Furniture News #387

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#387 December 2021

ALL IS BRIGHT Orbital lights up online shopping with enVision

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Will augmented reality (AR) revolutionise retail? JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW CGI MARKETING | SHOWTIME LIVING | BEDROOM

Moda Furnishings’ founder gets futureproof The long and the short of the supply chain crisis

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EDITOR’S COMMENT 3 EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

SALES SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR (Furniture News portfolio) Sam Horscroft 07764 650655 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD OVERSEAS AGENT Casey Loo (Asia) +65 973 00123 (WhatsApp)

PRODUCTION PRODUCTION MANAGER James Ash 01424 817430 DIGITAL PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Nyall McCurrach 01424 776107 COPY ADMINISTRATOR Steve Merrick 01424 776108

ACCOUNTS GENERAL MANAGER Wendy Williams 01424 817433 CHAIRMAN Nigel Gearing MAGAZINE-ONLY SUBSCRIPTIONS (UK-£65, Europe-£85, RoW-£95) 01424 774982 CONNECT VIP SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGES (UK-£95, Europe-£110, RoW-£120) 01424 774982 REPRO, PRINT AND DISTRIBUTION Stephens & George

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WHETHER YOU’VE NEW PRODUCT IN YOUR SIGHTS OR A WILL TO CHANGE, THERE’S PLENTY OF FOOD FOR THOUGHT IN THIS MONTH’S ISSUE what’s holding it back, and how to get in Another new year is just around the on the ground floor. corner, and while uncertainty remains, On p46 we spotlight some of the sector’s there’s no disputing that it’ll be full rising stars, as we celebrate the winners of of opportunity. So, this month’s issue this year’s Young Furniture Makers Awards, is looking to the future – from gamewhile on p64 some of the finest minds in changing technology and inspiring retail analysis share their views on the leadership, to sourcing platforms and short- and long-term implications of the emerging talent. Are you ready? sector’s supply chain crisis (take heart, it’s It seems the whole world and his not all bad). dog are hungry for new products right To top it all off, we interview two inspiring now – and next month will be the time to people whose progressive approaches are sniff them out. As the January Furniture taking their businesses to the next level. Show (JFS) makes its triumphant return First up is Jonny Brierley, the founder and to the Birmingham NEC, the trade can CEO of Moda Furnishings, the multichannel, look forward to an unmatched sourcing Manchester-based outdoor furniture opportunity that’ll provide countless specialist which has matched its selling ways to refresh shopfloors and websites patterns to evolving customer demand (p19). (as well as the chance to develop those Next, there’s Angela Crouch, the UK MD invaluable face-to-face relationships that’ve been so hard to establish in recent of California-headquartered sleep empire, Resident, who chronicles the growth of years). its D2C bed brands this side of the pond, Turn to p32 for a sneak peek at what’s plus the ethical and environmental stances to come, plus an outline of The Furniture she feels will be integral to achieving the Awards 2022 (if you’re exhibiting at JFS, you’ll need to enter via the show’s website company’s long-term goals (p16). So, whether you’ve new product in your by Friday 3rd December to be in with a sights or a will to change, there’s plenty chance of winning). of food for thought in this month’s issue. And JFS isn’t alone in the sourcing If you want to share your own story, get stakes. Our Showtime feature, starting in touch, or download the latest media kit on p18, rounds up the trade exhibitions from our website. As well as next month’s worthy of your attention this winter (and beyond) – and the handy calendar included bumper issue, we’re publishing the official with this month’s print edition should help JFS catalogue and preview magazine, and you plot your show schedule through 2022. have plenty more lined up for 2022 – watch If you’re after a longer view on business this space! All that remains is to wish you all happy development, turn to p54, where you’ll holidays (thanks to our cover star Orbital find the industry’s top tech creatives for setting the mood!) and a prosperous discussing how augmented reality (AR) is poised to revolutionise furniture shopping, new year.


No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written agreement of the Publisher and may not be stored on any type of retrieval system. Furniture News/ Gearing Media Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction. Special colours (Pantone etc) can be catered for with prior arrangement. Some elements of the editorial content in this publication are submitted by the trade, however, all efforts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to offset the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. The Publisher accepts no liability for any loss arising from an advertisement’s late or non-appearance.

Paul Farley 01424 776101



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#387 December 2021

ALL IS BRIGHT Orbital lights up online shopping with enVision

07 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Moda Furnishings / 16 Resident UK ALL IS BRIGHT

Orbital lights up online shopping with enVision



Will augmented reality (AR) revolutionise retail? JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW CGI MARKETING | SHOWTIME LIVING | BEDROOM

Moda Furnishings’ founder gets future-proof The long and the short of the supply chain crisis

FN387_Pages.indd 1

25/11/2021 18:32



18 Showtime / 32 January Furniture Show

44 PRODUCTS 46 Young Furniture Makers / 48 CGI marketing 60 Bedroom / 62 Living


Dids Macdonald OBE, CEO, ACID

64 OPINION 64 The retail supply chain crisis / 68 The quick and the dead / 70 Stop selling in your social channels / 73 ACID 74 Feedback



WE’RE NO LONGER A SEASONAL BUSINESS Bill McLoughlin, editor-inchief, Furniture Today


Jesse Akre, president and COO, RetailSystem Global Brands

January Furniture Show returns to the NEC, 23-26 January 2022 Registration now open



The BFM has appointed Sean Holt as its new MD. Sean brings a wealth of experience to the role, including 20 years working at board level working in the sport, leisure and printing industry. Outgoing MD Nick Garratt has taken up the role of association chairman, with Brian Ahern moving to the role of vice chairman, replacing John Woolley

Bensons has appointed Mandy Winser as COO. Mandy joins from Swissport, and previously held senior positions at Kingfisher, B&Q and Marks & Spencer

Design Shanghai has launched a new event, Design Shenzhen, taking place from 9-12th December 2021, which is “set to shine a light on the city’s singular cultural and creative identity”, presenting over 150 world-class brands and installations

Glasswells is mourning the loss of director Peggy Reardon, who passed away on 15th October at the age of 92. Peggy was the only daughter of Jerry Glasswell, the home furnisher’s founder, and the aunt of current MD Paul Glasswell

The British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA) has appointed Carolyn Mitchell, sales and marketing director at Hypnos Contract Beds, as its new chair, replacing Lee Marvin

David Tracey, who has worked with companies including Dreams, Harveys, Hygena, MFI, Moores Furniture Group and Wesley Barrell, has raised £11,000 for The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Step 2 It campaign by completing the 192-mile Coast to Coast walk READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET


LA-Z-BOY UK ACQUIRES UK MANUFACTURER La-Z-Boy UK has acquired manufacturing capability within Europe with the purchase of Furnico Furniture Ltd. Furnico has manufactured for the recliner brand since it acquired the La-Z-Boy licence in 2008. Parent company La-Z-Boy Inc reacquired the licence in 2017. La-Z-Boy International’s president, Keith Wilson, says: “The entire team is delighted to welcome Furnico’s 285 employees to the La-Z-Boy family as we launch La-Z-Boy Manufacturing UK Ltd, our only plant presence within Europe. Given the unprecedented issues currently affecting global sea freight, the timing of this deal will reassure our customers of shorter lead times and a dependable supply network. I’d like to personally thank everyone who has worked hard on the acquisition process, in particular outgoing Furnico directors David Winter and Paul Riding for their loyalty to our brand and work developing products during their time as licensees. We wish them a happy retirement.” A significant amount of Furnico’s business was the manufacture of La-Z-Boy product, with the remainder being white labelled to retailers in the

UK and Ireland. Unbranded manufacture is set to continue alongside La-Z-Boy-branded product. Directors David Ellison, Stuart Shackleton and Nigel Ramsey will continue to lead the business. The firm intends to continue production from the two factory sites in Lancashire, with plans for a product showroom being discussed for the larger facility. The offices of La-Z-Boy International and La-Z-Boy UK will remain in Maidenhead, Berkshire. Pictured, from left, are: Paul Riding; David Winter; Keith Wilson; Darrell Edwards (senior VP and COO, La-Z-Boy Inc); and Bob Lucian (senior VP and CFO, La-Z-Boy Inc).

GLOBAL MAGAZINE ALLIANCE ELECTS NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD Global furniture trade magazine network, the International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP), has elected Singapore’s Casey Loo to the position of chairman, replacing Russia’s Artem Vasiliev. Casey is the editor-in-chief of, the founder of the International Furniture Leadership Awards, and an advisor to the World Furniture Confederation and the Council of Asia Furniture Associations (CAFA). “The IAFP is an association that comprises the world’s top B2B furniture magazines, and, together with the rest of the newly elected board, I am honoured to have been entrusted to lead the alliance,” he says. “My publication is the sole representative from South-east Asia, and we serve

companies seeking to source and sell in the AsiaPacific region. With huge volatility in the markets, and travelling prohibitive due to Covid-19, the importance of the trade media in ensuring industry players stay up to date and maintain exposure is even more pronounced. Together with our fellow IAFP member publications, we look forward to continuing to provide quality services to the industry, and to contribute to the growth of the global furniture trade.” The rest of the board now comprises: vice chairman Paul Farley (Furniture News); secretary general Bill McLoughlin (Furniture Today); treasurer Takayoshi Nagashima (The Home Living); and marketing director Ula Ditrych (

VERY ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT FURNITURE SALES GROWTH The Very Group, which operates online retail brands, and LittlewoodsIreland. ie, has announced its results for the year ended 3rd July 2021. Very’s retail sales were up +24.9% to £1535.6m, driving +13% group revenue growth to a record £2317.1m. Home sales were up +26.7%) – including in home accessories (+27.9%), textiles (+27.0%) and furniture (+33.1%), the latter of which was driven by beds (+43.9%). Customer numbers increased +12.4% to 3.82 million (group customers by +7.6% to 4.82 million). Group profit before tax was £81.7m (up +68.8% YoY), reflecting increased Very retail sales and improved cost management. The group finished the year in

strong financial health, with underlying operating cash flow of £245m. Group CEO Henry Birch comments: “I am pleased to report outstanding group performance, including record revenue, continued profit growth and strong cashflow generation. The current environment is not without challenge, but our pandemic experience has shown us that our multi-category offer, combining leading brands with our Very Pay platform, is relevant to an increasingly wide number of customers.” The group also strengthened its executive team with the appointment of former BBC technology director Matt Grest as chief information officer, while Robbie Feather, former CEO of Fenwick, has joined as retail MD.




IKEA APPROACHES OXFORD STREET IKEA’s parent company Ingka Investments has signed a conditional purchase agreement to acquire a property at 214 Oxford Street (Oxford Circus) in London – formerly a Topshop flagship. The retailer says that part of the vacant space, which was purchased for £378m, will be used by IKEA UK & Ireland. Ingka says the investment, which will see the creation of some 150 new local jobs, supports its retail transformation strategy of bringing the brand closer to customers by opening new store formats in city locations. The property comprises a total of 22,200m2 over seven floors, with retail space on six of them. It will host IKEA UK’s second smaller store format, and will follow the opening of IKEA Hammersmith this winter. Peter Jelkeby, country retail manager and chief sustainability officer, IKEA UK & Ireland, says: “Today we are seeing societal changes that have evolved customer behaviours and the retail industry as a whole. Big global movements in technology,

demographics, urbanisation and environmental awareness have caused significant waves of change in the way we live and shop. Bringing IKEA to the heart of Oxford Street – one of the most innovative, dynamic and exciting retail destinations in the world – is a direct response to these societal shifts and an exciting step forward in our journey to becoming a more accessible IKEA.” The new store is set to open in autumn 2023 and will have a focus on home-furnishing accessories, with the full range available to buy for home delivery.

