Contract seating manufacturer boasts record year

Oxfordshire-based contract seating manufacturer, Rhubarb Seating Ltd, has reported a record growth in sales as turnover for the first half of the year surpasses 25% on prior year.

With the commercial furniture sector generally experiencing another challenging year, as the cost-of-living crisis and rate of inflation place pressure on businesses and budgets, David Matthews, Managing Director of Rhubarb Seating, shares his thoughts on why he thinks the company is bucking the trend with an order book that is at its largest in its twelve-year history:

“We believe the key to our success is our flexibility and responsiveness to our clients’ individual requirements. As a manufacturer, we are in complete control of all our design and production processes, allowing us to offer exceptional quality at good value pricing.  Customers often arrive at our door when they are struggling to find a company that can work with them to accommodate their requirements, whether that be lead times, capacity or technical and design skills.”  

David added: “I think also that because we are not reliant on any particular sector and can service any demand for non-domestic seating from education, student accommodation, healthcare, and commercial workspaces, to luxury apartments, hotels, and restaurants, we have a breadth that few are able to match.  Our ability to flex and scale our production to cater for orders of single units all the way through to hundreds of pieces within tight deadlines gives us that competitive advantage.  I was amazed to see we have just delivered our 1,594th piece of soft seating this year, as well as over 3,000 technical and beam seats.”

Rhubarb Seating has in-house design and project management capabilities, with the ability to create bespoke soft seating to fit any space and satisfy specific project needs. It offers space planning services and can create 3D photorealistic renders to bring projects to life and help its clients to visualise how the seating works within their space. The 34,000 sq foot warehouse also enables them to store finished product for their clients in the event of project delays, accommodating last minute changes to fit-out timetables.

David continued: “My co-founder and fellow director, Alysoun Stewart, and I had no background in the industry when we first started Rhubarb, but as the business celebrated its 12th birthday in May, I think we can safely say that we are now an established presence in the market. The fact that we are a UK manufacturer has enabled us to build capabilities that set us apart from many of our larger counterparts and the operation we now have is built on a solid foundation and has great future potential.

“We have the platform and the momentum to propel our continued growth and, through a mix of in-house training and recruitment, have developed an excellent team to deliver our clients’ needs. As both Aly and I are nearing retirement, we will be ready at some point to pass the baton on and would love to see the business thrive in new capable hands, leveraging what we have built and continuing to take the success of Rhubarb forward into the future.” 

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