Although Paul and Lisa Coghill took ownership of the company in 2005, the business has a history that stretches back to the 1950’s.
A company called GWR Columbus used to import bulk fabric that was then made into colourless sheets. It was taken over in the late 1970’s by one of its employees, Jim Brown, who had learnt his trade measuring and making curtains for iconic Dunedin companies such as DIC, Arthur Barnett, Mitchell’s and Peacocks. It was he who introduced the name Active Furnishers, focusing on making high quality curtains and blinds.
When the Coghill’s first looked at the business they could see the potential to expand and grow it, building on the excellent reputation for manufacturing and installing a quality range of curtains and blinds, all made to the customer’s specifications.
Since taking over the business they have become the Otago suppliers of Weathermaster, a quality range of blinds, shutters, awnings and motorisation.
Plus decided to change the name and brand to Active Design Interiors – moving away from the older, and sometimes confusing, reference of ‘Furnishers’.
But probably the key development in the recent history of Active Interiors has been the addition of interior designers. This means customers can look to them for more than a simple measure and quote – they can get help from someone with an eye design and a knowledge of what can be done with colour, shape and design to make the most out of an interior space.
They can visit the company’s showroom and choose from a wide array of fabric samples, as well as look at the range of shutters, awnings, bed ware and cushions they also have available. Their interior designers are also able to give advice and arrange for site visits to get a better idea of the client’s needs. They have also got a branch in Wanaka, where they also have an interior designer available to advise clients.
Where are they today? Active Interiors now employs 15 people full-time, including six in the manufacturing area, five interior designers and two installers, while the Coghills look after the sales, marketing and administration sides of the operation. Between them, the design, manufacturing and installation staff have many decades of experience who take a great pride in the finished product. Meanwhile, the Coghills have been able to bring their many years experience in IT, operational procedures and systems to bear in the business, allowing their skilled staff to concentrate on their strengths.