NEW BARKER AND STONEHOUSE GATESHEAD STORE GREENLIT Barker and Stonehouse has been given the goahead to build a new store in Gateshead, on the former Snow + Rock site at the Metro Centre Retail Park. The store will double the size of the retailer’s existing Gateshead base, with nearly 50,000ft2 of retail space across three floors, and will create 20 new jobs. MD James Barker says: “We always want to provide something different for our customers, an approach which has proved successful over our 75year history – not only with a diverse product range, but also by ensuring our stores far surpass the design expectations of any out-of-town retail outlet. “This new location is ideal. It’s at the heart of an already bustling retail community, and we’re excited to grow our offer here. Our roots are very much in the North East, with my grandfather having

started the business in 1946 in Stockton on Tees. It’s great to be strengthening our presence by further investing in the region.” The new store, which is set to open late next year, will boast dramatic architecture, imaginative roomsets, and visual displays fashioned from an array of Barker and Stonehouse’s furniture and accessories. In addition, visitors will be able to relax in a mezzanine-level bistro run by chef Daryl Chadwick. It will also boast energy-saving lighting, a solar-panelled roof and thermal insulation. James adds: “We have twice as many stores as we did 10 years ago but still use the same amount of power. This is the direct result of our carbonreducing initiatives. To become the company that we would like to become, there is still a distance to go, but we are making good and consistent progress.”

NEW WAREHOUSE TO BOLSTER DUNELM’S FURNITURE CAPABILITIES Dunelm Group is set to move into its new Daventry warehouse at Prologis RFI DIRFT this month, creating up to 70 new jobs in the local area by the end of January. The new site will help the retailer meet customer demand ahead of the festive period, and from January will be become a key element in the growth of Dunelm’s furniture business and providing better delivery service levels. Dunelm has taken a 10-year lease on the new logistics building at Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal (DIRFT) in the East Midlands, which will be home to the Dunelm Home Delivery network and furniture range. Classed as a nationally significant infrastructure project, DIRFT is one of the most successful

intermodal (road/rail) logistics parks in the UK, and is located at the heart of the UK’s motorway and rail network. “The new facility will be pivotal in helping the business further grow its online retail operations and create a significant number of jobs for the local area,” says Tom Price, capital deployment and leasing director at Prologis UK. Richard Street, supply chain development director, Dunelm Group, adds: “Our new DIRFT warehouse facility is an important move for Dunelm – not only is the location excellent for better serving our customer needs, but the new site will make a significant contribution to our improving our environmental footprint.”

Timothy Oulton has opened a 7170ft2 East Coast Flagship store and showroom in New York City’s Flatiron District, at 901 Broadway at 20th Street

Bensons has made two appointments to help drive transformation across its stores and online: Rob Watson joins as director of digital; and Graham Wilson will join in the new year as director of omnichannel and customer experience. The retailer has also opened a new distribution hub in Tursdale, County Durham, to provide last-mile delivery to the North East

M&S reports an “encouraging performance” in H1 (to 2nd October 2021), citing profit before tax and adjusting items of £269.4m (£176.3m in 2019/20), and profit before tax £187.3m (from £158.8m in 2019/20, and a loss of £87.6m in 2020/21). Clothing & Home delivered a substantial improvement in profitability, with sales down just -1% Yo2Y

Domotex, the Hannoverbased carpet and floorcovering exhibition, will not take place in January 2022. The organiser is looking at dates later in the year

Brussels Furniture Fair saw visitor numbers down -14.86% Yo2Y to 16,171. The largest decline came from the UK and Ireland, with -71% fewer visitors in attendance, yet the share of overseas visitors held steady in all, at 60.9%

LuxDeco has hired a new chief customer officer, Mike Massimi, who boasts over 15 years’ experience in businesses including Trainline and Photobox







NON-STOP SHOP Manchester-based outdoor furniture specialist Moda Furnishings might be “digital-first”, but its new 7000ft2 glass-fronted flagship near Old Trafford proves it’s no slouch in the physical retail space. This month, founder and CEO Jonny Brierley gives Furniture News the lowdown on everything from futureproofing to firepits …



Why did you take the private equity route in 2019, and how has it changed the business? The previous shareholders were looking to exit for lifestyle reasons, but we wanted to keep going and drive growth in the business. We worked with a corporate finance house who helped us attract private equity backing – not just to back the MBO, but also to provide investment for the future. Myself and my business partner Vallan McCarthy stayed on, and rolled all of our value across into the new structure, and I led Moda through the whole process. The business has been transformed since then, and is going from strength to strength. Since the PE deal, we’ve brought to the boardroom a CFO who has transformed our management information, and a highly experienced chairman. The business has become more professional and corporate, using more sophisticated data to make better decisions.

Jonny Brierley

What changes have taken place at Moda since March 2020? During the pandemic lockdown periods we had to close our showrooms, but,

Moda’s new flagship store in Manchester

How did Moda begin, at what point did it go multichannel? We started in March 2015, launching a high-quality, modular, outdoor rattan furniture range that was designed inhouse and imported and sold direct to consumers online. We always wanted to be digitalled business, using our ecommerce platform to place our products in front of the customers right from the outset. There was a high demand for our products from the word go, and from then it’s been up and up, bringing new, innovative ideas to the whole business – not just products.

fortunately, having our own dedicated warehouse space and our own in-house delivery fleet meant we could continue to trade online. Since then, Moda’s growth has continued to be exceptional. Our warehouse capacity has risen from 110,000ft2 to over 240,000ft2. We’ve doubled our headcount and taken additional office space. We’ve also changed our mindset – we’re no longer a seasonal business, and this has allowed us to take more grounded, long-term views in all of our decisionmaking. We’ve also opened three new showrooms and have really exciting plans to open more, in strategic locations to support the digital-first strategy. How does the business conducted in your showrooms stack up against that conducted online? Moda will always be an ecommercefirst business, supported by a few beautiful, well-placed showrooms. Moda customers are very happy to buy online, as they trust the exceptional quality of the product and the gold-standard delivery service, as evidenced by our track record of five-star reviews. However, we also want our customers to feel that they can come in and touch and feel our product if they want to, in a totally new environment that’s different to any other garden furniture showroom retailer. We are currently working on some customer ‘single view’ technology which will allow us to interact with our customers better, and create a seamless online and showroom experience. This will also give us more insight into our customers’ behaviour.

Give us a snapshot of your supply chain All of our products are designed and developed in-house at our headquarters in North-west England. We partner with a number of overseas factories, whom we communicate with directly, assisting them with everything from raw material orders, manufacturing standards and quality control, right up to container loading. This level of control really means that we can service consumers quickly, with the correct products at the right time, within our unique modular system. … and your product design process We listen to everyone when we design new products, or redesign existing ones. We listen to customer feedback, driver feedback and customer service department feedback, to really understand demand and how we can design our existing products better. This can be anything from making the product instructions clearer, to redesigning the way a product assembles. We see furniture like fashion – it’s important with new products not to just look at how furniture is changing, but to see the way customers change their outdoor space, and design products that would complement this to enhance the overall outdoor living experience. How long do you think the surge in demand for outdoor furniture will last? I think the attitude of the UK public has transformed in recent years, and the extra time people have spent at home during the last 18 months has driven this change even more. Customers are now recognising


that their outdoor space is no longer just a place to pop outside when the weather is nice. Now it is an extension of their living space, a beautiful outdoor entertaining area that adds value to their home that can be intimate and cosy, as well as grand and lavish for parties. I believe that the growth we are seeing now will continue for many years, as customers become more and more aware of the fantastic lifestyle and wellbeing benefits that come from outdoor living, socialising and relaxing.

We also see a lot of aspiration, of customers who haven’t been able to refresh their outdoor space yet due to trade and material shortages. I also now see that the UK consumer isn’t just treating outdoor furniture as only summer furniture, as there are some quite remarkable heating and lighting solutions to create cosy autumn and spring environments. This adds value for customers, as they can use their outdoor furniture much more throughout the year with family and friends.

WE CAN SERVICE CONSUMERS QUICKLY, WITH THE CORRECT PRODUCTS AT THE RIGHT TIME Staffing is becoming a bigger challenge for furniture businesses. How have you gone about such rapid recruitment? We’ve been very busy recruiting since the MBO, having more than doubled our workforce in only two years. Our brand has grown so fast – many new recruits want to be part of the Moda story, so recruitment hasn’t really been much of a challenge for us. We are quite selective, but there really is a wealth of talent out there, which is really creating an exciting future for us. Our staff are also very loyal – I want all of our team to feel that Moda is a great place to work and for everyone to enjoy their careers as we continue to grow.



INVESTMENT IS KEY TO STAYING FUTUREPROOF What’s the biggest mistake your rivals are making at the moment? I wouldn’t want to criticise any competitors – everyone is doing their best in difficult times, especially with supply chain pressures as high as they are now. I focus more on what we feel we’re doing well at Moda. We keep focused on what the customer wants, ensuring the highestquality products that will give enjoyment for many years. Having well-designed and well-made stock available is key, so we’ve invested considerably in our supply chain. We also believe that it is important to keep investing in our business and in our team, so we can keep pace with the exceptional demand we’re seeing for all of our products. Investment is key to staying futureproof. What changing trends are you seeing in garden furniture? Our contemporary modular ranges have really taken off this year. Customers love the waterproof technology in the fabric, and have really taken to the modern colour palette. Our smokefree gas firepits continue to be very popular (we’ve even developed the UK’s first darkroom furniture display area to showcase these), and we are now seeing corner sofa dining surge ahead of traditional dining chair sets.

What balance of branded/white label goods do you offer? All Moda furniture products are only available from us, and are all Moda branded. Providing the full design-to-

delivery service across our products is key to our success. Seeing the Moda brand gives the customer complete confidence in what they will get – an amazing product which is well designed and will last for years, the highest levels of delivery and customer service which our customers rightly expect, and full support on the rare occasions there is an aftersales issue to follow up. What’s in the pipeline? Are there any plans to explore new product areas? Yes, we are already introducing complementary products to enhance the overall outdoor living experience. These include products such as water features, outdoor lighting and heating, and decorative screens (all Moda branded). We continue to develop new modular designs, and will be bringing some exciting new ranges to market in 2022. We have a saying at Moda – with products, “the design is never done!”



GLOBAL CITIZEN California-based Resident has gone from strength to strength since it entered the UK marketplace in 2018 with D2C bed brand, Nectar – yet sustained growth can only come through sustainable practices, believes Resident UK’s MD, Angela Crouch …

Angela Crouch


What is Resident, and what’s the scope of its UK activities? What advances has the business made since its UK launch? Since its UK launch in 2018, Resident has developed three D2C brands with sustainability at their core: Flagship mattress brand Nectar; luxury mattress brand DreamCloud; and the soon-tolaunch homeware brand Cloverlane. At the start of 2021, Resident raised £97.5m in a Series B funding round led by Ion Crossover Partners and Nexus Capital Management, with participation from Baron Capital Group. The funds have been used to execute Resident’s growth plan, and in the UK in 2021 we’ve seen growth of +30% YoY. And though the pandemic presented us with significant challenges, it saw demand soar as people took haven in their own homes. In fact, this year we’re currently selling one mattress every two minutes, and estimate that one in every 20 households owns a Nectar or DreamCloud product. How did you come to be appointed Resident’s UK MD? What did you bring to the role? I have quite a diverse international background in business development, marketing, ecommerce and operations from my time working for Ancestry, Photobox and Zoopla. I think my experience of managing two start-ups at Photobox really helped me shape

my understanding of data-driven decisionmaking, pivoting and listening to the customer. At the mature public companies Ancestry and Zoopla, I helped drive new revenue opportunities and efficiencies across complex matrix organisations. A combination of being able to zoom into areas of the business at all levels of growth and ensuring the highperforming teams I build are with me every step of the way are key to my role as MD. Where does your DreamCloud offering sit in relation to its competitors – both D2C and more traditional? We launched our DreamCloud offering in 2019 – hot on the heels of Nectar’s success – with an aim to disrupt the high-end marketplace. It was a trailblazer in the space, being the first and only premium bedin-a-box mattress brand, featuring our industry-first 365-night trial, and completely climate neutral. And we’ve seen consumer demand for luxury products rocket during the pandemic – DreamCloud UK has seen YoY growth at +257%. How important is sustainability to Resident UK, and why? Sustainability is at the core of everything we do at Resident, and a cause I feel really passionate about, having a background in life sciences.

