Furniture News #391

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#391 April 2022


Join At The Helm’s bold adventure

A man’s world?


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Loaf’s Nick Holmes steps up The direction of furniture ecommerce

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

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DESPITE THE VISIBLE GROWTH OF THE NUMBER OF WOMEN IN MANAGEMENT ROLES, A MARKED DISPARITY IN REPRESENTATION AND PAY STILL ENDURES It’s finally here. Since last experiencing the heady blend of satisfaction and exhaustion that accompanies each January Furniture Show, we’ve waited nearly 27 months for it to come back around, and it’s the industry fixture many of us have missed the most. Having overcome more than its fair share of false starts and tribulations, organiser Clarion is primed to deliver, and the trade is hungrier than ever to re-engage at scale – get a taste of what’s being served up from p78, and find us there on stand 5-D4. In the meantime, welcome to our biggest issue since January 2020. Either side of that huge preview, you’ll find a host of product, people and perspectives that I hope will inform and inspire the way you do business. Insightful accounts take the lead, as we get the lowdown from Artisan Furniture’s Amit Basu (p52) and exclusively celebrate Libra’s 50th birthday with MD Paul McLaughlin (p44). Find out why Nick Holmes, the manager of Loaf’s Solihull ‘shack’, has been singled out for praise (p40) – and, following up on January’s in-depth profile feature, read the latest from Qualita’s Andrius Miničius from p61, including his thoughts on the invasion of Ukraine (see the dedicated articles on for more on the evolving situation). As well as a preview of INDX Beds & Bedroom (p72) and a bounty of new product and trade service offers, further in you’ll find a discussion around the likely directions of ecommerce in the

wake of the pandemic (192), an analysis of the changing consumer tastes driving online sofa demand (p156) and tips on selling through social media (p198). US commentators Gordon Hecht (p204) and Bill McLoughlin (p196) share their respective views on selling children’s beds and evaluating trade show performance, and to close (p210) we reveal our feedback panel’s favourite places to shop (with a few sheepish admissions!). But before all that, there’s our lead story – a long-overdue exploration of our industry’s shifting gender balance, and a celebration of women’s role in the sector. Despite the visible growth of the number of women in management roles, a marked disparity in representation and pay still endures in all but the most progressive of businesses. How much progress has gender equality made in the past decade? What barriers still stand in its way, and how can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in our trade? It’s a necessary (and eye-opening) conversation – discover what some of the trade’s leaders have to say on the matter from p14. I really hope you enjoy this month’s issue. Back in October 2019 (it feels like a lifetime ago) we restyled the magazine’s format, and At The Helm’s gorgeous Camden sofa graced our front cover – so it seems only fitting that the brand has returned to the fore as we go boldly into the industry’s defining event. If fortune favours the brave, perhaps now’s the time to strike out for uncharted horizons?


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.

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Paul Farley 01424 776101



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#391 April 2022



Join At The Helm’s bold adventure


14 INSIGHT 14 The gender balance / 40 Loaf / 44 The Libra Company 52 Artisan Furniture / 54 Furniture To Go 57 Furniture Club Direct / 61 Qualita

A man’s world?


Loaf’s Nick Holmes steps up New directions for furniture ecommerce?

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68 EVENTS 68 Bed Show / 70 BFM Fabric Show London 72 INDX Beds & Bedroom



82 The Furniture Awards / 84 Hall 1 / 90 Hall 2 100 Hall 4 / 124 Hall 5

156 PRODUCTS 156 The great sofa search / 162 Living / 168 Dining 172 Bedroom / 176 Trade servicess

192 OPINION Tina Chander, head of employment law, Wright Hassall LLP


192 Ecommerce directions / 196 Rethinking market metrics 198 Streamlining social / 200 Managing consumer complaints / 204 The potential of children’s beds 206 Menopause in the workplace / 209 SFC / 210 Feedback

40 Peter Holland, MD, Linear Structure


Susan Inglis, resident expert and educatorin-chief, Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC)

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Arighi Bianchi has launched an interior design studio headed by interior designer Katy Froggatt

GNG Group has completed a deal to acquire the assets and IP of The Foam Company, which was placed into administration on 28th February. “We consider the company’s Sleepshaper and luxury Sonlevo mattress brands to be a good fit with our product ranges, offering great potential for future development,” says MD Darren Potterton

John Lewis Partnership narrowed its losses considerably in the year to January 2022, reporting a loss before tax of £26m (491m better than last year), while profit before exceptional items rebounded to £181m (up +38% YoY). The period saw John Lewis achieve its highest-ever LFL sales to date, of £4.9b – up +8% YoY. Yo2Y, John Lewis’ LFL sales were up +10%

CIFF Guangzhou, which was due to take place last month, has been postponed due to a rising wave of Covid-19 infections across China

Sealy has opened a new “world-class” spring plant in Aspatria, Cumbria, drawing on resources from its Australian owner, Sealy Australia and Sealy US

IKEA owner Ingka Group has announced a £1b investment into London over the next three years as it explores “new and existing ways to shop and bring people together, including new services, city-centre stores, developing existing stores and new fulfilment and delivery capabilities”


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M&S CEO PASSES BATON TO NEW TEAM After six years in the role, M&S CEO Steve Rowe (pictured) will stand down on 25th May as part of a planned succession programme. The ex-Wesfarmers and Steinhoff CEO Stuart Machin will become chief executive, and will take on responsibility for the day-to-day leadership of the business and the executive committee, with responsibility for HR and corporate communications. Katie Bickerstaffe will become co-chief executive, with a focus on driving the global omnichannel, digital and data future of the business. She will retain her existing portfolio including responsibility for Clothing & Home, MS2, International and Financial Services. Eoin Tonge will be appointed chief strategy and finance officer. In addition to his current responsibilities, he will play an enhanced role in leading the future development of the business. Steve Rowe joined the business from school at the

age of 15 and rose through the ranks, culminating in his appointment as chief executive in 2016. Early in his tenure he outlined a far-reaching transformation programme. M&S has since gone through a period of significant change, and it is now in a very different shape from the business Steve took over. Steve has agreed to remain as an adviser to the new leadership team for up to 12 months.

DFS SALES DECLINE AGAINST STRONG COMPARATIVES DFS has announced its interim results for H1 (ended 26th December 2021). Now operating on a larger scale than prior to the pandemic – more than +15% larger – DFS reports revenue from continuing operations of £561.1m, up +17.4% Yo2Y, with significant accelerations in the rate of deliveries across Q2 and into Q3. New Sofology showrooms, refreshed DFS showroom formats and continued investment in its digital channels drove market share growth, translating to a 12-month order intake of over £1.15b in revenue equivalent terms. DFS says it overcame operational pressures to deliver a reported PBT in the half of £21.6m – up +35.8% Yo2Y, but significantly down against H1 FY21’s £72.1m. It says Covid-related supply chain challenges impacted net margin and operating costs to the tune of £21m in the half.

“Importantly, underlying cash gross profit per transaction has remained stable, despite a decrease in margin rate, as finished goods cost inflation has been offset or passed through,” states DFS. “Investment in the Sofa Delivery Company and manufacturing capacity are now enabling us to support the new revenue base with Q2 delivered revenues +24% versus Q1, and momentum continuing into Q3.” Online revenue penetration normalised to 23.2% versus the prior year comparator that contained lockdowns, while the group made progress on its new Integrated Retail Intelligence System (IRIS). DFS reports a new ambition to grow to £1.4b of revenues through the launch of a Pillars and Platforms strategy, unlocking new growth categories and maximising the potential of its made-to-order manufacturing model.

NEW ONLINE SECURITY REQUIREMENTS THREATEN TO IMPACT SALES The way customers shop online changed last month with the introduction of new Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, a set of rules that change how shoppers confirm their identity when making online purchases, introduced to combat online fraud. While SCA rules have applied to a small number of transactions for some time, the proportion of transactions for which SCA requirements apply has been steadily increasing since the start of the year, reports the BRC. Customers will now be asked to prove their identity when making a purchase, by confirming two of three factors: something they are, like a fingerprint or facial ID; something they know, like a passcode or password; or something they have, like a mobile phone. Some transactions

are deemed ‘low-risk, and are exempt from strong customer authentication. Barclaycard Payments says merchants risked losing out on £102m worth of sales in February, as two-factor authentication checks for online purchases increased in frequency ahead of the regulation becoming mandatory. A new study by Barclaycard demonstrates the importance of merchant compliance – three in 10 shoppers admitted to abandoning baskets at the checkout due to friction and increased steps. The number of transactions subject to SCA checks has been gradually ramping up, leading to Barclaycard Payments seeing 43,000 transactions a day – worth £3.64m – declined at the PoS in February, before the requirements came into full force.

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RIP TIMOTHY OULTON Timothy Oulton, the founder and CEO of global furniture group Halo and the Timothy Oulton brand, passed away last month. “This is an incredibly sad time for the entire Halo community, and my heart is with the family as we mourn this loss,” says Halo’s CFO James Dilley, who has stepped into the role of interim CEO to lead the company through a transitional period following Timothy’s sudden passing. “In the weeks and months ahead, I am fully committed to honouring Tim’s legacy in the way I know best – by supporting our teams, executing against Tim’s ambition for the business and driving innovative, sustainable growth for our future. As we begin to move forward together, I am grateful for the support of our experienced leadership team that has worked directly with Tim for many years.” With over 70 retail locations and distribution in more than 60 countries, five global manufacturing hubs, and more than 350 team members across a dozen countries, Halo believes it is well placed to continue to deliver on Tim’s vision for success and long-term growth. “Tim’s legacy of creativity, excellence and authenticity will endure,” reads a statement from

GNG Group has appointed Neil Kenderdine (exUSleep, Slumberland and Breasley) as its operations manager, to lead the expansion and operations of its medical and consumer mattress division

Dreams has partnered with Special Olympics GB, a non-profit organisation and the largest provider of year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults of all abilities with intellectual disabilities the business. “These principles – and an ongoing commitment to the company’s growth agenda – will guide our leadership team as we move forward and drive continued success for the business.” Timothy recently announced an extensive programme of global expansion for the Timothy Oulton brand, which would see seven more ownedand-operated Timothy Oulton galleries join an existing 11 standalone showrooms and 30 other retailer partners around the world.

CATALOGUE RETAILER SAVED FROM ADMINISTRATION Frasers Group has acquired digital retailer Studio Retail and certain other assets of Studio Retail Group plc, which faced administration on 14th February. Studio Retail is one of the UK’s largest catalogue retailers, and owner of the Studio and Ace brands. These retailers operate online, selling a range of personalised gifts and housewares. Studio Retail was set to call in the administrators after an initial £25m rescue bid failed. As one of the company’s larger investors, Mike Ashley, chief executive of Frasers Group (Sports Direct), stood to lose £30m. Frasers states: “The consideration for the transaction comprised cash and the release of

SRG from its liabilities to the lending banks under its revolving credit facilities, resulting in a cash payment by Frasers Group to the lenders in the amount of £26.8m. The company also agreed to act as guarantor in respect of certain payments in respect of the SRG pension scheme, to the satisfaction of the trustees. “As Frasers Group seeks to elevate its customer journey, including a flexible repayment proposition, the acquisition of Studio Retail will provide Frasers Group with expertise and synergies that will accelerate this ambition. Frasers Group is also pleased to have rescued another business out of administration, and saved approximately 1500 jobs.”

MADE CONFIRMS CEO APPOINTMENT AND FULL-YEAR LOSS has confirmed the appointment of Nicola Thompson as its CEO, while disclosing its results for the year ended 31st December 2021. The brand reported a loss before tax of -£31.4m, which included one-off IPO-related charges of £5.3m – compared to an overall loss of -£14.6m in 2020. However, Made says it achieved strong gross sales growth during the year, underpinned by “positive customer metrics” – it recorded 1.3 million active customers across the year, up +26% YoY, with the proportion of repeat orders at 44% and an AOV of £246 (+8% YoY). It achieved revenues of £372m (up +50% YoY), with deferred revenue at the period’s end of £56m,

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remaining at elevated levels due to extended lead times driven by global supply chain challenges. Gross margin was impacted by global freight inflationary pressures, while net cash at the end of the period was £107m. Adjusted EBITDA stood at -£14.3m. During the year, Made secured greater warehousing and logistical capacity, with further expansion planned this year. It increased its range to more than 9500 SKUs (including third-party brands), and completed beta testing of a new curated marketplace featuring third-party artisan brands. Made also says it is delivering strong progress against its 2021 sustainability targets.

Mattress Online has completed the buy-out of The Skipton Bed & Sofa Centre, which has been operated by the Turner family for more than 50 years, as part of its ambitious “clicks-andmortar” expansion plan

Resident UK, the company behind bed-in-a-box mattress brand Nectar Sleep, has appointed Darren Crowshaw (ex-Breasley) as its sales director, tasked with launching an in-store range

Arlo & Jacob has launched Arlo & Design, comprising a newly refurbished Fulham studio and designer fabric upholstery service

Emma – The Sleep Company has reported a growth rate of +59% for its eighth fiscal year. The sleep brand turned over €645m in 2021 compared to €405m in 2020, outrunning its US competitors for the first time Bensons for Beds has moved into a new store in Northampton on St James Retail Park, replacing its previous space on Beckett Retail Park


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Furniture Village opened a new-look store in Slough last month, replacing its space on Bath Road. Based minutes away from the original store and the retailer’s head office, the new location on Slough Retail Park will offer customers 17,032ft2 of retail space over two styled floors

ScS is celebrating a sustainability milestone after saving one million plastic bottles from the oceans through sales of SpringBond underlay

Happy Beds has launched a charity partnership with HomeStart UK, a Yorkshirebased community network of trained volunteers and experts that aim to help families with young children across the UK through challenging times

Leekes Retail & Leisure Group has agreed a new bank finance package, split equally between HSBC UK and Barclays. The funding is earmarked to support growth plans across the business’ divisions – Leekes Retail, the Vale Resort, Hensol Castle Distillery, and its property arm

Dreams has opened a new store incorporating its luxury Feather & Black brand at the Gallagher Shopping Park in Wednesbury. The store is one of Dreams’ biggest investments to date in bricks and mortar, and the fifth Feather & Black store to have opened in the last nine months

The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Yorkshire Region ran its fifth annual Curry Night last month, at the Aagrah Midpoint in Bradford. It was attended by around 100 people, and raised £3200 for the charity READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET

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AUSTRALIAN BRAND LANDS ON TCR Australian furnituremaker King opened its first UK showroom on Boxing Day, on London’s Tottenham Court Road. The 8729ft2 unit is the brand’s UK flagship space, with a team of 10 running the London location. A household name in Australia, King is renowned for its fully modular sofas.Established in 1977, King has a global network of showrooms spanning Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Canada – and now London. Founder David King comments: “The showroom reflects our inherent dedication to Australian design, and we have created a space that aims to be both inspiring and inviting while showcasing our innovative approach to furniture design. We wanted the space to reflect the Australian way of living and evoke the nostalgia of a home – taking customers on a journey through our curated collections and

aspirational lifestyle settings. The London showroom does just that.” Two months since opening, King says its collection has proved popular with new UK customers, with sales thriving for both new shapes and bestselling designs.

LOGISTICS SPECIALIST OUTLINES PLANS FOR NEW MIDLANDS HUB Rhenus Home Delivery UK has announced plans to open a new central distribution centre in Lutterworth this spring. The investment will support the home delivery specialist’s continued growth with another UK depot. The new site is located in Magna Park, where the Rhenus Group already operates four dedicated warehouses. Covering 258,000ft2, the space is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment project. The depot will support the expansion of services including next-day and JIT deliveries. MD Vinny Riley comments: “This is a fantastic step forward for Rhenus Home Delivery and will

allow us to significantly grow our client base and service offering. In fact, it will change the way the business operates, as it transitions to a hub-andspoke model, allowing us to expand our services.” Formerly the home of Costco and Wayfair, Rhenus Home Delivery UK’s new location, named Hurricane 258, has a long history of furniture distribution, and will prove a significant investment for the business. Germany’s Rhenus Group ente​red the UK home delivery market in 2017, and its services range from standard room-of-choice deliveries to basic installations, removal of packaging and disposal of old beds, mattresses and furniture.

