A BUSINESS man who started building beds from scratch and selling them on Gumtree is now getting ready to launch his own studio and counts among his customers celebrities like boxer Tyson Fury and reality stars Scarlett Moffatt, Charlotte Crosby and Lauren Goodger.

Darlington man Phil Stephenson set up the Luxury Bed Company in 2015 and has been expanding since, now operating across the UK.

Specialising in bespoke creations, the company works with clients to create new bed designs in line with customer’s needs.

He said: “It’s been really good. I just started selling on Facebook and Gumtree and now we’re one of the biggest independent bed retailers in the UK.”

Part of his business strategy has included building his social media presence, and after more than five years of work, now boasts an Instagram account with more than half a million followers, which has helped the company attract the attention of celebrity followers.

“It gets more exposure and from there we started working with celebrities,” he added. “We’ve done a lot of competitions and that sort of thing.

“We’re really involved in our Instagram – we’re not just a brand. We interact a lot and we do a lot of fun things.”

He added: “It seems like we’re lifting the industry.”

Among his past customers are two-time world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, comedian Paddy McGuinness and a host of reality stars.

Reality star and presenter Scarlett Moffatt and actress Jacqueline Osborne, both former “queens of the jungle” have also been customers.

Based in Faverdale, he is planning to open a studio at the end of April, where customers will be able to visit for appointments.

Before setting up the company, the 27-year-old was working for his dad in his sofa manufacturing firm.

Currently operating in the UK, he hopes to expand to Europe in 2022 and the US in 2023/24.

If all goes to plan, he wants to take the company worldwide in the next decade.

He added: “I was working on the vans with my dad doing deliveries. He’s got a retail site in Darlington but he’s never looked at being massive.

“I grew up around technology and social media and knew there was a market for luxury beds so I went for it.

“I think what sets us apart is the passion we have for the brand. We use the best quality products and offer the best service and after care.

“We’re in it for the long term. It’s all down to passion.

“I don’t think there’s another bed company that’s as passionate as we are. I always had it in the back on my mind. I knew where I wanted to be. We’ve had a lot of hurdles over the years, all sorts of things.

“We’ve had vans break down and had unreliable staff and suppliers that let us down. But that’s how we’ve developed. Now we’re well established.”