17 And we’ve made significant steps since our launch in 2017. Working with Climate Partner, we’ve reduced manufacturing waste and offset CO2 equivalent to 17,941,312kg (Nectar Sleep) and 1,836,556kg (Dreamcloud), and reduced Nectar’s carbon footprint by -8%. In response to our efforts, both of our D2C mattresses have been awarded the coveted Good Housekeeping Institute Getting Greener Award – which is something we’re really proud of. How much are greener practices being driven by the consumer, as opposed to suppliers? Our business model responds to customer need, and sustainability has become an increasingly important factor driving their purchase choice. In fact, 20% of our customers who complete our post-purchase survey list ‘being climate neutral’ as one of their reasons for choosing a Nectar or DreamCloud mattress. Can you offer some examples of how you’re helping to drive change in our industry? In my 20s and 30s, I was the only female in the room, and since then I’ve been driven to push for better representation for women at work – particularly in a ‘male-dominated’ business space. One thing that really helped me was having a sponsor and mentor during my time at Ancestry, and this is a scheme I’ve brought forward to my role at Resident, to guide women in business. I also think we lead by example when it comes to recycling our

mattresses. Through our partnership with British Heart Foundation, all returned mattresses are given a new lease of life via donation. As such, the mattresses get a second home, avoid needless disposal, and help raise funds to fight against heart disease. I think this showcases the importance of authenticity when it comes to brand partnerships in the industry. Does your involvement extend to ethical manufacture and community support? We are always striving to improve our manufacturing process, and our homeware arm Cloverlane pays testament to this. All of our products are GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified, which represents that the products are made to the highest standard when it comes to ecological and socially responsible practices.

Can you point to any other businesses in our sector whose eco-conscious approaches you admire? There are a lot of great challengers and disruptors coming into the space, which is pretty exciting –, Parachute and Coyuchi come to mind. I partocularly admire Coyuchi’s 2nd Home and circular initiatives. As a consumer it really speaks to me, but from a business point of view the economics of these programmes can be very challenging – it’s not easy to do. What’s the biggest challenge you face when striving to stay ‘green’ yet achieve growth? There is definitely a higher tangible cost associated with staying ‘green’, from paying more to source FSC-certified materials to best practice when it comes to recycling. From a commercial sense, I think it’s balancing short- and long-term goals – keeping true to the long-term vision by doing what you can commercially to get closer to that goal, whilst in the short-term staying true to your sustainability targets




INTERNATIONAL REUNION Meeting business partners, discovering new products and gaining inspiration – all will be possible again when Heimtextil 2022 opens its doors in Frankfurt am Main from 11-14th January …

With registrations from around 1600 exhibitors from 50 countries, the trade fair for home and contract textiles anticipates a highly promising return to the international stage. The Heimtextil team has begun the decisive preparatory phase for this international meeting place for the sector with great commitment and enthusiasm. “There has been a tremendous response to Heimtextil 2022, especially from the international side,” says Olaf Schmidt, VP Textiles & Textile Technologies, Messe Frankfurt. “The yearning for personal encounters and the chance to examine the latest products in reality is greater than ever before. We are looking forward very much to welcoming the sector back to our fair and exhibition centre, and have complete confidence that Heimtextil 2022 will be a safe and successful event for all concerned.” In addition to the extensive spectrum of products, Heimtextil 2022 will offer inspiration and an attractive range of information services and events to help visitors discover the latest market developments in the sector. In particular, the presentation of the Heimtextil

Trends provides in-depth insights into tomorrow’s furnishing themes. Also at Heimtextil, Interior. Architecture.Hospitality will spotlight offers for interior architects and hospitality experts. Moreover, particular emphasis will be placed on the subject of healthy sleep, including numerous advisory services and products for the specialist bed trade. The Heimtextil Sleep & More Conference will be a meeting place for representatives of the specialist bed trade, with a high-grade programme of lectures, discussions and product presentations. Another important focal point at Heimtextil 2022 will be far-reaching aspects for greater sustainability. The range of products and information at Heimtextil 2022 will be rounded off by a blend of digital services. The complete spectrum of Heimtextil Trends will be available for the first time in digital form, the Future Materials Library is also online, and there will also be videos on demand about many of the items on the programme, and tours of the fair via audio guides. Heimtextil will also offer the order and data-management portal Nextrade, which offers a digital 24/7 business relationship between dealers and suppliers

FEEL TEXTILES OFFLINE 11. – 14. 1. 2022 Upholstery and decorative fabrics that offer tactile inspiration. At the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles.

Discover the entire textile experience:

SHOW / TREND / CONFERENCE, Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 84



TOMORROW’S BUSINESS, TODAY Experience the major brands and creators, meet business partners, and prepare for the business of the future – from 17th-23rd January 2022, imm cologne will open its doors again …

The first large-scale, in-person event for the interiors industry to be staged since the pandemic broke promises new products, lively discussion and invaluable business solutions. The event’s motto, ’time for an exchange’, sums up the essentials, states organiser Koelnmesse: “It’s time to meet again and exchange ideas – and to create something new that still feels like imm cologne. The format we have developed combines the trade fair with digital ideas, and brings them together to create a unique concept.” The trade fair’s centrepiece remains the in-person event, held at the start of each year. “Seeing new products with

your own eyes, experiencing innovations first-hand, meeting face-to-face with established partners and making new contacts – nothing in the future will be able to replace this,” states the exhibition organiser. “And Cologne will be the perfect place for it in 2022, yet again – 600 exhibitors are expected, with 74% travelling from outside Germany to appear. imm cologne will be the biggest interior design trade fair in Europe for the industry’s relaunch after the coronavirus crisis.” The international industry gathering will not only present fresh innovations and the latest ideas from the world of interior design, but will boast major brands and designers, who, together will showcase their visions of tomorrow – and together with the trade fair’s visitors, will set the stage for the key interior trends in the coming months. A second, newer aspect of the interior business event is imm cologne 365. The combination of business network, ambista, and content platform, the magazine by imm cologne, is unique in the industry, and offers interior professionals business and networking opportunities, plus a forum for exchanging inspiration that goes far beyond the trade fair, and is now available 365 days a year. For more information and to book tickets, visit the fair’s website

January Furniture Show returns to the NEC, 23-26 January 2022 Registration now open



INDX WELCOMES ALL COMERS Following “terrific” support for its September 2021 trade show, the INDX Furniture show is set to return to purpose-built exhibition venue Cranmore Park in Solihull from 23rd25th January 2022 …

As well as representing the AIS buying group’s first (and long-awaited) live trade show since January 2020, the September 2021 edition of INDX Furniture was also the first to take place under the INDX Home umbrella (the event having been formerly known as The AIS Furniture Show), and, as a direct response to the success of the show, the next edition will include a Sunday opening, and will welcome the general trade for the entirety of its three-day duration.

“We have always worked in partnership with our suppliers and visitors, and as a result, for the next show we have made the collaborative decision of opening on a Sunday, in addition to extending general trade admission for the full three-day run,” says Emma Rackley, director of Furniture & Home, AIS. “Planning for January 2022 is well under way, and we are looking forward to bringing everyone together for an inclusive show.” Curated by experts with a wealth of experience in the furniture retail sector, the exhibitor line-up is taking shape, and is set to unveil the latest product selections from an “unrivalled” collection of market-leading upholstery and cabinet brands. The show will also provide a platform for retailers to meet with key service providers, and visitors can expect a friendly, relaxed and professional environment in which to network and connect with the industry. Further plans for the INDX Home group of shows include the launch of INDX Beds & Bedroom, which will make its debut at Cranmore Park on 26-27th April 2022. Offering buyers and retailers a dedicated showcase of beds, bedroom cabinet and sofabeds from some of the biggest names in the industry, INDX Beds & Bedroom will provide a perfect forum to meet with existing suppliers and discover new opportunities, states AIS. All INDX shows offer free entrance, free on-site parking and complimentary refreshments. Visitor registration can be completed via the INDX website




23-25 JANUARY 2022 Discover leading brands and ranges specifically curated by AIS for independent retailers. We look forward to welcoming you to the INDX Furniture Show.

Register now:

Where the industry unites For exhibitor enquiries visit or email Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre,Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF



ISTANBUL GEARS UP Istanbul International Furniture Fair (IIFF) 2022, one of Europe’s largest furniture exhibitions, will be the first to be held simultaneously in two fair centres in Turkey – from 25-30th January …

The fair, which will welcome buyers from 80 countries – principally the EU, but also the Middle East, the Balkans and the Turkic Republics – promises to be “the Turkish furniture sector’s new gateway to the world.” The Turkish furniture sector, which currently ships products to some 200 countries and exports goods to the value of more than $4b, is preparing to come together at IIFF 2022, which has been organised with the support of the Federation of Furniture Associations (MOSFED), in co-operation with Tüyap Fair Organization and Mos Fair Organization. As Turkey steadily builds its share of the world furniture manufacturing

sector – with some 36,000 businesses currently operating – its representatives are looking forward to showcasing some of the newest product across 25 halls of the Tüyap Fair and Congress Center and Istanbul Congress Center, covering a total area of 260,000m2. The latest products, from bedroom and children’s furniture to dining sets and garden furniture, will be presented by some 800 national and international companies (and 3000 brands). The fair also promises to facilitate the discovery of new export markets, bringing together professionals, buyers and consumers from a range of markets and countries



SPRING INTO ACTION The heart of UK retail, Spring Fair is the pivotal UK marketplace for the home, gift and fashion retail industry. As it returns for its first live event since 2020, the reaction so far from brands and buyers has been resoundingly positive, reports organiser Hyve …

Following on from the success of Autumn Fair, Spring Fair is set to be bigger and better, with a stellar line-up of brands. With floor space almost sold out across every sector, and the scaling up and official launch of the Curated Meetings programme – plus the Inspiring Retail Stage, leading the conversation on Empowering Change – Spring Fair, returning to the NEC Birmingham on the 6-9th February 2022, is not to be missed. There are four key buying destinations – Home, Gift (incorporating Greetings, Floral, Party and Christmas), Fashion, and Design & Source – all offering a welath of much-loved and established favourites, as well as an array of sustainable and new brands showing for the first time. With its unparalleled cross-buying opportunities, Spring Fair creates a compelling platform for buyers to touch, feel and experience the latest products, trends and innovations across home, gift, fashion, and sourcing – from across

the UK and overseas. Within Home, showcasing some of the most stylish and on-trend furniture, textiles and decorative interior accessories, visitors will discover a host of exclusive brands including Coach House, Hill Interiors, Malini, and Walton & Co. Showing exclusively in the UK at Spring Fair, Kaemingk will present its unique decorative items for the home and garden, plus decorations for all seasons. Danish brand Chic Antiques returns, as well as French brand Maison Berger, and Authentic Models and Clayre & Eef from Holland. Hand-picked and curated, Summerhouse is home to some of the most beautiful, style-led and on-trend homewares and gifts. This season sees the return of Danish brand Bloomingville, as well as Bronte by Moon, Libra, Gisela Graham, Biggie Best, and Gallery. After its successful trial at Autumn Fair, Curated Meetings is scaling up for its official launch, offering more space, more meetings, and more sectors. Over 300 15-minute, pre-scheduled 1:1 meetings between vetted buyers and relevant brands, based on mutual interest, generated thousands of pounds of new business at Autumn Fair, and the programme now includes brands across all sectors including home, gift, lifestyle, fashion, accessories and jewellery, and a host of confirmed retailers with an average buying power of £330,000, says Hyve. As the buyer’s one-stop marketplace for everything new and on-trend for 2022, Spring Fair promises to be the ultimate home and design buying showcase



GLOBAL AMBITION Driven by innovation and design, CIFF (China International Furniture Fair) Guangzhou is a business platform of strategic importance both for China’s domestic market and for export development – indeed, it is the world’s largest furniture fair, representing the entire supply chain, bringing top-tier companies together, promoting new products, ideas, and solutions in order to meet constantly evolving market needs, and organising events both online and offline, as well as B2B meetings …

Following the mission statement ‘Design trend, global trade, entire supply chain’, the upcoming CIFF promises to significantly boost efforts to promote the entire furniture industry’s development, respond to new market needs, and offer new, concrete business opportunities for sector players. The success of CIFF Guangzhou 2021 – which recorded a visitor increase of +20.17% Yo2Y – means there is much enthusiasm and high expectations ahead of the next edition.

