As speakers of English, French, German, Italian and their native Portuguese, Raz Meyrelles and Jaf Martin could have gone to nearly any part of Europe to set up their new base, but in the end they settled on Garvald Mains in Haddington as the ideal site for their Uchnops workshop.
“We came to Scotland because we wanted to open this business in a better environment than what we had before,” said Martin, who together with Meyrelles has three daughters.
“But it was not just a business decision, it was also a family decision.”
While quality of life and schools were key factors, Uchnops also needed a nearby network of skilled craftsmen. Its founders have worked in product design for 20-plus years, but production has always been handled externally.
Two of their new offerings – the Gomo lounge chair and self-assembling Vshelf – are being made on commission by award-winning furniture designer Ali Easton, a former student of the Chippendale International School of Furniture in East Lothian.
Uchnops was going to launch at the start of next year, but after the Gomo was exhibited with the Scottish Furniture Makers Association in October, those plans were brought forward. The company’s website went live at the start of this month.
However, Martin said he intends the company to grow into a complete design brand selling products online, through selected retailers and, in the case of one-off pieces, through galleries.
Jewellery will come to the market early next year, followed by sports equipment.
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