1 Our Story | South West Upholstery

Our Story

/Our Story
Our Story 2018-03-19T16:20:06+00:00

Our business is a real family affair started in Bristol by three generations of the Ball family in Grandad John’s garden shed.

John, Andy & Ryan all worked together undertaking seating repairs and recovering for buses and coaches. In the early days this was part time work on evenings and weekends alongside John and Andy’s regular jobs but Ryan had a burning passion for business from a young age and so took the plunge to take on the business full time and learn the trade alongside his Grandad, driving it forward from our garden shed to what we are today. Left to right: John, Andy & Ryan.

After months of convincing John, a large workshop is built in John’s back garden and our upholstery business is born. At first we undertook small works for various companies, parking small minibuses on his driveway and offering full seating refurbishments and repairs. We also undertook dining chairs, pads and so on for the public.

Ryan ignores careers advice and quit college and his part time job to focus on his ambition for the business. He spent day after day sending out leaflets and making phone calls to potential customers to promote our upholstery services, working closely with his Grandad to learn the trade.

Our work really picks up and it’s clear we have outgrown our garden workshop when we upholster a large social club in Bishopsworth. John leaves his regular job and joins the business full time. We move to larger premises on Cater Road above “Uncle Tony’s” scaffolding yard. Here we have more room to grow, offering more services and a yard to take in larger orders for upholstery on vehicles.

We win contracts with many bus and coach companies refurbishing seating. Demand for our upholstery grows which sees Andy leave his job and join the business. We take on more staff to keep up with our increasing workload and expand our services to boats, caravans, restaurants and so on.

We start having 2-4 buses or coaches at one time to work on. We decide to move to a large manufacturing unit in Ashton Vale which allows us to increase our order output with more staff. We tailor our operation to turnaround the recovering of single or double deck bus seating in one day as well as working with a number of pubs and restaurants.

We see a downturn in commercial work and the business moves to a smaller unit in Hengrove, Bristol. We diversify into new markets offering our upholstery services to the public as well as trade.

We successfully acquire “Bobbie Burns Upholstery” of North Street, a well-known upholstery brand and open our 1st shop to grow our public business after a major refurbishment of the building.

Our lease ends at our Hengrove unit, which see us move completely into our North Street shop forming our shop and large workshop under one roof – we are excited to have our workshop right on the high street. We develop a range of furniture for bespoke upholstery building everything from the frame up.

We open our second shop in Clifton Village, BS8, offering upholstery services and brand new furniture to our customers further expanding our high street presence and offering our customers a showroom experience.

We purchase our North Street shop and workshop rooting solid foundations on the high street in BS3 and begin a major overhaul of the building. We literally gutted the shop and started again giving our customers a unique experience.

The business continues to grow with the hard work of our 13 staff and loyalty of our customers. Our future as a family business is very exciting!

Quality and service remain our number one priority as we expand on our range of services to public and contract clients across the UK.