The 49th CIFF Guangzhou will take place in two phases, organised by product sector: the first, from 18th-21st March, will be dedicated to home furnishings, home decor and home textiles, and outdoor and leisure furniture; and the second, from 28th-31st March, will feature office furniture, furnishings for hotels, public and commercial spaces, healthcare facilities, and materials and machinery for the furniture industry. The Canton Fair Complex in Guangzhou, boasting a total area of 750,000m2 of exhibition space, is expected to host more than 4000 companies and over 300,000 trade visitors this coming spring, and CIFF will pay particular attention to international trade. The pandemic has strongly influenced the way relations between Chinese manufacturers and international customers are managed, and CIFF therefore intends to innovate and continue finding new solutions to further develop the network of over 200 world markets developed over 24 years of experience – offering buyers, purchasing groups and international ecommerce operators the necessary information, round-the-clock services, and an efficient, one-stop sourcing platform. For more information, visit CIFF’s website




This year’s Brussels Furniture Fair successfully concluded just last month – but, explains the show’s GM, Lieven Van den Heede, there’s plenty to look forward to next year …

Lieven Van den Heede


“The Brussels Furniture Fair is the key moment for the furniture trade to view and compare the latest collections for the coming furniture year, all together in one place, and an efficient way to visit established suppliers, and make discoveries with new ones,” says Lieven. “A relevant commercial offering in a convivial setting has been Brussels Furniture Fair’s trademark for years. A buyer who wants to pay an efficient visit to the fair, with its more-than 300 exhibitors spread across seven halls, has a number of options. “Firstly, the fair is split up into a series of segments, based on the style that the manufacturers offer. Are you looking for contemporary, modern furniture? Then City, in halls 3, 4 and 5, is where you should start your visit. The creme de la creme of the Belgian furniture industry proudly showcases its wares in the imposing Hall 5, and you’ll find strong international manufacturers in halls 3 and 4. “Are you in search of something a little sleeker? Then visit Hall 3, where you’ll find affordable design in Square. Or is the country or industrial look more your thing? In that case, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Fusion, in Hall 8. “In Holland à la Carte, in the Patio,

the two styles come together. Here, the common thread is the Dutch manufacturer. “For sleep specialists, it couldn’t be simpler – Brussels by Night in Hall 6 groups together Belgian and international manufacturers of both technical innovations and stylish sleeping concepts. Or is your clientele looking for price-conscious furniture? If so, don’t miss Mozaïek in Hall 9. “You are also welcome to rest up for a while in one of the furniture fair’s bars, which offer surprising food concepts, and a drink or a snack free of charge. So, treat yourself to a delicious coffee or a glass of Belgian beer! You can fill any small gaps with a fresh croissant in the morning, or with soup, sandwiches or one of the small, original dishes in the afternoon. “And the party isn’t over when the fair closes its doors for the night. Brussels is a great city to explore, with something for every culinary taste. Would you like some help deciding where to head to? You’ll find our selection on the Brussels Furniture Fair website, featuring restaurants and bars in all price categories. That’s all part and parcel of an enjoyable trade fair visit!” Next year’s Brussels Furniture Fair will return to Brussels Expo in Heysel from 6-9th November

Brussels Furniture Fair

W W W. F U R N I T U R E F A I R B R U S S E L S . B E

6 → 9 NOV 2022 | 320513




GET BACK TO BUYING Birmingham’s NEC, the UK’s largest exhibition venue, will again play host to the UK’s premier furniture and interiors event, January Furniture Show (JFS), in 2022, with the four-day trade event running from 23rd-26th January. In a preliminary feature ahead of next month’s big preview, Furniture News presents a glimpse of what visitors can expect to find …


Among the many buying cycle disruptions brought about by the pandemic, the fact that it’s been some 22 months since January Furniture Show was last staged has been one of the hardest to endure. The wait for the industry’s key event has been long, and the appetite for it never greater – with its return to life next month, JFS promises to reconnect the industry and provide the muchneeded buying opportunity it has missed so much. At its heart, JFS’ greatest strength is the sheer number and breadth of suppliers which treat the fair as their principal shop window each year, and 2022’s exhibitor roster does not disappoint. As well as offering a wealth of importers, JFS promises an unrivalled concentration of British manufacturer brands, and their expertise will be on display throughout the show’s halls – most notably in beds, mattresses and upholstery. “Synonymous with quality, style, outstanding design and craftsmanship, British furniture is held in high esteem throughout the world”, says event director Russell Rule, “and the mix of designs and inventiveness on show from British companies at JFS will be second to none.


When your customers buy a La-Z-Boy, they’re not just buying a sofa, they’re investing in: • A place to relax & unwind • The heart of their home • Time with their family & friends • Their wellbeing

We are now members of the Made in Britain Association, demonstrating our commitment to British design & manufacturing. Our eight new ranges are all made in the UK with more to be unveiled at the January Furniture Show, Stand E32. For more information, please email:





“We have a full mix of prestigious British companies in upholstery, beds, cabinet and accessories showing at JFS in 2022, and we are proud to provide the optimum arena for them to display their ingenuity, creativity and desirable furniture.” Regular exhibitor Tetrad, for example, boasts significant expertise in making traditional British designs look brand new, through its Heritage, Harris Tweed and Signature collections. For over 50 years, Tetrad has pushed the boundaries of form and fabric choices – equally at ease producing traditional shapes dressed in tweed, the manufacturer also produces ultra-modern styles in vibrant colours, smoothly blending textures and materials. Another notable exhibitor is Sherborne Upholstery, which has nearly 90 years of British furniture manufacturing tradition behind it. Sherborne will present a considerable collection of cleverly engineered,

practical seating and beds, all designed with relaxation in mind – recliner chairs, settees, fireside chairs and stylish adjustable beds will all be on show. Family business Furmanac, meanwhile, has a 50-year history and a passion for creating high-quality beds and chairs, all designed to provide superior levels of comfort. The UK’s largest adjustable bed manufacturer and an industry leader in lift-andrecline chairs, Furmanac promises to be another destination stand, where visitors will see the latest models in the manufacturer’s Hestia, MiChair and MiBed collections. There will also be a wealth of international inspiration to hand, with more than 50 international brands coming to JFS, promising hundreds of new launches. These include Akante, ALF, Alfrank, AIMMP, Gala, B4 Living, Babi, Bambi Industria, Conciaria, Camel Group, Egoitaliano, FI-MA, Forte, Furninova, Genesis Fine Arts, Grafu Baldai, Incanto Italia/Digio Leather by Sofitalia, Italia Living, Jaipur, KUKA HOME, Mini Divani, New Trend Concepts, San Martino, SITS, Staud, Stone Italia, Tajoma, VIDA Living and UAB Lyra Group. JFS will give visitors the opportunity to source products from international brands made specifically for the UK market, adding a rich international offer to an already-wide range of exhibitors catering for every budget, style and taste. Read on to learn about the return of The Furniture Awards and see a few product highlights, and don’t forget to pre-register to attend on the JFS website, which also hosts a full exhibitor list



Visit our stand at the January Furniture Show, where we will be showcasing 7 new designs including painted, reclaimed, rattan and retro.

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BEST IN SHOW? With the return of the January Furniture Show next month, The Furniture Awards are back to celebrate the industry’s champions … the-furniture-awards

THE CATEGORIES Sustainability - Environmental and ethical concerns are more important than ever – do your materials or manufacturing processes make you a natural winner? This category is for any business that champions sustainable practices and demonstrates the will to make the world a better place.

The judges, from left: Malcolm Walker, Mike Murray, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, Royce Clark and Dids Macdonald

Best of British - As British-made goods gather momentum, are you delivering the best in homegrown design and build? This category is for businesses that principally manufacture in the UK,

Launched in January 2015 by Furniture News in partnership with the January Furniture Show, The Furniture Awards are an integral part of the exhibition. The 2022 awards will follow a new format, with entrants asked to explain why their business is leading the pack in one of the following categories: Sustainability; Best of British; Value; Design Innovation; and Global Player. “Do your products or processes make you a natural winner, or is original design at the heart of your business strategy? Do you offer unbeatable value, or feel you represent the best of homegrown or import approaches? “For 2022’s awards, we’re looking to recognise the industry’s champions across new categories, and make an even bigger deal of their achievements

at the event,” says awards co-ordinator, Furniture News’ Paul Farley. “For suppliers putting their best foot forward at the upcoming exhibition, the awards are a great opportunity to stand even taller in the sector – so don’t miss your chance to enter!” Paul will chair a judging panel consisting of: Malcolm Walker (FIRST MW); Deirdre Mc Gettrick (; Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers); Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID); and Mike Murray (Land of Beds and AIS). January Furniture Show exhibitors can find the entry form on the January Furniture Show website, and will need to enter by Friday 3rd December 2021. The entries will be assessed online, with the shortlist and winners announced in January, ahead of the show.

and demonstrate high standards of output, with regard for their place in the local economy and industry.

the way when it comes to good product design? This category is for any business that puts original design at the heart of its strategy – entries should include visual evidence of these directions, plus detail of their route to market.

Value - Price and perceived value are critical. Are you offering commercially minded products, at margins retailers can get excited about – and do you have the figures to prove it? This category is for any business that prides itself on offering good value, and giving customers the best possible bang for their buck. Design Innovation - You may push the boundaries of creativity, or simply deliver impeccable style – but are you leading

Global Player - The pandemic has been tough on importers, forcing them to work tirelessly to ensure they have the product and processes to succeed. This category is for any business that majors in imports, and their entry will need to reflect their strengths in product development, pricing and fulfilment, plus details of how their offer is tailored to the UK marketplace.


THE JUDGES Malcolm Walker, owner, FIRST MW For nearly 50 years, judging panel mainstay Malcolm’s career has revolved around retail and home furnishings. Formerly director of product for Furniture Village, Malcolm now runs his own consultancy business, and works on retail strategy with the likes of Sterling Furniture, and with suppliers in the UK, Europe and Asia on design, development and concept realisation. Mike Murray, MD, Land of Beds, and non-executive director, Associated Independent Stores (AIS) Returning judge Mike’s family business is one of the UK’s leading bed retailers. He was awarded the Shell LiveWire Young Entrepreneur of the Year award early in his career, and his business has won awards including the High Sheriff Award for Enterprise, NBF Independent Retailer of the Year, and the National Family Retail Business of the Year. Deirdre Mc Gettrick, founder, In 2018, after raising £1.8m in seed investment, Deirdre founded, an online search and comparison engine which enables consumers to search, compare and shop furniture from across the retail market. In 2020, she won the New Entrepreneur of the Year accolade at the Lloyds Bank National Business Awards. Royce Clark, MD, Grampian Furnishers Grampian Furnishers is an independent retailer, founded in 1975 and based in North-east Scotland. Returning judge Royce, a former football chairman and hotelier, has run the family business for over 25 years, and in 2018 expanded it into a 30,000ft2 purpose-built premises in Elgin. Dids Macdonald OBE, CEO, Anti Copying In Design (ACID) Returning judge Dids has over 35 years’ experience in the design industry. She co-founded ACID, which today represents thousands of designers in the creative industries. She is also a past master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, where her One Step at a Time campaign enlisted trade representatives to convey the charity’s welfare provision to their employees. Current Master David Woodward will be present at the show to outline Step 2 It, the campaign’s new stage. Dids says: “In a highly competitive world within this sector, stealing the march with a coveted award is highly sought after.”

