Big Furniture Group Magazine October 2023

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Mike Crowshaw, Managing Director at Peak Converters THE BIG INTERVIEW Number 14, October 2023 www.bigfurnituregroup.com RETAIL FOCUS JYSK INTERVIEW SPECIAL Simba; MattressNextDay; Siren; Buoyant Upholstery Coming to a hotel near you... Simba’s new contract mattress range simbasleep.com

Editorial Dan Squires

Managing Editor

dan@bigfurnituregroup.com

07531 854718 | 01223 298489

Advertising Gary Hall

Sales Director

gary@bigfurnituregroup.com

0207 096 1010

Publisher Stephen Smith

Production Juan Morante

GraphiC Design

www.bigfurnituregroup.com

EDITOR´S NOTE

BigFurnitureGroupLtd

UK registered company number 05484239

2 Jordan Street, Knott Mill, Manchester, England, M15 4PY

Print: Buxton Press

ISSN No: 2753-3387

Copyright © Big Furniture Group 2022

Issue No: 14

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written consent of the publisher. Big Furniture Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction and cannot be liable for the safe custody or return of any solicited or unsolicited material. We are committed to producing a true, factual, fair and unbiased publication through the editorial content within and takes appropriate measures to do so. Big Furniture Group Ltd reserves the right to edit any content other than advertisements, with the editor’s decision being final. All material submitted for inclusion in Big Furniture Group is done so entirely at the owner’s risk. Advertiser information is accepted in good faith and Big Furniture Group accepts no responsibility in in adverts appearing in the magazine, and do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. Contributors are advised to keep copies of all material submitted.

Welcome to October’s Big Furniture Group Magazine ”

Is it too early to talk about Christmas yet? Well, for Gallery Direct, this month kicks off the festivities with their Christmas Collection, including new 2023 lines that were recently showcased at the Autumn Fair - just to get you in the mood and to start planning for the festive period.

Moving from the topic of Christmas, you’ll notice a running theme throughout this month’s edition, with sustainability taking centre stage. Parker Knoll talks about their latest collection and how it has an evolved sustainable focus, while Buoyant Upholstery shares just how the business is striving towards a greener future and what sustainable practices are currently in place. Furthermore, GNG speaks about the sustainable benefits behind its latest Komfi developments and Martin Seeley, CEO at MattressNextDay, shares an update on the retailer’s sustainability credentials and why this has become a core component of the business.

We also have another insight from Bye Bye Bed’s on mattress component fraud, as well as a look into the pitfalls of ‘fast furniture’ from The Furniture Recycling Group and why the need for a circular economy culture is more important than ever before. In keeping with circularity, sustainability expert Joanna Knight talks about the importance of reuse and circularity with a look at best practice when it comes to waste prevention. Meanwhile, NORNORM reveals how their launch in the UK has been so far and why the IKEA-backed office furniture subscription service aims to be a catalyst of change to circularity in the workspace.

As for our regulars, Mike Crowshaw, Managing Director at leading foam and fibre converter, Peak Converters, takes the BFG Big Interview spot and talks about his admiration for his father, how he almost swapped a furnishing industry career for the slopes and what activity he has done more than 50 times away from work. In our Retail Focus interview, JYSK talks about recent investments, providing a career path in retail and an update on their sustainable achievements, while our Green Retail feature focusses on the sustainable efforts of furniture brand Loaf.

Our Cover Star this month, Simba, reveals all behind their new contract collection, while we also spoke to ecommerce home and garden furniture retailer Out & Out on their recent milestone anniversary. The edition also features Pickawood, who shares an update on progress since launching in the UK as well as why they’re an innovator in the custom-made furniture field, and Flitch, which talks about their new online interiors platform and how business has been since its launch.

Furthermore, Kettle Home provides an update on recent developments, Silentnight talks about the new Rest Assured collection, Protect-A-Bed outlines how to maximise sales and Siren reflects on the year so far while sharing an insight into future plans.

To wrap things up, our Big Question this month is focused on what’s unique about a retailer, while Furniture Sales Solutions talks about the art of Quiet Confidence in sales. Our Letter from China is back following the recent Furniture China 2023 event with some helpful tips on purchasing post-show.

That’s enough from me, so enjoy our latest magazine. Oh, and if you have any news you want to shout about or if you’re keen to get involved in our Retail Focus and Big Interview features, drop me an email on dan@bigfurnituregroup.com

We’d love to share your story.

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CONTENTS

16. Big on Social

52. Paving a way for a greener tomorrow

54. The pitfalls of fast furniture

56. Changing the office furniture landscape

58. Reducing waste is the key to greater sustainability

60. 10 years strong for Out & Out

62. Pickawood picks the UK

64. Furniture shopping with Flitch

66. Getting Comfortable at Home with Kettle

68. Letter from China

69. The Big Question: What is your USP?

70. New Products

74. Last Word with Furniture Sales Solutions

BIG INTERVIEW MIKE CROWSHAW

Managing Director at leading foam and fibre converter, Peak Converters, talks about his admiration for his father, how he almost swapped a furnishing industry career for the slopes and what activity he has done more than 50 times away from work.

BUOYANT’S GREEN MACHINE

Buoyant Upholstery talks about how the business is striving towards a greener future and what sustainable practices are currently in place.

RETAIL FOCUS

JYSK talks about recent investments, providing a career path in retail and an update on their sustainable achievements.

5
Direct
Christmas
evolving
emphasis
Ongoing development key for Siren’s success
Buoyant’s
Retail
Maximising every sale
The Bed Expert 46. Sustainable sleep from Silentnight 48. Reaffirming the fraud message
Sustainability: Green
18. The Big Interview 22. Gallery
talks
24. Parker Knoll’s
eco
28.
30.
Green Machine 32.
Focus with JYSK UK 36. Simba introduces Contract Collection 38. Getting Komfi with Ecofoam 40.
44.
50.
Retail
NEWS
/ 14 18 32
FEATURES 06
30
ON THE COVER Simba New contract collection simbasleep.com

NEWS

Linthorpe Beds launches new Mattresses365 website

available, so we took the decision to create an alternative site that is still part of Linthorpe Beds but has a much more ‘internet friendly’ domain name to the customer that has never heard of our shops and local reputation. Our Linthorpe Beds site has now taken on a look and feel that reflects our family business and heritage (we hope).”

Keith added that the hope with Mattresses365 is that the platform is easy to use, friendly, and a quality orientated website, but with pricing that is competitive against its rivals. “We’re not out to carve anyone up or create price wars but we will work to give the best prices that we can to our customers and as long as we provide a great service to them, a large proportion of people will pay just a little bit more for a product,” Keith said.

The company submitted a planning application to Carlow County Council to open a new store at Carlow Retail Park.

Details of plans include to construct a new first floor for retail use, along with internal alterations and layout changes at Unit 6 at Carlow Retail Park on Hanover Road in Carlow. The plans also stated to feature a new rearfacing first-floor window.

After a review, the council has given the green light for the store plans, which adds to the brand’s 17 other stores across Ireland.

Independent beds retailer Linthorpe Beds has announced the launch of its new Mattresses365 website, aimed to boost its national reach.

The new website, mattresses365.co.uk, is still part of Linthorpe Beds but the business believed a second identify with a ‘more internet friendly’ domain could help grow its customer network nationwide.

Commenting on the launch and initial success, Keith Humble, Director at Linthorpe Beds, said: “We’re delighted to have our new Mattresses365 site up and running and we’re very pleased with the response that we’ve received about it so far, with month-on-month gains in both visitor numbers and conversions.

“Although we have a successful bricks and mortar business with its own website, successfully rolling that website out nationally presents big challenges, particularly as the website is supposed to be supporting a ‘local’ business.

“We’ve been doing OK on the nationwide side of things, but nowhere near the potential that we believe is

“We believe that our early Trustpilot rating confirms that we’re on the right track. We’re still continuously working on the site of course and we have a great team that works on both websites as well as some superb external partners.

“We don’t expect overnight success and we haven’t gone overboard with ad words and marketing, preferring to grow the site generically to start with, although it’s obvious that if we’re going to get to the top of the market, money talks.

“We’re confident that we can become a key player in the market but we’re realistic enough to know that getting there is medium term even though the last three months have seen the business progress in leaps and bounds.”

Irish furniture retailer given green light for new store

Irish furniture brand EZ Living Furniture is set to open a new store in the southeast of Ireland after securing planning permission.

Bed manufacturer appoints new media agency

Bed and mattress manufacturer Silentnight has appointed Citypress as its new media agency and will advise the business across two strands.

Citypress will create an integrated, multi-channel campaign that raises awareness of the importance of sleep to wellbeing and consumer health. Alongside this, Citypress’ corporate specialists will help to build a compelling narrative showcasing Silentnight’s corporate strength, ESG strategy and employer brand credentials.

Lucy Atherton, Sleep Marketing manager at Silentnight, said: “We’ve been really impressed with the deep level of insight that shaped Citypress’ plans to enhance our brand. It’s clear they understand our business, our sector and what we want to achieve. The team has a fantastic track record delivering engaging and impactful campaigns and what set them apart was the creative ideas they brought to the table. We’re looking forward to deploying those ideas to educate consumers and push sleep higher up the national agenda.”

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Shed Beds looks to expand on successful year

furniture” is popular and growing in demand due to the cost of importing being high and that consumers are “looking to invest in handmade quality pieces that will last for years to come”.

“This coming year is all about expansion,” Jim added. “We are actively seeking new larger premises so we can invest in more machinery and create local jobs. Our next sustainability goal is to heat the factory using our waste product. We pride ourselves on being green and will continue to offer sustainable products that don’t cost the earth as we grow.”

British-made bed manufacturer Shed Beds is looking to expand following a second successful year as its sustainable ethos has helped boost growth.

The family business, which is based in Nottinghamshire, has been busy investing it both plant, product and planet during the year from new machinery to widening its fleet.

Jim Dale, Managing Director at Shed Beds, said: “Our second year in business has been very successful, we’ve had lots of positive feedback. We’ve found that retailers particularly like the fact the beds are simple to install, great quality and British made.

“We’ve made investments within the factory through state-of-the-art machinery to make the manufacturing process more efficient, while also investing in the fleet, with new, bigger vans so we can group deliveries together.”

As for products, The Forest Collection is handmade in the UK with every item produced made using FSC Certified Scandinavian Redwood, while wood stains are water based and every component of the beds are recyclable.

“Our beds are versatile and we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service, delivering each bed with the same level of care and attention,” Jim said. “As well as beds, we’re just as passionate about sustainability and we’re very proud of our credentials. Recycling is a huge part of our future here at Shed Beds. We use fully recyclable cardboard for boxing all of our beds and 50% of that has already been recycled.

“We believe a good bed shouldn’t cost the earth, so every item we make is rooted in FSC Certified Scandinavian Redwood. All our beds are handmade by skilled and trusted craftsmen and distributed from our Nottinghamshire base, so we’re conveniently placed to deliver anywhere in the UK.

“And, in the unlikely event of any parts needing replacement, it’s not a problem. We can have them in stock and can dispatch them to you retailer with no fuss or delay. When you speak with our customer service team, you’ll be speaking with someone who cares about what we do and cares about you.”

Jim added that “quality British made

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” www.shedbeds.co.uk
We’ve found that retailers particularly like the fact the beds are simple to install, great quality and British made.

Co-Founder and Chairman Kenneth Anderson has died

Hertfordshire-based handcrafted furniture manufacturer Andrena Furniture has announced the sad passing of its Co-Founder and Chairman, Kenneth (Ken) Anderson, at the age of 89.

In a letter to customers and the furnishings industry, son, and current Managing Director of Andrena, Gary Anderson paid tribute to his late father who died on 3 August 2023. His funeral took place on Friday 8th September.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our Co-Founder and Company Chairman Ken Anderson. Together with my mother, Marina, they established Andrena in 1973.

“The beginning was humble, operating from a rebuilt battery chicken shed in a village called Nazeing, not far from the current factory.

“Dad used the experience gained through his whole working life to manufacture traditional hand carved “Tudor” style dining and cabinet furniture. He was always insistent that the furniture should be built “to last a lifetime”. A principle that we still adhere to today even though the designs of our current ranges are more contemporary.

“He was very much a factory man. Even as recent as last year he would go in to the factory and get “stuck in” sorting out timber and furniture components. He had an incredibly strong work ethic and has been a good role model for those of us that have followed him through the business.

“Ken is survived by his four children (all of whom have worked in the business at one time or another), twelve grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.”

Kenneth (Ken) Anderson – 9th April 1934 to 3rd August 2023

Online furniture retailer secures PR partner

Now Furniture, one of the UK’s fastest growing online furniture retailers, has announced the launch of its online press office on PR platform PressLoft.

With this strategic addition to its marketing initiatives, Now Furniture aims to amplify its brand presence and take its range of on-trend furniture accessible to a broader spectrum of customers.

Ian Bellis, Director of Now Furniture, commented: “Our growing collection at www.nowfurniture.co.uk embodies a fusion of on-trend designs and affordable luxury, tailored for modern homes.

“The launch of our PressLoft online press office marks a pivotal stride towards us connecting with a wider array of journalists, bloggers and influencers who share our passion for redefining today’s living spaces.

“This platform opens doors to a dynamic exchange of ideas and inspiration, propelling us to furnish more homes with Now Furniture’s distinct blend of style, comfort and value for money.”

New flooring and furniture business to open in Worcester

A new flooring and furniture business has opened near Worcester city centre after being established earlier this year.

Worcester Flooring & Furniture Ltd was incorporated on 3 February 2023 and has now moved into its first store on Pheasant Street, taking a space of 2,400sqft.

The business, which sells carpets, beds, sofas, furniture, tables, chairs, rugs, wardrobes and flooring, has taken over the premises that previously housed Dovetails Pine and Oak Centre, which went into liquidation earlier this year.

Loaf launches new brand campaign with isobel

Sofas, beds and furniture retailer Loaf has announced a fresh new direction with a new brand advertising campaign, in partnership with independent creative agency isobel.

The new campaign fights the stresses of modern life, in a protest for slow living. In a new TV ad, called ‘The Art of Loafing’, a group of Loafers play a song about the importance of Loafing, and the joy of kicking back, slowing down, and taking a load off.

The song was written specifically for the commercial by Lost Boy. The campaign was created by isobel, and also produced by isobel’s in-house production unit, igor. It features nationally, across TV, cinema, press, OOH, social and digital channels.

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NEWS
Andrena

Independent retailer to relocate showroom

Independent furniture retailer Worthington Brougham Furniture has confirmed plans to relocate its showroom.

Currently situated on Pendle Rd in Clitheroe, the business has revealed it will move to 50–54 Market Street in Chorley during October.

“Our old showroom in Clitheroe will remain open until October, whereupon we will be relocating the majority of our operations and stock to the new building in Chorley,” the business said. “Clitheronians will no doubt be aware that Pendle Mill is due to be demolished next year to make way for a new residential care home complex. While we hold a deep nostalgia for the building, with its’ well-lit, wide open spaces, and unique experiences such as that

time the road exploded, there’s no denying this move is long overdue.

