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The origins of Orangebox lie in the village of Hengoed in South Wales, and with the management buyout of an existing manufacturing business run by Steelcase.
Steelcase had been manufacturing the products of Swiss task chair powerhouse Giroflex there under license for many years. The fact that the workforce were loyal, energetic and highly skilled was a primary motivation for Pete Hurley and Mino Vernaschi’s management buyout of both the manufacturing facility and Giroflex’s UK product portfolio. The pair knew they could also count on beneficial terms being offered by the regional government looking to manufacturing to revitalise the local economy and provide employment following the region’s widespread pit closures.
Mino had over a decade of experience in product development and manufacturing with various office furniture brands. And, over the previous few years, he had worked closely with Pete, who controlled the Steelcase manufacturing facility. Both men shared the belief that with careful management and nurturing Hengoed had the capacity to achieve far more than it was doing at the time. They managed to convince Remo Vernaschi to bring his financial acumen to the partnership and – after careful diligence had led him to
concur with their estimation of the business’s potential – he joined them in the buyout, and Orangebox was born.
More than a decade on, the combination of the trio’s collective belief and the continuous commitment of everyone within Orangebox has allowed the company to grow substantially. With a workforce now numbering more than 450, the founders all agree that their most important achievement has been in sustaining a highly committed workforce, each of whom values the success of Orangebox as highly as they do themselves. This commitment is reflected in the fact that it’s now common to have multiple generations of the same family working within the factory’s different departments.
Pete, Mino and Remo’s intuition that in a dynamic, highly skilled community such as Hengoed (& now with the factory expansion to nearby Parc Nantgarw) a great furniture factory could be created and grow to become an admired global innovation brand, has been borne out. With a workforce like this, there seems no limit to what Orangebox can achieve.