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Six Greenwood Sales during 2020 & 2021

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CUSTOMER FOCUSED The team at Gallery Direct continually works hard to help customers, and a lot of this takes place behind the scenes – from decisionmaking, such as what the minimum order should be, to designing and developing new products, and from improving customers’ purchasing journeys to streamlining the logistics and delivery process …

A taste of Gallery’s SS22 Collection

To help smaller retailers in particular, Gallery has no minimum order quantities. The supplier also offers low carriage-paid order levels of just £250 for soft furnishings, accessories and lighting, and £750 for all other product categories. In recent years, the business introduced its own transport fleet for deliveries, giving it more control, and enabling it to offer better customer service. The fleet of lorries and vans has been expanded to keep up with demand, and Gallery can even offer dropshipping by agreement with the customer’s ASM. With its large UK warehousing space, Gallery holds vast quantities of stock in the UK, ready for quick delivery – and this holding will increase still further in 2022, with around three quarters of a million finished pieces of stock in Q1 when Gallery’s huge new facility near Chesterfield becomes operational. MD Peter Delaney says: “We took the decision to expand our warehousing as we wanted to increase our UK stockholding to improve our delivery times, in order to help customers

with their own stock control. With the combination of our current warehousing and this new facility, along with our own distribution fleet, we will be able to serve 96% of our clients’ orders with one-day delivery. “Over recent months, we have also been working incredibly hard developing a new website, which is due to launch at the beginning of December. Some of the benefits of this for our clients include easy navigation, with filters for finding products, accurate stock levels, individual product information, easy online ordering, and the ability to track their orders. We’ve really tried to make it user friendly, with all the information customers will need. We want Gallery, and our website, to offer the complete home and outdoor solution, all in one place.” One of the key things Gallery is renowned for is its continual development of new products, to stay ahead of trends and give customers more choice. This is set to continue in 2022, with the launch of the impressive SS22 Collection at the January Furniture Show and Spring Fair. Featuring over 1300 lines, this will offer new products across all Gallery’s main categories, including new sub-categories, to expand its range of products still further. To find out more about Gallery, and to be among the first to view the SS22 Collection, visit the company on stand 2-E40 at JFS, or stand 7A30-B31 at Spring Fair


C OM I N G 2022

View our full collection online at


EVENTS JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW Monaco corner run in white and pebble grey


Monaco in pebble grey

Award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is to unveil new ranges and showcase its bestselling collections at JFS. Visitors to stand 4-C50 will be the first to see the latest additions to the Wiemann catalogue. The company will also exhibit its leading premium range, Monaco, which has proved a hit during 2021, plus other carefully chosen collections. All Wiemann products are known for their impressive design, quality and value, and are backed up by the company’s five-star customer support service. Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture, says: “Our JFS display will demonstrate how Wiemann offers a total bedroom solution for all.”



La-Z-Boy will launch six brand-new ranges from stand 5-E32. Three will join the company’s Made in Britain collection, following the eight revealed at the Manchester Furniture Show. Having acquired Lancaster manufacturer Furnico, La-Z-Boy is now part of the Made in Britain association, supporting its commitment to British manufacturing.

Wiemann offers a total bedroom solution for all Ensuring your bedrooms are a breeze with the right designs, prices, quality and support


Come and see us at the January Furniture Show, NEC, Birmingham, January 23-26 2022 in Hall 4, Stand C50

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EVENTS JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW Petrified wood side table


Marble plinth coffee table

Despite being unable to travel, close and longstanding relationships with suppliers has enabled Bluebone to secure an array of impressive new products for introduction at the January Furniture Show. “As always, design details are paramount, and this year inventive packing and stacking has also become key,” says sales manager, Elaine Anderson. “We can’t wait to show you our warm Monochrome story, featuring bold blackand-white-printed plinths and columns. “Other new launches for January 2022 include the Tokio Rope collection of homewares, and two long-awaited Bluebone bedroom ranges. Finally, our garden ranges have grown (pun intended) so much that we have dedicated an entire stand to our Outdoor Living collections.” Discover Bluebone’s latest additions on stands 2-F10 and 2-F20.



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As TCS moves into its 25th year, the supplier reflects on some of the achievements and innovations it has brought to the furniture sector – from fixed prices to the door, the options available from a single model and nationwide official stockists, to pocketsprung seating as standard, direct home delivery, and a simplified supply chain – all introduced for the benefit of its customers …

Ashford static fabric sofa

Royal Coil Supreme mattress

From its initial range of leather upholstery in 1998 to supplying quality products for the entire home (living room, kitchen, bedroom and flooring) the gradual progression of TCS’ offer has always been considered appropriate to the marketplace, and of a quality and value to benefit independent retailers and help sales throughout the years. Independent retailers are the backbone of TCS’ business, and it continually strives to enable independents to receive the quality they expect, at a price that will ensure they maximise profits and improve their bottom line.

Over the past two years, and with the majority of independent retailers unable to trade for long periods from their stores, TCS has remained loyal to its original ethos of providing service, quality and value to stockists, and has done all it can to help its customers achieve the all-important sales they need. With the introduction of targeted price points and all orders delivered from stock within 7-14 days, the company has focused on what independents have been asking for. The core stable of products now offered to TCS’ customers includes its Designer Collection of static fabric sofas, and the Contemporary Sleep Collection, Royal Coil Collection and Royal Coil Natural Sleep Collection of mattresses, alongside the popular 12mm laminate flooring, with targeted price points across all products. On looking to the future, the company has pledged to continue innovating for the benefit of its customers, and adhere to its ethos of service, quality and value, working harder to bring stockists the quality products their customers want, with the value and service they need. To find out more about TCS’ furniture range, visit the company’s website, call 00353 429 351351 or email info@

“This “This is is the the most most exciting exciting product product in in the the bed bed industry” industry”

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NEXT GENERATION Selected by judges as the best of this year’s Young Furniture Makers crop, another handful of worthy winners has joined the Young Furniture Makers Awards alumni …

The Young Furniture Makers Awards – the student equivalent of The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Guild Marks – recognise excellence in the fields of bespoke and design, and every year the company receives a huge number of entries, with the most impressive traditionally invited to show at the Young Furniture Makers exhibition in London, to be scrutinised by the judges in person. This year, a virtual exhibition featuring 55 shortlisted designs took place instead. The judges were: Zoë Bonser, portfolio director at Clarion Events; Chris Hyde, director of curriculum at Activate Learning; Peter Sharratt, technical support advisor at Blum; Alan Styles, MD of Axminster Tools & Machinery; and Charles Vernon, past master of The Furniture Makers’ Company. The winners were invited to a ceremony at Furniture Makers’ Hall in October where they were presented

with their awards by the master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, David Woodward, and Zoë Bonser. David comments: “It was a huge pleasure to be able to present the 2021 Young Furniture Makers Awards to these talented and charming young people. I wish them all well for their future in our fantastic industry.” Zoë says: “Nurturing the creative, technical, design and craft talents of the next generation of furnituremakers is so indescribably important, and we’re thrilled to be giving our support to the Young Furniture Makers Awards.” Alan adds: “Axminster Tools is committed to helping to build a sustainable future for the furniture industry. In order to preserve traditional crafts, it’s vital that we continue to support and develop fresh new talent. It’s a privilege to be involved with the Young Furniture Makers Awards – the level of innovation, design and craftsmanship is truly wonderful to experience”

From left: Joe Geehan, Noah Samson, Charlotte McGowan and Harry Peck




Spiral Seating Structure, Annabel Harris

Tambour Door Unit, Noah Samson

Set Tee, Charlotte McGowan

Aero, Joe Geehan

Bespoke Award First place: Joe Geehan for Aero Second place: Finn Timmins for Regenerated Kumkio Third place: Charlie Teager-Neale for the Onyx Cabinet “I am very proud to have received such a prestigious accolade,” says Joe. “It has been a really big confidence boost as I move into the furniture industry.”

Design Award First place: Charlotte McGowan for Set Tee Second place: Harry Peck for the Wave Cycle Third place: Jack Buttling for HUDL “Winning a Young Furniture Makers award has given me some amazing opportunities to display my work, on platforms which might not have seen it otherwise,” says Charlotte. “The awards mean so much to me, as it feels like a validation of all our efforts, to produce and design, despite being in a pandemic with limited resources.”

School Design Award Joint first place: Noah Samson for Tambour Door Unit Joint first place: Annabel Harris for the Spiral Seating Structure Third place: Oliver Stiff for Bar Keeper “This was an amazing experience – not only to win the award, but also to exhibit my piece in London and have the opportunity to speak to those in the furniture industry,” says Annabel. “My piece was a challenging design to create and required many processes and new techniques. I am currently studying architecture at Cardiff University, and this award has opened new doors and opportunities in the field of design, which will be valuable in my career going forward.” Noah comments: “When I came to the show in 2019, I saw the quality of the work on display and made it my goal to have one of my future pieces showcased at the event. So, when I found out I had won, I was more than thrilled to know that people viewed my work in the same light as those from the previous years, and that all of my hard work and dedication throughout the uncertainty of lockdowns was being recognised.”

Innovation Award First place: Joe Geehan for Aero Special Commendation: Harry Peck for the Wave Cycle “Designing and crafting Aero has been an incredible journey, testing me in ways I would have never expected,” says Joe. “I have loved every second of it! The additional challenges of Covid have taught me how important teamwork and togetherness are in all aspects of life.”

Best in Show Winner: Charlotte McGowan for Set Tee “I have known about the awards since I started university,” says Charlotte, “and had even visited as an intern at Luke Hughes – the exposure which comes with the award is really beneficial when entering a competitive industry like design, as it introduces us to industry professionals too.”



UNREAL ENGINE Orbital Vision is a creative design agency based in Long Eaton, Derbyshire – the UK centre of quality upholstery and manufacturing. Orbital’s “unreal team of creatives” specialises in CGI for the furniture and interiors industry. With years of specialised knowledge and experience in the field, the agency is known for producing an exceptional array of photorealistic imagery for its clients …


Over the past year, Orbital has taken a different approach to working with its clients, by offering additional support in marketing and ecommerce strategies – the agency works closely with clients to understand their business needs, and offers advice on what can be achieved when making the most of CGI. Orbital prides itself on being a onestop-shop for the furniture industry, supplying clients with everything they need to sell a product online (apart from the physical product itself). With online shopping more popular than ever, customer expectations are only growing, says Orbital Vision’s director, Rob Walker, and showing a piece of furniture in all available fabrics is no longer enough to secure a sale: “Customers want to experience an online try-beforeyou-buy shopping approach, and if businesses aren’t keeping up with tech trends, customers will find somewhere else to shop.

“After talking with our clients about what we can do to help them further improve their ecommerce capabilities, we discovered that most were all missing the same thing – a product configurator.” In timely fashion, Orbital Vision is about to launch its own product configurator, enVision, which comes with an array of features ready to be plugged into any website – whether a site is built in WordPress, Magento, Shopify or any other platform, Orbital can integrate it. enVision allows customers to fully customise, rotate, zoom in or out, and view products on any web or mobile browser, on any device. Sellers will also be able fully customise their product with running costs, and will have access to many more useful features, such as adding product dimensions or animating each product to open and close.


Orbital’s product configurator, enVision, comes with an array of features, ready to be plugged into any website

Real or not real? The images behind Orbital’s popular online spot-the-difference challenges (see overleaf) begin with bare frameworks before colour is added

To top it off, enVision will also allow customers to view products in their own home, with the built-in, app-less AR viewer (see our discussion on p54). All of this runs as a website plug-in, meaning set-up is quick and easy, with added CSS to make sure the customiser fits with the client’s individual branding – and the add-to-basket feature means enVision can be seamlessly integrated into existing online stores. Benefits to retailers include offering an upgraded shopping experience, increased sales, reduced returns, an increase in new and returning customers, and an improved overall customer-business relationship, due to better management of customer expectations. Manufacturers can also expect to see an increase in sales, as they will be able to supply their retailers with exceptional digital assets. In the same way as online shoppers want to experience more online, manufacturers should expect to see an increase in customer uptake, as they will have more to offer retailers than their competitors, says Rob. With big benefits and small costs, enVision allows customers to have a more personalised and interactive shopping experience, as well as making them feel more involved in the design process (according to Forbes, brands using configurators reduced their online return rates by -80%). “The possibilities of CGI are endless,” says Rob. “Once you have a furniture model built in CGI, you can use it endlessly to bring an upgraded ecommerce experience to your customers.” If Orbital already has a retailer’s product built for the

manufacturer, it’s a quick switch-on process for the team to put it live on a site. Orbital’s focus on delivering imagery of unrivalled quality means the team is also able to supply clients with lifestyle imagery to sit alongside enVision. “With traditional photography becoming increasingly expensive and difficult (not to mention the environmental impact), CGI allows you to create endless shots, styled to your preference,” states Rob. “So, as the seasons change, in hand with the trends, these digital assets become a vital tool needed for an unsurpassed speed to market. “Not only this, but Orbital can also animate the room to bring your products to life – all at a fraction of the cost of a photography or video shoot. “With enVision launching at the January Furniture Show, we’ll not only be able to offer our clients incredible imagery and marketing assets, but will now have a complete digital sales package – with everything you need to sell a product online. “It’s time to get ready for change. Contact our unreal team of creatives today!”