“We’ve been struggling to fit everything into the showroom and warehouse for the past two years, and manhandling sofas up and down Pendle Road from the showroom to our warehouse has not been ideal.

“Our new showroom in Chorley will offer a more central location for customers in the North West, conveniently located just off the M61. Visitors from as far away as Liverpool and Manchester can make the trip in an hour or less, and we remain accessible for customers in the Ribble Valley and surrounding areas. It’s also much larger than our current location, allowing us to offer even more heavily discounted products.

“Whether you’re buying online or in store you’ll see even more choice, from brand new discounted sofas and suites to more wood furniture,

homewares and accessories. We’ve been listening to what our customers have to say, and you’ll be pleased to hear that we will also be featuring the discounted rugs, fitted lighting and dining furniture that everyone has been asking about.

“We hope our local customers in and around Clitheroe won’t be too disappointed that we weren’t able to stick with our original plan to stay open in town. The increasing retail rental costs mean it’s more important than ever for us to keep our prices as low as possible.

“Keeping our business to just the one, extra large outlet allows us to keep to the low prices and big brand discounts that everyone has come to expect from us, without compromising on service or quality. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the local area, and won’t rule out reopening in Clitheroe at a later date.”

Bedding retailer opens new store in Shropshire

National linen and bedding retailer Julian Charles Home has announced the opening of its new store in Shrewsbury. Situated inside The Darwin Shopping Centre, the new store features a wide range of soft furnishings, including bedding, pillows, cushions, throws and home decor accessories.

Kevin Moulsdale, Commercial Director at Julian Charles said: “We are delighted to open our latest store at The Darwin. We know Shrewsbury is a wonderful town and we look forward to bringing our latest bedding and exciting homeware to such a fantastic location. Please come in and our friendly team will help find just what you need to make your home cosy and warm!”

Kevin Lockwood, The Darwin centre manager, said: “I am thrilled that Julian Charles has chosen The Darwin to open their Shrewsbury premises. We’ve had a great relationship with the Julian Charles team throughout and I’m very happy with how their store looks and have great confidence that they’ll love their prime location – as will their future customers!”

Founded in 1947, and with headquarters in Manchester, Julian Charles Home currently operates from 70 locations in the UK.

Assets of discount furniture retailer sold following administration

The assets of discounted furniture retailer Trade Secret have been sold for a sum of £100,000 after the business collapsed into administration.

William Batty and Hugh Jesseman, both of Antony Batty & Company LLP, were appointed as joint administrators of furniture outlet retailer Full House (Interiors) Limited, trading as Trade Secret, on 29 June 2023.

In the events leading to its administration, the business, which purchased furniture order cancellations and returns from the likes of John Lewis, Marks and Spencer’s, Furniture Village and Loaf to then sell at reduced prices, suffered from dwindling turnover, impacted by Brexit and then the Covid pandemic.

Back in 2019, sales fell by 19% as Brexit uncertainty played a role, while the following year turnover reduced again due to the pandemic, although it online channel enabled a recovery to maintain levels of trading. However, profit margins dropped due to delivery and supply issues.

Other cost increases, coupled with a reduction in consumer demand, also impacted profitability. As a reaction, the company cut overheads including staff costs, but saw turnover during 2022 decline 12%, which resulted in a loss for the year.

At the beginning of 2023, the business was further impacted by the shortage of supply of branded clearance product as well as increasing pressure from core suppliers over terms and price structure. Turnover for the first two quarters of 2023 stood at £835,000 and were down 37.8% on the prior year, while losses amounted to £273,000.

Furthermore, its May sale, which traditionally helped boost turnover, delivered a poor result, only achieving circa 50% of a historical May sale, which

came as a severe blow. After a review of its options, the business was placed into administration.

Upon appointment, administrators granted a license to connected company White Chameleon Interiors Limited to trade a clearance sale of the business, which lasted until 19 July 2023 when operations were ceased. During this period, the company was marketed for sale and received 17 responses from interested parties, 14 of which returned non-disclosure agreements.

This then led to two formal offers for the business, with both parties tabling around £50,000. Following negotiations with one unconnected party, Home Outlet Direct Limited, the offer was revised to £100,000 plus VAT and was received on 14 July 2023.

The Home Outlet Store Group trades from three large furniture outlet stores based in Rushden, Market Harborough and Burwell as well as online.

Further negotiations were required with the sale being completed on 2 August 2023. The sale totalled £120,000 and included £25,000 for motor vehicles, almost £59,000 for stock and £3 for the IP and trading name ‘Trade Secret’.

Preferential creditors, made up for employee arrears, totalled £13,800, while secondary preferential claims from the HMRC stood at £145,000. Administrators said that it expects ordinary preferential creditors (employees) to be repaid in full, while secondary preferential claims should receive a small dividend but are likely to suffer a shortfall of £19,000.

As for unsecured creditors, these are estimated to be owed over £1m, with claims received to date of the report standing at around £480,000. A further £127,000 is owed to employees, while £262,000 is owed to various loans and £126,000 is owed via an intercompany loan. It is expected that creditors will suffer a total shortfall of just over £1m.

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Dewsbury furniture maker secures funding to fuel exports

The UK government has secured a £2.5m funding package alongside Santander UK to help Dewsbury furniture manufacturer Jay-Be fuel its export growth.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), a government department which exists to help UK firms win, deliver and get paid for export contracts, provided support for the bed and mattress specialist by issuing a General Export Facility (GEF) loan guarantee. This allows Jay-Be to access a £2.5m funding package from Santander UK.

The GEF is a game-changing product for existing or prospective UK exporters, allowing smaller firms to access up to £25m in trade finance without a specific export contract.

Already a supplier to high street names like John Lewis, Bensons for Beds and Next, Jay-Be began exporting in 2012 and now serves customers in more than

15 countries. With this foothold, it will now be able to use UKEF support to ramp up its international sales and bring a Yorkshire export to more people than ever.

The newly announced UK government guarantee means that Jay-Be can continue its export growth by extending its next-day delivery service to overseas regions where it operates.

The extra £2.5m will allow it to invest in overseas facilities where it can keep local stocks, making it possible for the Dewsbury firm to deliver to customers all over the world within a single day.

This is the latest instance of UKEF helping small and medium-sized enterprises across the country access trade funding from the private sector. Four in every five companies which the export credit agency supported in the last year were small-to-medium-sized companies and based outside London.

This deal is also a step forwards for sustainable UK manufacturing, which will help this country’s innovative exports

reach a wider international audience than ever. Jay-Be uses materials like sustainably sourced wood and recycled plastic. In 2023, it won the British Furniture Manufacturers ‘Future of Furniture Excellence in Sustainability Award’.

Roger Durrans, CEO of Jay-Be, said: “We are extremely appreciative of Santander UK and UK Export Finance for this support. Our journey into international markets over the past few years has presented its share of challenges, but achieving the export of our beds and mattresses overseas is an accomplishment of which we are very proud.

“Now that we have successfully established a presence in multiple countries, this export loan facility is pivotal. It will enable us to maintain stock in each export market, enhancing our ability to provide an improved local service, which will significantly accelerate our global expansion strategy and ultimately contribute to creating more employment opportunities in our local area.”

Independent celebrates first instore ‘Influencer Event’

Independent furniture retailer Choice Furniture Superstore (CFS) is celebrating a successful ‘Influencer Event’ at its store in Leicester.

CFS recently held the event, which included a lineup of influencers and industry experts, who shared their insights and experiences with visiting guests.

From fashion bloggers and beauty gurus to lifestyle influencers and interior designers, the event provided a unique knowledge-sharing opportunity.

The event also provided ample networking opportunities, allowing attendees to connect with likeminded individuals and forge valuable relationships within the industry.

Commenting on the event, Bilal Alimahomed, Co-Founder at CFS and HUMZ, a newly established wholesale operation, said: “We ran this event to give our local customers and loyal followers an insight of what we are doing new and what we have in the pipeline.

“We wanted to give our customers and influencers ample networking opportunities which allowed attendees to connect with like-minded people and get more comfortable with the CFS brand.

“It was an amazing experience and was a lot busier than I originally expected. We had many influencers and industry experts attend. We had arranged canopy snacks and drinks along with a DJ and magician to add a little bit of fun and entertainment to the evening.

“Ultimately, we wanted to create exposure across social media to boost our followings and get a good online community and so far, the results have been really good. We’ll be doing many more of these events in the future following this initial success.”

At the beginning of the year, CFS celebrated achieving a significant customer service milestone, surpassing the 10,000 customer reviews milestone on Trustpilot. The company has scored a 4.9 out of 5 on the platform where it receives regular positive reviews.

IKEA’s new London location pushed back a year

Swedish furniture retailer IKEA has pushed back the opening date of its new Oxford Street store.

IKEA is currently refurbishing the site that was previously occupied by TopShop where it will feature 82,000sqft of retail space.

Upon completion, IKEA said that around 150 jobs will be created with the new store set to house over 6,000 products.

Ingka Investments, part of the IKEA group, said that renovation of the grade II listed building is going to take longer than expected with the store set to open in Autumn 2024, a year later than this Autumn’s first forecast.

As part of the renovation project, the group is removing fossil fuel gasfired boilers and replacing them with energy-efficient air source heat pumps to improve and meet sustainability targets. The building will be powered by renewable energy.

Ingka Investments said: “When refurbishing this over one hundredyear-old historic landmark, it’s important for us as an investor to treat the building with care and to preserve its characteristics and atmosphere.

“At the same time, we want to upgrade it to today’s standards with the best possible sustainability credentials. To ensure all of this, the extensive refurbishment will take more time than initially anticipated.”

Independent furniture retailer relocates Nottingham store

Independent family furniture retailer Times Furniture Co has announced the opening of its new store after relocating.

Times Furniture Co operated for the last 20 years on the high street of Bulwell, Nottingham, but has now moved around seven miles away to a new location on Main Street in Gedling.

The decision to close the Bulwell shop was due to the owner looking to downsize and run a smaller store. The business, which is run by David Perrin and his son Matt, sells range of furniture including recliner chairs, tables and footstools.

Commenting on the opening, the company said: “Welcome back to the legendary Times Furniture Co. For the last 20 plus years Times Furniture Co have traded successfully based on the high street of Bulwell Nottingham. Offering a first class service for your furniture requirements.

“We have opened our family business in our new area - Gedling. We hope you come in and say hello and welcome Matt and David Perrin to the area.”

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JYSK signs up to Science Based Targets initiative

Danish furniture retailer JYSK has committed to the internationally recognised Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to contribute to limiting global warming.

By signing up to SBTi, JYSK is committed to reducing emissions within its own operations and taking responsibility for the end-to-end emissions from the products sold in its stores.

“We want to be part of the climate solution and ensure that our efforts contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. Therefore, we have signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative to get their stamp of approval on our actions towards a more sustainable future,” says Deputy President and CEO of JYSK, Rami Jensen.

JYSK has an overall goal of becoming

carbon neutral across its value chain no later than 2050 and to reduce its emissions by 50 per cent within its own operations by 2030. This includes powering, heating, and cooling stores, distribution centres, offices, and company-owned vehicles.

Sustainability actions are something that JYSK has worked with for many years. JYSK has been a member of Forest Stewardship Council® in Denmark (FSC®) for almost two decades and all wooden garden furniture sold globally in JYSK is FSC-certified (FSC® N001715). JYSK also aims to have all products and packaging made from wood, cardboard or paper will be FSC-certified by end of 2024.

Furthermore, JYSK is a member of Better Cotton, which is the world’s largest initiative for more sustainable cotton production. JYSK is committed to sourcing all cotton for textile products as more sustainable cotton by the end of 2024. This includes Better Cotton, recycled cotton, and organic cotton.

JYSK is also certified according to Global Recycled Standard (GRS), which works to minimise waste and increase the use of recycled materials in products.

JYSK continuously works to reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging and the vast majority of textile products along with the main part of duvets and pillows in JYSK are certified according to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX.

OEKO-TEX is one of the world’s leading health label schemes for textiles. This standard is an assurance for JYSK and customers that products do not contain harmful levels of substances that may be problematic to health and the environment.

“We are well on our way to create a more sustainable future across our company and for our customers, but we also know that there is more work to be done. Therefore, I am looking forward to getting the approval from Science Based Targets initiative, so we can optimise the use of data and analysis to reach our climate goals,” says Rami Jensen.

JYSK appoints new CEO and President

Danish furniture retailer JYSK has announced the appointment of Rami Jensen as its new President and CEO. Rami officially joined JYSK a year ago as Deputy President and CEO and he has worked closely with former President and CEO Jan Bøgh to ensure a smooth handover that did not interfere with dayto-day business momentum.

New flooring company partners with Lincoln City FC

Lincoln City Football Club has announced a new partnership with Lincolnshire Carpet Warehouse, who have become silver partners of the club. Lincolnshire Carpet Warehouse is a recently established company with a combined knowledge of over 50 years. The company supply and install commercial and domestic floor coverings to a range of sectors.

Online furniture retailer introduces new sofa range

Online furniture retailer Now Furniture has announced the launch of The Moda Collection, a new range of modern luxury sofas. The Moda Collection is available in four sofa designs – Arta, Deia, Lotti and Porto, and represents Now Furniture’s commitment to immediately provide contemporary, luxurious furniture via the convenience and ease of online shopping.

Sales fall below £50m at garden furniture retailer

Garden furniture retailer White Stores has reported a decline in sales and profit. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022, total sales resulted at £47.6m, down 8% from £51.8m in 2021 – although this was over a prior 16-month period due to change in year end. Pre-tax profit stood at £1.1m for the year under review, down from £8m, while gross profit margin reduced from 56% to 29%.

Sealy renews Merlin contract

Mattress manufacturer Sealy

UK has announced that it has renewed its partnership with Merlin Entertainments. The extension, which sees the partnership add to its existing 10-year association, has seen Sealy introduce a new enhanced mattress to the Merlin resorts.

Garden centre to offer carpet retail shop

Garden centre Notcutts has revealed plans to expand its services into carpets and flooring. The Norwich-based business has submitted a planning application to Norwich City Council to change the use of a building it owns from upholstery services to a new carpet and flooring retail shop. Norwich City Council is currently reviewing the application, which is expected to be decided by 1 November 2023.

Bed brand delivers another year of strong growth

British luxury bed brand Savoir Beds has reported another growth in both turnover and profit. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022, total sales rose 25% to £12.6m from £10.1m in 2021, further adding to its growth of 18% from £8.6m in 2020. Pre-tax profit resulted at £1.5m, up 15.3% compared to its profit of £1.3m recorded the previous year.

Homewares retailer opens largest Scottish store

Fashion and home furnishings retailer Oliver Bonas has announced the opening of a new store in Glasgow. Situated on Gordon Street, the new 4,500sqft store marks the retailers’ largest presence in Scotland as well as adding to its two other existing stores in Glasgow.

