Maker & Son are luxury sofa designers, offering handmade furniture made from 100% natural, ethically sourced materials. The company is a collaboration between Felix Conran, grandson of Terence Conran, and his father Alex Willcock.
“Before we set up Maker & Son, my dad was managing director of the Conran group,” says Felix. “When we decided to set up our own company, we started manufacturing in Australia and launched makerandson.com.au, simply because people over there loved the concept and really got what we were trying to do. We do all our marketing online, and so we are able to put out ads wherever we like to gauge a response. The response was phenomenal and many of our initial sales came from Sydney and Melbourne. We’re now set up in the UK at www.makerandson.com.
“Fundamental to our philosophy is that all our materials had to be natural and ethically sourced. When we began the research and development for making an all-natural luxury sofa it was a real challenge. Plastic had become so integrated into upholstery as a material, so finding natural alternatives was difficult. We had to go right back to basics, and we ended up discovering – well, rediscovering – all the materials used to make upholstered furniture before plastic was invented!
All of our furniture is built to the same standards of quality as antique furniture. I like to think that our pieces are the antiques of the future. I would love to discover one in 50 years’ time in an antique shop – it would have a few stories to tell by that point.
“As an online business, we needed a way for customers to see our pieces without having to come to a conventional shop. So we thought, ‘Why don’t we just go and take the products to the customers?’ That’s why we developed our mobile showrooms. The vans are done up inside with a natural fibre carpet, and beautiful shingles. When you step inside, you step into an immersive Maker & Son experience. They contain a woodland cabin with a single armchair in the centre, when you sink into that chair everything else fades away and you’re left with a feeling of ultimate relaxation.
“Our chairs are made using traditional craft techniques. We use sustainably-grown beech trees to make all our frames, and our new gorgeous 100% linen is woven exclusively for us in Italy. There’s a lot that goes into a Maker&Son product. Standard orders lead times can be as little four weeks depending on fabric choice but normally each order takes around six weeks. A bespoke order takes between eight and ten weeks. Our current best seller is our classic Song Sofa in coconut linen/cotton.
“We’re still a relatively new company, but so far the feedback has been so so wonderful, absolutely heartwarming, it’s enabled us to grow so fast. We now operate in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and both coasts of the USA, despite only launching in February 2018! People rave about how comfortable the luxury sofa pieces are, how practical they are for folks who have pets or young children (all our covers are machine washable) and the level of care and attention that we try to offer. It’s been really great to see. We have also had some pretty phenomenal reactions to some of the content that we have pushed out on social media. We shoot all the content ourselves, most of the individuals who feature are friends of ours which means that its all really close to our hearts. It’s been quite a journey so far.
“There is so much to come. We recently launched a bed range, we’ve developed a chaise longue, we are rolling out an incredible fabric range called Picocesto which is our new 100% linen option. We’re opening a showroom in New York later this Autumn on 55 White Street which is in Tribeca. The most exciting thing we’re working on right now is developing a fully vegan version of our Song range. There are vegan sofas out there, but they’re often made with plastic components and foams that are cheap to use but terrible for the environment.
We have made a commitment to producing all our furniture from 100% natural materials and we believe, that ‘vegan’ and ‘natural’ shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. This approach will take us more time but it’s the right thing to do. There’s a lot more in the pipeline too, both fabrics and furniture, all sustainable and, of course, 100% natural. It’s been quite a journey so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing where it takes us.”
You can find out more about Maker&Son and their luxury sofa designs at www.makerandson.com.