South East Wales

Savoir Beds expands to larger works in Treforest

A firm which makes luxury beds costing up to £40,000 is expanding to bigger premises in the south Wales Valleys.

The factory began as a workers' buy-out in 1997 after John Badham Davies and Glyn George pooled their redundancy from a Rhondda bed factory.

Now 36 craftsmen hand build £3m worth of beds for a client list including Oprah Winfrey and Sir Elton John.

London-based Savoir Beds took the Taffs Well plant over in 2005 and is now moving to Treforest, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The firm's story is an echo of the miners' buyout of Tower Colliery in nearby Hirwaun in 1994.

And the new bed firm's first works were officially opened 15 years ago by Tyrone O'Sullivan, the man who led the colliers' take-over.

Mr Davies and Mr George had pooled their cash to create The Bed Company Wales, after Red Assured closed in the Rhondda.

They bought bed-making machinery from their old factory and began supplying Savoir Beds, the firm founded in 1905 as the Savoy Hotel's own bed company.

Savoir acquired the Taffs Well firm in 2005 and its Welsh bedworks now accounts for half its output.

Using individual workstations, not a production line, a skilled worker can spend up to 50 hours creating from scratch a sprung base, mattress and the mattress topper for one of the two models of beds made in Wales.

The two models made at the firm's London bedworks can take up to 120 hours to complete.

The mattresses are made using materials including silk, cashmere, lambs wool and mohair.

Prices for the bespoke beds start at £9,000 and the range made in south Wales can cost up to £40,000.

The company claims Sir Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra and Madonna as past customers as well as celebrities such as actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Thompson.

Managing director Alistair Hughes said: "It's fabulous news for Treforest. We are delighted to be opening up there.

"We've doubled our workforce in south Wales over the last couple of years, despite the economic doom and gloom and that's really been a testament to the skills and passion of the craftsmen and women in Treforest, and their ability to export these admittedly very expensive beds all around the world.

"There is no question that in south Wales there is a rich heritage of upholstery and good quality craftmenship, and I'm a big believer that in order to succeed in manufacturing anywhere in the United Kingdom, in Wales, it's necessary to be better and not cheaper."

The Treforest bedworks is to be opened by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

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