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The Evolution of Fox & Furb: Crafting Dreams, Upholstery, and Furniture Artistry

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

About Fox & Furb

Meet the founder, Hayley Poulter

A little over a decade ago, our Fox & Furb journey began with the birth of my daughter, alongside my two-year-old son in our home in Hampshire. The catalyst? A vibrant orange beanie adorned with a fox face and ears, a thoughtful gift from my husband Martin to keep me warm on the preschool run. Little did we know, that playful hat would become the cornerstone of inspiration for our family business venture eight years in the future.

Hayley, Founder of Fox & Furb and her whippet, Flash.

As our family grew, so did my collection of fox-themed items. The fox, a creature of curiosity, became a constant companion, weaving its way into the fabric of our lives with me wearing the hat everywhere. It was only fitting that this enchanting creature became the muse behind our business name, Fox & Furb.

Lockdown innovation

During lockdown, we embarked on a big self-build and our home underwent major renovations. The need for space led my husband and I to design a folding stool that we could store away in the day when working on the house build. Prototypes for the Foldstool began to take shape, and this seed of an idea sprouted into something tangible. Little did I know, our simple solution to a space constraint in our personal lives would mark the beginning of my business future.

The turning point came when Martin suggested I should give upholstery a go after he saw how much I enjoyed upholstering the foldstool. My first significant upholstery project – a bespoke dog bed for our cherished whippet, Flash was the final hook.

The satisfaction of creating something beautiful and functional ignited a passion within me I wanted to continue to explore.

With my children heading towards secondary school and a newfound freedom, I enrolled on a local course and continued on to a full diploma at London Met University, delving into AMUSF Stage 1 & 2, to gain my accreditation from the Association of Master Upholsters and Soft Furnishings.

My first upholstery project; Flash's sofa & my first paid commission, dining chair refurbishment.

Alongside my studies, I continued to build upon my knowledge and skills with personal and commissioned projects. Martin and I would sit and dream up ideas for the future and talked about potentially working together one day.

These future business ideas really emerged when my husband's health declined due to a back injury in 2022. Recognising his limitations in his incredibly busy and manual job, we envisioned Fox & Furb developing into family business where he could contribute without the strain of constant heavy lifting. Always having a keen interest in design, we started to design furniture together with him designing and building prototypes and me upholstering.

From our living room to my workshop in the garden, Fox & Furb evolved, producing foldstools in various sizes and shapes, including the whimsically named and popular Freddy Fox, all trademarked so our furniture remains unique to us. We started to source other local craftspeople to create new furniture with, ensuring other components, such as the metalwork, crafted by our local forge, stay bespoke, handcrafted and unique.

Recognition & TV debut

Alongside our new furniture products and developments, I still love fulfilling commissions to reupholster treasured modern & vintage furniture as well as creating soft furnishings. I love making cushions from recycled materials (including bold reclaimed 1960s train seat fabric!) as well as working with premium established brands including, Harlequin, Linwood and Romo.

Third Prize Traditional Nursing Chair rebuild, 2023.

In 2023, my Fox & Furb journey reached new heights as I was honoured with the third prize for Modern & Traditional Upholstery - Intermediate Upholstery Skills by The Worshipful Company of Upholders Livery. The recognition this year was not limited to awards and graduation from The AMUSF; the BBC scouted and filmed our story for an upcoming show, where I got to work alongside the amazing Micaela Sharp and meet the wonderfully talented Dominic Chinea from the BBC 1 Repair shop.

Read more about this amazing experience in an upcoming blog post...

The next chapter

Whether you're a fan of our foldstools that transform spaces or a connoisseur of bespoke upholstery and unique furnishings, there's something extraordinary brewing in the Fox & Furb workshop.

Join us as we continue to weave a tale of creativity, uniqueness, and the enduring spirit of creative collaboration. Take a look at our online shop, to place your order for bespoke and handmade furniture direct from our family to yours.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my latest commissions, project sneak peeks and latest TV debut news.

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