Q&A with… Daniel Fairburn, founder and designer Out & Out Original

Out & Out Original is a UK-based online furniture store, founded by Daniel Fairburn, that believes that good design shouldn’t have to cost the earth. It creates beautiful, functional, ethically sourced and produced pieces using quality materials – some with a nod to industrial design, others referencing mid-century craft. Its latest collection, seen here, features sleek walnut and black leather alongside rich oak; cool Scandi greys and icy blue wool sofas and black-washed steel benches. 

Founded by Leeds-born Daniel Fairburn, Out & Out Original was born out of his love of fine furniture and his passion for travel. Daniel was based in Saigon, Vietnam for eight years as a furniture designer for a Danish company and worked for big high street names (including IKEA and Habitat) before setting up on his own. Read on to find out a bit more about his journey and design process…

Out&Out Original - Caso oak sideboard, £799
Caso oak sideboard, £799

What is your background, how did you end up doing what you are doing now?

I left university in 2005 with a first class honours full of hope and belief, disappointingly I wasn’t accepted onto a number of big retail graduate schemes and in the end took a “cold calling” sales job in order to pay the bills. After a few months I felt quite disillusioned and had lost belief that I could fulfil my dreams in the UK so I started looking further afield. I applied for a job in Vietnam as a marketing assistant for a Danish Furniture Manufacturer and three weeks later I had packed my bags and emigrated. I stayed in Vietnam and seven years later found myself as head of product development creating furniture and concepts for massive brands such as IKEA, BoConcept, Habitat and Laura Ashley. In 2013, I felt I had the right experience and connections to start my own retail brand here in the UK, which is how Out & Out Original was born.

Where did the idea for creating Out & Out Original come from?

Since the recession I had noticed that a number of well known retail brands had become less interested in pushing design and more interested in narrowing their ranges for economical reasons. I felt that a gap had appeared for a trendy retailer to come with exciting and new ideas. To boot, the huge take up of online shopping from British end consumers over the years had helped level the playing field in terms of competition which gave us a fighting chance against the bigger, well known ‘bricks and mortar’ brands.

Out&Out Original - Clayton Table & Orson dining chair set, £tbc
Clayton Table & Orson dining chair set, £399

Where does your inspiration come from?

Scandinavian style is certainly embedded in my private furniture tastes as I learned the trade within a Danish furniture manufacturer. In terms of Out & Out Original, we try to bring together an eclectic mix of designs and styles and so I travel alot to exhibitions and draw inspiration on colours, styles and constructions from different cultures.

How does your design process work?

I make a sketch and then work with the furniture makers to craft a prototype sample. I then normally visit the factories and rework the samples directly with the crafstman in a very hands on approach, it’s old fashioned but I believe you need to be prepared to get your hands dirty in the pursuit of something special.

Out&Out Original - Walnut & Leather lounge chair
Walnut & Leather lounge chair

Can you tell us a bit about the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection? What are the key pieces to look out for?

We have made an enormous investment in dining furniture with the bulk of the energy in bringing a truly designer product at a price that the consumer won’t believe! We have taken a leaf out of the Charles and Ray Eames “book” and made our own shell chairs with a difference in varying colours and sizes. We have also been a bit adventurous in combining some of the chairs with industrial tables to make a truly original combination. I am very excited about it and would have to say, to date, it’s one of my proudest collections.

What does the future hold for Out & Out Original?

If I knew that then I’d probably be sitting on a beach somewhere (I often say that but in reality I most definitely wouldn’t be much like most entrepreneurs!). We still have a lot of work to do, we need to bring on more original designs and expand the product range. I’d like to see us step up our customer service to a new level but that desire will always be there. To be specific, in terms of product I feel a new sofas and sideboards collection is needed to freshen up the market and challenge some of our counterparts in the retail scene and then some day take our British business overseas!

Out&Out Original - Olivia 2 seater sofa, £699
Olivia two seater sofa, £699

Thanks for chatting to me Daniel! You can check out more of Out & Out Original’s pieces here.

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