Family Portrait

The Garnhams of Jardan

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Thursday 30th October 2014

Melbourne based furniture manufacturer Jardan started in 1987, and was taken over by the Garnham family in 1997.  At that time it had only 8 employees, but under the direction of the creative and entrepreneurial Garnham brothers, the business soon grew, and now employs over 100 people, with showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.  They still make all their furniture right here in Melbourne, to stringent environmental standards.  Jardan are one of the most impressive local family run businesses we know, and we’re so thrilled to finally share with you this Garnham ‘Family Portrait’ !

When this blog was a merely a baby, back in 2010, I visited the showroom and factory of Melbourne based furniture manufacturer Jardan, in Mt Waverly.  It was back in the days when I was a solo blogger, no professional photography or anything like that.  I didn’t know much about Jardan at the time, but I felt rather lucky to be given a personal tour of the showroom and factory by co-director Nick Garnham, and I must say, I was blown away.   Whilst so many other local manufacturing businesses seemed to be struggling to compete with overseas production, here was a family owned local business making an incredible range of designer furniture right here in Melbourne – and they were BUSY.  I must admit, I’ve been a pretty massive Jardan fan ever since (Like you didn’t know that!).

Though they were impressive back then – now, just four years on, Jardan are a force to be reckoned with.  The company is run by brothers Michael (Mike) and Nick Garnham, along with Nick’s wife Renee Brown, and today employs over 100 people.  They have showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and have just opened their first INCREDIBLE flagship retail store in Richmond, Melbourne. Designed by IF Architecture, and set over two levels on bustling Church st, it is truly epic in scale, and a little bit breathtaking to say the least.

Jardan started in 1987, but was taken over by the Garnham family in 1997.  At that time it had only 8 employees, and was a more traditional manufacturing company, but under the direction of the creative and entrepreneurial Garnham brothers, the business soon grew, and moved into contemporary design.

Nick and Mike are joint Managing Directors at Jardan.  Mike is focused on the Finance, production and HR sides of the business, whilst Nick is the creative one, responsible for Design and Marketing.  Renee joined the company in 2008 as Creative Manager, and heads up creative direction, styling and sourcing for the stores and showrooms.

We recently chatted with Nick and Mike about the challenges and rewards of being in business with family!  Here’s what they had to say –

Mike on Nick

Being Nick’s brother is fun but challenging. I need to try and keep his more ‘out there’ ideas in check, like selling surfboards in a furniture shop, mind you, he got his way on that one!

I look up to Nick’s ability to conceptualise, design and create.  He’s amazing at conceptualising not just products but also future plans for the business. I am a bit more of a details person, so we have a good yin and yang partnership.

Nick has also inspired me in his dress sense, I am yet to become fully Melbourne hipster, but am getting there, will be growing the facial hair soon!  Seriously though Nick has inspired me with his passion for life and Jardan.

Nick on Mike

Mike is a pretty easy going and laid back brother. We are quite complementary with our personalities, we work to each other’s strengths.

I literally look up to Mike as he is a bit taller than me! But seriously, I respect his ability to calmy follow through and resolve complex or difficult projects. He is the rock of Jardan.

Mike has inspired me by just keeping on keeping on through the good and tougher times – as it can do your head in sometimes being a family business! We bounce off each other and can both inspire and frustrate each other, but ultimately I feel we are getting better and better as a partnership the longer we work together.

Jardan Flagship Store 
522 Church St

Open Monday to Friday,  9am to 5.30pm 
Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

And don’t forget, we’ll be joining forces with Jardan again in early December for our annual TDF Open House event in Melbourne – all details over here!

The beautiful contoured ‘Kelly’ chair being upholstered at the Jardan factory in Mt Waverly. Photo – Sean Fennessy for The Design Files.

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