JOHN LEWIS REPLACES NEVER KNOWINGLY UNDERSOLD PLEDGE John Lewis has pledged a £500m investment to offer “John Lewis quality at great-value prices”, as shoppers become more cost-conscious this year. The retailer says its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge, which has been in place for nearly a century, is no longer enough to assure trust, “because it applies to fewer and fewer sales as shopping moves increasingly online”, and is not applicable to online-only retailers. It is being replaced with a new approach which applies both in-store and online. The retailer says its new Quality & Value pledge means all customers will benefit from “great prices every day - without having to shop around”, and that it will “more proactively lead on great value, rather than reacting to other retailers’ price changes”. It says the investment is +25% higher than the amount it spent on “keeping prices affordable” last year. “Shoppers can be reassured that we’ll continue to monitor other retailers’ prices, especially on products that matter most to them,” states John Lewis, “regardless of whether they’re buying online or in-store. Our commitment to quality, style and service won’t change. We’ll have a broad range of

products at different price points for every budget. And additional benefits unique to John Lewis customers will remain, so customers can still trust we’re doing right by them.” Executive director Pippa Wicks says: “Customers are tightening their belts and we’re responding so John Lewis is more affordable for every customer, every day, whether shopping in-store or online. Never Knowingly Undersold has been a cherished sign of trust for John Lewis for a century but it doesn’t fit with how customers shop today as more purchases are made online. Our new £500m investment means all our customers can trust they’re getting the quality, style and service they expect from John Lewis at great value prices.” The move builds on the success of Anyday, John Lewis’ affordable own-brand range. Following its introduction in spring 2021, it has proved the most successful brand launch in the retailer’s history, notching up £125m in sales to date – many of them from new customers. John Lewis says it plans to expand Anyday with more outdoor furniture for spring/summer 2022, along with the introduction of value brands including Julian Bowen furniture.

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EXPLORE & LIVE IN STYLE At The Helm is the new wave of UK luxury, gracefully making a mark and forging itself as a name in the furniture industry. With a growing international identity and a boldness in daring to be different, the company innovates through the power of the story of heritage and travel. At The Helm celebrates the achievements of iconic explorers through intelligent craftsmanship, style, timelessness, and comfort. We are delighted to announce our new ‘Modern Explorer’ collection, featuring inspired models, an adventurous spirit, luxury, handfinished leathers, and sumptuous velvet fabrics. We sought inspiration from iconic architectural beacons such as The Savoy Hotel, dripping in history and subtle classicism. Additional models will also be introduced to our ‘Signature Heritage’ collection at this year’s January Furniture Show. The dynamic in-house creative team has considered the nature of this journey with a collection of beautiful photography set

“Where HERITAGE is at our core, EXPLORE our style, We will LIVE in a new decade, Where we MAKE sofas with heart, by hand”

in a Grade II* listed building in Greenwich, famous for its naval connections with travel and time, with a natural backdrop of the River Thames. As you step into this magnificent building, the walls are draped with distressed textures and unique features, encapsulating the At The Helm brand perfectly. Our deep sense of creative direction complements the incredible product design and beautiful nature of the ‘Signature Heritage’ and ‘Modern Explorer’ collections. We look forward to meeting retailers and presenting our exciting new product offering.

T: 01908 968228 E:

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Hall 1 Stand 1-A30

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Hall 1 Stand 1-A30

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A MAN’S WORLD? The UK furniture industry remains a male-dominated environment, but women are increasingly making the decisions which shape the sector. This month, Paul Farley asks some of the trade’s leaders to offer their views on gender politics, female recruitment and the rate of change … A decade ago, I helped champion an awards programme developed by the (then) team behind the Manchester Furniture Show, Women in Furnishings (WIF). Although short-lived, it helped shine a light on the issue, and made me think how strange it was that our industry chiefly comprised men selling to other men – even though women were clearly the principal decisionmakers at a consumer level. Although it appears that women are increasingly taking more prominent roles in the furniture industry, I wonder how much has truly changed across the board since then? According to McKinsey’s latest Women in the Workplace report, 87% of corporate America described itself as “highly committed” to gender diversity in 2019 – a huge leap from the 56%

recorded in its initial survey in 2012. Yet, says the consultant, there remains a “broken rung” at the first step on the ladder, with women being promoted to management at far lower rates than men. Then there’s the added burnout brought on by the pandemic, as female workers at every level fall back into unpaid care and domestic roles more easily than their male counterparts. PwC’s 2021 Women in Work Index estimates that the impact of Covid-19 will set progress made towards gender parity back to 2017 levels – and states that the UK already lags significantly behind other countries in its share of women in full-time employment (just 64%, as opposed to 89% of men). The House of Commons Library estimates that the gender pay gap in

April 2020 was 15.5% – and that’s before the pandemic’s impact was truly felt. The business world might purport to be following an agenda of equality, but it’s clear that the reality is somewhat behind the rhetoric. Like many manufacturing sectors, the UK furniture industry has always been, and remains, male dominated. With the move towards Industry 4.0 promising to remove many of the remaining barriers to entry, there’s every possibility that we could see a far more balanced workplace in the future – but first, the trade needs to work on its image and become a more attractive career choice to women, from the classroom up. “Girls are not offered furnituremaking as a subject option in most state schools within the UK,” says Dr Lynn Jones, the former head of Bucks New University’s

From left – Angela Crouch, Georgia Metcalfe, Joanna Knight and Kate Wright

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THE TRADE NEEDS TO WORK ON ITS IMAGE AND BECOME A MORE ATTRACTIVE CAREER CHOICE TO WOMEN furniture department. “Within schools’ art and design ‘diet’, furnituremaking is relatively invisible. When I studied furniture design and making at university in the 1980s, I was the only female. “Today, figures have improved on some furniture and product design courses, but not to the extent where there’s an equal gender balance on furnituremaking courses – so it’s no surprise there are so few women and non-binary woodworkers.” Once they’ve started out on this track, says Lynn, it’s vital to keep them on it – as crises of confidence, workplace misogyny and the aforementioned pay gap can make progress a real uphill struggle. “Many female and non-binary graduates, often with first-class degrees

and MAs, end up working in shops, bars, cafes and other non-related, low-paid work, because they don’t think they are ‘good enough’ at making. They also leave the furniture industry more often than their male counterparts, citing discrimination in workshops as a common reason, so they have to be more inspired than men to both enter and remain in the industry. “There will always be the people who get lucky, meet the right person at the right time, find a good female role model or happen upon a school which has a teacher or headteacher who cares about the subject enough to promote or include it. It is my personal belief, however, that there are a great many more who don’t.” This month, I’ve brought together an inspirational line-up of women who,

luck aside, made enough right decisions to reach the top of their respective fields. Over the following pages, they share their thoughts on the furniture industry’s gender balance, the added challenges they’ve faced as women, and the direction of progress – as well as offering would-be newcomers a few words of advice. My thanks go to: Joanna Knight, partner, The Knight Partnership; Lavinia Watts, business partner, Lenleys; Toni Wood, CMO,; Wendy Martin Green, executive chairman, Peter Green Furnishings; Saskia MeierAndrae, director EU brand, creative and promotions, Wayfair; Kate Wright, director of sustainability, DFS Group; Georgia Metcalfe, founder, The French Bedroom Company; and Angela Crouch, MD, Resident UK.

From left – Lavinia Watts, Saskia Meier Andrae, Toni Wood and Wendy Martin Green

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KATE WRIGHT After working with, Dunelm, The Sofa & Chair Company and Sofa Workshop, creative marketeer Kate was appointed DFS Group’s head of sustainable product development in 2020 (covering DFS, Sofology, Dwell and The Sofa Delivery Company). Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? Equality is very important to me – as it should be to everyone, male or female. Although furniture manufacturing and logistics continue to be male dominated, in part due to the physical requirements of the large product, the DFS Group is actively working to address the gender imbalance within the business. Most manufacturing partners, especially those in the UK, tend to be very respectful, and though I am regularly the only woman in the room, I feel comfortable and heard. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? Coming to the industry in a marketing role initially perhaps made my entry a little easier, as marketing tends to be more gender-balanced than other areas. At times, it felt challenging to be heard and voice an opinion in group scenarios – especially a dissenting viewpoint – but this can be addressed with assurance, persistence and by building credibility. What do you wish you’d known sooner about women in the workplace? If we don’t talk about it or call out specific instances of gender bias, nothing will change. I wish I had felt more comfortable to speak out when subjected to misogynistic behaviours when I was younger, as it would have made a difference – not only to my own career, but potentially for others that followed. I am hopeful that the ‘me too’ movement has empowered younger women to address and seek redress when it occurs, and that men are more mindful of the impact they can have.

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Feedback can be given in a constructive way, and I think men are generally unaware of the impact they have or how they create bias in the workplace, so it is essential that women call it out when it occurs and address it (which is hard to do). Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? I can think of several, of varying degrees. An example from several years ago is when my line manager hosted a team meeting every week, which started with a conversation about the weekend football, cycling or cricket. There were eight men and two women present, and all the men joined the conversation while the two women were silent. I’m sure there are a lot of women who’d be happy to join in, but neither of us were interested in sport, so were regularly excluded from these conversations. It established a very ‘blokey’ atmosphere from the outset. This went on for months, until I raised it to my manager in a one-to-one catch-up, and he admitted he’d not even been aware of it. It took some time to change the group behaviour, but it did eventually change and become more inclusive. More recently, we had an external supplier refuse to have a conversation with a member of the team, purely because she was a woman. This is an extreme example, and had to be addressed with a zero-tolerance attitude – but it shows that discrimination still exists. Conversely, can you identify any standout gestures of fairness/equality? I’m proud to say that the DFS Group is doing a lot of work to address not only gender balance but all forms of diversity and inclusion. For example, our logistics

business is working hard to recruit more females into their business and industry, which by nature is overwhelmingly male dominated, and the group is also working to support some of the various disruptive life stages that women go through such as pregnancy and menopause. In fact, they are on track to become a registered menopausefriendly workplace and offer medical menopause support to every woman in the business, as well as wives, partners and the families of male employees. Do you feel things are heading in the right direction? Definitely – and that is certainly the case at the DFS Group. I think men are becoming far more aware of the impact their actions can have, and women are empowered to address instances where there is inequality. The furniture industry has a long way to go, though – especially on the gender pay gap. And it’s tough to speak out, especially when many of the senior roles are filled by men and they don’t always see things from the same perspective. The best way to address this is to keep talking about and raising it as an issue, especially when we see instances of inequality, in all forms. What would you tell young women thinking about entering the industry? I believe the furniture industry is a really exciting industry to build a career in, and one that will evolve significantly over the next few years, especially as it figures out how to address and curtail its environmental footprint. I would be frank about the current imbalance, but highlight the number of amazing, strong women who have had brilliant careers in the industry, and some of the steps being taken by businesses such as ours to address inequality

24/03/2022 11:36


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24/03/2022 14/03/2022 11:36 09:44



JOANNA KNIGHT Marketing and communications specialist Joanna runs The Knight Partnership consultancy, which offers a range of services to the workplace interiors sector. As well as advising various trade associations, Joanna is Women in Office Design’s (WOD) sustainability and circular economy manager. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? I am fortunately no longer aware of the furniture industry’s gender balance on a day-to-day basis. Over the past 10 years, in particular, the number of women working in the office and contract furniture sector has increased dramatically – but there does remain an imbalance within certain job roles and there are still too few women in board level and senior leadership positions. Equality is very important to me, although I would stress that it’s more about balance and inclusion. Different backgrounds and experiences provide a wider perspective, which results in a more dynamic, forward-thinking organisation. Personally, I reject positive discrimination as I believe women want to initiate, lead and influence purely because they are the best person for that role. The workplace should not be about winners and losers – it should embrace differences and harness this energy to make a positive difference to the common cause. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? I started working in the office furniture sector in the late 1980s. At that time, the industry was very ‘male and pale’. I was determined to succeed, but suspect that I subconsciously knew that I could only achieve my own goals through working for myself. Even then, I was subject to

male ‘banter’ and aimed to use this to my advantage. I knew I could ‘hold my head high’ as I was running a successful marketing consultancy. I accepted the behaviour as part of ‘normal’ working life, and focused on achieving results for my clients.

Conversely, can you identify any standout gestures of fairness/equality? Men and women have shown me fairness and equality on numerous occasions. I’ve personally thanked many men and women for demonstrating respect, support and valuable advice.

Is there anything you know about women and the workplace now that you wish you’d known sooner? In the early 2000s, I became a founder director of a furniture company focused on the supply and lifecycle management of furniture and equipment. I was the only women in a senior leadership position, and did find it difficult to communicate with some of my male colleagues. I know that I felt that I had to act like a man to belong and compete. Not being a man, I struggled with this approach, until I realised that I would achieve far more if I behaved like me – a woman! By competing on my own terms, I became far more successful.

Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? How can other people/the industry make a difference? I do feel that things are heading in the right direction, but there’s still a long road ahead for diversity and inclusion in general. Flexible working arrangements will encourage a positive way forward regardless of gender, whilst normalising hands-on fathering and recognising parental care responsibilities. Ultimately, it will enable the best person to be employed for the job. It is hard to speak out without appearing to be an ‘extremist’. It is, however, necessary to help to prevent workplace harassment and reduce bias. Diversity and inclusion must be actively embraced at the highest level. Policy documents are great, but there must be practical processes to facilitate change. Interview panels, for example, should be ‘inclusive’, to exclude unintentional bias.

Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? There were numerous occasions when I was the only woman in the room. I would be presenting to, and accompanied by, a group of men. It was extremely frustrating that all the questions were directed to the men in the room – even though I was a director of the business. I would feel like I was invisible. I had to work harder and show greater creativity and determination simply because I was a woman!


What would you tell young women thinking about entering the industry? Be yourself! Focus on your own strengths and recognise your weaknesses. We are all different and have varied skills to offer. It is usually possible to find ‘mentors’ – not necessarily a formal arrangement, but someone you can learn from and exchange ideas and opinions. I have found it extremely beneficial, in the role of mentor and ‘mentee’, and built some lifelong relationships along the way

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24/03/2022 14/03/2022 11:36 09:44



SASKIA MEIER-ANDRAE Saskia is the director of Wayfair’s EU brand, creative and promotions. Boasting a PhD in bioinformatics from the University of Oxford (yet “not a nerd”), Saskia worked as a consultant for 10 years before joining the global ecommerce giant in 2018. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? Like most industries, there is still work ahead of us to ensure genuine equality between men and women. That said, I believe that great strides are being made, and I am incredibly proud of our work at Wayfair to champion women in the workplace. In some businesses, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are an afterthought, but at Wayfair we make it a key focus of our working model. Equality is essential to me and, as a leader, I have worked to ensure that we have a high proportion of female leaders and staff within my organisation. I also sit as a panel member on our Women at Work Employee Resource Group. We seek to empower women with careers advice at every level by having a meaningful framework and forum for women+ communities to celebrate, learn and amplify their actions. Externally, I have also very much enjoyed speaking at female-focused events, such as the Female Future Force conference, where women can access information and inspiration to help them nurture and drive forward their careers. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? The furniture trade is traditionally a pretty male-dominated sector. I was quite senior when I joined, having worked for 10 years in consultancy

following my PhD. I think that made it easier, since I had some street cred due to my academic and professional career. What do you wish you’d known sooner about women in the workplace? It is comparatively easy for a company to say “we support women” – but it’s the actions that count. What behaviour do you reprimand? What language do you use (I’ve stopped calling my teams “you guys”)? Do they have hiring targets for women+? Is their recruiting team actively seeking out women? How do they think about diversity more broadly (I feel in 2021, having dedicated womensupport programmes should be a given – what about helping people across all gender identities, ethnic backgrounds, with physical or mental disabilities)? I would advise my younger self to choose to work for companies or, more broadly, in environments, that don’t just say they support women, but act upon it. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? I am a tall, blonde woman who always liked dressing glamorously. At the beginning of my career in consulting, I got the well-intentioned advice to change my look and personal style preference entirely to be taken seriously on a professional level. I thanked the person for their candid feedback and chose to ignore it. They responded that I’d either get fired in the next six months or be very successful – a chance I was willing to take.


