About The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF)
The Head Office of the AMUSF has been based in High Wycombe, Bucks since July 2011. The Manager of the Association is Richard Ranklin, ably supported by Susan Tyler and the membership-elected Board of Directors.
History of the AMUSF
The AMUSF was founded in 1947 (then as the AMU) to protect the interests of upholsterers, small furniture makers, and soft furnishers. In those days of post-war austerity, this group of master craftsmen (and craftswomen) were starved of many of the materials needed for their trades. They felt the need for a group voice and mutual support to tackle the difficulties this caused and, in the highly regulated environment of the time, to ensure that they could influence local and national government in the framing and enforcement of laws which affected them.
The AMUSF now
Since those early days, the Association has vastly extended the range of support it gives to members. It is still a lobbying body but it also provides diverse services to individual members including advice on sourcing materials and on the current fire retardancy requirements, a group buying scheme, group medical insurance, a free legal help line and many others. It also publishes a quarterly magazine, which keeps members abreast of trade news and of current developments affecting the trade. The Association is also highly active in training as it sees this as a vital contribution to the long term well-being and continuing strength of the upholstery and soft furnishing trades.(see Training Page).
The AMUSF and the consumer
The Association recognises that the strength of these trades is dependent on the quality of the service they provide to the public. Endeavouring to underpin consumer confidence in members' work is therefore central to the Association's work. This is why upholsterers and soft furnishers wishing to join have to have their work inspected to ensure that it is of acceptable quality. And this vetting process is repeated periodically for existing members. The Association also has a complaints and mediation procedure to ensure that in those rare instances where there is a dispute between a member and his customer which cannot be resolved amicably, it is settled impartially and justly. We have also published a Consumer Code of Practice outlining what consumers have a right to expect of our members and giving guidance on how to ensure that both a member and his customer are clear on what any contract involves and what the customer can expect from it.
Types of members
The range of work done by our membership is very wide but most members fall into the categories of upholsterers or soft furnishers. Some will carry out the full range of both upholstery and soft furnishing work while others will only do specialist work within those broad descriptions (see "Find a Member" for details of work carried out by individual members).
The specialist work done by some members includes specifically traditional upholstery, antique restoration, modern upholstery work (including contract work for public buildings), furniture frame making, bespoke furniture making, loose covers, car/coach trimming, marine upholstery, bespoke bed manufacturers, polishing, caning, carpet fitting, and leather restoration work. Within soft furnishing, there are those specialising in curtains and draperies, blinds, and lampshade making.
Our membership also includes those giving vital support to businesses doing upholstery and soft furnishing work. These include teachers of these crafts, suppliers of DIY upholstery goods, and suppliers to the trades; for a full list click here or you can Become a Member yourself.
Directors and officers
The Association is governed be a Board of Directors, largely elected by the membership. Additionally, there is a President appointed by the membership every two years.
President Ron Mercure
Chairman of Board Jim Kelly
Bert Chapman, MBE, FAMU - Director for Professional Standards
Stephen Chapman, FAMU
Frank Geoghegan, FAMU– Director for Membership and Members’ Services
Michael Gilham, FAMU - Vice Chairman
Peter Hubbard - Director of Finance
Ron Mercure, FAMU - President
Wendy Shorter, FAMU - Director of Training & Education
Joan Hayes, FAMU - Director of Marketing
Richard W J Ranklin (Association Manager)
Susan Tyler (Administrative Assistant)