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THE FUTURE OF PHOTOGRAPHY IS CGI IMAGINE... If you could show every product on a location shoot. If you could have photo realistic imagery at a fraction of the cost. If you could see your products in a dream location without lifting a finger... ... You can with CGI

ACCELERATE ONLINE SALES WITH enVision enVision allows customers to fully customise, rotate, zoom in or out, and view your products in their own home from web or mobile browsers on any device.

View your products as a 3D model full screen in a fully 3D environment AR

Create immersive shopping experiences with our built-in, app-less AR viewer Fully customise your products with running costs Seamless integration, works across all browsers and devices Fully customise each product, allowing users to see every possible variation before adding to basket

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Cylindo is just one of the tech specialists pioneering the use of AR in the furniture industry


WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE Hold the phone! Augmented reality (AR) is set to revolutionise the way people shop for furniture online – so why hasn’t the industry fully embraced it yet? Paul Farley probes some of the sector’s top tech minds for answers … Firstly, the basics. Not quite virtual reality (VR, a fully immersive computer-generated experience that tends to involve a cumbersome and expensive array of headset and motion paddles), augmented reality (AR) involves the placement of virtual objects into real-world environments, usually through a viewing device such as a smartphone or tablet. Want to see how that sofa would look in your own living room? Whether it’ll fit the space, and what the best configuration/colour/material might be? It’s all in the palm of your hand – in theory. AR technology as we know it has gathered momentum for over a decade. In 2008, BMW Mini published a printed advert which, when viewed through a computer’s camera, generated a virtual model of the car in the ad, which could be viewed from various angles by moving the paper around. Since then, we’ve seen everything from gamers hunting virtual monsters in Pokémon Go, to virtual dressing rooms complete with smart mirrors. In the homewares sector – arguably a prime candidate for try-before-you-

buy applications – IKEA has led the way, with a whole catalogue of home products that can be ‘placed’ and viewed anywhere in a room, by any shopper with a smartphone (and recently evolved into complete room-design tool, IKEA Studio). Rapidly advancing mobile technology means most UK consumers now have the key to AR in their hands, and, with online sales flying, it’s hard to imagine a future without this technology at the heart of the ecommerce experience. So, what’s stopping the trade embracing it with open arms? Firstly, there are relatively few ways to engage with AR other than through dedicated apps (which first have to be downloaded), creating a significant barrier to more mainstream use. In an investigation of Europe’s top furniture brands earlier this year, visualisation specialist Cylindo found that none of the companies surveyed boasted web-native AR (which enables the creation of an AR preview directly from the browser). In the US, the proportion stood at just 3%. “No question for me that AR will have to be web-native,” David Kohn, Heal’s

This month’s panel, from left: Dalia Lasaite, Paul Galley, Paul Stott, Rob Walker and Janus Jagd

customer and ecommerce director, told Cylindo. “Most furniture retailers will struggle to persuade enough customers to load their specific room-planning app, so they will have to rely on their web presence.” There’s also the problem of integrating the technology with existing websites, its difficult-to-ascertain ROI, and the myriad of challenges facing retailers and suppliers in a world rocked by Covid-19. Some furniture businesses are only just setting foot on the ladder to AR, by creating virtual 3D models of their products for use in online images, 360° views and configurators. Admittedly, it can feel ahead of its time – but all the evidence indicates that AR is coming, and it promises to radically transform the way people shop for furniture. The experts urging the trade to get in on the ground floor in this month’s special feature are: Dalia Lasaite, CEO and co-founder, CGTrader; Paul Galley, MD, Symmetry CGI; Paul Stott, owner and director, The Virtual Works; Rob Walker, MD, Orbital Vision; and Janus Jagd, co-founder and CEO, Cylindo. Ready for some extra screen time? …




HOW MUCH DEMAND IS THERE FOR AR – AND WHAT’S HOLDING IT BACK? Dalia Lasaite: The global pandemic has certainly accelerated the ecommerce boom, creating a high demand for online shopping and buying. Most consumers were in lockdown and decided to update the space around them in their homes. But furniture upgrades and home improvement projects are hard to make decisions for online, without feeling the fabric or seeing the staged environment of a showroom. For furniture companies, this meant challenges in updating their website experiences to entice the customer to purchase products. Lockdown also meant no production or photography set-ups to visualise the pieces or spaces, unless they already existed pre-pandemic. AR and 3D models are the perfect solutions to the challenges of a physical world. The digital technology is able to produce not only lifestyle scenes with placement of pieces, but also place the piece in your desired space with AR. The cost of 3D modelling and using AR is also more economical than the logistics and production of photography. The only hold-back currently is the lack of awareness around the digital solution, and the question of who would manage the process from an ecommerce company. There’s usually a hesitation to innovate – unless your competitors are toying with new technology – but once the realisation sinks in that no expertise is required to get started, the benefits of AR and 3D are seen quickly, from positive website engagement metrics to overall revenue increases. Paul Galley: AR is appearing more and more as part of everyday life. It’s used on TV (Strictly Come Dancing, the Tour de France, news clips), and we’ve seen it


on sports clips promoting stadiums. It’s also appearing more frequently as part of online imagery packages – from TVs to kitchen products, rugs and furniture. Now is a perfect time to be getting to grips with AR, and a number of different factors will drive its growth. Consumers are increasingly more confident to buy online – we’re carrying less cash and are used to digital payments. There’s less hassle shopping online, and delivery is usually very quick. Online sales are steadily increasing YoY – the boom created during Covid saw online sales peak at 37.1% of all sales, and even though that’s dropped back to 25.9%, they are possibly up +50% YoY. The technology we all carry in our pockets is capable of supporting AR images. Any phone with an OS more recent than iOS 8 and Android 4.0.3 will support AR (estimates suggest that’s over 50% of devices). I would think you’re safe to assume that the techsavvy people with the new phones are the ones shopping online, which could mean that virtually everyone shopping online has the ability to view AR. Paul Stott: A third (33%) of people are more likely to make a purchase from AR-enabled product pages, versus those without. There’s no doubt it works, as the stats report, but the challenge for retailers is finding the right provider that understands furniture and can provide the suitable assets to fit the AR software. Without the assets, the AR software is a white elephant – a bit like opening a shop but not having anything worthy to put inside it. It still requires good assets to convince the buying public that what they are seeing is as photorealistic as possible. I recognised AR would play a significant role in online retail from an early point, but was so disappointed in how restrictive and expensive to access it was. Rob Walker: Online shopping is more popular than ever, and customer expectations are only growing. People want to see and experience as much

as they can online before buying the product. With AR, they can test out the product before buying it (at Orbital, we always say we are a one-stop-shop for the furniture industry, supplying you with everything you need to sell a product online, just not the physical product itself!). Many businesses have been forced to close all stores and move solely online, so implementing AR features on their sites is crucial to increase and maintain sales. One of the main challenges has been the speed at which these 3D models can download to a device. AR uses a live model, and the filesizes of these are quite large in order for the textures and details to remain realistic, which means the models can often take a while to download. However, due to the introduction of 5G, AR is becoming more accessible to everyone, and is expected to become an online shopping essential in the coming months. Janus Jagd: The disjointed user experience was the key reason why AR has had a low adoption rate. Until a few years ago, customers had to install an app to use AR. However, furniture retailers soon realised that it’s hard to convince customers to download an app they won’t use often. Furniture is not a frequently bought item, so there’s a big chance customers won’t bother downloading an AR app. Today, we are finally seeing the new generation of AR experiences – web-native, meaningful, relevant, with a frictionless and delightful user experience – the last stepping stone towards the mass adoption of AR in furniture. Mobile is an integral part of the way consumers shop nowadays, from browsing and research to comparison and purchase. With more than 3 billion AR-compatible devices, web-native AR can fuel furniture businesses’ growth. As we move toward more interactive experiences on Web 3.0, web-native AR will become an inevitable part of the buyer’s path to purchase – especially in the furniture industry.

23-26 JAN 2022 BIRMINGHAM NEC HALL 5 - STAND F30 “The countdown to the return of The January Furniture Show has begun. We will once again be exhibiting at the Birmingham NEC and we can’t wait to see all our loyal customers and show you all the new and exciting designs we are working on.” - Mike Aramayo





HOW IS YOUR BUSINESS HELPING ENABLE AR APPLICATIONS IN THE FURNITURE INDUSTRY? Dalia Lasaite: Thanks to technological advancements, retailers of all sizes can offer AR experiences to their shoppers. ARsenal by CGTrader enables app-less AR applications, so no additional app or extension is required. With the growing need for AR in ecommerce, furniture retailers have to find ways to become AR-ready at scale. At the forefront of this process is converting entire product catalogues to 3D models – a process that has numerous logistical, organisational and technical challenges when done for thousands of products. After helping retailers move tens of thousands of products to AR, and having more than 10 years of experience in 3D modelling, we have established efficient 3D modelling workflows that allow medium-to-large businesses to implement product digitisation on a massive scale. Paul Galley: Increasingly, we are supporting our clients not just with the old roomsets and cutouts, but a full online pack. These include interactive media – AR, 360° rotating views, configurators and video, all of which make the experience online a far more interactive one. This higher level of interactive imagery helps our clients stand out online, and with it shoppers have the ability to make an informed purchase, rather than browsing elsewhere. Finally, having a strong online folio of interactive imagery will mean you have the potential to trade through any further lockdowns. The key to all of this is getting your 3D assets in place. Every product needs a 3D model – this can be the one that was used in the design process, and is a valuable asset for the life of the product. Our clients who use us for design as well as CGI benefit greatly from this –

we supply imagery before anything is even made! To support our clients with AR, we have developed our own portal to host the models. This means we can manage any future changes and ensure that updates to the models are seamless. Although loading AR models onto a website is straightforward, the models are driven by code rather than an image, so a more detailed knowledge of your website is essential. To make this process as simple as possible, we help our clients load and share the models with their retail clients. AR models are not quite the same as the ones used to create a CGI image. To enable a quick download, the AR model needs to be as small as possible, and this requires a balance between simplifying the materials and the model’s details. Over time, as the internet gets quicker, we will be able to use less compression and offer more highly detailed AR. Paul Stott: In January, The Virtual Works will be opening the doors on a brand-new web-native AR which allows a potential customer to view their selected product quickly and easily without downloading any apps or interfering with their current website. The app works with both iOS and Android, and allows the customer to see their choice of product in their space and room of their choosing quickly and easily. This can be added to any client website, and is designed to be easily adapted to most social media platforms. We are already providing the industry’s top brands with AR models to fit their AR software, so, with the launch of our simple web-native AR, we can offer a one-stop shop, creating 3D assets for use in photorealistic product


imagery as well as AR models, whilst offering an online solution for endcustomers to view from their browser. Rob Walker: We are about to launch our product customiser, enVision. Our customiser will not only allow customers to view products as a 360° model, change materials and configure the shape and size, but they can view the product in their home through the AR function. You can download the model by scanning a QR code, which will open itin your camera app on your mobile and place the product in your home, to ‘try before you buy’. Envision is about to upgrade our clients’ ecommerce capabilities, increasing their online sales by offering their customers more. Janus Jagd: Today’s customer journey is more dynamic than ever, with endless possibilities and channels to make buying decisions. However, one thing has stayed the same – customers compare and analyse products before making the final decision, especially when buying big-ticket items. Using Cylindo AR, furniture businesses can empower customers to visualise how products look in their own space. The best part is they don’t need an app. Cylindo’s web-native technology makes AR available for everyone. As a result, furniture businesses witness a 33 x higher adoption rate than traditional mobile apps. To top it off, customers who use AR on average have a +112% higher conversion rate than someone who doesn’t use AR. Also, we’ve recently introduced the Cylindo QR code for AR, allowing shoppers to experience AR beyond the website. The QR code encourages webnative AR adoption, as buyers can now seamlessly transition from desktop to mobile with a simple code scan. This is just one of the numerous use cases. Retailers can leverage the QR code in the checkout, print media, showrooms, and other customer touchpoints to boost AR adoption and create an engaging furniture shopping experience


