Shaping the world

Boosting the economy

MATTHEW ARMSTRONG & SIMON VINTON

Furniture designers to the stars

Graduated in 1999

Supplying the very finest furniture

Two Birmingham City University graduates are going from strength to strength in the home interiors sector by targeting the very top end of the market. They treat their famous clients with the utmost discretion, but newspapers have whispered that they include names like Madonna and Prince Edward.

Matthew Armstrong and Simon Vinton established Armstrong Vinton Furniture together in 2001, not long after both graduating with a BA (Hons) in Furniture Design. The company makes bespoke high-end furniture, and within 10 years was turning over almost £1 million a year.

In their early days, the duo applied for support from The Prince’s Trust, and gained not only a loan of £2,500 each but also an expert mentor in Bruce Enders, formerly of American industrial conglomerate General Electric, who helped teach them the basics of running a business.

Simon said: “The business was all built up through word of mouth – we have never advertised and initially it was a case of contacting people in the industry we already knew, and since then most of our work has come through repeat business or personal recommendations. Our advertising is our last job, and we’re only as good as that."