Conversely, can you identify any standout gestures of fairness/equality? I’m particularly impressed by the work we do at Wayfair to help ensure fairness, equality, and inclusion. As well as an annual DEI report to help us understand where we fall as a business, we’ve launched several tools to support our work in this area – such as our Performance Review Bias Analyser Tool, which flags biased language to employees, to complete annual reviews in real-time. It acts as a pulse check for potentially gender-biased words and phrases that may require consideration, helping to root out unconscious bias. Do you feel things are heading in the right direction? We’ve taken steps in the right direction, but we know we’re still on a journey. Having robust diversity analytics and a dedicated DEI focus is key, because equality is then front and centre and you know where you sit on the baseline and what you have to work towards. To make a difference, I think an integral component is a consciousness – both of gender equality and diversity, as well as inclusion more generally, whether that relates to women at work, LGBTQ+ communities, ethnicity, or more. What would you tell young women thinking about entering the industry? The furniture business is an exciting, thriving and creative industry with a huge total addressable market of more than $300b in Europe, as well as abundant and scaling opportunities. At Wayfair, we have amazing, smart and powerful women working in every kind of role, from analytics to operations. There’s a wealth of opportunity available for women at every level, and we are just getting started!

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January Furniture Show 24 – 27 April 2022 Hall 4 Stand D20

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24/03/2022 14/03/2022 11:36 09:45



LAVINIA WATTS Having risen through the ranks to become a partner in her family business, Canterbury-based independent retailer Lenleys, Lavinia is striving to take the operation (including Clarkes Furnishers in nearby Maidstone) to the next level. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? I think when I first came into the industry, it was quite obvious that in the furniture sector it was more weighted with males working at all levels of the industry. Given that most buying decisions about the home (in terms of furniture) are traditionally made by a female, I did find it a little shocking that there weren’t more women involved in the business side of the industry. But over time, and on a day-to-day basis, I think we are seeing more of an even spread, with more females in visible roles. Equality is extremely important, as I think with everything you need to have a balance of different people and personalities. Equally, it is also important that you look past gender, at the capabilities and skills of people. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? I believe I was fortunate that in the most part I was made to feel very welcome at all levels of the industry. The most challenging stigma and obstacle that became apparent was an idea that you could only know what you’re doing if you’ve been in the industry for many years, which I don’t believe is true. This can be the most intimidating obstacle to encounter if you are new to the industry, and could put truly talented

THERE MUST BE A COHESIVE EFFORT TO ENSURE THAT THE INDUSTRY IS ATTRACTIVE TO FEMALES AT ALL LEVELS people off from pursuing a career in the sector. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? The only example I have is that, on a few occasions in the early days of my career, I was dismissed quite quickly or not fully acknowledged in the same way as a male colleague. Generally, the greeting to the male colleague was in a much more friendly and open manner. I can’t categorically say this is solely due to my gender, but there was an automatic assumption that the males were the serious contacts, and a female must be there to support only. Luckily, I don’t get that sort of reception now. Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? How can other people/the industry make a difference? Yes, for sure. As more women are now involved in the industry from my perspective, I believe this will only have a positive impact on attracting the right people to our sector. I think recognition that there is an


imbalance is important, and there must be a cohesive effort to ensure that the industry is attractive to females at all levels. I am aware that I have been extremely fortunate to be working in a very supportive, gender-blind environment – equally, I feel that we are a business that doesn’t dwell on it too much, and we support each other, whatever the situation, which I hope to carry on throughout my career. What would you tell young women who are thinking about entering the furniture industry? That they should definitely do it. In the right company, it is a fast-paced and exciting industry with an extremely creative aspect to it and lots of opportunities for growth and innovation. Being a woman should make no difference if you enter this industry – or any other. Although I think there is a natural bias in many industries towards men in business – whether that be in the board room or on the sales floor – I have never seen any evidence that this makes any difference to a business’ performance in the end. I am a strong believer in balance, as I think this gives you the best perspective on most things. And when you are starting your career, try to see any differences you might have as strengths, rather than challenges

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January Furniture Show 24 – 27 April 2022 Hall 4 Stand B20

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24/03/2022 14/03/2022 11:36 09:45



ANGELA CROUCH Angela is the UK MD of Resident, the California-based bed business which is targeting growth this side of the pond through its sustainable D2C brands Nectar, DreamCloud and Cloverlane. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? For me, equality – and promoting it – is core to my being, particularly having been held back in the past. It’s almost impossible not to be aware of the gender imbalance in the furniture industry, as it’s so starkly represented in terms of who has a seat at the table. In my 20-30s I was often the only female in the room. I’m now in my mid-40s, and I am seeing a slow and steady change – perhaps around 25% now have a seat. I hope that in the coming years we’ll finally have an even representation. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? I did feel welcomed, but that’s not to say I didn’t sometimes feel lonely in a male-dominated space. Sometimes it’s hard to know at the time whether something is normal or if it’s just you, as a woman, who is challenged with it. Either way, I didn’t have an option but to get on with it, prove my worth and slowly dismantle any gender bias through sheer achievement. Now, as a leader myself, I hope women are facing fewer obstacles than I may have had to. What do you wish you’d known sooner about women in the workplace? In my late 20s I started to work with a business coach, and I’ve been working with her on and off for the last 20 years. She really helped me navigate some business challenges I faced, and helped me get ready for new opportunities. It really helped my confidence. I remember a significant lightbulb moment when she told me that I might be intimidating to my male colleagues.

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It never crossed my mind before that, I was too busy giving myself a hard time and thinking I wasn’t good enough. It taught me to ask for feedback and look for the evidence of being the imposter I thought I was – when you look for that data, you may come to realise its not there! It was very impactful work we did together, and it’s something I continue to personally invest in. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? Sadly, yes. It’s the age-old story of being in line to get promoted from a management position to a director, then falling pregnant. Where this obviously shouldn’t have made a difference, when I told the company my news the position was suddenly no longer available to me, as they felt I wouldn’t be able to cope with the extra responsibilities as well as being a mother. After this, I was made redundant. It was a devastating time for me. I should have taken them to a tribunal as it was a clear-cut case, but I was a new mum and didn’t have the confidence/energy to (like many mothers who have been in the same position). The outcome of this saga, though, was that I became determined to achieve big things, and I’ve accomplished more since than I may otherwise have. Our failures and knockbacks can really help shape us. Conversely, can you identify any stand-out gestures of fairness? Early on in my career I was in the fortunate position of having a very senior female leader sponsor me. She championed me at every opportunity she could, and this put me front and centre for new opportunities, promotions and compensation. This had

a huge impact on my career, and I’ve been ‘paying it forward’ ever since. Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? Yes, but I would like it to move faster. Leaders have the opportunity to shape and build a company that both they and their employees are proud of, nurturing an environment where people enjoy working with one another. It’s important that everyone has a voice, because in turn everyone then has the opportunity to effect change. What would you tell women who are thinking about entering the industry? I can’t speak to everyone, but here are a few things that have worked for me: before you can influence change, you have to demonstrate your impact through results – understand the business’ goals and objectives, and deliver against them; have empathy for people you work with, but remember you aren’t their counsellor – women are often considered too soft, and it’s important to find the balance; find a mentor who you admire and trust (ideally who doesn’t work in the same company), and a sponsor within the company who can advocate for you and elevate your profile; remember your worth – as a line manager, it’s always fascinated me how men and women approach compensation differently; get comfortable with the facts/data – men are typically more comfortable with remembering and articulating data points quickly; network, network, network, and connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn; and finally, imposter syndrome is real for all of us. Your excellence can be intimidating to men – don’t dim yourself to spare their egos

24/03/2022 11:36


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WENDY MARTIN GREEN The executive chairman of Peter Green Furnishings, located in Chandlers Ford near Southampton, Wendy inherited the mantle of the family retail business upon her mother’s passing in 2010, and now manages it from her home in the US. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? I think we all know that there is a huge imbalance between the number of men and women in the furniture industry, with men far outweighing women in terms of top managers and owners. Although I don’t know the specific numbers, simply thinking of all the prominent figures that I know in the industry is a good barometer as to how wide the gender gap really is. On a day-to-day basis, I am not really aware of this difference, as I am mainly interacting with my own staff and managers, who are both male and female. Whether my interactions with them is any different because of my gender is hard to tell. When you think about it, there are so many other characteristics such as age, race, appearance, demeanour, status and personality traits that can trigger biased opinions and stereotyping, that it would be hard to say conclusively that someone reacted negatively towards you purely because you are female. In some ways, being in the minority may work as a positive and get you noticed … it’s always a possibility. I rarely think about my gender when I am at work, and I am not altogether sure that it would put me in a stronger position to do so. You have to believe in yourself and what you do, whatever your gender, and if you do that, it is my belief that people will eventually follow. This is not to say that I have not

been in situations where I have felt patronised, belittled or unheard, but when that happens I am not afraid to call people out on it … in the nicest possible way, of course. Equality of all kinds is important to me, and I believe that any unfair treatment should not be tolerated in the workplace – or anywhere else, for that matter. I believe that I am a fair person, and I like to be treated that way, too. Everything can work both ways. I was, however, made very aware of the gender gap at an early age, so maybe I have learned to live with it? There are two letters I always wished I had kept, and I wrote both of them when I was just 16. I now live in New York, but it doesn’t matter which side of the pond I tell this story from, it always gets a reaction. The amazing thing is that both letters were written in the same week, and the replies were swift – most likely because the answers were easy. It was a clear black-and-white response … no grey areas. Nothing to think about! It was the early 70s, and I was completing my A Levels, excited for a career ahead of me. The first letter was written to the Forestry Commission because I was interested in applying for a job as a forester. I had a keen knowledge and interest in the natural world, and wanted to know what qualifications I needed for this position. The second letter was written to the Ordinance Survey, because I was also interested in becoming a surveyor, geography being my second love.

The reply from the Ordinance Survey came first. “Dear Miss Green,” it started, “thank you for your enquiry. We are sorry to have to inform you but we do not employ women as surveyors, but you could apply for a job in our map drawing rooms where we do employ women.” The letter from the Forestry Commission arrived a few days later and was more to the point: “Dear Miss Green,” it said, “unfortunately we only employ women in a secretarial capacity and not as foresters,” it professed, without apology! These letters clearly underlined that it didn’t matter how hard I worked and how well I did, I could not be what I wanted to be. It seemed to me at this tender age that there were only two careers that I could pursue – either nursing or teaching. I chose the latter, and silently suffered four years attaining a degree that I didn’t really want. Nevertheless, I successfully completed my studies and went on to design educational materials for the Natural History Museum. I was happy – albeit not in the career I had originally aspired to. I have been thinking about these letters lately because my son came to me saying he wanted to be a forester, and I said brightly “I wanted to do that, but when I was your age it was not allowed.” “I’m sorry Mom,” he said, and he looked truly saddened, and it was in that moment I realised how much my gender had dictated my life and my career path.


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31 Certainly, things have improved a great deal since then. I have been in many situations where I have felt that my ideas or decisions were being railroaded by men or groups of men … but I have learned to stand my ground. That having been said, I have also worked for and with women who were unfair and seemed to favour men, which may be a gender issue of another kind? I think it all boils down to character and awareness in the end, and calling people out when they act improperly, be they female or male. The inequality of gender is something that I lived with, and we all still do – even though nowadays it is more discreetly hidden – and I guess sometimes it can work both ways. I can only write about it from a female point of view, though, because that is all I know and have experienced. At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? I did not really enter the retail furniture world until my mother died and I went on to inherit the business. I was in my 50s and living in America. It was hard taking over an established business with 63 employees in a field that I was unfamiliar with, period. But yes, I do think it was made harder by the fact that I was female and I had not lived in the UK for 26 years … and I am not sure which of those was the biggest problem. Like many women, I was a single parent with full responsibility for my three children’s education and welfare – a situation that many women find themselves in, and not so many men. I was also living in another country too, which is quite a big juggling act to overcome. However, women are renowned multitaskers, a quality which enables us to transcend such difficulties. The obstacles were huge when I took over Peter Green, and looking back I think I must have been slightly overly ambitious to have attempted to do it with as little knowledge as I had – but because I inherited my business, I never had to compete with the opposite sex for job advancement, or punch my way through any glass ceilings. I do believe that the obstacles are real for women who want to get on in the furniture industry, and I truly admire those women who have been successful.

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WHY IS AN INDUSTRY THAT IS SO MUCH PART OF THE FEMALE WORLD SO UNDESIRABLE TO THE FEMALE WORKFORCE? I, however, had to come straight in at the top, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have been a much easier ride had I been male. I was the only female board member at the time, and do remember that I disliked being referred to as ‘madam’ chairman in a slightly sarcastic tone, and resented being told that the job might be a little too much for me, even if the comments were meant to be well meaning. I am fairly stubborn by nature, and had to toughen up quickly and learn to spot when the wool was being pulled over my eyes. Ten years later I am still here, and I don’t have a board any more. What I do have is a supportive team that I have grown exceedingly close to, which just goes to show that, with a little perseverance and a lot of hard work, people come round to your way in the end (or perhaps they leave). Did gender get in my way? Yes, I really think it might have, but I have never really had much time to dwell on it, although your questions are making me think now. I have always been made to feel very welcome within the trade, most certainly by those who I’ve had direct contact with. The only time that I am ever aware of my gender in a negative way is at the trade shows. I must say that in the very beginning I did not notice how male dominated the shows were, until it was pointed out to me by a male colleague. I usually go to the show with a buying group which has a number of men in it, but it is only when I ‘shop’ the show alone that I realise how become transparent I become – not visible, not a person of interest – that is, until I introduce myself. But this invisibility for females is not just reserved for the furniture industry. It is common in many male-dominated arenas such as the motor, construction and electronics industries. The strange thing about the furniture industry, though, is that the end consumer is almost exclusively female, so in this instance we have a male-driven vehicle from design through supply to

sales, catering to an almost all-female audience. I don’t think I am the first person to think that this is a rather contradictory situation. I think the problem with the lack of women ‘at the top’ in the furniture industry is not so much that they are selected against or not tough enough to make it to the helm – I believe it begins at the bottom. By that, I mean we need to assess what happens at the school-leaver/college graduate level. I am always amazed how few female applicants we get when we advertise a new position, especially when you consider that we are dealing with an industry that is deeply rooted in colour, style, trends, fashion, homes and design – words that (forgive me for being sexist here) we associate with a woman’s world. And apparently this is not only the case in retail, but perhaps even more so in furniture manufacturing, and, even more surprisingly, in the furniture design world (although I understand that is changing a little). My conclusion is that it is the young women themselves that are reticent to join the furniture industry, perhaps because it is not seen as a viable option, and out of their comfort zone. For example, at Peter Green we would welcome a female sales consultant for flooring, but have never had any apply when we post a position. Occasionally, when we’ve had female applicants for other jobs in our store such as in the accountant’s office, as a PA or receptionist, who have the right transferable skills, we have offered them a sales position – but we have never been able to entice anyone across over into the world of furniture. Yet, there are no limitations like there were when I was young, so it makes me wonder who is making the rules here … is it the women themselves? Why is an industry that is so much part of the female world so undesirable to the female workforce? If we could change that around and entice more women to join us at the bottom, undoubtedly

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a larger number would surface at the top. I am not suggesting positive discrimination in any way here at all, but maybe if we knew why women don’t want to join this industry, we could change the numbers around a little and adjust the balance. I am going to say something that may be a little controversial here, but maybe it is time for us women to look at ourselves. Why are we happy to have men make the design choices for us? Is the lack of female designers and women in senior positions in the furniture industry still due to the expectations of motherhood and childcare, which even today remain primarily a female responsibility? I would have said ‘yes’ if it was an industry filled with women who peeled away at the top levels leaving the senior posts for the men (as we often see in schools and educational fields), but my argument is that the furniture industry does not attract many women at any level at all. The furniture industry is not the only male-dominated industry that caters for a female consumer – the same exists in the fashion industry, and the food industry too. Maybe having a maledominated furniture industry doesn’t really matter at all – especially if women are not interested in joining it? However, I believe that the industry overall would benefit by recruiting women, because we are the major consumer by a long way and, as the saying goes, “A wise woman knows what she wants,” and the rest of that well-known saying goes “but a wild woman knows how to get it.” Maybe we need a few more ‘wild women’ amongst us! Females are fast workers, good collaborators, strong on emotional intelligence, effective communicators, robust and determined, long lived and great multitaskers. What are we waiting for? Is there anything you know about women and the workplace now that you wish you’d known sooner? Yes, when we think of a chef most of us imagine a man, and when we think of a cook we tend to imagine a woman. As long as we think like that, we are in trouble. Out of curiosity, I did ask some young female friends in managerial positions (both in their 20s) if they felt at a disadvantage being female. They

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MAYBE WE NEED A FEW MORE ‘WILD WOMEN’ AMONGST US! both giggled, and said, “No! We just smile sweetly and flutter our eyelashes and get what we want!” Which just goes to show that not much has changed. My advice to them would be that it will take you so far, but in the long run it is a very short-sighted strategy. You need to know your stuff and know it well, and always watch your back. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? The last time I went to the January Furniture Show at the NEC I was with my MD, Mike Devey, and my marketing manager, Iulia Pop. Often, we split up to cover the show more quickly. On this occasion Mike split off, and Iulia and I went to visit some stands we were interested in. I motioned to Iulia to come onto one of our suppliers’ stands, and told her that we were going to have a bit of fun – “Let’s see what happens when we’re not with Mike,” I told her. We headed over to a sofa. A group of sales representatives were standing chatting in the corner of the display – one looked in our direction briefly, then went back to the conversation. Iulia and I stood back and made admiring remarks about the sofa, we touched the fabric, sat on it, got out the swatches and looked at the colours. We talked about the design, we made every sign that we could think of to signal that we were interested in the piece – still noone came over to speak to us. Tired at the end of a long show, we waited for Mike. Sure enough, after about 30 minutes Mike arrived to meet us on the stand, and the instant he set foot on it all five heads swung round and approached him! Embarrassed with his industry colleagues, Mike respectfully introduced me as the owner of Peter Green, and although the rep was clearly impressed, he still did not seem to think anything was odd about the situation, until I then pointed out that Iulia and I had been on their stand for over half an hour and no-one had shown any interest in us. “Oh,” he said lamely, “I thought you were interior designers!” Which just about says it all.

