Newton Aycliffe upholstery firm Meridian with ambition to be world leader

THE owner of a bespoke upholstery business who is looking for global success has picked up the Echo’s Trader of the Week title.

Jonathan Eager, 35, from Darlington, set up the Meridian Upholstery in 2007. He had been an upholsterer for a number of years and a takeover of the company he worked for gave him an opportunity to launch his own business, and after being offered work, and premises, he took the plunge and has never looked back.

The Northern Echo:

Crafting furniture at Meridian in Newton Aycliffe

He said: “I hadn’t really thought about having my own company, then some things didn’t fall into place, but other things did, so I thought ‘what have I got to lose’ and, despite everything that has happened recently, we are doing well and I am glad I took that decision.

“Lockdown has definitely been a chance to reflect and look forward. You are always striving to find a better way, do things better that you forget how well you are doing.”

Meridian supplies, among many, Hilton hotels, BBC, KFC, McDonalds and locally Rockliffe Hall. The skilled workers create bespoke, high-end white-label furniture, mainly to the hospitality sector – whereby Meridian manufactures an item which is then branded at the request of the purchaser.

So, lockdown also gave Jonathan an opportunity to look at producing his own range of furniture.

The Northern Echo:

Precision is the key when it comes to the upholstery

“Although we supply across the world, from Miami to Singapore and from hotels to cruise ships, the company buying the furniture puts their name on it.

“We saw that the hospitality industry, the main sector we supply, was struggling, so we thought lockdown was a good time to think about designing our own sofa brand. It had always been an ambition, and this looked like a good time to do it.”

Although the hospitality industry has been challenge, the general public have been busy sofa buying and there were shortages across the industry of sofas and, once again, everything fell into place for Meridian.

The Northern Echo:

At work at Meridian Upholstery

Jonathan said: “We knew what people liked, because we had some major clients who had precise requirements, so we were able to come up with a design. We intend to create chairs as well, sofa beds – anything domestic based.”

As for goals for the future – there are plenty of those. By 2030, Jonathan intends for Meridian Upholstery to be a British furniture brand with a global marketplace and a turnover of £50m. The furniture market is worth £500bn worldwide and Jonathan definitely plans on having a piece of that action.

The Northern Echo:

Bespoke furniture from Meridian

“Things are difficult at the moment, but it is the people who will pick it up. There are always risks, but for use we are looking really positive.”

The Northern Echo understands many firms are currently operating under challenging circumstances, but we hope to use Trader of the Week to support local businesses. To see your business featured on our pages and on our website, please email

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