Introducing... Guy Newton

With a 25 year career in furniture manufacturing and engineering industries under his belt, Guy Newton joined Clive Christian Furniture Co. as Managing Director in October 2016. We took time out with Guy to find out what motivates him and his vision for the business.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO CLIVE CHRISTIAN FURNITURE CO.?

Having worked in furniture for most of my career, I was MD of an engineering business for a few years. I realised that I didn’t have any engagement with the product. There was no desire to see the manufacturing through to the finished product or opportunity to work with design and materials. I realised that personally, I needed to be in a position where I was able to be involved in every stage of the production process.  Clive Christian Furniture Co. provided the opportunity to utilise the experience I had gained throughout my career - sales, product development, design and manufacture and I relished the opportunity to front a business with both the vision and ambition to be the very best.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE SETS US APART FROM OTHER MAKERS?

The team. Everyone understands what we are aiming for and their role in making it happen. The workshop team has a great detail ethic about making every aspect perfect. Working with “live” materials means you have to have that feel and understanding with the timber to finish it well. Experience is key and we have that in abundance, many of our craftsmen have worked with us or in specialist woodwork for 20+ years.

One of our key strengths is our ability to create a luxurious interior that people want to live in. Wood brings a warmth to a room, be it classic or modern. The ability to deal with bespoke elements through CAD design, freehand and discussions with the workshop team enables us to deliver the bespoke interiors our clients desire.

Wood brings a warmth to a room, be it classic or modern.

Guy Newton

WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY?

There isn’t a typical day! My family home is in Christchurch, Dorset, we have just opened a new Design Studio in Mayfair and the workshops are in Greater Manchester. I visit our retail partners in Europe and USA on a regular basis and, in my role, have management meetings at Board level every month, so I travel a lot. If I didn’t have Apps I would need fulltime support!

Wherever I am, most days are primarily about communication.  My days tend to start early with emails & calls from the CCFC team, followed by face-to-face meetings with clients and interior designers and the administrative elements of being MD. My days end the same way, it is the time in between that varies and makes the role so enjoyable.

I enjoy working with the team and seeing visions created.  Time at the workshops is important as we continually look to improve, getting feedback direct is very important to me. I always make time to spend 2-3 hours talking to the team when in the workshops and listening to the issues, concerns and considerations that the design, technical and finance teams have to manage. There’s a lot of juggling. We make incredibly customised pieces that raise individual challenges and varying order patterns can create difficulties in managing workloads, it’s complicated - but ultimately my role is to help provide solutions.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PROJECT?

There are many, but two specifically come to mind. 

Firstly, creating the pieces that formed the start of our new Free Standing collection. We designed and created a Linen Press and Console table for Hastens (the bed company) to complement the ‘Vividus’ positioned as the world’s most luxurious bed. We share a number of clients and have the same philosophy for manufacture and quality. The key for me was the culmination of all the improvement the team had delivered – in quality, finish, materials and individualisation. It was quite an emotional moment for me seeing the pieces and the team recognising what they are capable of.  

Probably the most amazing project delivered is one of the smallest. We created a study as part of the Holiday House London for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The room was small in comparison to our usual briefs and we had to build it in a very limited time window. Great teamwork saw it delivered ahead of time and in a perfect finish. We were lucky to collaborate with Campion Platt, a world-renowned Interior Designer, whose contribution and challenges were embraced by our designers and workshops alike. We took a large group from the workshops to London for a site visit and the reaction to seeing their work in place was wonderful.

The people make this company what it is and working to create an open, inclusive environment is my focus – seeing it working in reality is the best thing.

Guy Newton

WHAT EXCITES YOU ABOUT THE FUTURE?

Too many things to list, but the introduction of a new range of cabinetry and free-standing furniture are exciting. I see more enquiries where clients want to return to timbers and veneers in their home, moving away from painted furniture. This is exciting as we have more opportunity to demonstrate our artisan craftsmanship and knowledge of materials. Our clients do not want the same as everyone else, so bespoke and individualisation will continue to grow which is always fun as no two pieces are the same and we continually source new and exciting materials.  We are only a small company but we produce furniture for some of the most notable address in the world. We are at an exciting point in the company’s history – we are definitely our own entity and I embrace the future with confidence.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?

Improvement and family. I want the team to keep wanting to improve, knowing they are supported and my family to have the same.

I was particularly proud at London Craft Week – seeing people react to what we can achieve, listening to staff and clients alike embrace and enjoy the materials, craft and effort - recognition was a great thing and inspires you to push on.

Giles & Nick English of Bremont Watches have achieved the wonderful aim of starting a highly skilled manufacturing business from scratch based on vision and belief. I have met Nick and he is an example of someone who retains that ability to be engaging and considered - they both must have incredible focus to achieve what they have.

I have great admiration for Sir Ben Ainslie. He has the perfect ability to be a nice chap and extremely focused on the task at hand. What he is achieving with TEAM Ineos GB for the America’s Cup is fantastic and he’s the one with the vision, determination and persistence.

TIME OUT?

I live on the south coast and enjoy the outdoors – on and off the water.  I love sailing and have an 8m classic yacht that I like to get out on as often as I can. I really enjoy kayaking and a few years ago I challenged myself to build my own – it took me two years instead of the four to six months I’d planned!

I'm quite sociable and we have a full house most summer weekends, which I love. We have a Border Terrier, Flo, who gets sulky when I’m leaving but very excited when I return –  walking to pubs is a wonderful thing. 

My eldest has recently moved out and my youngest is about to start university, so my wife & I are rediscovering ourselves with the new time available! I also enjoy motorcycling and real ale (although rarely at the same time) and in the winter I try to see rugby matches and love to ski.

LET’S STAY IN TOUCH…

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