Conversely, can you identify any standout gestures of fairness/equality? Not really. But I did allude to a fairness early on in that I think all industries could/should think about, and that is not penalising women for the baby years – they’re all our babies, after all, not just the women’s. Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? How can other people/the industry make a difference? I have looked at the little data that is available, and there seems to be very little movement at all. From what I can establish, it seems that the furniture industry is still about 94% male dominated, and female retail consumers still outnumber males by 95%. Odd! What would you tell young women who are thinking about entering the furniture industry? Go for it! Unfortunately, when we advertise sales or managerial roles on both the retail and contracts side we get very few female applicants. I would love to have more female sales consultants, because, after all, we are selling to women, and for us it is all about colour and shape and style. At times we’ve had very few women consultants on the shop floor, but just lately things have changed a little and it is nice to see our colleague mix gaining some balance and closing the gender gap a little. And here, I too may be a little sexist when I say that women consultants bring a softness to our store that is well needed. Women consider use, function, scale, proportion, colour, and how objects will fit into a space when they buy home furnishings, and this distinguishes the female consumer from the males who are more likely to focus on the furniture itself than the design scheme of the entire house (check out a 2010 article in Furniture World by Joe Capillo, entitled A Theory of How Women Shop). For me, a female sales consultant brings all this to the table, and much more

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TONI WOOD Toni is the CMO at furnishings retail search engine, as well as being a fellow of the McKinsey Marketing Academy and advisor to Econsultancy. In 2019 she was named one of Marketing Week’s Top 100 Effective Marketers, and worked as DFS’ chief marketing and commercial officer for three years before that. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? I strongly believe that ‘balance’ is broader than gender alone, and diversity and inclusion across the whole sector remains a challenge. Whilst there have definitely been improvements, this sector definitely lags behind others. You only have to look at the boardrooms of the businesses leading the sector to see how far we still have to go. Fairness and equality are very important to me, as I believe they are for most people. However, we all have to recognise our unconscious bias – it’s real, no matter who we are, we all have bias. Recognising it, where it is detrimental to building teams and businesses, and then acting on it is everyone’s responsibility. In my experience, real change only happens when it is driven top down, and this is proven out across businesses whatever the sector. I once read a great quote that really struck me: “The culture of a company is the behaviour the leaders exhibit, but more importantly, the ones they choose to walk by.” Lack of equality and fairness is something no-one should ever walk by! At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might?

My career started in food retail, then I moved into FMCG and spent 10 years in Geneva with Procter & Gamble (P&G). P&G has been championing diversity and inclusion for years, so when I returned to the UK and later joined the furniture industry I was definitely shocked by how far it lagged other industries. However, joining DFS as the CMO, and then later the CCMO, was a great opportunity to be part of the change the board were committed to make. My CEO at the time, Ian Filby, was a huge champion of diversity and inclusion, and was committed to making change happen. Under his leadership I believe the culture did move on. Whilst the sector definitely lags behind others in terms of its pace of change, it is definitely making progress. Throughout my career I have faced mixed reactions and various barriers due to my gender – but I am a strong believer in being part of the change, not sitting back and being a victim of circumstance. I do appreciate that it is much easier to say than do, and others have different experiences to me. Being part of defining and building a culture was one of the many reasons for my excitement when I first met Dee McGettrick and Ray Wright, the founders of I felt an instant connection to them and their vision. We share a passion to build a business that truly solves a consumer problem,


and we are committed to blending the experiences we have to do that in the right way, for our consumers, our retail partners, and critically our teams. That is part of the joy of being in a rapidly scaling business with people who share your values. Is there anything you know about women and the workplace now that you wish you’d known sooner? I think everyone suffers with imposter syndrome, no matter your gender or seniority. It’s well documented across all sectors – but I especially see young women struggle (maybe because they are more open to talking about it?). I mentor a number of amazing female leaders, and often all they need to take the leap is reassurance – especially when they go through major life stages like becoming parents and are faced with a different set of choices. I’ve had some great supporters across my career, and many of them remain my mentors – Alan Sutherland at P&G, Keith Carnes at Gillette, Carol Welch at Costa Coffee, and of course Ian Filby at DFS. I wish I had known how to better identify those people that saw my potential, and had the courage to ask for their support sooner. They were committed to championing me, and played a huge role in helping me fulfil my potential as a leader. My commitment now is to pass that forward, in whatever way I can. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? One that really sticks, probably as I was so junior and so keen to impress, was when I was part of the graduate scheme in my first job. I was given the

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role of warehouse manager in a high-trading store with a notoriously tough store manager. I was sick one day and unable to attend work. When I was eventually connected to his office to explain my absence, his response was, “This is what happens when you give a little girl a man’s job!” I still remember how that made me feel, and the injustice of the statement. Conversely, can you identify any stand-out gestures of fairness/equality? So many – I feel very lucky to be able to name a long list of supporters and champions, both peers and leaders, who have given me great opportunities as well as the confidence to seize them and succeed. I can genuinely say I have been fortunate to have had more great experiences than those that have held me back. I also have a military father who taught me to ‘step up and in’ when times get tough – and that has probably helped. Plus I have a great group of friends – we all support each other. Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? How can other people/the industry make a difference? In the majority, change is definitely happening. At ufurnish. com we have some amazing retailer partners – women who have built successful businesses and who inspire me every day. Georgia Metcalfe founded The French Bedroom Company in 2006, and I have some of her pieces in my home. Claire Gaudion introduced me to biophilic design and the role nature’s colours and textures can play in creating a feelgood home, and Oxana Yanushkovskaya from Pepper Sq is equally inspiring, with her clever space-saving furniture. The number of successful, female-led businesses we partner with is evidence of change in the sector, and Dee and I are excited to champion them as part of our continued business growth. What would you tell young women who are thinking about entering the furniture industry? Do it – it’s hugely rewarding and the breadth of roles is really exciting. But choose wisely – find a leader, a culture and a business you believe in. Mentors can also really help you think through your choices, and hopefully I have illustrated that they can be of any gender! If you are lucky to have someone who believes in you, seek out their counsel and take the leap! And you never know – if, like Dee Mc Gettrick, you have a great idea and huge drive, you too could be a successful business founder

YOUR INVITATION ~ Come and see us on Stand A1 in Hall 1 NEC ‘JANUARY’ FURNITURE SHOW 24th to 27th April 2022

DON’T MISS OUT Don’t hire a sales company until you have spoken to Greenwood. Afford us the opportunity to explain why you can trust Greenwood – UK & Ireland’s Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion - to help you plan, execute and optimise your next big sales event. Come by our stand 1-A1 at the NEC to find out more. We can usually outline your profit margins, sales projections and costs after a brief discussion. We’d love to see you there. Or, call Bernard Eaton directly on 07771 700247 to discuss the exciting Greenwood sales promotion possibilities and or, to arrange your free, confidential, no-obligation on-site business consultation.


Britain’s Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion

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GEORGIA METCALFE The founder and creative director of online store The French Bedroom Company, Georgia was recently named a finalist in the 2021 NatWest everywoman Awards, in the Aphrodite category – which recognises a woman who founded her business while raising a child/children aged 12 or under. Day to day, how aware are you of the furniture industry’s gender balance? Is equality important to you? At European trade fairs, you can see an even gender split – but UK furniture trade shows comprise predominantly men. In almost all businesses we work with, whether supply or manufacture, there are males at the helm. There is scope for acceptance and change here – the furniture industry isn’t dominated by men because they are better at designing, manufacturing or selling furniture, it’s a hangover from times when women traditionally didn’t work. It’s an exceptionally friendly industry, and it’s rare that women are considered below men – it’s simply the numbers that aren’t in line with other industries. Traditionally, the furniture industry has been one of the slowest-moving industries to respond to change, whether in tech advancements, new product development or, in this case, gender equality. Yet the irony is that it’s females who predominantly make the purchasing decisions for the home, and specifically for the bedroom. I work in furniture, but also ecommerce and tech. The two industries couldn’t be more different. One is bleeding edge, Zoom calls, trainers and flat white coffees, the other is suits in meeting rooms, handwritten minutes and secretaries – and I don’t need to say which is which!

At the start of your career, were you made to feel welcome by the trade, or did you have more obstacles to overcome than a man might? I didn’t aspire to fill a man’s shoes. I carved my own road into the industry, knowing I had something different to offer, to a different audience and a different route to market. Most of the males in the industry work on the trade side, supplying and manufacturing. I was going direct to consumer, knowing my strength lay in customer insight, understanding and marketing. I did come up against some animosity from a supplier in the early days, when I enquired about a bespoke size for a customer in France and was told I was “a silly little girl” for thinking they could manufacture bespoke sizes. Yes, it was frustrating – the thinking behind this response was a hurdle to overcome – but I used it to empower and encourage me to strive to change the status quo, so that the next generations of girls and women won’t experience these comments and career obstacles. At dinner parties, I still recall the story from my first trade show in Birmingham. I met with a potential supplier, discussed ordering a container of products from him, and he reached into his jacket pocket to hand me his business card – except he pulled out a calling card from an escort. After a blushed exchange, he retracted the card, and reached into his other


pocket for the correct business card, only to extract a second escort’s card! Perhaps an industry steeped in male domination has been able to overlook this inappropriate blend of business and pleasure … Is there anything you know about women and the workplace now that you wish you’d known sooner? Women have an amazing ability to understand each other. Business empathy is my driving force, and every decision I make at work is based on empathy, understanding, care and relationships – with my customers, my suppliers, my team or business partners, agents and agencies.When you put relationships at the heart of your decisions, you’re placing your business in a resilient position during times of adversity. Women make great empaths, they understand and seek to change. So, this genuine, authentic desire to connect and understand customers makes for a great customer experience and an optimal product offering. Empathy and insight goes beyond the data of a CRM, GA or any digital attribution model. Can you share an anecdote/example of a time you felt held back or discriminated against due to your sex? There have been many times I’ve been only offered a half-hearted handshake. I’m not too delicate to take a full handshake. During a sales pitch from a firm of accountants, they spoke only to Ben, my co-director. They didn’t make eye contact with me, and my questions were put to Ben, as if I wasn’t there. Needless to say, we didn’t appoint them. On the whole, the industry is friendly and accepting. However, there have

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37 been times when my open nature has been construed as a weakness. I love big business, I love big numbers, but I don’t like a serious disposition. I work hard and I have fun along the way – it is possible to get great results without being stern and serious. Conversely, can you identify any stand-out gestures of fairness/equality? In 2019 we worked with our UK factory to develop the UK’s first plastic-free mattress. The factory was under new ownership and financial pressure. The male owners sat patiently whilst we developed and sourced fillings, yarns and damask covers for the prototype. This relationship is formed on hard work, trust and dedication to achieve the highest standards and pioneering designs. I’ve never felt the team at the factory look down on my skillset or treat me differently because I’m female. Consequently, we have a really great working relationship and they now make almost 20% of our beds. Do you feel things are generally heading in the right direction? They are in Europe – the trade shows are very equally balanced between the genders. In the UK, I see increasing numbers of female sales agents, but not at director level. Vispring has a formidable female sales manager who understands the minutiae of every coil, spring, stitch and filling that make their mattress collection so technically exceptional. She also really understands the needs of the endconsumer and what they expect from the Vispring product, brand and service. Sadly, though, I often hear female sales agents say: “I need to check with my director, he will be able to make that decision.” Women are experts at understanding other women. The French Bedroom Company is successful because we listen to our customers, value their feedback and develop products in colours and designs to match their taste, their home and their lifestyle. We do this by talking to them via focus groups, surveys, and conversational commerce – we love to chat, and our customers do too! What would you tell young women who are thinking about entering the furniture industry? The industry will benefit from a female perspective, designing and styling for female consumers. This has been neglected, and you can make a real difference by bringing these qualities to an industry that has previously been a sea of navy and grey at trade shows. It’s a creative industry, and becoming increasingly pioneering. It’s an industry where hard work and innovative design can really make a difference. Don’t just design products that you like, or because you think they’re clever or different. Do your research, and ensure you’re answering a problem or a need. In order to really succeed in the industry, you have to start with the purchaser – know how your end-consumers live, what they want from their home and the furniture they use. Then design for their visual aspirations and marry that with their functional requirements. Every stage of every process requires research, and the end consumer has to be at the centre of every question you ask

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Next month’s issue May’s Furniture News offers the perfect opportunity to promote your business to a sector-leading trade audience. As well as the return of our popular READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS, May’s issue will feature our regular BEDROOM, LIVING, DINING and TRADE SERVICES coverage, alongside the following special features: SPRING FURNITURE & BED SHOW and SPRING LONG POINT previews. Get on the visitors’ radar! INNOVATION IN BEDDING Our annual round-up of the latest in sleep technology. From mattress composition to component breakthroughs, sustainable initiatives and comfort-granting firsts, we’re inviting the bed industry’s finest to share examples of their pioneering spirit. CGI MARKETING As photorealistic product imagery continues to gain ground in our industry, we check back in with the technical wizards making it all happen, to discover what’s new. Want to be part of the furniture trade’s favourite read? Contact Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email


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LOAF AND SOUL Loaf’s Solihull shack

The retail sector is full of champions – managers and team members, both front and back of house – who go above and beyond on a daily basis, putting customers, colleagues and the community ahead of themselves. Retail Week Awards nominee Nick Holmes is just one such champion, and is currently working hard to bring out the best in Loaf’s Solihull store …

Nick Holmes


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Taking place at Old Billingsgate, London, on 26th May – just after the two-day Retail Week Live event – the Retail Week Awards 2022 ceremony will celebrate British retailers and the workforce by recognising excellence across the industry. Loaf’s Nick Holmes – the manager of the brand’s Solihull ‘shack’ – has been shortlisted for this year’s Quadient store hero award, which recognises the achievements of everyday shop workers. The ex-Habitat, Multiyork and Calligaris professional has long had a passion for interiors, but has truly excelled in his current role, states his awards nomination: “Nick champions progression within his team, offering support to other departments and giving his team the opportunity to grow within the business. “Over the past year, the Solihull team have offered regular support to our Chatterbox (customer service) team during extremely busy times when they found themselves up against the volume of calls coming through. “When Loaf relocated its warehouse from Greenford to Nuneaton, it launched the Loaf Academy on-site, which is home to both its training facility and second customer call centre team. Nick played a massive part in the success of that new call centre and assisted with training throughout. Nick even opened up the Solihull shack for our customer service new starters during lockdown

to deliver product, fabric, system and customer experience training. “When the shacks were forced to close again in December 2020 due to Government restrictions, Nick and the team quickly offered their support to other departments across the business. The Solihull team stepped up, supporting our Chatterbox team, working from home answering calls, placing orders and replying to customer queries. “Nick’s team also came into the shack in January 2021 to support the demand for video consultations during our very busy sale period. These online one-toone calls help customers place orders, discuss products and choose colours and fabrics, all from the comfort of their own homes. “Once the shacks planned to reopen In April, it was obvious that there may still be demand from customers that needed to continue shielding or didn’t live that close to a shack, but still wanted the full Loaf experience. Nick was instrumental in the continued success of the video consultations when the shacks were trading. His positive, can-do attitude not only put his own team members’ minds at rest, but also set the standard for the other shacks helping. Nick and the Solihull team took the reins of booking consultations, balancing the demands of consultation and increased footfall in the shack. “Since being promoted to manager

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in May 2020, just as the store reopened during the first lockdown, he has led the team at the Loaf showroom to every success through the pandemic, whilst also going above and beyond to support his community – including collecting more than 500 Christmas trees across Birmingham in January to raise money for a local hospice.” Furniture News got in touch with Nick to find out more about his dedicated approach to retail …

How do you feel about being nominated for Retail Weeks’ Quadient store hero award? I am chuffed to bits! It’s such an amazing way to start the year, and it’s such an honour to be considered. What’s your retail background, and how long have you been with Loaf? I have worked in furniture retail for the past 13 years – previously for Habitat, Multiyork and Calligaris. I joined the

AT LOAF, WE’RE OBSESSED WITH DELIVERING EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE Loaf family in 2018 as a team leader, and at the beginning of 2020 I had the opportunity to apply for the shack manager position, and jumped at the chance! Did you always feel destined for the retail sector? I accidentally fell into a career in retail. I started off working for Habitat due to a love of interiors, and I quickly realised that I loved the retail environment. I love meeting people and getting excited with them about their plans for their home improvements. It can be very fast-paced, which I really enjoy. I also love being at the helm, and leading a team to success.

