Two things strike you when you take a tour of the Jardan factory: its size – which clocks 16,000 square metres – and how clean and tidy it is. It’s organised like a cross between an automotive factory and a fashion atelier in that each function of the manufacturing process – pattern making, fabric cutting, upholstery, cabinet making, painting, even pillow stuffing – has its own separate area. The factory also has a white painted floor which, at first glance, seems like an odd choice for a busy work area.
“We painted it white because when it’s white, you can see all the mess and see where we are creating wastage,” says Garnham. “A clean factory is an organised factory.”
Unlike a car maker that often assembles components made by other companies, Jardan had no choice but to make everything under one roof due to the near-decimation of furniture manufacturing in Australia. Touring around the factory, Garnham constantly points out how manufacturing has become leaner and cleaner. Even when it comes to stuffing cushions, every stray feather is collected and reused.
Jardan benefited from the post-COVID building and home renovation boom, reporting a record sales year in 2022. This year’s cost-of-living crisis, coupled with the predilection of people to spend big on overseas vacations, has affected the bottom line; sales are about 15 per cent down on last year, according to Garnham.
That hasn’t, however, dented his expansion plans, which are anchored around the new factory. Growth, he says, has always been slow and steady, a legacy of his father’s career in accounting.
“We always buy our showrooms so when we’ve got the capacity to grow, we do it properly. We are