on stitching, sewing, and knitting various products. Gail has done several sketches over the years. Some of her sketches are on the Floral Chicken Art Facebook page. The creative pair have always wanted to utilize their creative and design abilities to bring unique and quality products to the market.
“Both of us had extensive careers in the health care sector. I was trained as a Nurse and worked in the NHS for 23 years. I worked in management positions for a few years but due to reorganization my role was no longer available. I spent another 7 years in interim management positions across projects in London, Luton, Watford etc. However, it was clear that I needed a change. I always fancied doing something trade related and practical. I was always good with fixing things round the house. So, Upholstery seemed like a great trade to be involved in. I also wanted something I could do for a long time.”.
Stuart developed his upholstery skills by completing an 8-week intensive course with Ministry of Upholstery in Manchester, the leading Modern Upholstery School in the UK. Other trainings have followed, and he still admits that he is learning every day. “It took a year of intensive training to get up to speed. I worked on various items around the house or for friends and family. I restored items which were sold on market stalls. The beauty of what we do is that you are on a journey learning every single day. I get upholstery commissions where I have to figure out the best way to get the job done. This keeps me on my toes. You never stop learning”.
Floral Chicken Upholstery Services was formally launched in April 2015. There was gradual growth in the first few years of operations however now it has really taken off. They have projects booked till April 2021. Stuart reckons that with some of the other projects under discussion, it may be June 2021 before he takes on new work.
“When we started out there were a few gaps between projects. January was usually a quiet month. I will be finishing off a piece wondering when the phone will ring next. As we have built up our customer base over the years there have been less gaps as we get more recommendations and enquiries. We were busy last Christmas and it cooled down in January and February this year. When we started the lockdown in March, we had no enquirers for over a month and then it just took off. We were booked out till June and it has not stopped since then. I suppose with lots of people at home they want to make their home look better”.
After a career working for other people for several years, Stuart is enjoying working for himself and the flexibility that comes with it. He works from his home in Aylesbury. The garage has been converted to a workshop and some other parts of the property are used for storage. This is where products are manufactured and upholstery commissions are fulfilled. The company provides upholstery services to Aylesbury and surrounding areas in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. You will also find them in Artisan Markets or purchase their products online via Etsy or Vinterior.
“In all we do, we have to think of our environment and how we can recycle or use less material. In our workshop we do not waste anything. We utilize excess fabric and stuffing for other items. I advise people not to throw away stuff if it can be updated or restored. I know there are lots of cheap stuff out there, but people should also think why those items are cheap. Are quality materials used? What is the cost of labour? The cheap stuff no doubt are harder to restore as we use only quality materials in all our products. We also have to support small independent businesses as they create and sustain jobs in the community”.
Stuart is passionate about giving old items a chance for a new life through up-cycling of furniture and upholstery work. He is creative and has an amazing attention to detail. He enjoys upholstery work, the interaction with customers and the joy customers get out of their new pieces.
We ask that you help protect our environment and support independent businesses that are the bedrock of our communities. If you have tired or old furniture that could do with a new lease of life, contact the team at Floral Chicken Upholstery Services here.