How it’s made
With years of honed skills and hours of work, a lot goes into some of the items we use in our homes each day. We find out more from those behind the brands.
Steve Hughes, co-founder, ARCFORM
I’m generally woken by the kids or our puppy – leisurely mornings don’t exist in my home. The kids do lots of sports before and afterschool so there is lots of running around to find kit and get sorted for the day ahead. Luckily, the workshop is reallynear my house, so I don’t have a long commute – something I don’t miss from my old jobs.
Once at work, what’s the first thing you do?
Make a strong coffee. Then I check the lighting orders sheet and start to setup for the day. ARCFORM is made up of a small team and we hand craft all our products in-house.
What are you responsible for in yourjob?
ARCFORM was founded by myself and my wife Jen, so we manage everything to do with the business. I design, develop and make the products.
Talk us through your typical day…
I can’t remember the last time I had two that were the same but a day can involve a range of things. Recently, the team and I have been working on a number of large bespoke projects as well as our standard range of lights. We do most of the photography and panelled an entire wall for a photo shoot not too long ago. I also regularly check in with small local suppliers we work with.
What is the last thing you do before going home?
I like to leave the workshop organised and tidy, so it’s all ready to go again.
How did you get your job?
ARCFORM is the business Jen and I always dreamed of. My background is in automotive engineering – I’ve worked on everything from tractors to supercars, but product design is my other passion. I started creating lighting in 2019. When the pandemic hit and our jobs became less stable it seemed like the perfect time (in a strange way) to start our brand.
Is there a particular skill you’re glad you possess?
I’m lucky to be creative, which is something that is fairly unusual as an engineer. I’m also hugely optimistic – a great trait to have had over the last year – although it’d the complete opposite of Jen, so things generally balance out.
What is your proudest moment at work?
The launch of our signature ARC pendant range – our debut product. It defines what we are all about: flowing forms and beautiful finishes.
What surprises or impresses people the most when you tell them what you do?
That it is so different to what I have done before. People are also surprised that everything is designed, sourced and made in Britain, mostly within a few miles of our workshop in Leamington Spa. We’re coming to realise that’s fairly unique, but I’m passionate about UK manufacturing. It’s more sustainable than shipping stuff from the other side of the world – not to mention the unique customer service it affords.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the creative side. Sketching, drawing, designing and seeing ideas come to life is so rewarding.
Being my own boss obviously has its benefits too.
How do you like to relax?
I play the piano a lot and have done since I was young. We don’t have a TV (weird, I know!), so that is my way of relaxing. Cooking is also how I unwind – it’s another way of expressing my creativity.