Hästens’ UK retail division posts flat sales

The UK retail division of Swedish bed manufacturer Hästens has reported flat sales as turnover remained close

to £5m. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022, total sales resulted at £4.9m, consistent with the figure of £4.9m recorded in 2021. Pre-tax losses during the period widened from £342,000 to a loss of £1.4m.

Dunelm relaunches Plymouth store

Furnishings and homewares retailer Dunelm has announced the reopening of its store in Plymouth. Situated at Friary Mill Retail Park, the store has undergone a refurbishment and now features a new decorating department, alongside a redesigned Dorma bedding department. The Pausa Kitchen Café has also had a refresh. To celebrate the reopening, Dunelm offered the first 30 customers an exclusive goody bag, while 20 golden tickets, ranging from £5 to £20, were hidden around the store.

B&M agrees deal to take 51 Wilko stores for £13m

The parent company of value retailer B&M has announced the acquisition of property assets from collapsed high street retailer Wilko. B&M European Value Retail S.A. has entered into an agreement with the joint administrators of Wilko Limited to acquire up to 51 properties for the maximum aggregate consideration of £13m. “An update on the timing of these new store openings will be provided in the H1 interim results announcement on 9 November 2023,” B&M said.

TJ Hughes improves sales

Discount department store retailer TJ Hughes has reported a growth in sales while profit fell into the red. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022, total sales rose 70% to £27.7m from £16.2m in 2021. TJ Hughes posted an EBITDA of 5.3% for the year, while pre-tax losses amounted to £413,000, declining from its profit of £104,000 recorded the previous year.

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ON

BIG SOCIAL September

Share your news with us and email dan@bigfurnituregroup.com

Alstons

An amazing achievement to celebrate with one of our Upholsterers. 50 years of working at Alstons! Congratulations & thank you Jimmy.

MattressOnline

It was lovely to see that members of the team have been taking time out at lunch to do a spot of fishing on the nearby Sheffield & Tinsley Canal - taking the opportunity to make the most of recent sunnier days at our MattressOnline HQ in Rotherham. Having this space so close to our Operational base is perfect to go for a walk in the fresh air - and for those who spend a lot of time at a desk - to get some vital steps in!

TEMPUR UK

We’re pleased to have been working in partnership with Arighi Bianchi for over 20 years. To honour our working relationship, we presented them with the TEMPUR Lifetime Achievement Award 2023.

ScS

Furniture Village

Our brand new Warrington warehouse is officially open! This new and improved 32,000sqft warehouse will help us expand our capacity and raise the bar on our operational standards so we can continue to deliver the best home delivery experience for our customers in the North West and beyond. We’ve increased capacity by 12,000sqft, installed an improved racking system with 1400 locations and upgraded our staff facilities. Best of luck in the new digs, Team Warrington!

The Furniture Makers’ Company

Have you booked your ticket for the Young Furniture Makers exhibition yet?

Furniture, lighting and textiles designs from 70 emerging designer-makers will be on show. Wednesday 11 October, 1.00pm – 8.30pm at Furniture Makers’ Hall and the Dutch Church, London.

Say hello to our newly revamped showrooms Northampton (relocation), Stockport and Aintree here at ScS. These showrooms are the latest to have a refresh as we continue our journey of investment and growth in stores and teams to help our customers create a home they love. Our amazing team’s right across the business have worked so hard in making sure the stores look top notch for our customers. We continue to invest in development too, with colleagues from these stores receiving training from our fabulous Learning and Development team in readiness for reopening.

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A look at what’s been going on over social media channels.

BIG INTER VIEW

WITH MIKE CROWSHAW

Mike Crowshaw, Managing Director at leading foam and fibre converter, Peak Converters, talks about his admiration for his father, how he almost swapped a furnishing industry career for the slopes and what activity he has done more than 50 times away from work.

Let’s start with you. Can you share a bit about yourself and your background?

I studied Manufacturing Engineering at Loughborough, graduating in 1999. On returning from a few years of travelling, I started my career working for a software company specialising in mobile data for field engineers.

A few years on my father offered me a position in the family business to fill a vacant position as IT Manager.

For nearly 20 years I managed all technical facets of Breasley Pillows Ltd.

What is your current job role and key responsibilities?

Since 2020 I have been Managing Director of Peak Converters Ltd. It is my responsibility to ensure the business achieves our mission and objectives.

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What do you love about your job?

My team. Every member of the Peak Converters family brings something to the table and our success is down to our ability to work together to overcome challenges and continue to improve.

I am incredibly proud of every member for getting us to where we are today.

What time is your alarm clock set for and do you have a morning routine?

6:30am, but usually my wife and I are woken up earlier by my 4-year-old daughter, Livvy. We’re looking forward to her lazier years but she’s an adorable alarm clock.

Why did you choose to work in the furnishing industry?

It’s in my blood. My father, Alan has been in the industry for 50 years.

Who do you most admire in the industry and why?

My Dad, Alan and his late business partner, Pete Walker. They built Breasley Pillows Ltd from a market stall to a business with revenues over £30m operating from three factories with more than 200 employees. An incredible achievement.

Have there been any special moments during your career?

There have been many. Recently, securing a partnership with upholstery titans, Whitemeadow Furniture.

Whitemeadow are a highly respected business, and the partnership has provided stability and security for Peak Converters.

What is your favourite item of furniture you own and why?

It’s a close battle between my armchair and bed but as we’re predominantly converters for the upholstery industry, I’m going to say, “armchair”. Preferably with a glass of single malt.

What do you think is trending within the industry at present?

Eco furniture. More than just a buzzword these days. We now have a showroom dedicated to displaying our eco material ranges.

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What would you change in the industry?

The furniture industry is a great place to work and is at its very best when businesses cooperate, sharing their skills, knowledge and capabilities to achieve the greater good for the end user. I would like to see more of this

Can you share an insight into your future plans?

It is our mission to be market leaders and we leverage technology to ensure we remain at the industry forefront.

Our plans over the next few years are to invest in machinery and IIoT technologies to increase capacity and reduce downtime.

What do you enjoy most outside of work / free time?

I have always been a gym lover and for the past eight years my wife and I have enjoyed Crossfit. In fact, we met during my first trial class.

My daughter Livvy also loves Crossfit kids’ classes, so we get to enjoy exercise as a family.

We also love to ski as often as possible.

What might someone not know about you?

I have bungee jumped over 50 times.

If you had a different career, what would it be?

A ski instructor. This almost happened but the week I started my training I took a nasty tumble.

Finally, if you were an item of furniture, what would it be and why?

I struggled with this question so asked my wife. She said, “a sturdy armchair”. I’m trying not to take that personally.

5 FUN QS:

If you could hack into any one computer, whose computer would you choose and why?

My daughter’s 15 years from now because I already know I’m going to be an over-protective Dad.

What fact amazes you every time you think of it?

Space is completely silent.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

In my early 20’s, before beginning my career in the furniture industry I decided to become a ski instructor. Sadly, a knee injury put a stop to this.

What is the most important object you own and why?

Our home. We made the risky decision to move home just after starting Peak Converters. Thankfully, it’s one of the best decisions we have made.

What did you think was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?

Sideburns.

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www.peakconverters.co.uk
The furniture industry is a great place to work and is at its very best when businesses cooperate, sharing their skills, knowledge and capabilities to achieve the greater good for the end user. I would like to see more of this.

Christmas is Coming

Gallery Direct showcased their stunning Christmas Collection, including their new 2023 lines, at the recent Autumn Fair, along with a great selection of other products.

But don’t worry if you missed the show, trade customers can view and order all their products on Gallery’s website and there is still time to purchase their festive products in time for the seasonal selling period, and with no minimum order, you don’t need to buy large quantities.

Peter Delaney, Sales & Product Director, commented “We understand that many of our clients do not have room to store large amounts of stock, so small quantity orders are not a problem. We have recently reduced our carriage paid order value to try and help, but there is no minimum order, delivery for lower value orders is calculated depending upon the items.”

“All our Christmas lines are drop ship ready”, continued Peter, “and clients can have access to our high-quality product images, which makes them ideal for selling online. And with the majority of items in stock here in the UK, with more arriving over the next couple of weeks, now is the time to order to capture the Christmas trade.”

Gallery’s Christmas catalogue offers an extensive range of fabulous products, featuring curated collections which are showcased in their Christmas Edit. It includes garlands & wreaths, decorative accessories, lanterns, candles & votives, table & barware, and Christmas trees & baubles. There is also a selection of textiles, including cushions, throws, door stops

and draught excluders, which are ideal for adding a cosy touch to a room.

One of the new lines that captured visitors’ attention at Autumn Fair was a Pampas Tree with LED Lights. Offering an unusual contemporary take on a traditional Christmas tree, the feathery pampas tree adds gorgeous neutral tones and textures to a room. It comes with a battery powered LED garland to add some sparkle, and is available in 3 sizes.

Gallery’s website features all their products individually, as well as online flipbook versions of their stunning product guides, including the Christmas Edit, which are ideal if you are looking for inspiration to put looks together. Clients can easily check product availability, place & track orders, and access their invoice history. One of the latest additions to the site is “My Project Boards”, which is a great way of selecting products to create the look you require. Either individual items or everything on the board can be quickly added to basket for easy ordering.

To order your Christmas stock, or any other products, take a look at the website, www.gallerydirect.co.uk, or contact your Key Account Manager.

www.gallerydirect.co.uk - 01795 439159

sales@gallerydirect.co.uk

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All our Christmas lines are drop ship ready
Pampas Tree with LED Light Festive cushions Selection of Christmas lines

Parker Knoll’s evolving eco emphasis

In an age where environmental consciousness and sustainability have taken center stage, the furniture industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation. As consumers become increasingly aware of the ecological impact of their choices, the demand for sustainable and eco-friendly furniture options has surged. In response to this global shift, Parker Knoll has introduced their ‘evolve’ collection, a testament to their commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation in design.

“evolve encapsulates the essence of sustainability, blending elegant aesthetics with eco-conscious practices,” Niamh said. “It stands as a testament to our belief that exquisite design need not come at the cost of the planet. This collection comprises three stunning sofas and chairs: Hazel, Rowan, and Juniper. Each piece not only showcases exquisite craftsmanship but also tells a story of sustainability and ethical sourcing.”

The evolve collection is crafted from recycled materials and speaks volumes about Parker Knoll’s dedication to repurposing resources and reducing waste. “It’s a symbol of our commitment to preserving forests and minimizing our carbon footprint,” Niamh continued.

“Redefining comfort whilst still emphasising sustainability is very important to us. Every deep, comfortable sofa cushion in our evolve collection is foam-free and padded with Quallofil Blue, an independently verified and fully traceable planet-friendly polyester, made with 50% recycled ocean plastics.

“In fact, every sofa repurposes around 170 bottles. But Quallofill Blue does more than use old bottles, they have a mission to also help those in poverty build a better future.”

The collection also demonstrates how sustainability can be integrated into contemporary living. Manufactured from sustainably sourced, renewable materials, evolve speaks to the longevity of eco-friendly design and encourages responsible consumption, avoiding the pitfalls of disposable furniture.

“In a world where every purchase holds the power to make a difference, our ‘evolve’ collection invites you to make a statement — a statement for sustainable living without compromising on style,” Niamh said. “Embrace the future of furniture today with Hazel, Rowan, and Juniper.”

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Niamh Logan, Marketing Assistant at upholstered furniture manufacturer Parker Knoll, talks about their latest collection and how it has an evolved sustainable focus. Juniper

Why Parker Knoll?

Established for over 150 years, Parker Knoll is well renowned for designing and developing some of the best of British sofas and chairs to the highest possible quality. Today, in their state-of-the-art factory in rural Nottinghamshire, their founder’s commitment is still at the heart of everything that the business does: to produce beautiful, high-quality designs with the utmost style.

Parker Knoll’s highly skilled teams of expert craftsman and designers are committed to continuing to create sofas and chairs that provide the ultimate comfort experience.

Every Parker Knoll piece is handmade to order in at the Nottingham factory, with each purchase coming with a 25year guarantee.

www.parkerknoll.co.uk

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Evolve encapsulates the essence of sustainability, blending elegant aesthetics with eco-conscious practices
Hazel Rowan

Ongoing development key for Siren’s success

Andrew Kerr, Director at Siren Furniture, reflects on the year so far as well as sharing an insight into future plans.

Last month, upholstered furniture manufacturer Siren Furniture played host to its Open Showroom event during the Autumn Long Point show. Based in the iconic Harrington Mill in Long Eaton, the traditional heartland of the UK upholstery industry, Siren showcased recent designs in the latest textile covers, plus much more. It’s fair to say that the event went “extremely well”, adding to what has been a good year for the business on the whole.

“We are very pleased that the year to date is panning out as per our forecast, which is testament to the hard work and dedication of our growing team at Siren,” Andrew said. “Since the management takeover in 2021, we have been successful in driving forward growth of the business and this year has had a strong focus on developing and designing our exclusive ranges, including the two recently launched models, the ‘Alice’ and ‘Amy’.

“Our Open Showroom event proved a big success where visitors were able to see the new ranges, which have been upholstered in new variations. Visitors also got to see new and exclusive sofa designs showcased in new covers alongside our diverse range of sofas, armchairs and sofa beds, as well as speaking to our team of experts, who happily discussed our sustainable innovations.”

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On sustainability, Siren says it is determined to enhance this area of the business further to reduce waste and its impact on the environment, but without compromising its dedication to quality and comfort.

One notable step-change is the greater use of recycled and repurposed fillings in its products, as Andrew continued: “We are really pleased to be able to say that Siren Furniture is an FSC ® certified (FSC ® C137929) company, actively sourcing timber from responsibly managed forests, recycled material, and other controlled sources.

“Every item we create comes with a 10-year frame guarantee, reinforcing our belief in durability and customer satisfaction. We’re using recycled materials where possible, carefully selecting our new suppliers and consciously support our longstanding suppliers to adapt and adopt.”

Alongside sustainable commitments, the business is also bolstering efficiency processes with the introduction of a new cloud-based software system to improve the efficiency of ordering, back office and customer service processes, which are geared to further improve the service it offers to customers.

Furthermore, this autumn will see the continued development of Siren’s recliner range and introduction of its new premium model ‘Ellie’.

“The focus for the second half of the year is to continue working closely with partners to develop new models, with shape and luxe fabrics continuing to perform well, while also upgrading and refreshing the showroom to enhance the customer experience,” Andrew added.

“We continue to be proud of our long-standing relationship with John Lewis and are launching some exciting new models with them this autumn, and are currently in conversations with potential new partnerships too.

“This continued growth has also seen us increase the team, with the addition of highly experienced agents to represent Siren in the South East and, for the first time, in Ireland.”

Established back in 2000, Siren has continued to grow and its proactive approach to implementing supply chain innovations while working with sustainable suppliers has seen the brand sustain growth. “We look forward to expanding even further with the Irish market a great opportunity for us,” said Andrew. “Watch this space!”

www.sirenfurniture.com

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We continue to be proud of our long-standing relationship with John Lewis and are launching some exciting new models with them this autumn.

Buoyant’s Green Machine

Mike Aramayo, Managing Director at Buoyant Upholstery, talks about how the business is striving towards a greener future and what sustainable practices are currently in place.

