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Issue 291 | June 2013

Putting the fun into bedtime Steens Furniture – the UK’s premier children’s bedroom supplier

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Furniture News FURNITURE | BEDS | UPHOLSTERY | ACCESSORIES

© Gearing Media Group Ltd 2013 PUBLISHED BY: Gearing Media Group Ltd 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AG ISSN No: 1475 - 3731

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Seat of power I’ve visited the Long Point exhibition in Long Eaton for some years now, and have always found it an enlightening and unique experience. I think this is principally due to the sense of locale the show imparts – the venues, showrooms, product and people of Long Point are, predominantly, a reflection of the East Midlands manufacturing milieu they inhabit, and this lends the gathering a flavour all of its own. Long Point offers the chance to see the latest fabric trends from Europe, redefined for the discerning British customer. There’s an increasingly broad offering of product – far beyond the show’s core upholstery offer – and the relaxed intimacy of chatting to sales staff within their own impressive and inspiring showrooms. However, what strikes the biggest chord is the nature of the locallymanufactured product, which evokes a rich history of craftsmanship and a sense of self-sufficient production rarely seen elsewhere. The value of the area’s manufacturing heritage is further emphasised when one considers it within today’s economic reality, and it quickly becomes clear how much Long Eaton’s furniture manufacturing industry is fundamental to the town. Upon my visit to the Spring Long Point last month – an offshoot from the main September event that is rapidly gaining ground – I was lucky enough to get some political perspective on the matter. Jessica Lee, MP for Long Eaton’s constituency, Erewash, embarked on a tour of the showrooms as the fair opened. It proved a great opportunity to discuss the issues of local manufacture, training and exports, and, further to David Cameron’s visit to Duresta’s showroom in April, to explore the Government’s investment in the area. “In this constituency, apprenticeships have increased by 42% under this Government, and the furniture upholstery industry is right at the heart of that drive,” said Jessica. “From here, we export the best of British around the globe. At a time when the British trademark is on the resurgence, Long Eaton needs to be leading that drive. And what will go with that are plenty of opportunities for young people to be a part of it.” She added: “If they do have furniture-makers in their constituency, MPs have a responsibility to speak up as loudly as they can about the products, and about the industry itself.” Given the number of furniture manufacturers in the Long Eaton area, it seems a perfect case study for the industry. Let’s hope that the increased politicising of British manufacture that has taken place there in recent months – together with the efforts of the BFC and the All-Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group – encourages the Governmental support it sorely needs. Watch my video report, featuring interviews with Jessica and the chairman of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, Matthew O’Flynn, on the Furniture News website.

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14 Events

In all, around 33 companies turned out for the Spring Long Point show last month, many making use of their permanent showrooms in the Long Eaton area. Paul Farley sought out a few of the highlights …

Evolved approaches from Long Point “In recent years, the bulk of Long Point’s stalwarts have recognised the need to reappraise their approach to manufacture, marketing and service”

Below: An explosion of colour in the John Sankey showroom

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The May edition of Long Point might not boast the same attractiveness to buyers as its September counterpart, yet it remains an exciting focal point for new product – and, increasingly, for new initiatives and directions, from members of the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers and associated exhibitors alike. In recent years, the bulk of Long Point’s stalwarts have recognised the need to reappraise their approach to manufacture, marketing and service, and last month’s event provided the perfect place to announce new developments. In a bid to court interior designers, Parker and Farr introduced its Interior Design Privilege Card. MD Tony Crinion says: “We have tailored it specifically to meet the needs of interior designers and the bespoke projects they undertake. Benefits to those who work with us will include discounts on products, free and quick delivery time, price match guarantees and a free design service using AutoCAD product drawings. “We already offer a bespoke hand-made furniture service, which covers everything from designing the

product with the customer, right through to a full fit-out service and aftercare, and the card will add to the service we can offer interior designers.” Parker and Farr also displayed its new English Collection, developed in partnership with English Heritage, a sample of which was featured in Furniture News’ Zone section last month. Parker Knoll is settling well into its spacious new showroom in Harrington Mill. As the company’s export activity waxes – its recent foray at the Milan furniture fair paid dividends, according to brand director Donna Bellingham – a savvy realignment of existing brands is helping ensure its UK business prospers. Also fresh from foreign shores was Carlton Furniture. Having significantly grown its credibility through an appearance at IFFS Singapore in March, the cabinet furniture supplier unveiled new directions in bespoke painted oak cabinets and themed wall-hanging background voiles designed to strengthen in-store displays. Following its launch at Interiors UK, Alexander & James – a rebrand of Ashley Manor’s AMX offering – was fully represented at Long Point. Those choosing to buy from the colourful collection of leathers and leather/fabric mixes will benefit from the company’s centralised development and manufacturing facility in Bangkok. “It is our intention to grow the Alexander & James brand with the addition of more models as soon as possible,” says sales director Steve Morgan. Following its dramatic refurbishment last year, Wade Upholstery’s showroom proved consistently busy, while in Meadowmead House, the John Sankey and Henderson Russell upholstery brands both benefited from a wealth of new, design-led fabric combinations and shapes, displayed within highly creative showroom settings. Down the road in Castle Donington, Art Forma’s sizeable showroom featured a mix of the company’s bespoke upholstery and its imported brand, AF International. Like many of Long Eaton’s showrooms, Art Forma’s is open all year round, answering consumer enquiries with referrals to stockists. The permanent nature of the majority of Long Eaton’s showrooms means that the event, while being closely contained, is not the easiest to navigate – yet here, visitors will find display platforms and hospitality almost without equal on the UK exhibition circuit. Visit the Furniture News website for a video report from last month’s fair. The autumn edition commences on 16th September. W longeatonguild.co.uk

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Furniture News June 2013