The design-minded friends behind Proffer

Complied by Sophie Carter

Featured in Capital #88.
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Part of our Firm friends series we asked to George and Matt of design studio Proffer how they went from partners in crime to partners in business.

How did you meet?

George: Matt and I have known each other since high school (around 18 years now), although we went to different schools we would often meet at parties. The running joke amongst my friends was that Matt was at the wrong school and arguably had more in common with us.

We then re-connected again at university where I studied Industrial Design and he did Textile, and we shared a furniture making class.

We’ve always had a very similar sense of good design. That it should not just be functional, but should say something or spark something. 

This is probably best summed up when I put on an exhibition back in 2010. A simple stool design I came up with was distributed to a range of artists and designers to reinterpret. Matt was one of the people I approached. His final piece featured beautiful use of oversized rope threading through the stool, it looked amazing and spoke to the relationship between textile and timber.

Matt: We decided to carry on working together because we didn’t want to stop! As George mentioned, we have a similar aesthetic and appreciation for manufacturing, and while our ambitions are the same, we have slightly different, but complimentary skillsets. 

How did you end up running Proffer together?

George: Matt joined Proffer after its initial founding by myself, Jack Candlish and Claudia Pommer. I headhunted Matt from Duncan Sargent because I knew he was the perfect fit for Proffer. I was right. 

Then as things progressed Jack took an opportunity to start Vedure Surf and Claudia moved on to work for Kathmandu. So we reassessed Proffer and Matt and I went in together, re-focusing the brand on product design. It’s been a very gratifying move for us. 

Matt: I was a willing participant in the headhunting. They were doing really exciting work and I wanted to be involved.

What’s the best thing about working together? 

George: Although we share a similar design philosophy, Matt and I also have different approaches which makes for a really rewarding and balanced relationship. We also share a lot of other passions in life so we are never stuck for conversation. It’s a real treat to be excited to catch up with your business partner every day and share new ideas. 

Matt: For me the best part of working together would be having someone to get excited about things with. Small business is like riding a wave so its great to have someone you trust for the high and lows.


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