PRODUCTS BEDROOM Capri, in the new carbon finish



Vegan Helix

Capri, in its original white finish

Capri has proven to be a firm favourite for many years in its original white finish, says Core Products, and is now available in a luxurious new carbon finish, ready for the 2022 sales. Real-wood tops with an antique wax finish are complemented with a deep matt-painted MDF, giving a super-smooth finish which is accessorised with convex-shaped wooden handles. Drawers also feature real dovetail joints, a sure sign of quality. Capri is now stock for quick delivery either to the store or direct to the customer’s home – more details can be found in Core’s new 2022 catalogue, or by calling 01738 630555 or emailing

The Vegan stockist base is continuing to grow at Vogue Beds, with more joining ready for Veganuary (www. veganuary. com) – in which people pledge to go vegan for the month of January. In 2021, 580,000 people signed up for the exercise, with iNews reporting: “Record numbers go animal product-free for January 2021.” The Vegan mattress by Vogue Beds stockist programme sees retailers supported with PoS material along with

targeted social media adverts. Customers are encouraged to try the mattresses in stockists’ stores when they visit the Vegan by Vogue website, and the product is promoted nationally in Vegan Life magazine, one of the UK’s largest vegan publications. Vogue Beds’ commercial manager, Tim Dow, says: “We are seeing more enquiries for retailers wanting to join our Vegan stockist programme as January

gets closer. This opportunity will give retailers an on-trend product with a great story for the January sale period. “We feel the Vegan stockist programme is truly revolutionary, and I would encourage any retailers who are thinking about it to react now – we are definitely going to see a big push on plant-based and vegan products throughout January, in many different industries.”

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In 2020, Stressless released its most advanced recliner to date – Stressless Scott, a motorised recliner with the options of both heating and massage. Customer response to this luxurious model over the past year has proved so positive that Ekornes is launching a new model with the same impressive options …

Stressless Sam

A handy remote enables smooth motion control

Stressless Sam will hit retailers’ shopfloors for the winter sale, and will offer consumers the same options as Scott but with a different aesthetic – and arguably a more sumptuous feel, thanks to the generous cushion overpads in the seat and back. Stressless Sam also enables the consumer to choose a wooden finish for the sides of the recliner, to achieve a truly Scandi Luxe look.

With both models, the comfortable recliner action is achieved simply via an elegant remote control, which is always to hand as it easily attaches to the side of the chair. “These are perfect options for consumers who want the comfort of Stressless but are looking for something that is motorised, while still looking sleek and with a neat footprint,” states the manufacturer



PERFECT STORM? Shipping delays, surging prices, driver shortages … all at a critical trading period for retailers. Christmas is coming, and the goose is looking decidely undernourished this year. But what of the long-term implications? The latest KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank whitepaper tackles the supply chain crisis in the retail sector, exploring its causes, short-term impact, and potential to reshape the sector for the better …

The global challenges caused by subsequent months of shipping delays have led to significant concerns in the UK retail sector, with further disruption caused by Brexit and the HGV driver shortage adding to a considerable supply chain headache for retailer operators. While the recent sight of queues at petrol forecourts was relatively shortlived, for many consumers it painted a worrying picture of the UK’s resilience to global supply chain challenges. This concern would have been compounded by media reports of potential shortages of products and empty shelves in the run-up to the festive period. An inevitable crisis? Several complex and intertwined influences can be blamed for the current disruption to supply chains, including the long-term effect of the Suez Canal closure, a surge in the price of shipping containers, and the impact of cargo ships and containers becoming bottlenecked at ports around the world, including Felixstowe in the UK. The factors behind the crisis are broad and complex, and, while many people

may think this is a UK-centric problem, similar newspaper headlines can be read across the world, which emphasises the global nature of the situation. While this is a worldwide issue, UK businesses do not always have the scale or purchasing power of some of the big international players. Wal-Mart, for example, is hiring fleets of ships to ensure goods are continuing to flow. RTT members agree that the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that globally businesses are struggling with port and manufacturing closures, and pent-up consumer demand being released around the world. However, members do expect to see disruption ease as the effects of Covid-19 reduce and normal trading patterns return, but these factors will hinder the UK retail sector’s recovery. Members of the RTT agree that while the crisis is a global phenomenon, the UK was being hit particularly hard. International factors are clearly exacerbating the problems seen in the UK, but Brexit is a core factor that explains the UK-specific challenges around the supply chain. The reduction in European workers is hitting the

Globally, businesses are struggling with port closures and the release of pent-up consumer demand (image courtesy 123RF/nightman1965)

INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 65 logistics, fulfilment and agriculture sectors particularly hard, combined with a significant increase in demand for products, energy, transport, and labour. Jonathan De Mello, equity partner, CWM Retail Consulting, explains: “The crisis is being felt more acutely in the UK due to the additional disruption caused by Brexit, which has left one in six (or around 100,000) HGV driver vacancies unfilled. The pandemic is also somewhat to be blamed, but the shortage has been compounded by the departure of European workers. “Elsewhere in the supply chain, warehouse roles are proving to be so hard to find that retailers are being forced to offer incentives to prospective workers, including offers of £1000 joining bonuses to new warehouse staff, being just one example.” RTT members agree that a longstanding reliance on an abundance of cheap overseas workers has left the retail sector particularly vulnerable to the combination of HGV driver shortages and a significant uptick in the demand for labour. Martin Hayward, founder, Hayward Strategy and Futures, explains: “The current crisis was always going to happen, and the UK retail sector has had a long time to prepare for this. For too long the retail sector has lived off the seemingly inexhaustible supply of cheap foreign labour wherever and whenever it was needed. This, along with an expectation that the state should use the benefit system to top up low wages, has disincentivised UK workers from pursuing careers on the shop floor or in logistics.” Although the Government introduced a temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers to ease supply chain issues, RTT members feel it was unlikely that European drivers would be returning to the UK in great numbers. Nick Bubb, retailing consultant, Bubb Retail Consultancy, adds: “Brexit has clearly resulted in the UK suffering the most from the shortages of lorry drivers seen across other countries. In light of the poor working conditions and facilities in the UK, Brexit red tape at the borders, and the increasingly hostile environment for immigrants, we should not be surprised that there has been no great rush for European drivers to return.” These factors have combined to create a significant challenge for retailers ahead of their busiest quarter of the year, and

THERE IS SOME EVIDENCE THAT PEAK DISRUPTION IS BEHIND US, WITH CHINESE MANUFACTURING AND FREIGHT STARTING TO MOVE AGAIN have raised doubts about their ability to guarantee levels of stock in the run-up to Christmas. Merry Christmas? RTT members agree that although the UK retail sector has seen strong growth over the course of 2021, the challenges around supply chains and wider structural changes are starting to impact growth at the worst possible time. Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, says: “With Christmas trading representing such a critical period of the year for the sector, many retailers are understandably being very careful about their messaging. Getting this wrong could either trigger panic-buying behaviours or consumers switching their retailers of choice. “This should not hide the fact, though, that behind the scenes availability concerns across multiple categories are being vividly discussed. There has been widespread media reporting of various shortages over recent weeks, and a number of product categories could be impacted in some way. It remains highly likely that shortages will be seen over the Christmas period and could continue beyond, most likely well into 2022.” James Sawley, head of retail and leisure, HSBC UK, agrees, adding that a number of retailers are only achieving an intake of around 60% of their budget ahead of the peak Christmas period, which could put profit margins under pressure. “There is some evidence that peak disruption is behind us, with Chinese manufacturing and freight starting to move again,” he says. “Shipping cost indices such as the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI) and the Freightos Baltic Index recently declined slightly following 20 conservative weeks of growth, so the movement of goods and costs are improving. “In the long run, in the capitalistic world we live in, companies will tackle

the turbulence – prices of goods will rebalance when there is money to be made. However, I cannot see these issues being resolved in time for Christmas. Strong demand from consumers who are sat on pent-up savings and are keen to enjoy a more normal festive period after last year’s hiatus will place even greater strain on availability.” The idea that a “perfect storm” has hit retailers ahead of the coming quarter is shared unanimously by RTT members. Rising energy bills, inflation and supply chain delays have compounded the challenges faced over the last 18 months, to threaten serious disruption at a time which operators in the retail sector had hoped would be start of the sector’s post-pandemic recovery. Lessons for the future While the immediate focus around the supply chain crisis was on the festive period, RTT members agree that it could take some time for the complex circumstances to be resolved, adding long-term concerns to what could have been a very strong end to 2021. RTT member predictions with regards to the time it will take for retailers’ performance to return to a level of normality range between 12-18 months. However, members suggest that the current crisis could be the catalyst for a long-term restructuring of the sector. A new approach which puts localisation and a stronger boardroom understanding of retailers’ supply chains, combined with investment in automation and staff development, could help the industry to regain control of its manufacture and supply, and reduce its reliance on overseas workers. 1. Localisation As the current crisis has highlighted UK retailers’ exposure to the instability of international markets, RTT members agree that a greater emphasis on localised supply chains could stimulate



UK manufacturing and supply chains. As pandemic-enforced lockdowns forced consumers to shop closer to home, alongside a wider re-evaluation of values and lifestyles, it has been suggested that mass consumption and globalisation has reached a tipping point. However, it is important to note that, at a time of inflation and a sudden surge in energy prices, increasing costs due to localisation could hit the living standards of many UK families. Maureen Hinton, group retail research director, GlobalData, says: “It was only a few decades ago that M&S had carrier bags proudly stating that 90% of its products were made in Britain. However, we have seen a shift in consumer expectations, with much stronger demand for more choice combined with an ongoing search for cheaper products, resulting in sourcing moving offshore and globalisation now being highly prominent in retail. If the UK Government can get a grip on localisation, the sector could gain greater control of its manufacture and supply.” 2. Improving boardroom understanding Although the current supply chain crisis has pushed the issue of logistics and fulfilment up the list of priorities at board level, there is agreement among RTT members that the issue has been overlooked for too long and needed to be at the top of the agenda in order for the sector to develop effective solutions. For business leaders in the UK retail sector, visibility, board decisionmaking, a better understanding of data, and improving workplace culture are the four key strategic levels that can be utilised to mitigate against the worst disruption and limit future impact. Most organisations do not understand the range of their supply chains – including the product flows between suppliers, as well as the suppliers to their suppliers. It is essential to get a better understanding of the whole supply chain from end to end. It will also be vital for retailers facing availability pressures to be honest about the profitability and size of product ranges. While the largest retailers will be better placed to get through this, thanks to their scale and spending power, the mid-market retailers could be hit hardest. Gaining access to good data will help retailers to decide which orders to prioritise. Ultimately, the supply chain has to become a C-suite topic.

HISTORICALLY, THE AVAILABILITY OF CHEAP LABOUR HAS REDUCED THE REQUIREMENT OF THE INDUSTRY TO INVEST IN AUTOMATION 3. Investing in the retail workforce The retail sector also needs to invest more time and money into making a career in retail a more attractive proposition, with hopes that the current ‘war for talent’ could help the sector move beyond the gig economy model and develop more long-term career options. The current crisis has emphasised the importance of the retail workforce, and RTT members agree that this is a great opportunity for the sector to rethink its employment model and value proposition to ensure it can attract and retain staff. It is accepted that, while the sector is facing the huge cost of failing to build long-term career paths, instead of relying on cheap labour, the industry should look to develop better jobs and careers. Putting greater emphasis on customer service skills in the education system, alongside the current focus on developing skills for manufacturing or professional industries, would also help to upskill the retail workforce. While this investment in staff would cause some short-term discomfort, retailers would benefit from improved retention and more streamlined succession planning, as well as the bonus of potentially increasing sales because of better customer service. 4. Automation Alongside making the industry a more attractive proposition for workers, automation is highlighted as a key area to help the industry reduce its reliance on cheap labour, and free staff to focus on more productive activities than shelfstacking or stock checks. Consumer champion Martin Newman says: “Frontline workers have been treated very poorly for so long, with a lack of succession planning, inadequate training and fire-and-rehire policies just some examples. What’s more, the staff that are working on the shop floor are spending most of their time doing manual or administrative tasks, such as filling shelves, rather than focusing on customers. Automation will help staff to focus on what they used to do – selling.”

