Tough Furniture Ltd    


KTP with Tough Furniture

Award winning partnership in tough times

Tough Furniture Ltd design and manufacture strong, durable and safe furniture to meet the needs of challenging environments; including young offenders institutions, social care homes and mental health units. The company was established in 1997 and is based in Craven Arms, Shropshire.


To establish a dedicated design capability; create an accessible CAD library; and develop new product ranges.


Rhys Thomas, a graduate in Product Design, was employed as a KTP Associate to address the company's challenges and help them move forward. He was mentored throughout the scheme by Robert Cooksey, a senior lecturer in Furniture Design at the University of Wolverhampton.


  • 20 percent increase in company profits
  • Reduced production time and costs
  • All products now have an assembly manual
  • Tough now has a dedicated design capability
  • Company won the special recognition category at the National Impact Awards, run by PraxisUnico
  • Tough won the Technology, Enterprise and Innovation Award at the Shropshire Business Awards
  • Associate employed permanently as Design Manager
  • University were able to relay business processes and operations into teaching
  • KTP funded a trip to the world's largest furniture fair in Milan.

In their words

Nigel Reaney, Commercial Director of Tough Furniture Ltd

"The KTP has proved very rewarding for Tough Furniture; the programme has equipped the company with sought after expertise and resources which have helped increase efficiency and productivity. The company now has a dedicated design capability which would have been difficult to establish without the programme."

Rhys Thomas, KTP Associate

"The KTP has enabled me to develop new and existing skills that I would not have had the opportunity to do so otherwise. I was able to utilise these skills in helping Tough Furniture improve its service and product offering within a competitive market. It has been a great honour to help Tough Furniture become an award winning company."

Robert Cooksey, Senior Lecturer of Furniture Design, University of Wolverhampton

"It was a rewarding experience to undertake a collaborative venture with Tough Furniture, as they are a dynamic and innovative company who are focused on solving real world design issues that can significantly impact and improve people's lives."