The environment and the impact on businesses has been a hot topic for some time now in the furniture industry and manufacturing as a whole. At Buoyant Upholstery, the business is constantly looking at ways to reduce its carbon footprint and decrease the amount of waste it produces.

“We have undertaken various initiatives to reduce our carbon emissions, waste product and our overall footprint whilst also focusing on sustainability and ways we can improve in the future,” says Mike Aramayo, Managing Director at Buoyant Upholstery.

We launched a number of new Kind Leather models this year which have the potential to be fantastic sellers when they hit the stores.

Environmentally Friendly Leather

Kind Leather ® focus on creating sustainable leather by cutting down on wasted product and the use of harmful chemicals that can be damaging to the environment. The tanning process uses much less water, energy, chemicals and produces less CO2 emissions. In addition to this, the product has up to 43% lower global warming potential and can generate up to 93% less waste.

“We launched a number of new Kind Leather ® models this year which have the potential to be fantastic sellers when they hit the stores,” Mike revealed. “The reception to Kind Leather products just goes to show that quality and style do not need to be compromised in any way in the pursuit of lower waste and carbon emissions.”

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Packaging, Fibre and Foam

Packaging is an area that Buoyant are constantly working to improve, as Mike continues: “Our bubble wrap is produced from recycled polythene and both our travel glides and cardboard are recycled and recyclable. From April 2022, our polythene packaging bags contain 30% recycled content and these products will also be recyclable. ”

“We continue to work closely with our foam and fibre suppliers to produce the most eco-friendly fillings and interiors whilst monitoring any cost implications. Ecocoatings are gradually being introduced across our lines. When cutting our fibre and foam scrims in house we use polyester wadding and the waste generated is recycled and reused.”

Renewable Energy

Buoyant are also close to completing a 5-year plan to replace all its lighting with energy efficient lighting, which is no small feat in an old Victorian building. “In the 12 months, from 1st October 2021 to 30th September 2022, the use of LED lighting has saved 25.44 tonnes CO2 equivalent with an estimated annual energy savings of 109,133 Kwh,” Mike said.

“Our 254Kw solar panel system became operative in March 2023 and as so far produced an average of 30Mw of Energy per month, and reduced the amount of C02 produced by an average of 30 tonnes per month.”

The estimated annual saving in CO2 is 360 tonnes and the life-time savings (25yrs) in Carbon is expected to be up to 9,000 tonnes.

Green House Gas Emissions, Recovery and Landfill

A Green House Gas is a gas in the atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect and global warming. The UK has a target to reduce global temperature increases to less than 2°C by 2050. During October 2021 to September 2022, Buoyant saved 108.1 tonnes of carbon emissions by diverting all waste from landfill.

Mike explained: “In the same 12 month period we diverted 191.2 tonnes of general waste from landfill to Refuse Derived Fuel. This has saved over 108,058.6 kg of carbon emissions. Each tonne of waste put in a landfill site takes up about three cubic meters of void space. 191.5 tonnes of waste were diverted from landfill equating to saving 574.4 cubic meters off land.”

Transport

Buoyant operates its own transport fleet and continues to explore new technology and innovation to reduce the impact of using fossil fuels. “We have invested in eight aerodynamic teardrop trailers which significantly reduce drag and turbulence that accounts for up to 50% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption and helps in turn reduce carbon emissions,” Mike revealed.

“Over a 12 month period, we reported 1,906.19tonnes of CO2 emissions, resulting from the direct combustion of 8,330,226 kWh of fuel. This represents a carbon reduction of 8.54% from the previous year. During 2022 our company car policy updated our fleet to 100% electric, with charging points having already been installed.”

The recent purchase of four new trucks has expanded Buoyant’s already large delivery fleet. The new Renault Trucks T440 4×2 Evolution tractor units add to its 20-truck fleet and follow the strong performance of other Renault trucks. Hans Jansen, Commercial Director, added: “We need delivery vehicles that perform well, are reliable and keep the drivers happy. The three T380s we’ve been running for the last four years have ticked all the right boxes.”

In the Factory

In January 2023 Buoyant replaced one of its existing Gerber S3200 Fabric cutters with a New Paragon HX Fabric Cutter, which is more energy efficient, quieter and faster. “We have now replaced seven of our old CNC routers with seven New Dynamics Start 2412 CNC routers, which are more energy efficient, safer and easier to operate,” says Mike. “We continue to invest in our business for a greener future.”

www.buoyant-upholstery.co.uk

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Retail Focus with JYSK UK

Roni Tuominen, Country Director UK & Ireland at JYSK, talks about recent investments, providing a career path in retail and an update on their sustainable achievements.

Meet Roni

I’m responsible for the overall success of the business across the UK and Ireland markets, this includes our retail presence, logistics, and finance.

Recent investments?

Currently we are continuously investing in expanding our store network with a target of 8-10 new stores annually to boost our retail presence. We are also in the process of bringing all our UK stores to the latest JYSK store concept, which provides the very best shopping experience and visual merchandising to our customers. Since the beginning of this initiative in 2022, by 2024 we aim to have completed 14 instore rearrangements out of 30 stores.

We have also recently announced our decision to establish a distribution center in Ireland to bring our logistical process closer to our customers, allowing us to shorten the lead times for replenishment and order fulfillment and also reduce our carbon footprint within our logistics.

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Future plans?

Currently our focus is on continuing to profitably expand in both markets and grow our market shares against competitors.

Alongside this, we’re dedicated to providing great career opportunities within the retail industry through investing heavily in employee training and development. Our desire is to be prospective employees’ first choice in the retail industry and aim to have 90% internal fill rate in vacant positions.

What is your mission?

JYSK’s mission is to have a great Scandinavian product offering for everyone within sleeping and living, allowing everyone to enjoy the Scandinavian design and approach to life.

On sustainability, what is your business doing on this topic?

Our responsibility comprises of a number of areas, including all JYSK employees as well as employees working for our external partners globally. We must ensure that our products are made with respect for both humans, animals, and nature.

In the fall of 2020, we publicly committed to the FSC sourcing target that by the end of 2024, all JYSK products and packaging made from wood, cardboard or paper will be FSC-certified. As of 1st January 2022, this already applied to all new products launched in JYSK (FSCTM N001715). We also continue to focus on replacing plastic packaging with cardboard and increasing the amount of FSC certified cardboard where possible.

JYSK has also joined a Danish voluntary sector collaboration, which aims to reduce the environmental and climate footprint of the textile industry. By 2030, all garment and textiles from Danish companies will consist of at least 40% recycled materials and we are committed to reach this goal throughout our portfolio.

Increasing the amount of recycled content in the products is in general an important part of JYSK’s sustainability strategy, and the number of products that are fully or partly made from recycled materials is increasing with each new product assortment. Some of these carry the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) label. Going forward, JYSK will strengthen the focus on GRS, and as an important part of this journey JYSK has decided to apply for a GRS certification covering its own business.

How has recent business been?

Speaking of JYSK Ireland & UK business development we can say that despite difficult economic conditions witnessed in both markets, we have continued to grow against market trends in furniture sector. The trends we are seeing include customers being more conservative on spending, but household furnishing and decorating has not suffered significantly in our range despite cost-of-living crisis going on. Customers continue to invest in their homes and with social media playing a huge part in our every day lives, we’re becoming more house proud then every before.

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What challenges do you currently face?

As mentioned, economic climate combined with record low consumer confidence is challenging for any business not just retail sector, but we’ve managed to keep our costs under control and our customers continue to see our assortment and great offers added value to their household and garden needs.

On the other hand, record low unemployment rates and extremely tight labour market has clearly made situation favorable to employees who are more often and easily changing employees/careers. With fast growing business and high need of new hirings all the time this has and will keep us close to our vision statement ‘to be employees’ first choice within retail’. Our focus and actions are constantly tight on attracting new employees and foremost developing our talents by offering great career opportunities combined with competitive compensation and benefit packages in place.

Do you have any staff you would like to pay special thanks or recognition to and why?

We are very international and multinational company in general, but this is particularly true with my own country management team that includes myself being Finnish, Anastasiia Kruta (HR Manager) from Ukraine, Reza Rahimi (Retail Manager) from Sweden and Eithne Trehy (Financial Manager) representing Ireland in our team. This richness of cultural backgrounds and experience from various markets has for sure been an advantage when embedding the JYSK cultural in Ireland and UK and building our business from zero to 30 UK stores and 21 in ROI. I couldn’t be more proud of the committed and hardworking team we’ve built.

Why do you think customers choose your business?

If I could summarize the success formula, I would say it consists following elements:

• We have a strong assortment of Scandinavian sleeping and living that is constantly assessed and kept fresh with latest trends and customer expectations.

• We have all the time great offers across our assortment to make sure we exceed expectations both on quality and in pricing

We have a strong retail concept that flows through more than 3300 JYSK stores across globe.

• We want to be close to our customers. When establishing our business in Ireland I used to say that there is no city too small for JYSK and we’ve opened stores in small cities such as Youghal in county Cork with a population of less than 10,000 to big cities such as Manchester, England.

www.jysk.co.uk

Increasing the amount of recycled content in the products is in general an important part of JYSK’s sustainability strategy, and the number of products that are fully or partly made from recycled materials is increasing with each new product assortment.

Simba Introduces Cutting-Edge Contract Mattress Collection

When it comes to pioneering sleep innovation, Simba has built a reputation of constantly developing new sleep technology across a range of products for the home, including mattresses, pillows, duvets and weighted blankets as part of its mission to solve the world’s sleep crisis.

As the ‘world’s most 5-star rated mattress brand’, Simba’s new Contract Mattress collection seamlessly blends Simba’s renowned sleep technology and nextgeneration performance to create a comfortable sleep experience for everyone.

Now, the sleep tech brand is turning its attention towards the hotel and holiday rental sector, applying its engineering prowess to introduce its brand new cutting-edge Contract Mattress Collection - designed specifically for the hospitality sector business owners who strive to give their customers the perfect night’s sleep. Which is happy news in the world of hospitality, as a good night’s sleep isn’t just about comfort; it’s the cornerstone of glowing reviews and unwavering guest loyalty. It holds the power to shape a venue’s reputation and financial success, whether it’s private rentals, serviced apartments, or luxury resorts and hotels.

With over 250,000 five-star reviews and 60 industry awards, Simba continues to impress with comfort-driven innovation. The Contract Mattress collection features three distinctive offerings – the Simba Pro Contract, the Simba Luxe Contract, and the Simba Green Label Contract. The Pro and the Luxe Contract feature Simba’s innovative Hybrid® technology that combines layers of patented Aerocoil® springs and cooling graphite-infused Simbatex® foam.

Simbatex® foam has been engineered for pitch-perfect temperature control. Allowing 30 times more airflow than dense, standard memory foam, it is infused with natural graphite that works to draw excess heat away from the body.

The result is a range of mattresses that dynamically adjust to the sleeper’s body, offering personalised support, temperature regulation, and pressure relief, all while minimising motion transfer. The Simba sleep experience ensures guests enjoy uninterrupted sleep - waking refreshed and rejuvenated.

Every Simba Contract mattress adheres rigorously to CRIB 5 fire regulations, ensuring both comfort and safety. The UK Fire Regulations Act of 1988 has been surpassed, allowing both hoteliers and guests to rest assured in Simba’s commitment to their wellbeing.

Committed to reducing its impact on the planet, in 2023, Simba became the first UK sleep brand to secure global B Corporation™ status, marking a significant step toward its ambitious goal of achieving net zero status by 2030.

Simba mattresses adhere to ISO 14001 accreditation and what’s more, these mattresses are constructed from 100% recyclable materials, with minimised foam content to reduce the carbon footprint. The CertiPUR® standard foam used is devoid of pollutants and toxic substances, ensuring a healthier sleep environment.

According to a recent survey, a growing percentage of hotel and rental guests are willing to pay significantly more per night —up to 75% more in some cases— for accommodation that can demonstrate genuinely green policies.

And of course, for businesses that are looking for further green credentials, the Simba Green Label Contract mattress is the brands’ most sustainable option yet.

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The upper layers feature thousands of Simba’s titanium Aerocoil® springs; these patented, pocketed springs flex and compress individually to absorb impact as people move and in response to pressure - giving a hugged, floating sensation to suit most sizes or sleeping styles. Simba’s Aerocoils® also provide localised support and weight distribution so the movements of a partner are absorbed more easily and not passed onto the other side of the bed.

Meanwhile, the base layers play a vital role in maintaining proper body alignment, offering gentler support and additional cushioning for the shoulders and lower back. And, for an added layer of luxury, Simba offers a range of thoughtfully crafted sleep accessories, including mattress toppers, pillows, duvets and bedding.

Catering to different price points, preferences, and accommodations regardless of scale,Simba’s endto-end service ensures a seamless experience, from enquiry to delivery.

Eager to showcase the future of hospitality sleep, Simba is set to make its presence felt at two upcoming London events. These include the International Hotel Show on October 16th and 17th, at stand 1230. Then the following month, at HIX on the 16th and 17th November. Look out for the hub of cutting-edge sleep solutions at stand U16.

To discuss hotel and retail opportunities please email wholesale@simbasleep.com www.simbasleep.com

Big Furniture Magazine #14

Getting Komfi with Ecofoam

Richard Gretton, Commercial director of GNG, talks about the sustainable benefits behind its latest Komfi developments, including the recently launched KomfiMed range.

Earlier this year, mattress manufacturer GNG Group launched its greener focused Komfi collection in an effort to meet growing sustainability and recycling consumer demand. The collection was designed to provide a range of environmentally-friendly options for retailers as well as enhance GNG’s product offering.

With most models featuring innovative Ecofoam developed in-house by GNG, the range meets consumer demand for products with a reduced carbon footprint. Ecofoam is a unique material made from 100% recycled and re-engineered foam, resulting in a much ‘greener’ product.

Ecofoam is also resilient and durable, and naturally dust mite resistant, making it ideal for use in mattresses, as Richard explains: “Offering excellent body support, our NBF Approved Komfi mattress collection has a 10-year warranty. The long-term benefit of an Ecofoam mattress comes when it reaches the end of its natural life as it can be entirely recycled.”

Using this technology alongside its experience as an approved supplier to the NHS, GNG has more recently developed its brand new KomfiMed range, an industryfirst which combines medically-proven foam with TrueGel technology, plus the environmental benefits of Ecofoam. “This product delivers excellent pressure relief while minimising motion transfer and regulating temperature to provide a peaceful night’s sleep,” says Richard.

“Specifically engineered for enhanced support, the range gives excellent spinal alignment and relieves stress on joints. A highly advanced material known for its exceptional comfort and therapeutic benefits, medically-proven foam is crafted with precision and adherence to strict quality standards. It offers a supportive sleep surface while conforming to the body’s contours. The range is available in soft, medium and firm options.”

The Komfi collections include the vacuum-packed Unity range too, which was launched last year and provides an affordably priced mattress that is proving ‘very popular’, as Richard continues: “Offering excellent value as well as quality and comfort, Unity also delivers the benefits of Ecofoam too. The reaction has been fantastic and serves as great recognition in our developments and product enhancements.”