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How does the Solihull location differ from Loaf’s other shacks? In Solihull, we have a very varied customer base, and with such close links to the motorway, we have visitors from all over the UK. Like all our shacks, our customers always appreciate our laid-back approach, and can spend as much or as little time as they want here, kicking off their shoes and relaxing. What was the hardest part of maintaining business through the pandemic? The hardest part was the uncertainty, and not knowing what to expect. There was a lot of hard work around the first few months as we began to reopen to unprecedented footfall and pent-up demand. One of our main priorities was to ensure the safety of both our shack assistants and our customers, all whilst delivering exceptional customer service. Some retailers have been criticised for their poor customer services through those years. How did Loaf set itself apart? At Loaf, we’re obsessed with delivering exceptional customer experience (it’s built into the core values we are all held

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I LOVE GETTING EXCITED WITH PEOPLE ABOUT THEIR HOME IMPROVEMENTS accountable for delivering on). So, if we do drop the ball, we’re honest, we own it, and we do everything we can to rectify the issue. We work hard to improve in any areas where we see opportunities to step things up. We also increased recruitment to meet the growing demand of our customers, and employed a whole new aftersales team in 2020. You helped deliver Loaf’s virtual consultations when they mattered most – do you think they’ll play much of a role in the future? Our video consultations are an amazing way to interact with our customers, and we love doing them. Customers (virtually) invite us into their homes, which allows us to tailor our advice to suit their needs. Even post-lockdown, they have continued to be popular, especially with customers who aren’t local to a shack. The virtual consultations provide customers with

that shack experience, all from the comfort of their own homes. How do you manage and encourage staff growth? I think investment in staff is so important. We have an amazing culture at Loaf, and value our Loafers throughout the company. I do think that a little bit of healthy competition goes a long way – whether that’s an in-shack incentive or just beating last year’s KPIs. It’s also important to celebrate our successes and recognise the great results that the shacks achieve. What is it that makes you want to go ‘above and beyond’ in this role? Loaf is such an exciting brand to be a part of. I have never been more supported or better recognised for my achievements than I am right now, and collectively Loaf are smashing it. It’s the community of Loaf that really drives me forward to success!

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LIBRA AT 50 As the purveyor of some of the world’s most exclusive and eclectic furniture, lighting and home accessories, The Libra Company is a valued partner to furniture retailers across the UK. As the business reaches a landmark 50 years of trading, its MD, Paul McLaughlin, is keen to celebrate Libra’s rich heritage through the launch of its Icons series, whilst laying out some exciting plans for its future, writes Paul Farley …


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Libra’s founders, Christine and Joe McLaughlin Libra’s mahogany handicraft business sold over 80,000 products in the 1990s – all made using byproducts from Forest Alliance sustainable wood FN391_(01-78) 2.indd 45

accounts he’s been working with three generations of the same family. They love his expertise and knowledge – whilst we continue to learn from him, and the benefit of this expertise and longevity is evident across our business. “Our vision is simple – to supply exclusive products of the best quality, with excellent customer service and a can-do, customer-focused attitude. Our values – respect, collaboration, quality and positivity – are just as important to us.” The pioneering spirit of Libra’s founders, and the desire to uncover unique, original products that enrich people’s homes, is still very much alive and kicking at Libra, even in the wake of a pandemic which laid bare the inherent weaknesses of global supply chains. “Like many people, we took our lessons from the pandemic,” Paul says. “In our case, apart from the obvious challenges, the lockdowns brought about a great deal of reflection, as we started to question and challenge existing processes. “We took time through the pandemic to design most of the collection from scratch, because we couldn’t travel, and this has meant that our 2022 collection is our best yet. Covid reinforced that we have a phenomenal design team who create products and collections that you genuinely can’t find elsewhere. We aim to lead, rather than follow. We invest heavily to enable us to be the originators of our designs, and we have a long history of working with talented sculptors, designers and artists.” As shipping prices soared, and factories and countries closed their doors, many suppliers were prompted to seek alternative sourcing arrangements.

Paul McLaughlin

It has been two decades since Paul inherited the mantle of the family business, and 2022 sees Libra celebrate its 50th anniversary. The business was established in 1972 by Paul’s parents, Joe and Christine, who started selling antiques and artefacts they’d sourced along the route of a three-and-a-half year road trip to Portugal, India and South Africa. “First and foremost, we are a family business,” Paul begins, “and we’ve never lost that ethos. My parents built the company with a small, loyal team, and whilst we have come a long way since selling butchers’ scales from Portugal and the kitchen scales we manufactured in Cambridgeshire, we are proud to have members in our team today who have been with us for over 30 years. That is a real tribute to the business my parents built.” Libra’s sales director, Alistair Scott, entered his 48th year with the business this year. “He’s been with us for 48 of our 50 years,” says Paul. “And in our oldest

Instead, Libra chose to forge joint ventures with key suppliers in India and Indonesia, allowing it to hold stock at origin, then to finish and ship in 30 days. The shortened lead times have made a fundamental difference to Libra’s business, and its stock levels emerging from the pandemic. “What a relief it was to see stock levels bounce back so quickly postpandemic,” Paul continues. As a result, Libra was able to deliver an impressive promise to its customers at this year’s Spring Fair – namely that 70% of the products on its stand were being shown for the first time, and that everything shown would be in stock within four weeks. Bolstered by ongoing storage and fulfilment improvements behind the scenes at Libra’s headquarters in Newmarket, Libra enjoyed its best trade show since 2015. “The feedback from Spring Fair was that our customers return to Libra time and again because they value our originality and creativity and the relationships that we forge,” says Paul. “Customers tell us we offer a great experience, that we’re easy to work with, and that we care. I’m really proud that we continue to offer this support, and inspiration, to our customer base.”



INSIGHT wall sconce from the early 1990s. One of my personal favourites is the Twisted Willow Lamp base, because it was the first lamp I ever bought. Encouragingly, it did well at this year’s Spring Fair!” Alongside the Icons, Libra has also launched three trend-led collections – Neutral Accents, Maximalism and Midnight Hues – which bring further character to its rich Spring/Summer ‘22 offering. The collection includes a new partnership with one of the UK’s leading upholstery manufacturers, offering made-to-order sofas available in various sizes, hundreds of British and European fabrics, and incorporating European FSC-certified hardwood frames.

Libra’s Palm Wall Sconce, part of the Icons collection, was a firm favourite with Libra’s customers in the 1990s

Libra is celebrating a second point of difference in its 50th anniversary year by launching Icons, a curated collection of 50 of the supplier’s best-loved products from across its storied history. “As we mark our 50th year, it is important for us to celebrate our proud heritage and some special moments in time for Libra,” Paul notes. “Through our Icons series, we are relaunching timeless classics which are exact replicas of the originals, and others which we have reimagined for today’s interiors. “As we reviewed our back catalogue, we identified products that really mean something to us – for example, the Brompton Square Lantern, which John Lewis sold in its thousands, or our first

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Midnight Hues furniture and decor


“Whilst we can’t manufacture everything in the UK, it is great to be working with one of upholstery’s biggest brands,” says Paul. “The 12-week lead time, obvious high quality and great breadth of choice has proven very popular with our retailers.” Despite the cost implications, the new partnership is also driven by sustainable and ethical concerns, which Libra takes very seriously. “Climate change is an important topic for all of us,” Paul continues. “I firmly believe that if all businesses innovate to demand less of the planet, it will make a difference, and that SMEs can play a key role in the change we need. We should not wait for legislation to force us – business must be a force for good.

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Henham Sofa in Lovely Velvet Rose, part of Libra’s new upholstery offer made to order in the UK FN391_(01-78) 2.indd 47

2002’s icon, the Brompton Square Nickel Lantern

“At Libra, we have been challenging ourselves on how we can be more proactive and innovative in our attempts to combat climate change, and also how we can add value to the communities we work in. We are a family business, and I want our children to be proud of our legacy. “At present, we’re working on our own carbon footprint and assessing our environmental impact – from packaging and cardboard to carbon. We’re working with specialists to measure our impact and build a clear picture, from which we’ll set targets on reduction, recycling, waste and resource use. Later this year, we’ll also publish our clear plans on how we aim to reach net zero by 2030. “Our offices in India and China actively seek out Sedex-registered factories, and we carry out our own third-party inspections in every factory with whom we work. I am pleased to see the UK’s retail industry asking more and more searching questions about their supply chains. We can all play our part and demand more of our suppliers.” Given Libra’s long history, it is unsurprising that Paul has an eye on the company’s long-term future. The past 50 years have seen Libra adapt successfully to the changing marketplace around it, and Paul appreciates the need to continually evolve. “So much has changed since my parents started out back in 1972,” he reflects. “Supply chains have changed fundamentally. Pandemic restrictions notwithstanding, there’s much greater international accessibility, a far greater breadth of suppliers, and new rising

WE SHOULD NOT WAIT FOR LEGISLATION TO FORCE US – BUSINESS MUST BE A FORCE FOR GOOD powers in global manufacturing. “Tastes and product categories have changed, too. It is 30 years since I went on buying trips with Dad, and 25 years since I helped set up show stands. Our collection is almost unrecognisable from those days of butchers’ scales and glass paraffin lamps (Dad was always very proud that he managed to get those lamps into Habitat – our first big sale!).” Looking to the future, Paul sees scope for further controlled growth in products and sales. With Alistair Scott retiring at the end of this month, Libra has appointed two successors to cover his territory – “big boots to fill!” – and meanwhile, the head office team is being bolstered with new customer service coordinators and a web design specialist, while its warehouse is being further expanded. “We plan to continue growing our

brand to the point where we hope it will be well known to the consumer and can therefore drive more demand for our customers,” says Paul. From 19th-22nd June, Libra is inviting customers to attend its Summer Open Week in Newmarket, with a special anniversary party for Libra’s friends and family taking place on the 16th. “So much in the retail landscape has changed over the last 50 years,” Paul says, “but we are still here serving customers with a knowledge and longevity which cannot be imitated. “We are proud of our history, and look forward to the next 50 years of Libra. Our ongoing vision is to create exclusive products that make homes beautiful, and I hope to be able to pass our family business onto the next generation to ensure a bright future for our customers and children alike”

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MAKING INTERIORS BEAUTIFUL SINCE 1972 View the latest collections at Tel : 01223 895800 Email:

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BRITISH MADE TO ORDER SOFAS Launching a new partnership with one of the UK’s leading upholstery manufacturers View the latest collections at Tel : 01223 895800 Email:

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VISIT LIBRA’S EXTENSIVE SHOWROOMS TODAY Book an appointment to visit Libra’s stunning showrooms showcasing twelve beautifully curated themes View the latest collections at Tel : 01223 895800 Email:

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INTRODUCING LIBRA ICONS 50 best selling products from Libra’s proud history View the latest collections at Tel : 01223 895800 Email:

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COMMERCE AND COMMUNITY Lauded by Forbes for its impressive growth and disruptive business model, Westminster-based supplier Global Vision Direct (trading as Artisan Furniture) is truly coming into its own in a post-pandemic industry that values provenance, convenience and flexibility. Here, CEO Amit Basu tells Furniture News why his products, handcrafted in India, resonate with UK consumers …


How is your business performing? The business is on a consistent upward trajectory, despite supply chain challenges and global market headwinds over the past couple of years. We’re growing at a rate of +30-40% annually, with higher growth expected as the world returns to normality. Have you developed new routes to market through the pandemic? In an effort to decentralise production and create more efficient local crafting units, we’ve spread our operations across small artisanal hamlets across northwestern India. This not only brought skills and investment into local communities but also helped us avoid the worst of the supply chain and lockdown-related challenges that plagued importers. Can you outline your product offer? We have consistently marketed our products as sustainable, handmade, and communally made pieces of furniture. Our product offer is a social enterprise at its core, and beyond that, it is a convenient way for small retailers to get into handmade furniture without being wrapped up in the logistical nightmare that this can cause. Our bestsellers almost invariably include petite, serpentine products such as bedsides, media units, and consoles – all the furniture a craftsman may have in his little hamlet, fittingly enough.

Amit Basu

How does your product go to market? Our product does not engage with stockists and distributors at all – our entire service is based on a linear supply chain that transports products directly from our factory in Jaipur, India to customers worldwide, through dropshipping or direct container routes.

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Why are consumers drawn to your goods? Perhaps the most unique part of our enterprise is our artisanal side – a far

cry from the sanitised, machine-made furniture that’s so prevalent in the furniture market. It’s a combination of handmade solid wood products – imperfectly and authentically made by artisans using generational techniques – and the idea of supporting oncedecaying crafting communities through their custom that draws customers to our goods. How did the business come about? I founded the furniture imports and exports business from a garage office, a factory that was little more than a cowshed, and generally jungle-floor infrastructure in Jaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India in 1995. Initial capital was laid as a £450 of scholarship money earned during my school days – and the rest is history. Were there any key moments in the business’ evolution? Looking back, the moment that defined Artisan Furniture and made it the social enterprise it is today was the 2008 financial crash. The crash slashed customer spending on lifestyle products, and the company, like many others in its field, suffered the consequences. We were at a crossroads – move away from the company’s artisan-centric roots and on to mass-produced furniture in an effort to cut costs, or double down and transform into a socially conscious company that puts their artisans first. As you may have guessed, we chose the latter. What qualities/practices from the early days still endure? The business, as small it was 20 years ago, still relies just as much today on the local artisanal community for supplying small retailers with handmade furniture. This practice is going as strong as ever, with a network of village units dotted across the desert of Rajasthan – all of them employing craftsmen and reviving the state’s rich history

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How closely does the UK business work with those makers? The entire business, encompassing the UK and Indian operations, is part of the same ecosystem, both operationally as well as in terms of ownership. This lets us have a very close view of where our products come from and the circumstances under which they’re made. Every village unit we work with is closely vetted to meet our ethical standards, and this ensures that every piece of furniture customers buy has been handcrafted by artisans who really love what they do.

