33 years ago, way back in 1989 !!!
Si was cutting a slightly different path before the giant circle coming around and the Park Designs idea was seeded.
Here’s the text and Sheffield Star newspaper cutting that helped launch his first business.
Simon’s bed idea is just what the doctor ordered!
Former Sheffield medical student Simon Homfray has swapped his stethoscope for a saw and is now making Japanese futon beds for the rich and famous!
Simon who studied for a medical degree at Sheffield University, is turning out such a successful range of futons that they have even got the Royal seal of approval.
When the Prince of Wales visited Sheffield last week, he insisted on one of his security men try out one of Simon’s Such Design unfolding sofa beds, and said he thought it was “great”.
The futons being exhibited as part of the Business in the Community conference also impressed former Olympic javelin gold medallist Tessa Sanderson and Body Shop boss Anita Roddick, who ordered two each.
For Simon, it is quite a tale of entrepreneurial spirit with a sudden swerve from the highly-vocational career of a doctor.
“They threw me out of medical school!” admits Simon. He failed one of his final exams by the skin of his teeth and a BMA-backed appeal was turned down.
And, with a wry reference to a two-month, 380-mile charity run across the Himalayas he completed a couple of years ago, he said: “And I had raised £1,000 for the spinal injuries unit at Lodge Moor Hospital!”
After a spell working in marketing and advertising, Simon set about making furniture, starting with just a saw and sandpaper. Several friends gave him orders, and he found futons were becoming more and more popular.
Hand-crafted in 25-year-old Simon’s Pitt Street workshop, the Japanese sofa beds are made with specially-constructed bases, quality calico and pure cotton filling.
His converted warehouse workshop and showroom also serves as his home, and he employs four full-time and a variety of part-time staff.
Many of his workers are climbing friends, a sport which is Simon’s great hobby.
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Copy thanks to Donna Saul and the Sheffield Star.