deadgood Thinking

Our founders Dan Ziglam and Elliot Brook give us a brief insight into their early days of setting up and discuss their ethical approach to business.
We like to think that one of our key motivators relates to inclusion, be it creatively, or collaboratively.

Tell us a little bit about how deadgood got started.

Dan Ziglam: We’re a small British design and manufacturing company. We design, manufacture and distribute furniture, lighting and accessories for commercial environments and interior designers. deadgood got its start over 15 years ago when we were studying furniture design at Northumbria University. There weren’t many jobs available when we graduated, so with a bit of naivety and a lot of bravado, we started the business from the bedroom of a Newcastle flat. We launched deadgood using just one product, a chair that is now part of our Form Collection.

From this one solid idea, we were able to build the deadgood brand and with our range of products, team, suppliers and contacts, we now have a London showroom in addition to our Newcastle office.

How has striking a balance between in-house design and collaborating with other designers helped shape the deadgood brand?

Elliot Brook: We like to think that one of our key motivators relates to inclusion, be it creatively, or collaboratively. This concept is one of the reasons why we began and one of the main reasons we continue. To be inclusive is to accept change and embrace evolution and it is this inherent mutability that inspires us to keep going.

Our team shares these philosophies and we’re fortunate to have the ability to attract like-minded individuals who share our ideals of supporting, nurturing and inspiring each other in order to create a unique culture and platform for young designers. Over the years, our creative network has grown to feature a host of talented folks. If you believe the hype, you’ll know that these creatives are at the vanguard of the design scene here in the UK. The designers we have collaborated with over the years include: Lee Broom, Magnus Long and Daniel Schofield, among others.

We’re also proud to be building an exceptional team in house, a deadgood family, without whom this business would be nothing more than a bright idea on the back of a beer mat.

Why is it so important for you to make your products locally?

Dan: When deadgood got started, we worked with British manufacturers out of necessity. As we started working with these factories, we realised there were thousands of fantastic British manufacturers out there—from furniture to satellite producers—all making great products. It was then that it became our philosophy to work with local companies and support the manufacturing industry that makes this country great. If we can outsource a project to a local factory, they will employ extra staff members in the UK and that really makes a difference in helping people locally.

Another benefit is that it makes our design process much more integrated. Our designers can easily visit factories, which are quite literally around the corner, to talk through specifications, timescales and budgets. We have a two-way partnership with our suppliers and they’re like family to us. As we grow, we will be sticking to our dedication to collaborating with British manufacturers.

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Why give customers the option to customise furniture? Wouldn’t a one-size-fits-all approach be simpler?

Elliot: We pride ourselves on offering this flexible service as it allows clients to fully integrate their brand into the entire project—from floor and wall coverings to furniture and lighting.

As we work with British manufacturers, we’re set up so that it’s easy for us to customise products. This allows us to better service architects and interior designers who want the ability to customise designs for a specific project.

Are all of your creations eco-friendly?

Dan: We believe that our future success will be acknowledged upon the ability to develop a sustainable business practice that meets consumer needs without compromising our future global welfare.

This philosophy has enabled us to build a manufacturing network with a strong local provenance and to source materials and suppliers that align themselves with our beliefs.

As a business, we constantly strive to address these aims and continue to explore new directions in which we can operate within a socially responsible manner. We also measure and monitor progress toward our environmental goals as a key metric of our business success.

Do you feel it’s important to educate the general public on your green credentials?

Elliot: We’re motivated to develop our business in the most friendly way possible, not exploiting the environment or our fellow citizens. Yes, we create beautiful, functional and competitive products that are made locally by expert craftsmen but there’s more to it than that. In adopting this approach, we can care more for our environment and hope to leave a positive legacy for future generations.

When all’s said and done, we constantly strive to remain at the crest of the wave, challenging the status quo and experimenting with new ideas. People might follow these ideas and imitate but we’re happy with this. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, we just want to make sure that our personal values of fun, quality and longevity are aligned with our company philosophy and mission.

That’s the very essence of being deadgood and a real reason to get out of bed in the morning.

After all, we like being deadgood and hope you will too.

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