Artisan offers dropship, trade and wholesale channels

Artisan supplies product directly from its Jaipur factory to customers worldwide

Can you name some of the customers – on and offline – you’re working with? TK Maxx is one of our largest offline customers in the UK as well as Europe – they’ve been with us for a long time and form an important chunk of our product offering. Pivoting to online, we work with marketplaces such as Wayfair and Fy to diversify their offerings to include handmade, solid wood furniture. Of course, it’s impossible to name all of the small retailers that form the core of what Artisan Furniture is all about, but we’re very proud of growing a 20,000-strong independent retailer portfolio, spread across the globe.

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Artisan’s bestsellers are the result of careful craftsmanship

of handicraft. We’re still very much a communal enterprise, despite having come so far in these two decades!

Can you outline the ways customers can do business with you, and the benefits of each? We have three vertices of the business – being dropship, trade and wholesale – meaning we cater to small and large businesses. On the dropship side of the business, there is no minimum order for value or volume, and the delivery is free within the UK mainland. The standard dropship prices are applicable, and there is also a -10% discount which is applied at the checkout for orders over £1000. On the trade side of the business, there is a minimum spend of £2500, and you can avail of up to -25% off the standard dropship prices. The items can either be collected directly from the warehouse, or we can organise a delivery directly to your shipping address at an additional cost. On the wholesale side of the business, there is a minimum spend of £10,000 for a 20ft container and £16,000 for a 40ft container, and you can avail of up to -50% off the standard dropship prices, depending on the volume and delivery location. Did your acquisition of PD Global’s assets back in 2019 lead to anything concrete? PD Global’s decades-old wholesale presence in the furniture market helped us solidify the trade side of our business while providing us with a trusted brand and its loyal clientele for a wider growth base. Can you reveal anything about your digital plans – is a new marketplace in the works? Artisan Marketplace, a vast online store

for artisans across India to ply their wares directly to retailers, is indeed in the works. We aim to launch the first phase by this summer. This will let artisans directly sync product data directly into our platform and give them access to all our back-end resources. On the front end, customers will be able to publish our entire 1000-strong product catalogue automatically onto their selling platform, while also technologically allowing us to fetch orders automatically. We’re very much looking forward to this new operating system initiative! How did the business catch the eye of Goldman Sachs? And what did that lead to? Goldman Sachs’ Small Business Programme looks at business growth models, sustainability, robustness and a host of other characteristics, to choose the enterprises it inducts. We strongly believe in our communitybased business model and the benefits it brings to both artisans and retailers – it was perhaps this belief that shone through when we were selected. The programme has led Artisan Furniture to embark on a journey of self-reflection and growth, all under the consistent support of Goldman Sachs and the University of Oxford. How can prospective clients find out more? We have all of the information you may need on our website. It’s really simple to navigate – and of course, if you want to talk to a member of our wonderful team, you’re more than welcome to book an appointment with us for a chat

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Steens for Kids – just one of the popular Steens lines now available from FTG



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Tvilum acquired fellow RTA specialist Steens Furniture in May last year. Both businesses have long been strong players in the global RTA furniture market, and have shown significant growth as separate companies. Tvilum itself has enjoyed a successful partnership with FTG since 2019, building a business model based on long-term sustainability. FTG is well known for being a DHD specialist, with over 1200 SKUs available for sameday dispatch from its Portsmouth warehouse. “The addition of the Steens portfolio into Tvilum enables us to build on our supply offering,” says FTG’s director of sales and operations, Paul Sheldon. “Tried-and-tested ranges like Steens for Kids, Baroque, Tromso and Sandringham, to name a few, are now all under the FTG one-stop-shop umbrella.” FTG boasts an ongoing product development programme, working closely with its partner factories to achieve success in the UK, and the company’s business model has remained consistent – UK-facing, commercial products, available for nextday delivery. Over the last few years, FTG’s warehouse has doubled in size to accommodate its product offer and to maximise operational efficiency. The

Tvilum’s country manager for the UK and Ireland, Steve Edwards, with FTG’s Paul Sheldon

Following a recent review of its UK operations, Danish manufacturer Tvilum has opted to close Steens’ UK office and reassign all DHD operations to its partner, Furniture To Go.

warehouse has its own overpacking facility to ensure transport damage is kept to a minimum, as part of FTG’s ongoing service proposition – and the introduction of FTG’s new warehouse management system means orders are picked constantly throughout the day and night. As a forward-thinking company, FTG also prides itself on its ability to support growing ecommerce businesses with its full range of marketing material, highquality product and roomset images, web banners, CSV files for bulk upload, and a reliable stock feed – all of which are essential tools for those seeking ecommerce success. “The excellent Steens products that customers are used to now contain a great added value that FTG offers its customers,” says Paul. “With a modern ordering system, the customer can now go on and order at any time of the day, with full visibility of the progression of the order, right up until a tracked-andsigned delivery. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the UK market. The Steens product is commercial, and to have this on a nextday delivery basis is great news. Tvilum is a great company, with great people and great products. I am very proud to be relaunching these great products with a new and exciting service proposition”

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CLUB TOGETHER Vietnam’s rich manufacturing base continues to offer cabinet buyers lucrative opportunities, but deadling with agents on the ground can often prove much more straightforward than attempting to buy direct – and that’s where Furniture Club Direct comes in …

With over 25 years’ experience in the furniture industry, Furniture Club Direct’s team lives and works in Vietnam, close to the manufacturing partners behind many of the world’s leading cabinet ranges. Managing proceedings are Martin Norwood and Kevin Lunney, who both started out in the retail sector, before going on to gain significant experience in the global supply chain. Furniture Club Direct’s specialists have sourced furniture from all over the world, before delivering it to the UK retail market. Having recognised an opportunity in Vietnam, Furniture Club Direct opened its own offices there and in nearby Singapore, while employing a full QC team to follow the production process from start to finish.

“With the global lockdown, the last few years have proved challenging,” states Furniture Club Direct, “but now we’re launching two new ranges to the UK market, and it’s a truly exciting time for our team. “Living in Vietnam provides endless manufacturing opportunities, and our team also welcome enquiries from customers who wish to source their own designs. Furniture Club Direct can manage the whole process – from sourcing and manufacturing, to QC, and finally shipping the product to our customers.” Anyone interested in finding out more about Furniture Club Direct’s ranges and services should email norwood. or kevin.lunney@


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FURNITURE CLUB DIRECT With over 25 years experience in the furniture industry FCD’s team live and work in Vietnam. Starting out in the retail sector so gaining vast experience in the full supply chain FCD’s team have sourced furniture all over the world before bringing it to the UK retail market. Having seen the opportunity in Vietnam FCD opened offices here and in Singapore, while employing a full QC team following production from start to finish.

The last few years have proved challenging with the global lockdown so launching these 2 new ranges to the UK market is a truly exciting time for our team. Living in Vietnam provides endless manufacturing opportunities and our team also welcome all inquiries from customers who wish to source there own designs. FCD can manage the whole process from sourcing, manufacturing, to QC and finally shipping the product to our customers. A great white label opportunity”

For more information please contact: or

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Seconique Furniture

Wobaston Road, Wolverhampton, WV9 5EY

0121 506 4888 STAND C20 STAND E25 HALL 4






For more details call 0121 506 4888 or visit our website COMPREHENSIVE PRODUCT RANGE - FIRST CLASS SERVICE - OUTSTANDING VALUE

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22 16:37


QUALITA ASSURANCE Buyers looking for a fresh take on living and dining cabinet are in for a treat when the January Furniture Show (finally) comes around this month and Qualita takes the stage. Following up on our in-depth profile in January’s issue, we caught up with MD Andrius Miničius to learn more about the benefits of working with his Lithuanian manufacturing powerhouse …

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Andrius Miničius Timo, Qualita FN391_(01-78) 2.indd 62

Stockholm, formerly Winsor Furniture’s champion line

In January, Furniture News was given an access-all-areas pass to cover the background and latest developments of Qualita, the UK cabinet brand and Lithuanian manufacturing giant. We revealed how Qualita had secured the production and distribution rights to Winsor Furniture’s popular Stockholm collection, after the latter’s Vietnamese factory was destroyed in a fire, and looked at the significance of Qualita being selected to represent all of Laura Ashley’s cabinet sourcing and manufacture. Now the postponed January Furniture Show is finally upon us, Qualita’s new UK retail lines – and Stockholm – are still set to wow visitors from stand D40 in Hall 1. But what has changed since we last caught up with Qualita’s founder and MD, Andrius Miničius?

What progress has the business made so far this year? January Furniture Fair was moved to April, which delayed the launch of our new Stockholm collection under the Winsor brand. However, instead of waiting for the show to happen in April, the agents took it upon themselves to hit the road and convince retailers to recommit to the range from Qualita. We set up the display at the old Winsor warehouse and invited retailers to come and visit. Some of them did, and some asked the agents to bring them

a sample bedside table so they could check the quality. And while it was just a soft launch, the agents have done a fantastic job so far, and secured display orders from around 50 stores. The aim was to get around 80 stores at the NEC in January – so we are headed in the right direction, and we believe we will reach our goal at the April show. In general, the market has responded really well to Stockholm. As for Laura Ashley cabinet furniture, the sales are strong with Next, and now John Lewis has made a selection and is launching a few ranges across the bedroom, as well as its dining and living departments. Laura Ashley bedroom at John Lewis Partnership will launch this month, whereas the dining and living ranges will launch in autumn/winter this year. Other Qualita ranges with UK retailers have held their ground, and we envisage growing our distribution further at the January Furniture Show this April.



Fargo, Qualita

What exactly are you bringing to the January Furniture Show – and has the selection changed at all based on recent developments/feedback? The plans have not changed. Other than presenting the Stockholm range in the flesh – which we are sure most of the committed retailers will come to see, as most have bought their displays after seeing sample bedsides or just photography – we will also have a good selection of the other products that Qualita is best known for. This will include dining tables with various legs in wood and metal, and cabinet furniture in oak and walnut in different finishes, as well as some new occasional products such as shelving units, and side, coffee, nest and console tables that we plan to stock and make available on a shorter lead time. We didn’t have this proposition at Qualita before, as most of the products were made to order. Can you outline any new styles/ colours/materials you think are going to prove popular this year? How are you responding to these demands? Oak will continue to be the most popular solid wood in 2022. However, the price of solid oak and oak-veneered furniture may see a substantial rise, as the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia and Belarus mean that Europe will suffer a huge supply shortage and raw material cost will sour.

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INSTEAD OF WAITING FOR APRIL’S SHOW TO HAPPEN, OUR AGENTS HIT THE ROAD Ukraine is one of the largest oak suppliers into the EU. The country also exports ash, beech and birch, so costs for these timbers will also rise. On top of that, chipboard, MDF, plywood and other materials that are used in furniture production are also imported from Russia and Belarus, which, given current economic sanctions, will incur shortages and price hikes. Prices for furniture will rise in general, but oak may see the highest jump. Black American walnut is also becoming a bit more popular in the UK, but its appeal is still quite limited in comparison to oak. We have seen a few more retailers starting to look back to pine and the resurrection of pine furniture, even if in a different distressed, brushed, washed and weathered look. Pine and spruce are materials that are more widely available, and given the growing cost of other hardwood timbers, it is likely that more companies will focus on creating new products and ranges in these cheaper woods. Qualita sources and manufactures furniture from oak, ash, beech, birch and black American walnut, and has

even started making some pine ranges for Laura Ashley. The company has strong ties with various suppliers, and we are sure we will be able to offer the market whatever the consumers demand. What would you say to anyone planning to visit JFS and thinking of visiting your stand? I would say it is a smart decision! I believe that we have been in the market for long enough – we supply many retailers with white-label products, we have exclusive licenses to supply products under the Laura Ashley brand, plus we now offer Winsor’s Stockholm collection. And we are working on bringing other brands into Qualita’s portfolio. We not only have our own manufacturing facility, but we also buy products from various other suppliers in the EU and further afield. We have a well-structured business, guaranteeing stability and consistency. We have offices in Lithuania and the UK. We are working very closely with retailers in order to offer products that are demanded by consumers.

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We work in many European markets and notice the trends, and are able to quickly introduce changes within our company. We strive to offer our retailers a good customer service and, given our current position and history in the market, I believe that anyone we have worked with can say that we’re a reliable partner – and this is what one needs in the current turbulent market.

Can you tell us a bit more about your manufacturing operation in Lithuania? The factory in Lithuania was set up in 2003. It currently employs around 250 people. We make products from solid wood as well as all sorts of boards, and we finish in oil, lacquer and paints. The scope is large – we have all the machinery necessary to make any kind of cabinet furniture. The factory operates what we call a zero-waste production. All timber offcuts are shredded and processed into briquettes that are used for heating the factory in the winter, and the surplus is sold to local households. All the materials we use come from sustainable

sources, and we carry out annual ethical and technical audits in the factory that are performed by a certified third party, such as Bureau Veritas or another. We also have a sister company that is called Industrial Robotics Company, which works alongside our manufacturing business and helps automate various repetitive processes. We have robots in the factory that produce cardboard boxes, robots that sand, spray, and also – working with a number of tools positioned around them such as routers, blades, drills and sanding belts – process small wooden parts. We aim to automate as many processes as we can in order to offer our employees a better and safer working environment, grow their skillsets, make production more efficient and consistent, and allow employees to earn more while doing less manual work. Robotisation also ensures stability and helps with quality control.


Mammut, Qualita

Taking a step back from the show, how has your service offer evolved to meet current demand? Qualita is known for supplying larger retailers with private-label products, as well as smaller independent shops with products on an MTO basis. For years we have also been making bespoke products to customers’ exact specifications, and have offered this service to shops, interior designers, architects and various contract customers. However, at the end of 2021 we made a decision to completely stop manufacturing bespoke, one-off pieces. Signing up the license to manage Laura Ashley’s cabinet furniture portfolio, getting the license to make and supply Winsor’s Stockholm collection, as well as making a decision to introduce some products that would be stocked and

delivered to retailers on a shorter lead time, meant that our manufacturing, engineering and admin capacity is going to be exhausted and leave no room to continue offering a completely bespoke service.

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As of early March, has the invasion of Ukraine affected how you do business? It has. As mentioned above, supply and the cost of raw materials is going to become a big issue in the next few months. We also have subcontractors in Poland who employ a lot of Ukrainians, and they have now left Poland to go back to Ukraine and fight. This will inevitably increase lead times and may raise prices, as the factories will need to cover their fixed overheads with less throughput. Many Ukrainian citizens are going to seek refuge in Poland and Lithuania. We hope that some of them will find permanent residency in our countries and will add to the labour market, which is currently depleted. It is next to impossible to find young people in our countries that are willing to do manual work in factories. Everyone wants to work in an office, use a computer or trade crypto currencies. An influx of manpower into our countries may actually benefit the manufacturing industry. We don’t need cheap labour, we need people who are willing to work. Do you see demand for your product here in the UK changing much this year? It is difficult to foresee. For the last two years, demand has been solid – and

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growing. Those supplying from the Far East faced issues with their supply chains, from manufacturing to logistics. Costs have increased everywhere, so many wholesalers and retail chains decided to look for products closer to home. This all stimulated demand and helped grow our business, while pushing the prices for raw materials and labour up, of course. This year looked like it was no different – until the war broke out. It is very likely that costs will continue to rise and, depending on how the conflict progresses, it may actually encourage people to wait and see what is going to happen, how the situation is going to resolve. On the other hand, suppliers of less expensive furniture, such as IKEA, JYSK, etc, who are more affected by the supply chain issues due to the war and sanctions, may suffer more from shortages of raw materials and could actually be out of stock more often – which, in turn, may stimulate the growth of sales in the mid- to higherend category. It is a big unknown at the moment, but, as always, when the markets are turbulent, there are companies that deal with the issues better than others, and losses for some are opportunities for others. Qualita has weathered all the difficulties relatively well so far,

and each crisis proved to be a big opportunity for growth. We hope that this year will prove no different. Finally, what else is in the pipeline for 2022? Growing our manufacturing capacity by way of acquisition is definitely on the radar. We are considering various options in Lithuania and abroad. We are also keen to find opportunities among various wholesalers and do more deals that are similar to our licensing agreements with Laura Ashley and Winsor. We are currently working on a licensing deal with a very prominent brand in London. While they don’t have a furniture category at the moment, they are a well-known name that could do well with a selection of products distributed across the right type of retailers. We are also keen to partner with or acquire businesses that fall in line with what we do and which could help Qualita grow by offering more products to our existing customers, or help us open more retail doors with products that we have not got in our portfolio at the moment. We see the next five years as having serious growth potential for Qualita, and we will be actively looking for opportunities in the market

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Visit us on Hall 1-D40 at the January Furniture Show, 24-27th April, NEC Birmingham

T: 0207 738 2424 - E:

Qualita 557-561 Battersea Park Road, London SW11 3BL

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SLEEPING GIANT The Bed Show, run by the National Bed Federation (NBF), will return to the Telford International Centre from 20th-21st September to bring together some of the best in British and Irish bed manufacturing, their component suppliers and bed retailers from the length and breadth of the nation – and, although the show predominantly comprises UK exhibitors, several European component suppliers also take the opportunity to demonstrate their latest products and innovations to a captive market.