All products in the Komfi Unity range have recently achieved Crib 5 (Ignition Source 5) accreditation, making them suitable for the contract market. Following rigorous testing, these models have passed UK Fire Regulations 1988 and are now categorised as being Crib 5 Medium Hazard in line with BS7177.

“The Komfi range is ideal for the rental market, student accommodation, hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday parks and boarding schools,” Richard said, adding: “Our luxury Sonlevo brand is also available from GNG. Complete with unique TrueGel grid system technology, the range gives maximum support while minimising pressure and regulating temperature.

“Offering correct posture support and ultimate comfort, our entire Sonlevo range is recommended to its members by the Football Medicine and Performance Association as these mattresses help achieve the best sleep and, consequently, the best performance.”

GNG also represents Nectar Sleep. With a focus on comfort, combined with a 365-night trial and lifetime warranty, Nectar Sleep mattresses are designed to meet the demands of modern living. Richard said: “Our in-house team here at GNG are constantly looking for ways of improving our products while retaining great price points for our customers across all of our ranges, from the popular vacuumpacked Komfi models to our premium Sonlevo brand.

“We offer stock discounts and quick lead times, and do everything we can to support retailers and enable them to offer their customers an affordable, quality product which is more important than ever in the current challenging economy.”

With purpose-built 40,000sq ft manufacturing facilities in West Yorkshire, GNG is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of rolled mattresses in the UK and has been accredited as a carbon neutral company. To find out more about the Komfi and KomfiMed ranges, along with Sonlevo and Nectar Sleep, contact GNG for more information.

38 www.gnggroup.co.uk

Maximising every sale

Gowsh Shan, National Sales Manager at global mattress protection specialist Protect-A-Bed, talks about why their philosophy is all about supporting the customer. business further.

Bed protection specialist Protect-ABed has been on a mission to help maximise every sales opportunity for their customers as well as increase awareness of the importance of hygienic sleeping solutions. The company recently exhibited at the NBF Bed Show where it used the event to reinforce this message, alongside promoting its Platinum Club rewards programme, which was, once again, very well received.

“Before we explain the Platinum Club, our key message to customers is that there are some significant differences between Protect-A-Bed and other inferior mattress protectors,” Gowsh said. “For example, every Protect-A-Bed protector includes a 10-15 year product guarantee and when bought with a mattress, a 10-15 year anti-stain guarantee.

“Protect-A-Bed will have the mattress professionally cleaned to the customer’s satisfaction or buy the customer a new one if it fails and the mattress was bought with the protector. This promise is significantly powerful and is at the core of our philosophy.”

Gowsh says its in the both the stores and the customer’s interest to purchase a Protect-A-Bed mattress protector, with every element of the business geared to drive sales and help improve sleep through enhanced hygiene.

“Our specialty is driving in-store performance, so linked mattress and mattress protector sales are extremely high. The customer benefits from a healthy and hygienic sleep zone while the store benefits from increased sales revenue. Every customer who walks through the door, if buying a mattress, needs to buy a mattress protector. It’s in their interest to do so for many reasons.

“With lower footfall in stores, increasing the average order value has never been so important,” adds Gowsh. “We have continuously demonstrated in our well-documented achievements in helping retail partners significantly grow sales.”

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On the topic of hygiene, did you know that the average person sweats up to a pint of fluid a night? With mattress fillings being highly absorbent, a mattress, if unprotected, will absorb “hundreds of pints of sweat” in its first year of use alone. Protect-ABed conducted a laboratory test to find out what is harboured in the average unprotected mattress. Results revealed allergens including pet dander and dust mite detritus, bacteria growth as a result of stains caused by sweat, spills and other human or pet fluids, and mould growth as a result of moisture.

“All of our mattress protectors use a Miracle Membrane, which is waterproof yet breathable and allows body heat to easily pass through, whilst preventing any sweat to enter the mattress,” Gowsh revealed. “The protectors are machine washable, meaning you can keep your sleep zone healthy and hygienic.”

As mentioned earlier, Protect-A-Bed also offers an exclusive club, the Platinum Club, as Gowsh explains: “The Platinum Club, which has been extremely successful since its creation, has been designed to build, recognise and reward success with unique promotional and discount opportunities, sponsored incentives, tailored POS solutions as well as membership rewards.

“We continuously build frameworks that are simple for retailers to implement in order to achieve extremely high sales within the category. We create energy and excitement in a category often overlooked and our ability to turn this into sales growth is phenomenal.”

Through the Platinum Club and Protect-A-Bed’s outlined philosophy combined with product innovation, the company aims to bring customer support to a new level. “Product innovation is one small element of how we unlock greater sales for our partners. The Therapeutics ranges

featuring Copper, Graphene and Charcoal mattress protectors have already been a great success,” Gowsh said. “Supporting our innovative mattress protectors is our specialist sales training, which is vital to unlock the sales potential.

“Our Protect-A-Bed team are incredibly adaptive to support this in any retail environment driving attachment rates to over 70%. As a business we are constantly looking to help drive sales for all of our retail partners. Find out how we can significantly grow sales for your store.”

41 Big Furniture Magazine #14 www.protectabed.co.uk
Supporting our innovative mattress protectors is our specialist sales training, which is vital to unlock the sales potential.

The Bed Expert

There are only two ways to get people through your front door, organic and manufactured, and it’s really important you learn the difference. Very crudely, organic is people coming through your door without you really having made any effort - footfall, passing trade, they see your shop and come through your door. Manufactured (often called paid) means you have put something out there, so when people are looking, they find you whether it’s your website and pay per lead, whether it’s leaflets through people’s doors, TV or radio ads - these all work. And they do work once you have found your target audience and that’s crucial - you need to identify who and where they live and what people buy from your store. Then you need to build on it.

There’s lots of ways to do this. Now, I’m not going to tell you all my secrets for obvious reasons, but if you’ve got a map of your local area, blow it up to the size of a double bed and get yourself some coloured drawings pins. Then simply extrapolate from your last year’s deliveries, pin in the local streets who’s bought a bed over the value of £300 to £400, who’s bought a bed over £500 to £700 and £1,000 to £1,200 with different pins and different colours, then, hopefully you know what’s your most profitable bed. Simply pin that into the map again in these colour formations - it will very quickly break down what you’re selling and where.

Then it’s down to you to target it organically for the long-term. It’s not a quick response but far more financially better in the long run. Manufactured, if you get it right, is an instant flip on your money. Here at Vic Smith Beds, we are greedy - we want both. We want instant customers through the door from a marketing campaign, combined with long term loyal customers that will go nowhere else, because of organic. Let me give you an example of organic and manufactured combined. When we deliver a bed to a customer, let’s say their door number is 10, my delivery staff will put a leaflet through number eight and number 12 and it will simply say come to Vic Smith Beds - your neighbour did. And now they’re probably sleeping better than youbring this leaflet for an extra discount.

We also produce leaflets and banners for local schools, Scout and Guide events too. These posters are very generic. At the bottom it says supported by Vic Smith Beds and yes, it’s a very slow burner but works really well. That’s why estate agents love them too! Yes, effort is involved but you could reuse these banners and just change the dates for next year’s event, so if a grandparent was taking a little Michael or Maria to the school event, they see your name and three months later when they’re looking for a bed, they associate your name with something

good, that they want to be involved with above any other competitors of yours. A one off doesn’t work. There needs to be multiples and because this is not instant footfall it becomes organic. It sticks in the customer’s mind when they are looking to buy something as to where to go.

Also, website reviews. If you can publicise them on as many sites and local social media as possible - which becomes organic, obviously you want to publicise the best reviews for you out there and don’t worry about the odd bad one. There is always going to be a jealous Joe and you just tell customers that. This way, it becomes organic as it’s out there and you have to keep posting them and re-posting them every six to nine months for manufactured footfall. As for pay per click - again targeted right, you will have a quick response but the second you stop paying, your customers stop coming in, so in effect you’re over a barrel.

Like I say, I’m not going to tell you everything and it is only my opinion, but I hope it helps. Remember the wise words of the late Henry Ford, only 20% of my advertising works! But I am not sure which 20% it is!

44 Big Furniture Magazine #14
FEATURES
Vic Smith, owner of independent beds retailer Vic Smith Beds, talks about getting people through the door.
www.vicsmithbeds.co.uk

Sustainable sleep from Silentnight

David Lawrenson, Hospitality Sales Director at Silentnight Group, talks about the sustainable benefits their new Rest Assured range incorporates.

In today’s fast-paced world, a good night’s sleep is a precious commodity that should never be compromised. Rest Assured, part of the Silentnight Group, has launched a new collection that blends sustainability, sleep science and superior craftsmanship for the hotel market.

Each mattress is made with British-sourced Cheviot wool and includes zoned pocket springs to improve spinal alignment and posture. David Lawrenson, Hospitality Sales Director at Silentnight Group, explained: “Our new Rest Assured range has been designed to deliver the ultimate slumber experience for hoteliers wanting to make sure every one of their guests wakes up refreshed and rejuvenated each morning.

“At the heart of our commitment to excellence is the unwavering dedication to sustainability. The materials used are carefully sourced, with a focus on natural and sustainable components of the highest quality. British-sourced Cheviot wool takes centre stage, ensuring a luxurious yet green-minded touch. Known for its breathability, moisture-wicking properties and insulation, Cheviot wool makes the perfect choice for a comfortable sleep.

“The mattresses feature zoned pocket springs that not only enhance support but also improve spinal alignment and posture, addressing a crucial aspect of sleep health. These mattresses are also designed with a single-sided construction, eliminating the cumbersome task of seasonal mattress flipping, making it far easier on housekeepers.”

Furthermore, David revealed that the revolutionary Smartshield™ treatment is one of the standout features of the collection. Engineered to eliminate bed bugs and dust mites, Smartshield™ enhances both hygiene and mattress longevity, ensuring a cleaner and healthier sleep environment.

The collection consists of three mattresses that cater to varying preferences and needs.

“The Bancroft, the entry-level mattress, boasts zoned pocket springs, a tufted sleep surface and Cheviot wool layers, ensuring a supportive, breathable and comfortable sleeping

We’ve taken a long-term view to developing our Rest Assured collection with sustainability, breathability and comfort firmly front of mind.

experience,” David said. “Stepping up to the Bowland, you’ll find an additional layer of responsive mini springs that optimise breathability and comfort, taking your slumber to the next level.

“For those who demand nothing but the best, the premium Berrington mattress combines layers of premium British wool, sustainable fibres and an added layer of highly responsive nano springs. This exquisite combination is designed to provide unparalleled comfort for all types of sleepers – the perfect choice for those who value the art of rest.”

Each product has been rigorously tested in Silentnight’s stateof-the-art facility in Lancashire, surpassing fire and flammability compliance as well as fitness for purpose standards. This commitment to quality and safety is further exemplified by the five-year guarantee that accompanies every mattress.

“We’ve taken a long-term view to developing our Rest Assured collection with sustainability, breathability and comfort firmly front of mind,” David said. “We know we can only achieve our objectives by bringing together the lessons we’ve learnt from 125 years of manufacturing alongside the modern techniques and expertise we’ve invested in recently.

“We remain committed to prioritising sustainability and comfort and the relaunch of Rest Assured is testament to that. With a dedication to quality, safety and the environment, Rest Assured invites you to experience the luxury of a good night’s sleep, night after night, with the assurance that you’re resting on a mattress designed with your well-being in mind. Rest assured, indeed.

www.silentnight.co.uk/hospitality/silentnight-rest-assured.html

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Reaffirming the fraud message

Paul Beckett, founder of Bye Bye Beds and creator of Reborn, revisits the fraudulent issue of mattress recyclers selling components and how this is impacting the industry.

Last month, Paul highlighted an ongoing issue within the recycling trade, where mattress recyclers are selling components fraudulently without thorough due diligence on its intended use. In fact, Paul estimated that if the additional 4.8million mattresses currently sent to landfill were ‘recycled’ in the traditional manner, mattress fraud could potentially hit £240m.

Earlier this year, the National Bed Federation (NBF) also reported that mattress fraud is currently costing the beds industry £100m a year and has continued to raise awareness and warnings on such activity where unsuspecting consumers are being tricked into buying cheap mattresses that purport to be made with much higher specifications.

Estimates suggest that around 280,000 consumers each year are buying a mattress from the ‘back of a van’ – a number which is only increasing as people try to cut spending under the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis. The NBF warns that not only is buying a mattress in this way a false economy, as they are not the quality or brand of product they are labelled to be, but they may actually be unhygienic, second-hand mattresses or even unsafe due to the use of banned materials.

So, as Paul asks, “how would, and how does, this impact your business?” One solution Paul is campaigning for is to ban mattress recycler’s selling components to the industry without thorough due diligence.

“From the 6.8million mattresses disposed of in the UK each year, surely as an industry we should utilise our skills and take advantage of this great opportunity to ethically and transparently re-manufacture a plethora of sustainably manufactured products, which not only offers the only scalable and financially viable solution to the landfill crisis, but naturally puts an end to the mattress fraud that the bedding industry have been looking to resolve for over a decade. Not only that, it offers the consumer a choice never seen before.”

The latest consumer survey by the NBF also endorses this message, which revealed that sustainability issues are becoming

an increasingly important factor in mattress purchasing decisions. The Consumer Research, undertaken in July and carried out by Censuswide, showed that almost three quarters of those that purchased a mattress would be prepared to pay more if they knew it had been designed and constructed in such a way as to avoid ending up in landfill at the end of its life.

Of those who said they were prepared to pay more, 29% said they would pay up to an extra 5%; 38% said they would be prepared to pay between 6-10% more and 19% said they would pay between 11-15% more. The ‘mean’ extra that they would be prepared to pay was just under 10% more. This finding comes on the back of the NBF calling on government to support its plans for a nationwide programme to fund a service enabling everyone to recycle their used mattresses.

On the component side, the NBF said: “There is actually nothing illegal about manufacturing products with used components or materials – but they must be identified as such or else a company would be breaking the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which prohibit misleading actions and omissions and committing a criminal offence.

“It would also be a legal requirement to ensure the finished product complies with all current UK safety regulations. This would include compliance with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations and also the General Product Safety Regulations, which require all producers to ensure any product – used, second hand or reconditioned - placed on the market in the course of business to be safe – i.e. not to pose undue risk or harm in terms of health and safety to any person or persons. This applies to ensuring that fillings meet the current cleanliness of fillings standards.

“Buying from an Approved NBF member provides both retailers and consumers with a high degree of reassurance that their products comply with these legal requirements – but we would always recommend that due diligence is a two-way street.”

As for Bye Bye Bed Ltd, its purchases reclaimed materials at the same price they are currently selling out to rogue manufacturers, which helps to cut off or minimise the supply to fraudulent traders. This means that materials sold to Bye Bye Bed Ltd are then traceable and auditable, which are used in ethical, eco-friendly, sustainable, responsible manufacturing of legally compliant products, fire tested and sanitised to new levels of cleanliness, with planned recycling and reuse at the product end-of-life, contributing to a genuine circular economy.

