Did you know that our beautiful furniture is handcrafted right here in West Yorkshire? As part of our “Day in the Life” interviews, we had a sit down and a chat with Owen to get a behind the scenes look into what happens in the HSL factory.
Owen had worked as an Upholsterer for nearly 20 years when he joined HSL in September 2018. He initially started as an Upholsterer, and then quickly progressed into his current role as a Quality Inspector – for someone with decades of experience, this was a natural progression for Owen.
Can you tell us a little bit about your typical day when you worked as an Upholsterer at HSL?
Before it reached me, the frame would have been made in the wood mill, then the Prep Upholsterer would put all the foam on for you. Of course, you’d also have the fabric pieces that the Sewers had carefully cut into the right shapes earlier, which you would fit onto each part of the chair or sofa. I would then need to meticulously fix these into place, and once I was happy with my work, I’d pass it on to the Assembly team to fit together.
Did you have a favourite HSL product that you particularly enjoyed making?
I particularly enjoyed making the Burrows Collection. These can be quite tricky to make – the pleats at the front should be nice, tight and neat. In my case, it was the first chair and sofa design I was ever shown when I joined the team, and so it was always one I was very comfortable making, I was able to do it very efficiently and quickly.
And now that you’re part of the Quality Control Team, what does your average day look like?
A chair, sofa or bed will come to me in Quality Control with a print out of the order details – what fabric did the customer choose? Should it have castors, glides or fixed legs? What size? Etc. With each of our pieces being designed by the customer, we need to be sure they have all the specifications they asked for.
I would then move on to checking the more general things that I would look at for all of them – going through the check list of around 20 areas ensuring you don’t miss anything. We want to be sure that we’re 100% happy with anything that goes out of the door. If there are any problems with it, it will go back to be fixed and rechecked.
It’s much more of a varied role, which I really enjoy.
What do you enjoy most about working at HSL?
One of the things I enjoy the most is that you are treated differently to other companies. You feel valued here – you have a say in what happens. You aren’t just an insignificant cog in the wheel with HSL; you’re part of a family. And because you are valued, you care about the company and want to do your best.