Posted on 1st November, 2020Interview
In the heart of vibrant Slaithwaite, nestled alongside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Simon, Paul and James Bodsworth are combining sustainability with cutting-edge design to deliver the future of a furniture making business founded by their parents more than 40 years ago.
We made a brew, sliced some cake and sat down with the trio to find out their plans for the future, and what it’s like working with your brothers…
Simon, tell us a little bit about Daval’s heritage and where the story starts.
“Daval’s heritage starts in a small shop set up our parents, David and Alyson, in 1978 the nearby village of Milnsbridge. The three of us have pretty much always been involved in the business in some way shape or form since we were young, be it helping out in the school holidays or speaking to our dad about new product ranges around the dinner table when we all lived at home. We’ve definitely grown up with an instilled knowledge and understanding of lifestyle concepts and trends and how they influence the collections we create at Daval.”
And what do things look like now, Paul?
“Well fast forward over 40 years, and Simon, James and myself are at the helm of the business. We’ve now got more than 100 retail partners showcasing Daval collections across the UK, and we have a team of 70 staff based at our 100,000 square foot head office in Slaithwaite.
“We also work directly with clients both regionally and nationally and our on-site showroom in Slaithwaite is a real-life mood board that allows clients to come and experience the styles, colours and textures of our collections for themselves. We love nothing more than welcoming a client to the showroom and seeing their excitement build as they start to realise the spaces they can bring to life through Daval.”
James, what’s it like working alongside your brothers? How did your individual roles in the business come about and how do they complement each other?
“I think our individual roles in the business have always been a natural fit. I think it’s quite unusual to find three brothers at the helm of an interior design and manufacturing brand, but Simon, Paul and I all bring something different to the table which means, collectively, we’ve got everything covered. It works really well.
“As managing director, Simon’s heavily involved in the research and development side of the business, exploring and forecasting new trends, liaising with our retail partners up and down the country, and setting the direction for where we go next.
“My role as design director really allows me to delve into my creative side. I’ve always been creative and interested in bringing colours, textures and trends together with technical design to form a finished product, so leading our design team and working with our clients to create bespoke designs to fit their home is something I really enjoy.”
Paul, you lead the manufacturing side of the business. Tell us about that.
“Everything we manufacture at Daval, whether it’s for our retail partners or directly to a client, is made to order at our factory in Slaithwaite, and that’s where I come in as operations director. I guess you could say I’m the practical brother! I’ve worked on the factory floor since I joined the business, progressing and learning in different roles before I became operations director about six years ago. Seeing a finished kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or office design roll out of our workshop and onto the wagon and destined for a client’s home, and knowing we’ve made that product bespoke for each order, is always a pleasing moment.”
Simon, what are you most proud of when it comes to what Daval has achieved?
“We’ve always stayed humble and loyal to our Yorkshire roots as the business has grown, and that’s something all three of us are really proud of and that we feel makes Daval unique. We manufacture everything here in Britain (or Slaithwaite, to be precise!), and more and more clients tell us they choose Daval for that very fact. It’s becoming increasingly important for people to understand the lifecycle of products they’re choosing for their home, and they want to be able to say “it was made in Britain”. The Bodsworth family crest is actually incorporated into the Daval logo, so we really are putting our name to our work, and that’s something that makes me proud.”
You’re proud of Daval’s links with the local community, James. Tell us a bit more about that…
“I think the Daval being at the heart of the local community is really important. Most of the team working at head office live in the surrounding villages or towns. Every day we walk into Slaithwaite to buy lunch from one of the independent delis or bakeries, and on a weekend we come back to eat at the local pizzeria. We walk with our families along Slaithwaite canal and go to the gym just down the road. All of this gives Daval its unique sense of identity and personality combined with that little bit of Yorkshire grit that translates into every space we design. That’s something I’m really proud of, and something that will always remain inherent to our brand.”
Paul, how about you?
“Again, I think that ‘made in Yorkshire’ heritage and the fact we’ve been able to retain a really personal level of service is something that makes me proud. Investing in a new kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, or office is a big decision and people want to know where the finished design they’re paying for has come from. They want to feel that sense of heritage and to be able to tell their friends that ‘this kitchen was made in Yorkshire’ when they have them over for dinner.
James, why do you think customers value the personal level of service Daval gives?
“People come to our showroom in Slaithwaite and love the fact they can touch and feel the product. They can see our designs in real-life, pull out samples, build colour palettes and work right alongside myself and the team to bring their vision to life. It’s really important that we work with our clients to understand their unique, individual style and make the space we’re designing work for them. No-one wants to just follow the crowd, nor should they.
“We believe a highly personalised level of service and design is what our clients should expect and receive when they’re spending money on their home. It should be an experience where they feel immersed in the process with us and have the confidence to pick up the phone and say: ‘I’m not sure about this bit’ or ‘I’d like to change that’.”
Our showroom at Spa Fields Industrial Estate, New Street, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5BB is open to browse by appointment in line with current Covid restrictions. To arrange your appointment, please call us on 01484 848500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org