“These products are sold and clearly identified as made from recycled materials and components, giving the end consumer a choice between a new product made from virgin raw materials, or a Reborn product manufactured from recycled materials, at a recycled product price,” says Paul. “Not everyone can afford the price tag of a luxuriously manufactured product but that doesn’t mean that they should not be offered the same comfort and quality level that fits within their budget.”

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www.byebyebed.com

Green Retail

In the next part of our ongoing sustainable series, we take a deeper look at furniture retailer Loaf and what they are doing in terms of sustainability.

The topic of sustainability continues to be of great importance. From product innovations such as bottle-filled mattresses to greener practices and initiatives, businesses are also adapting new ways of working to make their operations more sustainable. In the next instalment of our series, we explore more of Loaf’s green credentials.

Loaf

As part of Loaf’s sustainability strategy, the retailer operates an initiative named ‘People and Planet’ which sets out its aims and guidelines on eco-targets as well as community impact. “We’re pulling our socks up to do our bit for both the Earth and the communities we work in,” Loaf says. “We’re not perfect. But we’re on an exciting journey to do better.”

As part of the People and Planet agenda, Loaf breaks this down into a number of key areas from quality manufacturing of products it sells, to reducing carbon emissions and improving its packaging. “We believe people should buy fewer things, but better quality ones,” Loaf adds. “So, we design products to last for years. And the makers we work with share our ethos and refuse to cut any corners.

“Our goal is for all our materials to be certified as being responsibly sourcedwhere a certification exists - or derived from recycled materials by 2025. For a start, the timber in our sofa frames is already sourced from responsibly managed forests. We have also

continued to develop our responsible sourcing practices, including introducing more sustainable upholstery fabric options.

“We can’t claim to be vegan as some of our products contain animal-derived ingredients. But we do care that animals are looked after. So, our duck feather is sourced from suppliers who conform to the Responsible Down Standard. All the wool we use will be certified to the Responsible Wool Standard by the end of 2023 and our leather is treated in a tannery accredited by the Leather Working Group. We’ve still got some way to go with our other ingredients, but we are working hard on it.”

Loaf revealed that over 70% of its sales come from products made in England. “This is great,” the retailer said, “but we want to know what our actual carbon footprint is so we can plan our path to becoming carbon neutral. We have some clever people working this out, so watch this space as we continue to minimize our carbon emissions.”

Furthermore, and detailed in its latest company accounts for the year ended March 2023, Loaf has taken a number of steps to reduce energy usage and associated emissions, as well as improving energy efficiency in the year. The company has

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continued to invest in senior management capabilities in order to be well set up to further develop and deliver its People and Planet strategy, while continuing to convert energy contracts to suppliers who use fuel sources that are zero carbon. Loaf is also working with an external consultancy to continue to develop the company’s roadmap on becoming carbon neutral.

Other areas Loaf has turned its attention to is packaging. The business has increased the sustainability of its packaging throughout its global supply base by decreasing the volume of packaging used and increasing the use of recyclable materials. “Within the next three years our goal is to ensure 100% of our product packaging is recyclable, recycled and, (where possible), either biodegradable or compostable,” Loaf said, adding: “Currently 95% of our sofa and bed packaging is taken away and recycled by our delivery teams too.”

Loaf also takes great pride and responsibly for its staff and the community it works in. “All our Loafers are paid at least the ‘real’ Living Wage for their hard work,” the company revealed. “This shouldn’t be confused with the National Living Wage, which is a lower amount and is a legal obligation for all companies.

“We’ve also partnered with St Mungo’s, a leading charity working to end homelessness and rebuild lives, here in the UK. Over the next three years we are aiming to spend 10,000 hours of our time volunteering and helping to raise funds for such important causes. And the first thing we’ve already learned? Whenever we see a homeless person, the best thing to do is to talk to them and smile.”

Big Furniture Magazine #14
” www.loaf.com
Within the next three years our goal is to ensure 100% of our product packaging is recyclable, recycled and, (where possible), either biodegradable or compostable.

Paving a way for a greener tomorrow

Martin Seeley, CEO at MattressNextDay, shares an update on the retailer’s sustainability credentials and why this has become a core component of the business.

Back in April this year, we spoke to online beds and mattresses retailer MattressNextDay as part of our ongoing Green Retail series where they shared their latest developments and targets on sustainability.

Six months on, we caught up with Martin Seeley, CEO at MattressNextDay, to find out how things have progressed as the retailer continues to make huge efforts in implementing sustainability values as part of its core operations.

“Since launching our successful #SustainableSnooze campaign, we have been continually driving towards ambitious eco-friendly goals,” Martin says. “We started the #SustainableSnooze initiative, not only to track and share our carbon emissions and efforts, but also to hold ourselves accountable.

“By setting ambitious targets like planting 1,000,000 trees by 2030 and recycling 100,000 mattresses, it keeps everyone at our company focused on moving in the same sustainable direction. By being as transparent as possible with our emissions and achievements, we not only hold ourselves accountable, but allow our customers to track our progress too.”

Through MattressNextDay’s partnership with Ecologi, the retailer has already planted over 80,000 trees on behalf of customers and staff, absorbing over 300 tonnes of CO2. As well as planting a tree with every single order a customer makes, the business also plant trees each month for every employee to help offset the carbon footprint of their commute. Based on its current rate, MattressNextDay expects to break into the top 100 businesses in the UK to have planted the most trees through Ecologi’s reforestation projects as soon as next year.

“This year, we have invested over £4.4 million in a new dedicated distribution centre with semi-automated systems and a 110% increased warehouse capacity,” Martin said. “In every part of the creation of this facility, from planning to building, sustainability has been a priority.

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Alice

“During the planning process for the new showroom and distribution centre, our research highlighted issues around artificial light pollution and wildlife. Given that our new facility is located near a key bat habitat and foraging routes, we felt strongly about not contributing additional nighttime light pollution, as this can be extremely disruptive to bats and other nocturnal animals that rely on darkness for navigation and feeding.

“As part of our commitment to a #SustainableSnooze, we made the conscious decision to not install lit signs on our new building, helping to protect the local wildlife and their ability to feed and commute at night. We are proud to make wildlife-friendly decisions as part of our broader sustainability commitment. Small choices like this collectively make a big difference in creating an eco-conscious business.”

As part of this large investment, MattressNextDay has also implemented electric charging points for staff and customer use, numerous communal water stations and reusable bottles, LED lighting throughout the building, a cycle to work scheme for all staff, and plans for solar panels on the roof. The business has continued to use sustainable, recyclable non-plastic film for packaging, a practice it first adopted in 2022.

“In September 2023, we invested £100,000 on two brand new electric forklifts, which have zero site emissions, meaning a cleaner, safer work environment for our employees. These are energy-efficient and have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than our previous forklifts,” Martin says.

“When developing the company and upgrading our technology, it’s been a priority to ensure we’re doing all we can for the environment. I cannot with good conscience invest in anything that actively harms the environment, and wherever possible we are making changes that lead us to a greener, safer future. Reusable water bottles might seem unnecessary to some, but the reduction of plastic waste they will result in is paramount.”

Moving forward, MattressNextDay is being more selective about partnering with manufacturers that align with its sustainability values. “This is now a key consideration in our product selection process, with our purchasing team strengthening their connections with sustainable manufacturers,” Martin said.

Lewis Wills, MattressNextDay’s Purchasing Manager, added: “The development of eco-friendly technology in mattresses is now at an all-time high, and we see this as an opportunity to offer our customers products that not only enhance their sleep, but also help the planet. Afterall, why wouldn’t we?

“We also contribute to the local community, helping those in need during these difficult times. Through a partnership with local Kent charity Necessary Furniture, we donate mattresses each month to those in need. This supports those, from young children to the elderly, struggling amidst the cost-of-living crisis, ensuring as many people as possible get the rest they deserve.”

With measures like reducing emissions, eliminating plastic, choosing sustainable brands, and community giving, MattressNextDay aims to serve as a model for how online and brick and mortar businesses can be profitable while benefiting the planet. “Our strides exemplify how sustainable operations can support environmental and business growth,” Martin said. “The investments made today pave the way for a greener tomorrow and help us on our journey to net zero.”

www.mattressnextday.co.uk

Big Furniture Magazine #14
We are proud to make wildlife-friendly decisions as part of our broader sustainability commitment. Small choices like this collectively make a big difference in creating an eco-conscious business.

The pitfalls of fast furniture

Nick

Circular

Recycling Group, explains the perils of ‘fast furniture’ and why the need for a circular economy culture is more important than ever before.

In the UK alone, 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded each year, the majority sent directly to landfill, according to data from the North London Waste Authority. This astonishing statistic is a harsh reminder of the environmental crisis we’re facing due to the rise of ‘fast furniture’ - mass-produced, short-lived items that end up contributing to our burgeoning waste problem.

The perils of fast furniture

Like its fashion industry counterpart, fast furniture is typically made from lower-quality, plastic-based materials. Its lifespan is remarkably short, and the cheap price point encourages a ‘throwaway culture’, which adds to our escalating environmental waste problem. Unfortunately, WRAP research suggests that less than 1 in 10 people consider repairing these items to extend their lifespan, resulting in a shocking 670,000 tonnes of furniture waste annually in the UK.

The environmental and economic impact

Our throwaway culture doesn’t just harm the environment; it also hits consumers in the pocket. Taxes increase to manage the ever-growing waste, and the manufacturing of new furniture

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TFR Group provide mattress recycling and mattress rejuvenation solutions to industries across the UK.

can emit up to 1000x more CO2 than refurbishing what we already have, says RightGreen data. Add to this the concerning fact from Government data, fly-tipping incidents involving bulky items like furniture and mattresses have reached 1.09 million between 2021 and 2022.

The role of consumer behaviour and trends

The rise of fast furniture is, in large part and according to The Eco Hub, due to our modern, mobile lifestyles. We move from home to home and often feel compelled to update our interiors to match the latest trends promoted on social media. In the pursuit of affordable, fashionable items, the longevity and recyclability of furniture are often overlooked, as they are made of lower quality they are not only prone to damage but also difficult to recycle, increasing landfill waste and contributing to deforestation.

The solution: a shift to a circular economy

The UK government’s introduction of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, a policy measure under which producers are given significant responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products, is a step in the right direction. It forces the producers of products like mattresses and cabinet furniture to bear the cost of recycling their goods, rather than local councils. This not only incentivises producers to design products that are more sustainable and easier to recycle, but it also reduces the burden on local authorities.

But the question remains, is it enough? Considering the fact that 8.5 million mattresses are thrown away every year, creating 300,000 tonnes of materials we need to find a home for, it’s clear that legislative changes alone are insufficient. We need a paradigm shift in consumer attitudes and industry practices.

The way forward: strategies and consumer power

Companies like IKEA are leading the way by committing to only use renewable or recyclable materials by 2030 and introducing a “Buyback & Resell” scheme for used furniture. Likewise, West Elm, a furniture and home accessories retailer, offers a wide range of sustainable furniture, including wood furniture from certified sustainable forests, reclaimed wood furniture, and furniture made from recycled materials.

However, a transformation towards sustainability is not just the responsibility of businesses; consumers have a pivotal role to play. Whether that’s purchasing products that are more sustainable, or upcycling vintage furniture.

As a circular economist, I urge businesses to champion sustainability by producing durable, repairable, and recyclable products, and for consumers to prioritise buying such items. This shift isn’t just about protecting our planet, it’s about creating a world where economic growth and sustainability coexist. We all have a role to play in investing in the longevity of our furniture and, by extension, the longevity of our planet.

www.tfrgroup.co.uk

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As a circular economist, I urge businesses to champion sustainability by producing durable, repairable, and recyclable products, and for consumers to prioritise buying such items.
Circular economy specialists TFR Group divert 100% of mattresses processed from landfill in the UK.

Changing the office furniture landscape

Filip Johannesson, Head of Growth at NORNORM, talks about how their launch in the UK has been so far and why the IKEA-backed office furniture subscription service aims to be a catalyst of change to circularity in the workspace.

European circular scale-up company NORNORM officially launched in the UK earlier this year with a mission to help businesses significantly reduce their environmental impact by moving from single-use office furniture to its circular, subscription-based furnishing service.

NORNORM has already secured significant commercial partnerships in London, including Sustainable Ventures, where NORNORM provided furniture for their new office of 14,000sqft, on the 5th floor of County Hall. Additionally,

NORNORM has also collaborated with Miro on their new London office, marking the fourth city and fifth project where NORNORM will be providing our circular furniture to Miro.

After almost six months in the UK, we caught up with Filip Johannesson, Head of Growth at NORNORM, to find out how the brand and their model is settling into the British market. “The response has been absolutely phenomenal. The UK has shown the most interest across all of our 12 markets. In fact, we’ve been inundated with opportunities to the point that we’ve had to decline projects in Scotland because we’re not yet operational there.

“For the time being, our primary focus is on the Greater London, Birmingham, and Manchester areas. A lot of customers are really excited about the speed and ease of the process as we can deliver a fully functioning office within four weeks, including the time to make designs and design iterations. Last time I checked we are working on projects in the UK totalling approximately 750,000sqft.”

NORNORM currently operates in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, and Austria. So, why was the UK a target market?

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We’re aiming to contribute to creating a strong and vibrant community focused on circularity and sustainable offices.

“We chose the UK primarily for two reasons,” Filip continued. “Firstly, it’s the largest market in Europe for office real estate, which makes it an obvious choice for our business. Secondly, the UK is at the forefront of both real estate and proptech innovation, which aligns seamlessly with our own ethos. Furthermore, there’s a strong cultural bond between the UK and our Nordic design and sustainability focus, making it a natural fit for us.”

With NORNORM’s circular model, businesses can expect improved flexibility, cost efficiency, and environmental benefits. By adopting circularity, NORNORM is aiming to set a new norm for the office furniture industry, as well as contributing towards tackling furniture waste generated by existing, linear models.

Compared to traditional office furniture purchasing models, NORNORM’s circular subscription service allows businesses to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and avoid the negative environmental impact associated with traditional linear models. NORNORM’s model has been found to reduce CO2 emissions too. So, how does it work?

“Our subscription model is an all-inclusive service that covers office design, furniture, delivery, assembly, service, and changes,” Filip said. “What makes it really special is its flexibility; you can swap out furniture as your business needs evolve, without being burdened by past purchasing decisions. Moreover, our service is completely circular, which means we refurbish and reuse all furniture items. This has the added benefit of saving over 70% in CO2 emissions and waste.

“We want to be the catalyst of change to circularity in the workspace industry. NORNORM is part of the progressive market meeting the demands and experiencing strong growth.

NORNORM is not just a concept, a company, or a service — it is a new and circular way of doing business.”

NORNORM has secured €110m in funding with investors like

Verdane, the European specialist growth equity firm, along with co-founders Inter IKEA Development, part of the IKEA group. “While IKEA is indeed an investor, and we’re fortunate to have team members with over 20 years of experience at IKEA, particularly in product design and logistics, they don’t actually provide the furniture for our venture,” Filip revealed. “We currently collaborate with a range of other reputable companies like Martela, Herman Miller, Hay, Gemla, Zilenzio, and Hem.”

