With the tagline ‘anything else is just a sofa’ comes the first clue that Tetrad is more than just an ordinary furniture company.
Now, just as when it was founded 50 years ago, the company is a pioneer in furniture trends, and continues to innovate and push the boundaries in both design and production. And today, just as in 1968, Tetrad champions British craftsmanship, nurturing apprentices through its in-house scheme to inspire and teach young people the finest upholstery skills, supporting traditional workmanship. Underlying this is the ethos of using the best quality materials throughout every piece of furniture made. This dedication to exceptional attention to detail has remained unchanged from day one.
Working rather like a gentleman’s outfitters, Tetrad has one person responsible for each key aspect of making the chair, similar to the way Savile Row tailors operate with their cutters, trimmers, fitters and finishers. For instance, one person is responsible for the frame, another for cutting and sewing, and another for upholstering. In total there will be at least three specialists making each chair.
We don’t operate a production line,’ says managing director Janus Cooper. ‘We like to have full traceability in the making of our products. All of our furniture is hand-finished; for instance, in the finishing process we apply individual studs by hand, rather than strip studding. A lot of craftsmanship goes into the final finishing of the product, and that’s what distinguishes our products from the competition.’ Tetrad continues to evolve. Its partnership with Harris Tweed Hebrides will grow over the next few years. Aside from this collaboration, the company plans to expand further into other markets, such as the Far East, Northern Europe and Russia, exporting the excellence of British craftsmanship all over the world.
Tetrad’s crucial difference from its competitors is that the company makes 100 per cent of its products in Britain. When it comes to cutting fabrics for the furniture, Tetrad uses French garment cutters. With the Harris Tweed range, as every piece of tweed is different, the fabric has to be cut by hand and pattern matched, again rather similar to the way Savile Row cutters prepare a piece of fabric to be made into a suit.
It is this innovation, attention to detail and authenticity that make Tetrad’s furniture preferable to buying an anonymous, production line-made alternative and make fans of its customers, which include the Duchess of Rutland, David and Victoria Beckham, John Major, Stirling Moss and key retailers like John Lewis, Roche Bobois, Barker & Stonehouse and Sofas & Stuff.
‘We have people coming back to us after 40 years saying their sofas are still in great condition,’ says Janus Cooper. ‘From a manufacturer’s perspective, you could say we’re shooting ourselves in the foot by making our furniture built to last for generations, as you’d probably rather people change their furniture every ten years. But that’s not what we’re about.’
TETRAD HARTFORD MILL, SWAN STREET, PRESTON, LANCASHIRE PR1 5PQ +44 (0)1772 792936