After a difficult two years due to the pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues, the Bed Show represents an opportunity to come together and celebrate all that is excellent in the UK and Irish bed industry, with the opportunity to speak face to face with numerous experts. Each year, large numbers of bed buyers and specifiers make their way to Telford to see some of the biggest names in beds. For 2022, visitors can see the likes of Airsprung, Breasley, Duvalay, Harrison Spinks, Highgrove

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Beds, Millbrook, Relyon, Sealy, Sweet Dreams and Vispring, to name but a few. Proving a “huge success” upon its introduction last year, the Suppliers Innovation Zone returns to the heart of the show halls, and promises to be the place to visit for all purchasing managers of mattress and bed manufacturers. Supplier exhibitors include Handy, John Cotton NonWovens, Legget and Platt, Maes Mattress Tickings, Recticel, Spinks and Wolf Components. Once again, there will be ample catering facilities across the show, with complimentary vouchers available to visitors and exhibitors. There is also plenty of free parking on-site, and entry to the Bed Show is free of charge (any visitors wishing to bring young children into the halls with them are encouraged to do so on the Wednesday 21st September). “Make a date in your diary to attend the Gala Dinner and Bed Industry Awards on the night of Tuesday, 20th September,” says the NBF. “Keep an eye out for further details, including how to book, on the Bed Show website. “We’ll be shaking things up once again with the Bed Industry Awards – details are coming soon on categories for manufacturers, suppliers and bed retailers. Winning an award is much coveted, and competition is always very keen!”








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NBF-1262 TBS - Advert_2022_AW_FN.pdf




20 - 21 Sept 2022 | Telford

Bringing The Bed Industry Together Mattresses | Divans | Bedsteads | Headboards | Pillows | Futons | C




Sofabeds | Tickings | Fillings | Springs | Foam Machinery | Components

Supplier Innovation Zone




K @thebedfed | #BedShow2022

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FRESH-FORMAT FABRIC SHOW THRIVES The BFM Fabric Show London 2022 “moved up a gear” at its new ILEC Conference Centre location, reports organiser, British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) …


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Running across 8th and 9th March, the show attracted international suppliers from Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Germany, as well as from the UK.

Fabrics on show included wools, tweeds, velvets, cottons, linens, chenilles, silks, leathers, faux leathers, backing fabrics and FR treatments, alongside the latest fabric protection and cleaning treatments. Initial feedback from buyers and the 40-plus exhibitors in attendance (up +30% YoY), points to a successful reception for the event’s new format. The BFM moved the show to the ILEC Conference Centre, near to Earls Court, to offer increased capacity, while making it a hosted, invite-only show. BFM MD Sean Holt says: “We are very pleased with the feedback from exhibitors and buyers, and feel the new format has really hit the mark. There was more opportunity than ever, and we are glad we took the decision to press forward with plans to invigorate the event, after the challenges of the last few years due to Covid. “We are committed to reinvesting in the show for the future and now look forward to delivering further growth next year, attracting more exhibitors and a wider audience of international buyers for the 2023 event.” A video of the show can be found online at

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UK’s Leading Wholesale, Dropship & Trade Furniture Suppliers Take full advantage of Artisan Furniture’s direct from the source manufacturing capabilities in Jaipur, India backed up by a distribution center in Ipswich and a corporate office in Westminster, London. An operation spread across thousands of miles, for a product that comes right to your doorstep. We have no minimum order quantities by value or volume, nor any restrictions regarding minimum monthly spend or annual commitment. Free delivery within the UK Mainland.

0800 689 4736 Artisan Furniture, 2A, Monck St Westminster, City of London

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INDX GETS INTO BEDS Brought to market by leading UK buying group Associated Independent Stores (AIS), the INDX group of trade shows introduced a Home Division in 2021, and as part of this expansion, new show INDX Beds & Bedroom will launch at Cranmore Park exhibition venue in Solihull on 26-27th April this year …

The INDX brand now represents 12 sectors across fashion and home, and delivers over 20 business and buyer-focused shows per year. Each is expertly curated to offer a commercial edit of industry-leading suppliers, and the team co-ordinating INDX Beds & Bedroom says it has secured “an unrivalled selection of brands” to exhibit at the April show. Emma Rackley, director of furniture and home at AIS, is looking forward to welcoming retailers and suppliers to the upcoming show: “We are very excited to be introducing the Beds & Bedroom category to INDX shows, and the team

at AIS have been busy preparing a fantastic line-up of suppliers for our April launch. “INDX Beds & Bedroom will showcase beds, bedroom cabinets and sofabeds from some of the biggest names in the industry, and the show will provide a professional forum for retailers to meet with existing suppliers and discover new opportunities.” Confirmed exhibitors at the time of going to press include Emma, Gainsborough, Harrison Spinks, Healthbeds, Highgrove, Hypnos, Ideal Furniture, Julian Bowen, Kaydian, Kaymed, GNG Group (Komfi), Limelight Beds, MA Living, Millbrook, Rauch, Relyon, Rest Assured/Silentnight, Sealy, Sleepeezee, Sweet Dreams and Tempur. INDX Beds & Bedroom is open to general trade buyers and retailers, and offers free entrance, free onsite parking, and complimentary refreshments to all visitors. Attendees can expect a friendly, relaxed and professional buying environment in which to network and connect with the industry. The show will be open from 8:30am5pm on Tuesday 26th April, and 8:30am-4pm on Wednesday 27 April. Visitor registration can be completed via the INDX website, and further show updates and news can be found there and by following @INDXHome on social media



26-27 APRIL 2022 Discover expertly curated ranges and market leading brands at the launch of INDX Beds & Bedroom

Register now:

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

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PocketGel Plus

Sleepeezee has been handcrafting mattresses in Britain since 1924, using a combination of luxury materials, innovative designs, and traditional techniques with the aim of perfecting the formula of a good night’s sleep. “Every detail of each mattress is diligently checked for consistency and quality, so customers can be satisfied that the bed they are investing in will provide them with the best night’s sleep possible,” states Sleepeezee, which is proud to have held a Royal Warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales for over 30 years. Visitors to INDX Beds & Bedroom this month will have the opportunity to see the results for themselves as the manufacturer unveils its latest models. Crescent, Chittenden & Eastman


The Millbrook Bed Company (MBCo) plans to unveil the market’s “most sustainable mattress”– the Chittenden & Eastman collection (C&E) at INDX Beds & Bedroom. Created in partnership with Bedding Industries America, the C&E range of six models features Millbrook’s sleep technologies, NemoFlex and SmoothTech. These mattresses are a market first, and able to claim true circular sustainability and 100% recyclability due to a fundamental change in mattress manufacturing. With this range, MBCo has addressed not only how a mattress is made and what it is made from, but also its end-of-life and how it is recycled. At the heart of each C&E mattress lies the NemoFlex core, a foam-free encapsulated spring system which eliminates the need for staples or stitching, which are traditionally problematic for recycling. These design

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attributes allow the raw materials and components to be easily upcycled into alternative products such as loft insulation, in turn reducing the volume of mattresses going to landfill. To facilitate mattress end-of-life management, Millbrook Recycling will launch at the bedmaker’s Totton headquarters this year. Additionally, for every NemoFlex mattress manufactured, at least 200 plastic bottles are repurposed and diverted from landfill, and for every C&E mattress sold a donation will go to the Woodland Trust. Beyond product development, MBCo is

committed to reducing the company’s carbon footprint by -2.5% every year, to continue to achieve The Planet Mark certification. Smooth-Tech is a new Millbrook sleep technology developed in response to customer demand for a tuft-free sleeping surface. MBCo mattresses are handmade to last 10 years or more, which can be attributed in part to the tufting process – so the company turned the idea on its head, and created an inner-tufted mattress, offering all the benefits of a traditional mattress, but without the outer tufts.

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NEC-DEEP IN NEW PRODUCT It’s been nearly 27 months since the UK’s biggest furniture show last graced the NEC, but after a long and painful absence – extended by three months thanks to Omicron’s winter rampage – the January Furniture Show is finally back, bringing the trade together for buying, selling, networking and more from 24-27th April. As is customary, Furniture News has gone all out to deliver the biggest preview around, including a hall-by-hall breakdown of the key players and what they’ll be displaying. So, without any more ado … it’s showtime!

On Sunday 24th April at 9.30am, the NEC Birmingham will once again open its doors for the January Furniture Show – the UK’s largest furniturebuying event and an unrivalled showcase of new products, suppliers, brands and trends. The long hiatus brought about by the pandemic has only heightened the trade’s appetite for an event of such scale. Set across four halls this year, the exhibition promises to deliver the best in new product while offering buyers an easy way to shop and learn from industry experts. There will be a vast array of collections and exclusive launches on offer – from beds and storage solutions to sofas and dining furniture, not to mention an array of


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specialist service providers – so buyers are sure to find quality products that will appeal to all audiences, says organiser Clarion Events. “By bringing buyers and brands together under one roof at the UK’s largest furniture show, retailers will have the opportunity to make lasting connections with brands from around the globe whilst reconnecting with industry colleagues in an innovative, design-driven atmosphere,” states Clarion. “The four halls are packed with brands from around the globe, giving buyers the opportunity to explore a variety of different furniture styles, storage solutions and interior trends.” The show is known for delivering an unmatched mix of established and emerging furniture brands. This year sees it welcome US brand Kathy Ireland Home, whose mix of contemporary classic homewares evokes Hampton beach town-style aesthetics with neutrally toned luxurious throws and

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INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 79 sumptuous rugs. Other new brands to look out for include Accadueo Designs, with its eye-catching contemporary furniture, and ASR Interiors, which offers a variety of wholesale products in a multitude of styles and designs. With the industry embracing more sustainable approaches, another new exhibitor set to draw interest is Mobus Fabrics, a conscientious business which manufactures its own fabrics, manages global distribution and stores retailready fabrics. Alongside these new brands are returning names such as Tetrad, ALF, Sealy, Forte, Jual Furnishings and many, many more, all of which cannot wait to

WE’LL BE HOSTING EXCLUSIVE DISCUSSIONS WITH INDUSTRY EXPERTS share their new collections with visiting buyers. “Buyers will appreciate the opportunity to catch up with these industry favourites in person,” states Clarion, “and will also be able to pick up expert advice and industry tips from our insightful sessions at Furniture Talks. We’ll be hosting exclusive discussions and sessions with industry experts

on topics such as the latest interiors trends, along with masterclasses on PR and social media.” VIP visitors will enjoy a fast-track entrance and access to an exclusive lounge plus complimentary food and refreshments. Meanwhile, the Young Furniture Makers feature in Hall 1 promises a refreshing showcase of fresh thinking from the next generation of

Kathy Ireland Home

Nolte Möbel

Abbeylands Furniture


Westbridge Furniture Designs

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designers, and The Furniture Awards are returning to celebrate the industry’s champions (read more on p82). The exhibitors themselves will be arrayed across four thematic spaces: Premium Design (Hall 1), comprising traditional and contemporary British and international furniture; Interior Accessories (Hall 2), broadly offering pictures, mirrors, glassware, wall

decor, lighting and giftware; Living, Dining & Bedroom (Hall 4), comprising cabinet and other furniture; and Furniture, Upholstery & Beds (Hall 5), which promises beds, mattresses, divans, sofas and upholstery. Furniture News will be present in Hall 5 this year, on stand 5-D4. Zoë Bonser, portfolio director of Clarion Events’ Retail division,


concludes: “Firmly established as the largest and most popular furniture and interiors event in the UK calendar, the event promises to deliver an exceptional buying experience. JFS really is a one-stop shop for all the latest collections in furniture and accessories. Plus, with the introduction of expert seminar content to enhance attendees’ experience, the 2022 edition will be one not to be missed. The JFS team cannot wait to see you there!” Visit the show’s website to register for free and find out more, and read on to discover Furniture News’ pick of the incoming products …

Highgrove Beds

Michael Tyler Furniture

Fortune Woods

Sherborne Upholstery

Indus Valley

Daro Cane

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HALL 4 E10

30 Cele




Come along to our stand at the January Furniture Show in April to see our exciting new collections.

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TAKING THE LEAD The January Furniture Show returns this month – which means The Furniture Awards are back to celebrate the exhibition’s industry’s champion suppliers …

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Sustainability: Rauch, Skovby, Signature Kauri, Vogue Beds Best of British: Shire Beds, La-Z-Boy UK, Alpha Designs, Buoyant Upholstery Design Innovation: Dormeo, Gallery Direct, Sealy UK, Scandinavian House Global Player: Wiemann UK, Man-Wah, Bluebone Imports, Incanto Italia In addition to valuable media coverage, each winner will receive a voucher for CGI services, courtesy of creative digital agency Orbital Vision. The winners of the most recent edition of the awards, held in 2020, were: Fortune Woods (Living & Dining Cabinet); Wiemann UK (Bedroom Cabinet); Collins & Hayes (Upholstery); Gingko Electronics (Accents); and Silentnight Group (Mattresses & Divans). This year’s winners will be announced this month, ahead of the show – make sure to pay their stands a visit! Rob Walker, MD of awards sponsor Orbital Vision, with 2020 Mattresses & Divans category winner Silentnight

2020 winner Fortune Woods – pictured from left are: James Howard (head of sales, January Furniture Show); Paul Farley (Furniture News); Craig McGowan (MD, Fortune Woods); and Mark Bonner (sales director, Fortune Woods)


The Furniture Awards were launched in 2015 by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the January Furniture Show, and are now an integral part of the exhibition. This year’s competition attracted a wealth of entries from exhibitors keen to share their achievements. This year, entrants were asked to explain why they are leading the way in one of the following categories: Sustainability; Best of British; 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? We asked this year’s entrants to share their stories and persuade the judges why they deserved to take top billing in their chosen category,” says the awards’ co-ordinator (and editor-in-chief of Furniture News magazine), Paul Farley. “It was truly heartening to read so many impressive and inspiring accounts from across the industry – particularly given the challenges many of them faced last year.” This year, Paul chaired 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). The businesses they shortlisted are:

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Thank you to new for making J Kelston House are delighted to be back at JFS 2022 on STAND 2G20 1/2 page landscape.indd 1 We have the stand full with new collections, Kalahari & Motley to name a few. Fresh & exciting collections to offer our customers something different. We look forward to meeting customers old and new.

Tel: +353 404 80068 email: Kelston House International, Charvey Court, Rathnew Business Park, Co Wicklow, Ireland

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CONNECTED COMFORT Engineered for comfort and executed with style, Hydeline’s new recliner collection promises a warm welcome for visitors attending stand 1-A40 at the January Furniture Show …


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Hydeline says its legacy is one of design – engineered for comfort, connection, and innovation – and the team behind the brand is excited to introduce a new collection at JFS that “sets itself apart from the rest”. “We have long been at the forefront of ingenious reclining technologies, and continue to remain unrivalled,” states Hydeline. “That’s because we believe everyone deserves to experience ultimate comfort, and continually challenge ourselves to deliver a superior

seating experience that ‘connects’. “In short, our ethos is to deliver ‘connected comfort’ – and our furniture’s beautiful aesthetic is driven by our quest to connect friends and family through comfort and technology.” Hydeline’s team looks forward to meeting retailers and presenting the new product offering at JFS. Interested parties can contact their sales representative, call 01908 968228 or email for further details

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A family-run business that creates handmade upholstery in the heart of the Midlands, Alpha is a progressive UK manufacturer that strives to remain at the forefront of design and fabric – which it will once again demonstrate through its newest collections. Alpha’s new models come hot on the heels of a successful autumn launch, which saw the manufacturer introduce the now-proven Audrey, Selsey, Ciara and Niamh models, all of which were presented in vibrant new fabrics. Its new 2022 ranges, which have been

designed and developed in partnership with a leading furniture designer, are set to further fuel Alpha Designs’ growth in the marketplace. The manufacturer says the new range offers a breadth of styles to compement its successful existing ranges, with total flexibility on fabrics across all models – all in all, an enticing proposition, from a company with a supportive, ‘can-do’ attitude. Contact sales director Barry Webb on 07702 603971 or barry@alpha-designs., or visit Alpha Designs’ on stand 1-C20 at the show




Alpha Designs is returning to the January Furniture Show this month (stand 1-C20) to reveal its latest models …

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Clementine 4 seater sofa

STAND 1- C20 ALPHA DESIGNS UPHOLSTERY LIMITED T: 01902 492937 F: 01902 493700 E: Unit 1, Stag Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 7HZ

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Having spent over 20 years meeting the needs of some of the most discerning customers, Devon-based Steve Bristow Furniture prides itself on offering a combination of fine materials, true craftsmanship and timeless style.