NORNORM has seen strong growth since its launch back in 2020, and in under two years, has sold over 500,000 square meters of office furniture subscriptions. With the UK market now firmly part of its plans, Filip shared what’s in the pipeline for growth here in Britain. “Our immediate plans include building out our operations in London and thereafter expanding up North. More than just a business, we’re aiming to contribute to creating a strong and vibrant community focused on circularity and sustainable offices.

“NORNORM’s innovative model is already meeting the demand and has been recognised as a game-changer in the industry. We like to emphasise the importance of collective effort in addressing the environmental crisis. It’s crucial that we rethink traditional business models and adopt more sustainable practices.

“As Marijn Driessen, from Business Innovation at BSBP, aptly put it, ‘The burden is on interior architects and their clients to reduce embodied carbon in remodelling projects, and to do so by-design! This is not an easy conversation to have or business case to make. But it can be done. Like we did by collaborating with NORNORM for IWG locations around the world’.”

www.nornorm.com

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Reducing waste is the key to greater sustainability

This summer has, once again, highlighted the impact of climate change. Rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential yet the relationship between waste and the race to net zero is not widely recognised.

Published in July 2023, Defra (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) has circulated the latest crossdepartmental plan to maximise resources and minimise waste in England. The publication acknowledges that reuse and recycling are essential contributors if we are to achieve the net zero goal. “Research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme and the University of Leeds (2022) found a potential reduction to territorial greenhouse gas emissions relating to Furniture of 4 MtCO2e between 2021 and 2050, based on the introduction of resource efficiency policies.”

We all know the saying ‘waste not, want not’ yet we continue to extract vast quantities of virgin raw materials. According to the Circular Economy’s 2023 Circular Gap Report, the global economy is only 7.2% circular, in other words the volume of materials that are cycled back after the end of their useful life. This figure continues to reduce as virgin material usage increases.

The public is starting to ‘buy in’ to reuse, particularly through the ‘vintage’ trend. Organisations, such as the British Heart Foundation, have demonstrated a viable model for domestic furnishings with retail shops on many high streets. eBay has also launched a ‘Better than New’ Homewares Hub. Most buyers for a home will, of course, only require one or two items which do not necessarily need to match. When furnishing a commercial building, the required number of items of a similar style and type is far higher.

The commercial interiors sector has traditionally practised an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ approach. Many companies proudly boast their commitments to reducing carbon impact, but few consider the negative effects from the potential release of embodied carbon when planning their new office, restaurant or hotel.

Considering an office task chair will have a carbon footprint of around 70kgCO2eq. and a six person bench desk over 200kg, the impact is evident. More ‘environmentally sensitive’ new products will have a lower figure but what about the existing assets if they are simply discarded?

The barriers to greater circularity are significant. Technical issues through lack of transparency of material content, original manufacturer, and warranties; reverse logistics and warehousing costs; skill shortages in repair and renovation; procurement processes favouring new products; and consumer perception on what is in style and on trend, are all factors.

Whilst many manufacturers remain sceptical, there is a growing acceptance that change is necessary. Many new products incorporate recycled content although rarely the company’s own waste or reused components. New designs are being introduced that can be readily refurbished in the future. Some brands are also overcoming the significant barriers to circular manufacturing by appointing ‘official’ remanufacturing partners with access to components and extended warranties.

Refreshed, refurbished, remanufactured and fully circular products should be welcomed. Finite virgin materials must be valued, retained in use for as long as possible before considering recycling – let alone disposal. We cannot wait for legislation, we need to embrace this change now!

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Joanna Knight MCIPR, owner of The Knight Partnership and furnishing industry sustainability expert, talks about the importance of reuse and circularity with a look at best practice when it comes to waste prevention. CogginSOS is one a growing number of refurbishment & recycling organisations working in the office workplace sector.

Joanna Knight has over 30 years in the office & contract furniture sector. She is now a marketing consultant focussed on sustainability; Council member at FIRA and FISP; and Co-Founder of the Sustainable Design Collective, a think tank of designers and specifiers.

Her roles include:

Co-Founder, The Sustainable Design Collective

Sustainability and Circular Economy

Manager - Women in Office Design (WOD)

Non Executive Director - FIRA Advisory Committee - FISP

Court Assistant and Liveryman - The Furniture Makers’ Company

Chair - Climate Change and Sustainability Committee

Sustainability Ambassador - Design Insider

www.theknightpartnership.co.uk

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Refreshed, refurbished, remanufactured and fully circular products should be welcomed. Finite virgin materials must be valued, retained in use for as long as possible before considering recycling – let alone disposal. We cannot wait for legislation, we need to embrace this change now!
The black Postura+ single piece chair has included 100% recycled content for several years. The wide choice of colours includes 30% recycled materials and soon to increase to 50%.

10 years strong for Out & Out

This year marked a special milestone for ecommerce home and garden furniture retailer Out & Out. The company reached 10 years in business back in April but is yet to officially celebrate due to being busier than ever before in its history. “We received our first order on 6th April 2013,” Emily revealed. “This year we have been working hard on a

number of exciting projects, with spring and summer by far our busiest period, so we haven’t officially celebrated as a team yet, but hopefully we will soon. “Sustaining a business for 10 years, during a pandemic and in the midst of the current cost-of-living crisis is an achievement that the whole team are very proud of. Time has gone by quickly but we’ve learned a lot along the way and are as excited as ever for the future.”

Emily continued: “There have been many memorable moments over the years, including our first order being up there as it was obviously a very significant moment in our journey, but one of the things that still means the most to us is when we receive a 5* review from a customer, explaining why they chose us and how pleased they are. This still provides great satisfaction for us, from day one to 10 years later!”

Like most, if not all, businesses, Out & Out has had to overcome a number of obstacles, none more challenging than recent times of Covid and the subsequent, and ongoing, impact the pandemic has left. However, the business looked to reframe the mindset of a challenge and turn it into an opportunity, as Emily explains: “The pandemic was both an opportunity and a challenge for us as a furniture retailer. Like many, we experienced unprecedented demand due to people spending more time at home.

“With manufacturing facilities and shipping severely impacted, it has been challenging both to fulfil this demand and continue sustainable growth in the years that have followed, but we have pulled together as a team and tried to face every challenge by putting the customer first.”

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Emily Wells, Online Content and Brand Manager at Out & Out, reflects on reaching an historic company milestone.

Emily added that being competitive and investing within the business has been key to its continued growth. “We aim to provide prices that are as competitive as possible without compromising quality. In the current climate, giving customers value for money is more important than ever and we try our best to do that.

“User-generated content has also been very powerful for us. We can post our professional, styled images of our products but it’s the photos of other happy customer’s furniture in real homes that really encourage people to shop with us.

“After upgrading our website in June 2022, we are continuing to grow the business with plenty of exciting plans for the rest of the year, as well as moving into 2024. We hope to sustain the growth we have enjoyed in recent years and continue to get bigger and better.”

Touching on the “exciting plans”, these include a new TikTok shop to further maximise content creation and a newly launched partnership with Panther Logistics to scale its delivery offering in preparation for further growth, while next year will see the brand enter the American market.

“We just recently launched next day delivery as standard, which we’re very excited about.,” Emily said. “Over the years the business has evolved to meet the needs of the modern-day consumer and scaling our delivery offering to ensure it met those demands was fundamental to our growth plans.

“Following our first meeting with Panther we recognised that they ticked a number of boxes, especially with regard to our ability to grow with them and the fact they had the capacity to handle our entire delivery, warehousing and fulfilment requirements.”

As part of the partnership, Panther will be collecting Out & Out stock as it arrives into port and holding it at their brand-new 225,000sqft warehousing facility in Swindon, from which they will be managing the entire fulfilment operation on behalf of the online retailer. On the US expansion, Emily continued: “In another big milestone for us, we hope to launch in the US in the early part of 2024. The US is a huge market with a lot of potential and opportunity, as many US homes enjoy a large outdoor space so it’s a great place to launch our US outdoor brand.”

Alongside expansion plans, Emily says sustainability and keeping on top of emerging trends is key to the company too. “Modular furniture is very popular at the moment. Customers enjoy the option to build something that suits their space and can grow with them, whether it’s an indoor sofa or outdoor garden set.

“We also always try to keep sustainability in mind as we feel it’s our obligation as a furniture retailer. Our wooden outdoor products are FSC certified and we also recently launched a collection of outdoor furniture made entirely of recycled consumer plastic. In the past, we have also partnered with WeForest to help fund the planting of 5,000 trees. We’re excited about the next phase of our growth and, of course, the next 10 years of Out & Out.”

www.outandout.com

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Modular furniture is very popular at the moment. Customers enjoy the option to build something that suits their space and can grow with them, whether it’s an indoor sofa or outdoor garden set.

Pickawood picks the UK

Tim Ehling, CEO of Pickawood GmbH, shares an update on progress since launching in the UK as well as why they’re an innovator in the custom-made furniture field.

Earlier this year, an online retailer of custom-made furniture announced its official expansion into the UK market following a successful pilot. Pickawood is the name and helping customers design and create their unique furniture is the game. In fact, Tim Ehling, CEO of Pickawood GmbH, says their 3D configurator model is a game-changer in the bespoke market.

“We are excited to bring Pickawood to the UK and offer our customers the opportunity to create their own unique furniture pieces. We believe that everyone deserves to own furniture that is both functional and beautiful, and we are committed to providing the highest quality craftsmanship and personalised service to every customer through our online platform.”

So, who are Pickawood and how does the platform work?

The company was founded in 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, as an ecommerce brand for custom-made furniture. The business employs around 50 staff and has since its incorporation expanded to Austria, Switzerland and France, with more countries like the UK in the pipeline. “The brand stands for high quality and custom-made solutions,” Tim said. “Pickawood has established itself as an Innovator in the custommade furniture industry, with a team of skilled craftsmen and designers who are dedicated to providing exceptional service to every customer. All manufacturing is done within Europe and all wood comes from sustainable forests. We are well known for our best-in-class furniture configurator.”

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The company’s expansion into the UK market is a testament to its “commitment to quality and innovation”, as Tim says, with their platform poised to become a “major player in the UK furniture market”. The UK has been chosen as a market of interest with the business launching a test run, alongside setting up and fine-tuning the logistics process. This test ran during 2022 and saw a strong uptrend in orders, prompting the official launch in May of this year.

“We waited for Brexit to understand what we will need to do in order to ship our products to the UK (after Brexit),” Tim said. “It took us around six months to set up the logistics process and tweak all the details until we were ready. We invested a six-figure sum in order to set up our website, service team and logistics process for the UK.”

Tim added that they have partnered with a local delivery provider as well as local assembly partners that help get the product delivered and assembled for their customers, while hinting at how big an opportunity they see the UK market. “In Europe we are selling

a lot of plywood furniture that has a Scandinavian look, in the UK most customers take one of our massive wood options. We see an enormous potential in the UK market for our custom-made furniture. Especially as the market for custom or fitted furniture is quite far developed but no other competitor has a similar ecommerce setup like we do.

“As an ecommerce company, we are testing different retail strategies at the moment in Germany to find the right solution to become a multi-channel brand. However, we are confident that we will reach over a million pounds in revenue this year in the UK and will then adjust our strategy accordingly.”

Alongside the UK launch, Pickawood has also entered the Italian market as well as in the Netherlands and Belgium too. Furthermore, the business has completed the acquisitions of German furniture brands Holzconnection and Paschen.

“We have ambitious plans here at Pickawood and the initial response to our full UK launch has been great,” Tim concluded. “We continue to grow and we look forward to what the future holds.”

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We are confident that we will reach over a million pounds in revenue this year in the UK.
www.pickawood.com

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Furniture shopping with Flitch

Uriel Tannen and Daniel Ufland, co-founders of Flitch, talk about their new online interiors platform and how business has been since its launch.

Back in June, Big Furniture Group reported on the launch of a new online interiors platform that aims to make furniture shopping simple by combining over 100 retailers, advanced AI and dedicated human stylists. A few months on, we spoke to co-founders, and childhood friends, Uriel Tannen and Daniel Ufland to find out how the launch has been and the makeup behind Flitch.

“When I first furnished my home a few years ago, I encountered many of the challenges that I think are unfortunately all too-frequent for those looking for furniture,” Uriel revealed. “I didn’t really know where to start, and so spent a lot of time browsing Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz to get inspiration and try and define my style. Thankfully I had the experience of my father (a trained interior designer) to fall back on for advice, and he highlighted some themes in the moodboards I had collated.

“That triggered a lightbulb moment, where I realised that most shoppers at the start of their furniture shopping journey do not have clear or defined personal style preferences. They might have an idea of what they like, but it’s not something they have fully thought about or can easily articulate - people can instinctively say if they like or dislike something, but they may not know how to express or identify their preferences using the right furniture-related words. This can make it challenging for them to find exactly what they want.

“I wanted to create a tailored furniture shopping experience for each and every person, regardless of their means and access to expert advice. We simplify furniture shopping through a style quiz that sifts through the entire market to recommend items that are to each user’s individual taste, requirements and budget. As well as AI-driven recommendations, we provide users the ability to compare and search the market in one place - and for those who want a human touch, we democratise access to furniture expertise with an interior stylist service starting at just £25.”

With the furniture sector undergoing fundamental transformations and starting to move in line with other industries to meet 21st century customer expectations, coupled with the rise of online penetration and other industries such as fashion that have long embraced such tailored shopping experiences (such as Thread, recently acquired by M&S, and Stitch Fix), both Uriel and Daniel saw an opportunity for Flitch to flourish.

“My co-founder, Daniel, and I have put our savings into Flitch, as it’s something we passionately believe in given our first-hand experiences of the problems we are addressing. Prior to launching Flitch to the wider public, we spent a considerable amount of time and resources into enabling our AI-driven recommendations,” Uriel said. “That meant collating the product catalogues of dozens of retailers and then labelling hundreds of thousands of data points that would serve as the training data for our machine learning system. I don’t think we appreciated the size of that

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We’ve seen great interest in Flitch since our launch - both from furniture shoppers, who have really welcomed this transformative approach to furniture shopping, and from furniture retailers, who would like us to onboard their product catalogues.

undertaking when we first started, as it turned out there were no existing datasets available, we could make use of and had to create everything from scratch ourselves.”

After years of development, Flitch has created a platform for the UK furniture market to put consumers at the front and centre of the shopping experience. So, how has business been since launching? Daniel said: “We’ve seen great interest in Flitch since our launchboth from furniture shoppers, who have really welcomed this transformative approach to furniture shopping, and from furniture retailers, who would like us to onboard their product catalogues.

“Our mission is to make furniture shopping simple. As well as some of the challenges Uriel outlined above, there are other issues that furniture shoppers must come to grips with too. Shoppers will frequently only be aware of a handful of furniture retailers, and are keen to discover more. They also want confidence that they’re buying at the right time, as price can fluctuate considerably based on the season. We help with all these challenges, and more. If in a few years we can look back and see that the Flitch approach to furniture shopping is the default, that furniture shopping is no longer a journey of endless browsing through retail parks and dozens of websites, then I’d say that’s mission accomplished.”

