Declan and Tully Gallagher are wowing the market with their contemporary, oh-so-cool furniture designs.. leaving the brothers in armchairs sitting pretty!
As a very talented graduate with a degree in furniture and product design Declan Gallagher appeared to have everything going for him. For a start, unlike many university leavers, he had earned a top grade diploma in something he was actually passionate about doing. Contemporary furniture, and particularly working with wood, had always fascinated him. Now all he wanted to do was get a job that fulfilled his dream. “Trouble was that back then in 2008 there were no jobs for anyone because of the economic crash,” says 29-year-old Declan. “It quickly became clear that I had to think of an alternative plan.” That involved getting together with his elder brother Tully, 31 – previously in property development – and setting up their own company. “We had always talked for years about having our own business together so it seemed the natural thing to do,” says Declan.
They formed Twin Design Ltd – with Declan as designer director and Tully as managing director – and developed their business plan through 2008 before starting trading in 2009. Based in the Jewellery Quarter, the brothers initially focused on fitting out commercial premises across the country – an area in which Tully’s prior property experience and contacts paid dividends – before launching their own contemporary furniture ranges, all designed by Declan, in September last year. “That’s when it all started to go really crazy,” says Declan, who penned a range of stunningly bright and innovative furniture which the brothers took along to the 100% Design Show at London’s Earl’s Court exhibition centre. As the UK’s largest trade event of its kind, it’s the litmus test of great design. And the brothers were one of the show’s big hits. “It’s a huge event, so important,” says Declan. “No one had seen our designs and products before and the reception we got was overwhelming. Everyone just went crazy about what we were doing.” The madness has carried through with the duo working seven days a week from their offices in Vyse Steet ever since to meet demand.
Their products are primarily aimed at the commercial market and each range – there are currently seven altogether – bear suitably iconic names such as Brunel, Chaplin, Lennon and Bobby reflecting ‘greats’ from engineering, entertainment and sport. (Bobby is in homage to Sir Bobby Charlton and Declan’s other passion, Manchester United, while the particularly cool-looking Brunel pieces have the appearance of interlocking gears in a tribute to the legendary British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel – and Declan’s love of cycling!) “Design is so important in big offices and our contemporary pieces sit well in business premises, educational and healthcare centres, hotels and the like,” Declan explains. “That’s not to say that we don’t supply to residential customers, but the corporate area is our key target.” The brothers, who were born in Brum from an Irish family and went to school in Selly Oak and Kings Norton, are rightly proud that their furniture is designed and manufactured within a six-mile radius of their Jewellery Quarter base. With so many products coming from cheap labour centres such as Italy and China, that’s a fact that’s both surprising and very welcome. “It’s simple, it’s all about quality,” says Declan. “We design and make premium products and you can’t underestimate how important it is to have a Made In Britain stamp. Furniture from abroad normally comes with a one-year guarantee, whereas we give a five years.” And there’s the added bonus that while keeping to their range of products, the boys will adapt the design to provide bespoke pieces to fit almost any environment.
While it’s still relatively early days for the company, the great response to their furniture means that the brothers will be adding more, equally eye-catching pieces to their product portfolio later this year. “At that point we’d also like to get a showroom,” Declan declares. And just in case you’re wondering, like us, about the company name Declan is quick to explain that, no, the brothers are not twins. “People have often said we look as though we are twins so when we were searching for a title for the business we decided it would be great to incorporate that thought with our initials somehow. Hence the T for Tully in Twin, and the D for Declan in Design” So now we know…