So how did it happen....
Plumbs in the 1960s
Founded by Tom and Bernice Plumb, the company originated in Blackburn in the 1950s, where it began life as a market stall selling decorative cushions and ‘settee sets’. Plumbs stretch covers could be placed over sofas and chairs offering an instant make-over.
In the 1960s, their son, Geoff, launched a mail order business specialising in fitted furniture covers. The 60s was the era of a large ‘I’m Backing Britain’ campaign which encouraged the public to buy from UK businesses. Thus manufacturers such as Plumbs became increasingly popular.
Plumbs in the 1970s
Plumbs opened its first high street shop in Bolton in 1972. It was at this point that they introduced continental bedding to both the high street and the country via mail order. Another innovation included furniture with removable covers. The store emphasised the quality of its products, but still offered value for money, leading to the opening of a further 91 shops nationwide.
Plumbs in the 1980s
Plumbs launched a free Home Consultancy division which saw consultants visiting customers’ homes. The Consultants provided a made-to-measure service, helping customers achieve covers for the the more complex furniture styles popular at the time. By measuring furniture, Plumbs were able to use fabrics with less stretch. Customers could also purchase a range of matching accessories to complement their furniture. Plumbs began to supply curtains, pelmets and tie-backs for a co-ordinated look.
Plumbs in the 1990s
During the 90s, Plumbs created a bold new style using two designs together. These were then photographed in co-ordinated room sets, serving as inspiration for customers. Later in the 1990s a trend for simple and neutral furniture fabrics emerged. Plumbs responded to this trend with a collection of natural cotton and linen covers.
Plumbs in the Noughties
Plumbs began offering a Reupholstery Service in 2003 and is now considered the biggest and most trusted reupholsterer in the UK. Plumbs is now able to collaborate with famous brand names including Sanderson and Swaffer, producing non-stretch fabrics for tailored loose covers.
Plumbs in the Teenies
Technological investments have also been made, including an in-house photography studio and state of the art Lectra manufacturing systems.
Today, Plumbs produce over 1,000 furniture cover, reupholstery and curtain orders each week. 50 years of employment, British manufacturing and good old fashioned service. To celebrate it’s golden anniversary, Plumbs has created an exclusive collection honouring it’s 50 year heritage. They also want to encourage the U.K. population to promote the refurbishment and re-use of household furniture,
So where will the next few years take Plumbs. I suspect an increasing amount of reupholstery will be a characteristic. This is such a product of the day. Real craftsmanship in a throw away world is hard to find, and Reupholstery encourages re-use or recycling.
The Plumb family would just like to say thank-you for 50 years of custom, thank-you to all those employees who have contributed and we hope to continue for a long time to come.