Five Minutes with the Founder | Matthew Cox

“Our furniture is considered to be luxury, but it’s a sort of thoughtful luxury. Our pieces are generously made by hand in luxurious, substantial materials like quarter-sawn oak, brass and Carrara marble; but they are also made to be used. It means they do really earn their keep and become more valuable over time and through use.”

As we celebrate all things ‘Brands of Tomorrow’ during the final week of applications for the 2021 programme, today we meet Matthew and Camilla, who run English furniture company Matthew Cox.

Tell us about Matthew Cox?

Camilla: At Matthew Cox, we create beautifully understated English furniture, made by hand in rich, natural materials.

Matthew: As an antique dealer I’ve learnt what makes a piece of furniture stand the test of time, both materially and aesthetically. Now that I’m designing furniture, it’s about distilling those qualities into everything we make.

Our collection is entirely made to measure, so our creative process is a thoughtful one. We make each piece to serve our customer’s purpose perfectly today, and to become more beautiful over time.

Tell us the story of how you built the brand?

Matthew: My grandfather and father have been prominent antique dealers, and I eventually gave into the lure too, setting up shop on the Lillie Road in west London in 1997. ‘Always out of the ordinary’ has been my guiding principle as an antique dealer, and it’s a principle we continue to follow with our made to measure collection. We love to help our clients express their individuality through our furniture, but in a way that we know will endure.

Camilla: I used to work in advertising agencies so to work on a brand with such a rich back story is a dream. Matthew has such a strong sense of the brand’s aesthetic, but that’s not to say he’s blinkered. He takes inspiration from anywhere – architecture, fashion, restaurants, nature and it all becomes part of the story. We try to be consistent with his defined visual identity in all aspects of the business – so we work hard to make everything as simple as possible, but still ‘always out of the ordinary’.

Why did you choose to set up your business in the luxury sector?

Camilla: Our furniture is considered to be luxury, but it’s a sort of thoughtful luxury. Our pieces are generously made by hand in luxurious, substantial materials like quarter-sawn oak, brass and Carrara marble; but they are also made to be used. It means they do really earn their keep and become more valuable over time and through use.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Matthew: Getting to deal with beautiful things every day.

Camilla: Coming up with new ideas – whether they be interesting ways to present life cycle assessments of our pieces; or creating augmented reality models of our made to measure furniture. We’re very excited about launching our AR – anyone will be able to see our collection in their own room using a mobile phone. It’s been a real labour of love, rather like everything we make!

What and/or who is your source of inspiration and motivation?

Matthew: The natural world. The beauty of the everyday. Hundreds of years of antiques!

Camilla: The senses. The way our clients live. And our brilliant team.

If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?

Matthew: Ice cream tester.

Camilla: Inventor, poet or bartender.

If you could do something differently in your career what would it be?

Matthew: Two things – and I hope will both come to fruition one day. First, we’d like to develop a small interior design studio to complement our business. And the second is to set up a furniture school with our lead maker, to help encourage diversity in our industry.

Where do you see yourself and your company in 10 years’ time?

Matthew: Enjoying the creative spoils of working with a fantastic team.

Camilla: Being a brilliant example of a sustainable, creative business. And helping others to learn from our journey too.

What does success look like to you?

Matthew: A lifetime of creativity, and exciting others with our ideas.

What advice do you have for any young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

Camilla: Remain curious and challenge your own assumptions.

Matthew: Stick to what you believe in and expect to work as twice as hard as you think you will.

www.matthewcox.com

Applications are currently open for the 2021 Brands of Tomorrow programme. Click here to find out more.