Uriel added: “We’ve just updated our website to make it evermore accessible and user-friendly, and we’re working on several new features that we know will be a hit with our users. We’re also working on onboarding new retailers and launching new partnerships to increase the reach of Flitch.”

Flitch currently works with key retailers such as John Lewis, Habitat and Sofa. com, while revealing they’re in talks with quite a few other brands too, although to be part of the Flitch journey, the business says it is selective on who they want to work with. “We’d like to expand our portfolio to include a wider range of retailers that cater to the average

budget of a typical middle mass-market consumer, and are particularly keen to champion smaller, independent brands that we can bring to the attention of new shoppers,” Uriel said.

“We are quite selective in the retailers we work with, as we want great imagery and products that really add something to the varied styles that shoppers can discover on Flitch. We also require a daily data feed so that we present our users with accurate stock information and pricing. Retailers interested in joining Flitch should email retailers@withflitch.com.”

www.withflitch.com

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Getting Comfortable at Home with Kettle

In late August, Kettle Home opened its new look showroom, welcoming trade visitors to the first in-house event under a new brand identity.

Ian continues: “We are leaving no stone unturned as we look to reaffirm the strength of our offer. Not only have we invested in our sales support team, we also have a fully integrated delivery fleet. We now offer industry-leading flexibility from our container, wholesale, stockist, and DHD delivery service, all supported by electronic PDAs as standard.”

This three-day event was the first opportunity for their team to invite customers old and new, to discuss its core offer and to provide a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2024.

Recognising the important part its retail partners played in their overwhelming support of the business through a turbulent year, the invitation to the in-house event was the first step towards a more customer-centric direction for Kettle Home.

Ian Kettle, CEO of Kettle Home, commented: “For over 20 years, we’ve been at the forefront of the UK furniture industry. Our success was built over time on delivering the best choice, value and service, and these values will remain at the heart of the new Kettle Home brand. We have learnt important lessons, listened to our customers and our new leaner, agile business model will focus on going back to basics and exceeding the expectations of a trusted supply partner to the trade.”

Under the new banner, Kettle Home’s branded portfolio will remain available across the UK and Ireland, but more importance placed on bringing core dining, living and bedroom collections that meet current mass market trends to market.

Backed by improved stock and more competitive prices, the Kettle Home team of sales professionals will spearhead the company’s commitment to best-in-class service.

Earlier this year, the company implemented widespread price reductions across its established core ranges. Achieved by negotiating a long-term decrease in shipping prices and a strengthening Pound, the company passed these savings on as part of a commitment to offering the most competitive prices and the best possible service. With further efforts to improve quality across its portfolio, Ian was also delighted to report positive news on its UK stock position.

“Back in April, we set an ambitious target to reach an in-stock rate of over 80% by September. Now, we have hit this target and so ready to serve our retail partners with quality they can count on quickly and efficiently through the busy Autumn sales period,” Ian said.

Further investment has gone into the Kettle Home trade website. Redesigned from the ground up to give improved functionality and a smoother experience, the new website makes browsing, ordering, and paying for furniture even more accessible, offering live updates on lead times, latest deals, product information, downloads, and more.

With the showroom now open to appointments, the sales team remain on hand to support customers across the country and would be keen to meet any retailer eager to play a part in an exciting new future for Kettle Home.

www.kettlehome.co.uk

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We are leaving no stone unturned as we look to reaffirm the strength of our offer.

Not All Smoke & Mirrors

Paul Wray, Managing Director of Furntec Ltd and Modern Outlook Furniture, shares some tips about buying from China following the return of the Shanghai Furniture Fair.

Here we are, October and post the Shanghai Furniture Fair 2023 following its return after a three-year absence due to Covid. Did you go?

The furniture show is always a great place to source and meet with suppliers and colleagues within the industry, but not everything is quite as it seems.

There were many foreign buyers attending the show this year and buyers had to beware for a number of reasons. Due to many suppliers in China showcasing their products, buyers were certainly looking at ordering at the show, without even looking to see where the products have been produced.

Now the show has concluded, my advice before placing any orders is to do your due diligence, research the company background and visit the factory to start with, as well as request golden samples. Once you have your golden samples then, and only then, place your order. However, it is still vital to re-visit when production is underway. You need to make sure that it is the factory that you initially visited making your product and it’s not being made by a sub-vendor. This happens on quite a regular basis in China.

You must also be aware of the factories financial background as there are many closing down, due to lack of business. Remember, you will have placed deposits for your orders. Make sure you check or have someone on the ground here who has a relationship with the factories to carry out these vital checks.

There is a lot of work required but the time and effort put in, will pay dividends. Visiting the show is only a small part of what’s needed when purchasing from China. I have been working in China for over 25 years in the furniture industry and lived here over 12 years, and our team would not be able to fulfill our customers’ needs without being on the ground here.

We take away the headache and all the traveling and time costs associated with making sure your products are what you ordered. Yes, there is a cost, but the cost of this service far outweighs the potential pitfall of losing, not only the product being substandard, but also your profit.

Modern Outlook Furniture assists businesses of all sizes in procurement from China at any stage of your project. If you would like a no obligation conversation about how we can assist you and help you avoid any costly issues or nasty surprises, please do get in touch!

paulw@modernoutlook.cn

www.linkedin.com/in/paul-wray-79403935/

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THE BIG QUESTION

Vic Smith – Vic Smith Beds

We don’t have one USP – we have shedloads. But to keep it short and to the point, and without helping the ‘big boys’, the level of our staff training is far superior and in depth. We are not tied to any brands; we are a family run business. Our delivery staff are valued and work alongside our sales staff as a team. We regularly have team events and from the newest member of staff to the most senior, everyone is on the same level. Team work shows through to the customer from the store to their bedroom.

Louis Kerry - Mattressman

We love that as Britain’s biggest mattress specialist we can offer our customers a much quicker delivery service on a far wider range of products than the bigger boys and the little boys too.

Joseph Shenton - Joseph James Furniture Outlet LLP

We like to say we are the ’TK Maxx of Furniture’. We don’t want to compete with the ‘big boys’. We exist and continue to grow because of them. If you want the same sofas at a discounted price, and delivered for free within a weekshop with us.

John Rayment – Sussex Beds

Sussex Beds is a true family run business that has been going for 41 years, we believe our USP to be “Quality Sleep - Never Compromise”. All of our products are thoroughly researched, designed, professionally crafted and tested to give you a night of Quality Sleep. You should be spending a third of your life in bed. Our aim is to ensure this is quality time. At Sussex Beds quality is guaranteed. It is who we are, it is what we do, our products, our service and our culture.

Barry Rickhuss - MattressNextDay

With exclusive deals and sales pressure from big-name partners, some chains end up steering customers to a narrow set of options. As an independent retailer, we take a different approach and our priority is our customers and their sleep needs. We carry an unmatched, wide selection of brands and models to cover every price point and personal requirement. We’re also small enough to be able to offer a personal service to understand the needs of each customer if they need it and guide them to their ideal mattress - with no upselling pressure.

Steve Adams - Mattress Online

Our USP at Mattress Online is that our staff are trained to talk to the customer about their sleep needs first and foremost, we actively seek to connect a product to a problem. Through our help and advice pages supported by our in-house Sleep Expert, The Sleep Geek, we put the importance of sleep at the base of any customer journey.

Mike Murray – Land of Beds

Customers choose our business for the perfect blend of modern technology and nearly 50 years of retail expertise. Our advanced e-commerce platform ensures a smooth shopping experience, but what truly sets us apart is our personal touch. Our mission has always been to help people sleep better. Our friendly staff provides free advice, expert knowledge, and genuine passion, prioritising customer satisfaction. With strength in working with top bed brands and a family-oriented approach, we offer top-quality products, guarantees, and recommendations. We’re recognised as a National Bed Federation (NBF) retail champion for our commitment to good business practices and exceptional service. As a family-oriented team, we offer a unique, personalised bed-buying experience, differentiating us from larger competitors. At Land of Beds, customers are friends, and we support each other throughout the entire process. Our success lies in repeat customers, a testament to the enduring relationships we build.

Lukehurst is a third-generation family business, with founder Gerald Lukehurst the founder involved in furniture retailing in Medway and Swale in Kent since 1947. Customers trust a long-established family business, which is now being run by Gerald’s granddaughter Kathryn. What does Lukehurst deliver over its larger competitors? It has a great reputation for quality products at competitive prices, together with a first-class customer experience when making their purchase, which is then delivered by friendly professional staff, backed up with dedicated customer service whenever the need arises. Customers are made to feel personal to Lukehurst, not just a statistic, finding the experience at Lukehurst a great pleasure from start to finish.

Grant Berry – Home World

In a word “flexibility”. There are no barriers to sales and no hands tied. Get the sale and keep the customer happy. It’s all about being flexible, while offering a personal touch, which goes a long way.

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This month we’re asking retailers, as an independent, what is your unique USP as to the reason that customers should come to you and not the ‘big boys’?
Martin Lukehurst – Lukehurst

Sherborne Upholstery

The Cartmel Electric Riser Recliner range has been a huge success since its recent introduction. Available in four sizes, and with a choice of scroll arms, or light oak or dark beech wood knuckles, it has been especially designed for optimum comfort and support, with lateral support cushions in the back in addition to a supportive headroll. Express delivery is offered on over 200 soft cover options, including dual or single motor control and optional lumbar adjustment.

www.sherborneupholstery.co.uk

Gallery Direct

The Newington dining tables and benches from Gallery Direct offer a sleek contemporary twist on a timeless look which make a beautiful addition to a wide range of living spaces. The stunning design features solid wood tops paired with elegant and clean angular metal legs. The tables and benches are offered in two sizes, and all are available in two colours, a warm natural finish with black finished legs, and a black stained top with soft silver finished legs. The tables also look great paired with some of Gallery’s dining chairs, such as the Manford or Edington.

www.gallerydirect.co.uk

Devonshire

Devonshire have introduced a stylish and modern corner dining bench into their ever-growing product portfolio. The Ashbury bench is encased in super soft velvet fabric in an on-trend grey with beautiful stitch detail and natural oak legs. The set can be configured left or right, making this a super flexible unit to stock. Matching with our other seating options in the Ashbury Collection, including dining chairs and standard benches, creating the perfect dining area. For more information contact the Sales office on enquiries@devonshireliving. co.uk or 01237 471872.

www.devonshireliving.co.uk

70 Big Furniture Magazine #14 New Products

Couch & Co

From our static collection, we have Ollie, a curvaceous, sumptuous sofa with pinch quilting detail and luxurious padded inside arms and cushions, sitting with our Wing Recliner offering unparalleled support and height adjustable headrest.

www.couchandco.uk

Sweet Dreams

The Landmark range, consisting of six beds and includes foam free fillings, as well as sleep surfaces made from eco-friendly sustainable fabrics, features components that are responsibly sourced using many recycled elements. The mattress offer is based on three best-selling springs system, 1000 and 2000 pocket and the 12.5gauge open coil. The Landmark base comes with a choice of six 100% GRS Certified, 100% recycled base fabrics. The benefit of GRS is that our Landmark base, border and headboard fabrics will feature 94% less water use, 59% less energy use and 32% less CO2 emissions in the production process.

www.sweetdreamsuk.com

Siren Furniture

Based in the iconic Harrington Mill in Long Eaton, the traditional heartland of the UK upholstery industry, Siren Furniture was established in 2000 as a designer and sourcing manufacturer of quality upholstered furniture. The Alice range provides sumptuous comfort and relaxed elegance, combining quality craftsmanship and materials to deliver a modern interpretation on a classic high-back design.

www.sirenfurniture.com

72 Big Furniture Magazine #14
NEW PRODUCTS

Last Word with Furniture Sales Solutions

information. In doing so, they create an environment where trust and understanding thrive, ultimately leading to successful sales.

Understanding Quiet Confidence

Quiet confidence in sales is not about being soft-spoken or timid. Rather, it’s the art of conveying assurance and competence without overwhelming the customer with an avalanche of information. It’s about striking the perfect balance between knowledge and communication, ensuring that the customer feels heard, valued, and understood.

Deep Product Knowledge as the Foundation

At the heart of quiet confidence lies a profound understanding of the products or services being offered. Sales professionals specializing in home furnishings, such as beds, furniture, flooring, carpets, dining furniture, or garden furniture, must possess a comprehensive knowledge of these items. This knowledge goes beyond surface-level features; it encompasses the nuances, benefits, and applications of each product. Great salespeople invest time and effort in continuous learning, staying updated on industry trends, and familiarizing themselves with the specific needs and preferences of their customer. This deep product knowledge serves as the foundation upon which their

quiet confidence is built

Selective Information Sharing

A key element of quiet confidence is the strategic sharing of information. Instead of overwhelming the customer with every detail about a product, a skilled salesperson listens attentively to the customer’s needs, concerns, and preferences. They then tailor their responses, providing only the information that directly addresses the customer’s specific requirements. For instance, when assisting a customer looking for a new mattress, Fernie, our exemplary salesperson, will inquire about factors like sleep position, firmness preferences, and any existing health issues. Armed with this information, Fernie can then recommend a mattress that suits the customer’s unique needs, highlighting its relevant features and benefits.

Building Trust Through Understanding

Calm is Contagious

Allow me to introduce you to the epitome of a perfect furniture salesperson, Fernie. In the bustling world of retail, where salespeople often find themselves in the midst of fast-paced transactions and intense customer interactions, Fernie embodies the ability to exude quiet confidence. This unique skill enables sales professionals like Fernie to leverage their deep product knowledge effectively while providing customers with only the most relevant

The ability to provide relevant information demonstrates to the customer that Fernie, the salesperson, is not just interested in making a sale but genuinely cares about meeting their needs. This, in turn, builds trust and fosters a strong customersalesperson relationship. In the context of home furnishings retail, where customers often seek guidance in making significant purchases, this trust is invaluable. Customers are more likely to return for future purchases and recommend the store to others when they feel that their needs were understood and met without unnecessary pressure or information overload.

The Power of Silence

Silence is an often underestimated tool in the arsenal of a salesperson with quiet confidence. Instead of filling every moment with words, Fernie allows space for the customer to think and ask questions. This silence can be particularly effective in encouraging customers to share their thoughts and preferences, leading to a more personalized sales experience.

In conclusion, the ability of a great salesperson like Fernie to use their quiet confidence to sell is a skill that relies on deep product knowledge, selective information sharing, and the power of understanding. In our sector, where customers seek guidance for significant purchases, this approach can lead to not only successful sales but also long-lasting customer relationships. By recognizing that less is often more when it comes to information, the most effective sales professionals distil their expertise into total relevance for their customer, creating certainty of product and service in the customer’s mind and certainty that they should buy from THEM.

www.furnituresalessolutions.com

74 Big Furniture Magazine
Meet Fernie: The Greatest Salesperson in the West
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