Historically, the availability of cheap labour has reduced the requirement of the industry to invest in the automation now increasingly prevalent in other sectors, such as manufacturing. However, the RTT agrees that the subject now needs to be revisited to future-proof retail against future crises. Andrew Firth, insight director at Ipsos, adds that the retail sector is starting to adopt an approach similar to other sectors. “We are seeing parallels in retail to what other sectors have been doing for years,” he says. “Contact centres are one example where automation has played a key role in reducing the reliance on human operators for simple tasks, allowing them to focus on delivering a great customer service. Ocado, for example, has invested in a UK startup that develops autonomous vehicles, with the aim of introducing AI-powered, selfdriving systems which can work across its fulfilment warehouses and the last mile, delivering groceries to customers’ doors.” Tough times and takeaways The supply chain crisis is being felt across the world as bottlenecks at major ports and shortages of shipping containers combine with upticks in demand for products, labour energy and transport. While many countries are feeling the effects of these challenges, there is no doubt that UK retailers are being hit particularly hard, due to their lack of scale and buying power. This is further compounded by Brexit reducing the number of European HGV drivers and other workers in the logistics and fulfilment sectors. Ultimately, the retail supply chain faces uncertainty in the short and medium term, and UK retailers are particularly exposed to the impact of any additional challenges. However, RTT members agree that the situation does provide an opportunity for the sector to reconsider the status quo, and help to place UK retail on a more solid foundation in the long term

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THE QUICK AND THE DEAD Tales of rampant growth and investment to meet pandemic-fuelled demand may be heartening to hear, but what happens when that demand ebbs? Bill McLoughlin, editor-in-chief of US trade magazine Furniture Today, suggests that those upsizing should consider what a reversal might look like …


We all know it’s coming. Sooner or later the supply and demand curves will again intersect and, at some undetermined point after that, supply will begin to outstrip demand. The critical question is when and, as importantly, how fast. That’s the $64b question. Even now – nearly two years into a global supply chain disruption that dramatically increased leadtimes, ballooned backlogs and raised freight costs to unprecedented levels – companies are still investing in people, facilities and equipment to keep pace with demand. Despite signs of slowing and an acknowledgement that dollar growth is dramatically outpacing unit growth, the home, and all that fills it, continues to be a focal point of consumer spending. And the effort to keep pace with that continues to drive investment spending in plant, people and equipment to keep pace. So what happens when the goods are flowing normally and the backlogs are gone? What happens when demand dips? I hesitate to use the phrase “returns to normal” because after two-plus years of global disruption, who knows what normal looks like? Comparing to 2019 only works for so long before changing demographics, market conditions and cost structures render those comparisons moot. However it’s measured, when demand slows, the industry could be a lot like a game of musical chairs – not everyone is going to have a seat. Figuring out how and when to take your foot off the gas, how and when to

reduce orders and stop hiring, or (audible gasp) begin downsizing people and facilities is going to be as important to companies’ survival in the post-pandemic marketplace as getting goods is right now. The just-in-time inventory model has been gut-punched by the pandemic, and for many the short-term solution has become more warehouses and deeper inventory (anyone out there sitting on a supply of left and right arms but no centres for their sectionals knows what I mean). So what happens when things start flowing again? Is just-in-time just in the past? Is deep inventory the new normal? And what happens when orders slow to accommodate the fact that demand is being sated? Does the business level at this new higher plateau and support new, higher-capacity infrastructure, or will this period of oversized demand be followed by one of oversized contraction? I don’t know the answer to these questions. If I did, I’d be writing an ad for consulting services, not a column flagging an upcoming fork in the road. What seems likely, however, is that the pandemics’ outsized impact, accelerating and exacerbating conditions already in existence at its outset, is likely to be just as outsized on conditions as we emerge. Even as companies continue investing to work around current challenges, it might also be worthwhile to give some thought and planning to what flexing down is going to look like. In the meantime, if anyone has a crystal ball they’re willing to share, give me a call


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STOP SELLING IN YOUR SOCIAL CHANNELS How many retailer Facebook pages have you visited recently? How many did you find ‘worthy’ of your visit? Your time? For some reason, retailers equate the “need for social marketing” with “big sale megaphone”, says RetailSystem’s Jesse Akre – and it’s a complete disconnect … It is about expectations. Ask anyone, as they are fixated on their phone, “what are you looking at?” Funny cats and awkward fails aside, most answers will be “looking at…”, or some variation of a product research and evaluation effort. Product information, reviews, testimonials, personal network input, how-to’s – the list goes on. However, “the big sale” is not on the list (yet). Let me ask you - as a consumer – how you feel when you are in a showroom, and the creeper creeps. You know – the salesperson you avoid eye contact with. I bet, like most, you have made evasive tactics a honed skill. OK, now fast forward. Social media. As a consumer, how would you feel if someone was sitting next to you in the comfort of your own home, or car, or work, or on the bus – saying “sale sale sale”? Retailers – look at your social media account. How many times in the last month have you talked about the big sale? Any sale? Any promotion?

Excessive? If you said “only once”, I would shake your hand – if you can also tell me that it is not your only post for the month. Content is king – useful, thought-provoking content. We’re in a DIY, “flip-it” world. Ever stop to count how many renovation shows are on Netflix and cable and satellite? Retailers, do you think your social visitors want the big sale all the time? Some of the time? Probably not. The big sale. Yes, it is OK to talk about the big sales event within your social media efforts. But it is a small sample of your total content library. Also, extra points if your ‘sale’ also has a social impact – meaning “Big Bed Event – a portion from every purchase goes to the [insert worthy charity].” Social is part of the growing ‘digital must’ for retail. It is a must, and must be done right. Remember, social media is an opportunity for an engaging conversation. It is your responsibility (and opportunity) to make it that!

Get on board Furniture News’ January flagship! JANUARY IS SET TO BE A TURNING POINT FOR OUR INDUSTRY. With the return of the January Furniture Show and other key events, the stage is set for hungry buyers – and we can help you make the most of it. January’s issue is a tour de force of trade insight, packed with products, previews and industry voices. It’s distributed from our stand at the January Furniture Show and at INDX Furniture (AIS), giving advertisers even greater visibility. Then there’s the NEC event’s Official Show Catalogue and Preview Magazine, which really puts exhibitors on the map. January’s bumper issue offers the following special features:

JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW The BIG preview of the UK industry’s main event, highlighting the best new product and where to find it BUYING GROUPS & ASSOCIATIONS Explaining why the industry is better together DELIVERY FULFILMENT The latest in logistics and transport from the industry’s specialists THE JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW OFFICIAL SHOW CATALOGUE AND PREVIEW MAGAZINE (SUPPLEMENTS) The approved on-site showguide helps maximise exhibitors’ efforts

It’ll also preview the INDX Furniture Show, Top Drawer and more, and present the latest in Bedroom, Dining, Living and Trade Services. January is a pivotal month for our industry. Is your marketing strategy ready to bite in 2022?

Call Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email




26/11/2021 13:09

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BELT AND BRACES As the furniture sector steps up a gear to celebrate the return of the January Furniture Show (JFS) – with the promise of more than 50,000 new products and collections on display – now is the time for designers and manufacturers to take their intellectual property (IP) pulse, writes Dids Macdonald, OBE, the CEO of Anti Copying in Design (ACID) …




Since we left the EU, and post-Brexit, there are some fundamental changes to UK IP protection. So, prior to exhibiting any new products or ranges, it would be good to ask, “Have I got the right protection?” For example, on 1st January, 2021, all UK designers lost automatic unregistered Community design protection in EU27. So, if you launch a new design at JFS and then exhibit in Milan, it will not have automatic design protection in the EU because there is no simultaneous publication. Simply registering your designs in the UK, and also separately in countries in which you will be trading, will help to protect them. Help is also available with an international registration which is valid in 75 countries through www.wipo. int/hague/en/. If you’re mainly trading in the UK and relying on unregistered design rights, look no further than the ACID IP Databank, which holds thousands of copies of designs, giving independent proof of existence when they’re received by us. Do you have a proactive IP strategy for new designs and brands? Key to a healthy IP strategy is to ensure that you protect your brand with a registered trademark, and if you’re using brands to protect a particular new range, register them as soon as possible. Trademarks are worth having in your IP armoury, and easier than designs to enforce. Data and trade secrets are king, so creating a policy for protecting technical details, specifications and customer lists is a no-brainer. Always ensure that confidentiality agreements are in place with your employees, so that if they move to other companies, sensitive company information is not shared. With the expansion of global markets comes the challenges of finding

solutions when copying is discovered on social media and online platforms. So, it is important to have the help necessary to ensure speedy takedown and to have the appropriate IP registrations in place, as many will require evidence of your IP ownership. Also, be aware of the permissions that you automatically give when you create an account. Did you know that on Facebook there are 120 million fake users, and Twitter suspended 925,700 accounts in the first half of 2021? Also critical are the rules about defamation, if you accuse someone of using your content without permission. Taking a few simple steps can mitigate any risk of defamation on social media – for example, be aware of what you’re saying, control the meaning, only say what you can prove and phrase your comments carefully – use “believe”, “claim”, “allege”, or quote facts or statistics “according to x”. You want your audience to understand you are offering an opinion. Lastly, make sure the opinion is based on true facts. Keep quiet if you can’t prove the facts. In other news, for the third time I am honoured to be joining an esteemed group of judges for the much-coveted accolade, The Furniture Awards, run alongside JFS. The Design Council’s Design for Planet campaign is resonating post-COP26, so sustainability is high on my list of criteria. After all, if you’re not designing for the planet, what planet are you on? Also key will be the demonstration of a proactive IP strategy. JFS is an ACID-accredited show, and organiser Clarion are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to IP theft – supported by the ACID team, who will be present to offer help with any copying issues and give free IP advice




THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Lee Ness (Global Upholstery Solutions) Clean and muted

Rob Scarlett (Scarlett Furniture Design) A vintage indoor jungle with fresh, modern accents Adam Ashborn (Reborn Marketing & Design) Transitional interior design – a clean colour palette, with elements of organic materials, accent colours and accessories to make the room features/furnishings stand out Adam Hankinson (Furniture Sales Solutions) Classic and in keeping with our family and sociable lifestyle


Emma Leeke (Leekes Retail) Glam Luxe Henrik Pontoppidan (S2U Design Containers) Minimalistic

Mike and Karen Rowley (Core Products) Being a former vicarage, it has evolved over the years – we have retained original ecclesiastical features but admit to being ones to continually evolve the interior decor. Currently our styling is Soho House style and modern industrial, with recent furniture additions from Kelston House and Worth upholstery, accented with silverware from Georg Jensen and Abigail Borg wallcoverings

#387 December 2021



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Will augmented reality (AR) revolutionise retail? JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW CGI MARKETING | SHOWTIME LIVING | BEDROOM

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Moda Furnishings’ founder gets future-proof The long and the short of the supply chain crisis

25/11/2021 18:32

Anne Davies (Room to Grow) I’d say contemporary. I enjoy building on minimal style and making it my own

Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture) My own home is, on the whole, contemporary – although each room is different, and we are currently working on theming a couple of rooms to more of a retro style

Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins) Clean, fresh, comfortable and homely Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID) Eclectic – a fuse of contemporary, traditional and cutting edge

Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers) Minimal, modern and a work in progress

Steve Adams (Mattress Online) I’m currently renting, so it’s a little early 2000s – I’m looking for somewhere I can put a simple, modern touch on classic Victorian architecture Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery UK) Rustic/bohemian


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