“We are proud of our reputation for creating beautiful, longlasting bespoke worktops,” states the business, “and continuing our tradition, our new range of marble, granite and quartz furniture is artisan-made in Devon and built to last. “Comprising clean, contemporary designs, that are as timeless as the materials from which they are crafted, our portfolio contains a collection of stunning marble, granite and quartz dining tables, console tables, occasional tables and coffee tables, with a fully bespoke service available too.” Find Steve Bristow Furniture on stand 1-C72.

“Proud to be British”

Visit our stand at the January Furniture Show, we’re located in Hall 1, just beside the stairs up to Hall 1 on Stand G21 01159 430305

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Hall 1 Stand 1-A30

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Carole Nolan, garden furniture buyer at Gallery, says: “We worked hard developing our new outdoor furniture collection, creating a range of designled pieces to bring the Gallery touch to outdoor living. We showcased some pieces at Spring Fair, and we are delighted with how well they were received – but don’t worry if you didn’t come to the exhibition, as we will be displaying a wider range at the delayed January Furniture Show.” Offering rich variety, from contemporary design to classic, handwoven rattan, to the timeless beauty of solid teak, there is something to suit all outdoor spaces. Compact bistro sets are ideal for smaller gardens, balconies or cosy corners, while slim bar sets are designed with narrow balconies in mind but work just as well in other spaces. Comfy lounge sets and practical dining sets are offered in a range of sizes, including large corner layouts. And for pure relaxation, there are luxurious loungers and recliner chairs. The Vandra dining table features an attractive top design with a built-in lazy Susan, which is inset at the same height as the tabletop for added practicality. A matching chair, traditionally crafted with dowels, is available. The stylish but practical design allows the chairs to be stacked for storage. Both the table and chairs are crafted from teak, a high-quality material which is ideal for outdoor furniture due to its durability and water resistance.

Lenno mosaic round dining table and Provins dining chairs

With outdoor living becoming increasingly popular, now is the perfect time to get ready for summer with Gallery Direct’s new outdoor collection. The range offers a wide selection for dining, relaxing or entertaining in style, with pieces to suit different styles and spaces …

To add an unusual contemporary style to a patio, the Lenno dining table features a concrete mosaic top combined with a powder-coated iron base. The table has a parasol hole for added practicality. It pairs well with Gallery’s Provins chairs, which are crafted from powder-coated iron with a showerproof seat cushion to add comfort. To complement the furniture, there are parasols for hot, sunny days, and firepits, which are ideal for cooler days or when the sun goes down, so the outdoors can be enjoyed for longer. Gallery also has a strong selection of outdoor lighting and accessories, including pots, planters and lanterns, as well as summer-themed textiles, which are ideal for adding texture, colour and comfort to outdoor spaces. To find out more about this collection, visit Gallery at the front of Hall 2 on stand E40 at the show

Vandra tabletop detail

Vandra round dining table and chairs

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GD Furn

Whether you’re looking to lounge in luxury or dine on your decking in style, we’re delighted to introduce a fantastic selection of design-led pieces to bring Visit us at January Furniture Show Hall 2 Stand 2-E40

the Gallery touch to outdoor living. The beautiful Lorris Round Dining Table, which comfortably seats four, features a solid pedestal base and looks great paired with many of our outdoor dining chairs. Crafted from teak, an ideal material for outdoor furniture thanks to its incredible durability and

24 - 27 April 2022, NEC

water resistance.

View our full collection online at

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Petrified wood table

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Eclectic and design led as always, Bluebone plans to launch four dining ranges, a comprehensive collection of occasional and living pieces, and its first new bedroom range in 10 years. Bluebone’s Warm Monochrome offer brings together elements of pale natural wood and rattan weave with matt black, monochrome marble, petrified wood and inlay print. The cool North Coast story, meanwhile, showcases Bluebone’s comprehensive new Fjord collection, with living, dining and bedroom options. It has a soft, ash-grey finish that works well with the supplier’s bestselling Iona, Driftwood, and cement-top ranges. Club Room introduces classic new mango wood pieces including a chessboard table, ottoman trays, sliding door wine and media storage, a boot rack, and the impressive new Oban 10-seater oval dining table.

Inlay print dining table

Bluebone is “delighted” to be returning to the NEC at last, where it promises to reveal the best and brightest of its indoor and outdoor furniture and homewares collections ahead of the summer, and much more …

Aside from these additions, Bluebone’s Chair Gallery is worth exploring. “Have fun with the brandnew Tutti and Zebra prints,” says the supplier, “and, with excellent UK stocks of our current styles, noteworthy new additions for 2022 include the Alfa Bounce self-return swivel chair, Alfa gas lift stool, and new Lancia stitchedvegan-leather armchairs and stools.” At this year’s January Furniture Show, Bluebone will occupy two stands at the entrance to Hall 2. “Cross the aisle to explore our dedicated outdoor stand, and find the same Bluebone creative flair channelled into versatile garden furniture and accessories,” says Bluebone. “With the increasing popularity of garden rooms and indoorto-outdoor spaces, we have successfully expanded our outdoor living collection, adding three new Scandi sets, and the luxurious, pale-grey Berkely Rope Conversation Range. The garden stock is ready now in our Manchester warehouse.” Despite the many freight obstacles that have been posed over the last 18 months, Bluebone has continued to ship products, supporting both its suppliers and customers, so will come to the show with fully stocked warehouses and swift lead times. “We can’t wait to welcome you to our stands,” the supplier concludes. “With plenty of new and exciting product, tempting offers and even a new 2022 tote bag, you’ll be glad you visited us!”

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GOING ALL OUT Direct supplier and sourcing specialist Island Spring Sourcing is coming to this year’s January Furniture Show (stand 2-B20) with an outdoor furniture and BBQ proposition it its own league, says MD Marc Rogers …

Home Junction

Fogo & Chama

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What is Island Spring? Island Spring has been sourcing and supplying white-label furniture since 2013, although its owners have been involved with furniture for over 25 years. In 2019, we launched Rattan Republic, supplying the wholesale market with exclusive ranges of outdoor rattan furniture. We quickly built a network of customers, supplying them with products that are keenly priced and of fantastic quality. What’s new? At the start of the 2021 season we launched Fogo & Chama, a Brazilian name meaning ‘fire and flame’. This brand supplies our own exclusive BBQs and pizza ovens to both the retail and wholesale markets. There are currently four different models – three gas, and one dual-fuel version. These are all kept in stock and can be dropshipped to the end customer. In addition, we have matching rain covers available to order to protect the models from the temperamental British weather! Home Junction was also launched in 2021, and represents us, as a business, branching out from purely garden furniture. Its concept is based on the idea that your home is the junction of your everyday family life. The ambitious growth plans for this brand will see it sell beautiful, affordable products to both the retail and wholesale markets. We’ll be expanding the garden ranges offered, and the January Furniture Show will

see us launch new lines to complement the existing garden furniture, parasols, outdoor heaters and rugs we already sell. We currently have several of our own velvet collections, including gorgeous benches, chairs and chaises. Over the coming months, we’ll be building up these indoor ranges. What are you bringing to the January Furniture Show? Fogo & Chama will be launching our much-awaited gas pizza oven, the Red Hellion! This bad boy is finished in our Fogo red with a stainless-steel front, and will cook your homemade pizzas in a matter of minutes. Home Junction is bringing several new pieces to the party. We have new corner sofas with firepit tables coming, some of which have ceramic glass, rising table actions and one modular version. There’s a fantastic new corner sofa with high backs, reclining back sections and an ice bucket, plus a large, six-person round dining table (again with an ice bucket). What sets you apart from your competitors? As a business, we have a somewhat romantic attachment to the smaller bricks-and-mortar retail outlets (having been one ourselves in a previous life!). These businesses are facing a tough time on the high street, so we try not to put any restrictions in place in terms of trading requirements. There’s no minimum order value to open an account – you can order just one set, and can have it delivered directly to the end-customer via our two-person delivery partner (BJS) if you wish. We try to keep everything we sell if not in stock here in the UK, at least on an order cycle so we have stock coming in throughout the season for people to buy into. Finally, because of our many years of sourcing and buying, we have contacts across the globe, so if a customer wants to have their own white-label version of something we already manufacture, or something completely new, we’re able to source and deliver this for them

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JFS HALL 2 Eve bar stools


The team behind Home Junction has been successfully operating in the furniture industry for over 25 years, in both the retail and supply sector. That invaluable experience means Home Junction understands the needs and expectations of its customers. The business was founded on the belief that the home is the junction of everything – where family life comes together. The supplier offers outdoor rattan furniture, parasols, heaters and rugs, as well as indoor velvet collections.


Home Junction says its ranges represent impressive value for money, with stock readily available. There is no minimum order requirement, and the option to collect from the supplier’s Birmingham warehouse or avail of its two-person DHD service, which provides the end-customer with a timed delivery window around their availability. Visit Home Junction on stand 2-B20.

Scorpion 6.1 gas BBQ


Red Hellion gas pizza oven

Fogo & Chama’s name translates from the Brazilian for ‘fire and flame’, a term that conjures images of mouth-watering foods, enjoyed outside with family and friends. Fogo & Chama has specially engineered three different sizes of gas barbeques plus one dual-fuel model which offers the ease of gas cooking with the added flavour of charcoal.

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The show will also see the launch of the Red Hellion gas pizza oven. With a traditional ceramic pizza stone, a striking red shell and stainless-steel front, this oven delivers a pizzeria experience to the home. All BBQs and pizza ovens are in stock, and matching rain covers are available to protect them from the typical British weather! There is no minimum order quantity, and the option of warehouse collection or use of the supplier’s two-person, timed, home delivery service. Find Fogo & Chama on stand 2-B20.

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THINK AGAIN Royal Nomadic in navy

In a world of uncertainty created by supply chain issues and inflation, Think Rugs promises to be a “bastion of dependability and continuity”, currently boasting more stock than ever before, all available for dispatch within 48 hours, and with prices on more than 70% of its products held since 2020 – bolstered by the launch of over 450 new products (covered in its 2022 brochure) …

Aspen in ivory and grey

Florence in beige and gold

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“We are happy to be able to offer an incredible level of service and reliability,” states Think Rugs, whose 2022 brochure sees the launch of 10 brand-new ranges as well as many additions to its already popular lines. New launches include Apollo, an abstract, machine-made range, woven with a combination of polypropylene and polyester, creating an impressive twotone feel and look. Other launches now available include new colourways and designs in Think Rugs’ most popular Royal Nomadic and Boho ranges, as well as the new Aspen range. The supplier says that he popularity of these ranges continues to grow, with trends such as ‘Recharged Wellness’ and ‘Scandi Simplicity’ gaining more and more momentum and driving demand. The recently introduced Craft range has been greatly expanded to include 14 options in a variety of sizes. Taking inspiration from trends such as ‘Metal Meets Rock’ and ‘Brutal Force’, the Craft range consists of metallic designs overlaid on marble backgrounds. “This is a range and style in its infancy, that

is already generating great impetus and driving forward to become one of our most popular ranges,” says the supplier. Another new launch for 2022 is Sierra. With a focus on colour and texture, this range is influenced by the ‘Solace’ colour palette, and includes 14 colourways, each available in a highdensity, soft, shaggy quality. “Already being very well received, we believe it is set to become a staple for years to come,” says Think Rugs. “We are committed to the support of every one of our valued customers, and will continue to strive to ensure that we provide the best possible service. We have committed ourselves to ensuring our stock levels are constantly kept at the highest possible level and that our lead times as short as possible. With Think Rugs, you can be confident of a very high service level, that will be available now and in the future.” To see these ranges and everything else the supplier has to offer, call the sales team on 01782 747713, email, or visit its stand at the January Furniture Show, 2-H25

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MINT CONDITION Despite the challenges faced over the last couple of years, Kettle Interiors is busy planning for the 2022 January Furniture Show, and says it could not be more excited to be back: “This yearly landmark in the events calendar is an opportunity for us to celebrate the new, connect with the existing, and network with our customers,” states Kettle, which plans to bring a host of new launches to stand 4-C24 …

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This year, Kettle’s stand will occupy over 18,000ft2, and incorporate over 600 new products and a whole new brand. Why so much space? “We’ve been busy developing our offering to create a comprehensive collection of furniture that allows retailers to respond to a thriving interest in home and outdoor demand,” Kettle tells Furniture News. “Located in Hall 4, visitors will be able to view products from across all our brands, each cleverly designed to offer solutions that fit every possible customer need.” These start with Essentials. Launched in 2019, Essentials introduced collections designed to offer quality products at lower price points, designed and proportioned for urban living and starter homes. The brand started with eight collections, 25 chair designs and 28 mirrors, which were immediately popular with retailers up and down the country, says Kettle. “Driving the collection forward, we’ve expanded this popular range and can now boast 16 collections and over 600 products, including new everyday table sets, mirrors and chairs.” As its name implies, Originals is Kettle’s foundation furniture collection, which has proved popular across the industry for many years. The Originals

range offers a combination of traditional and modern products to complement any home, and this year sees the addition of 50 new products to the existing line-up, including new chairs and attractive teak and iron ranges. Growing demand for a range of style-led furniture resulted in the launch of Signature in January 2020. The collection raised the bar on form, functionality and beauty, says Kettle, and not surprisingly, following its initial success, Signature has grown to encompass over 300 pieces, with 60 new products for 2022, and continues to deliver statement pieces for every part of the home.

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INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 101 And that is not all. “As the UK started to lift restrictions and recover from the first year of Covid, we launched into a whole new product category with Mambo Outdoor Living, a stunning collection of outdoor furniture, set to transform the way customers see their garden spaces,” states the supplier. “Mambo comprises over 100 pieces featuring trend-driven colours, clean lines and beautiful patterns. We feature three unique collections, including the Santorini outdoor dining range, bringing dining tables, bar tables, chairs and stools in various designs and colours and with firepit options. “Del Mar covers every need for outdoor seating, from chairs to sun loungers, coffee tables and accessories. Exuding the comfort and luxury you expect indoors into outdoor living rooms, Del Mar ensures you are as comfortable outside as you would be inside. There’s also Cove, a unique, curved lounger set with a firepit, coffee table and stool, which allows for versatile configurations.” The whole Mambo range boasts high build quality and is packed with features including intelligent, quick-dry foam and UV-resistant fabrics, while all frames come with a five-year guarantee. Finally, Kettle will proudly unveil its newest brand line-up – Mint at Kettle Interiors. “Mint is a refreshing addition to the Kettle suite of brands,” says the supplier, “delivering a hand-picked selection of exclusive, interior designled furniture ranges alongside stunning


home furnishings, rugs, lighting, and accessories that deliver an enviable opulent style. “Mint opens the door to new and exciting categories for Kettle – alongside furniture ranges that feature desirable materials, shapes and forms, we are launching an extensive range of products for every part of the home. “With luxury in mind, we have included a new range of exquisite dining and occasional chairs, featuring unique designs paired with indulgent fabrics. Furnishings include sumptuous rugs in fresh, modern designs and colour palettes, luxe mirrors, and clocks that provide statement pieces that are both functional and beautiful. A new lighting range with a fantastic selection of styles that would fit any design aesthetic, and a hand-selected range of ornamental pieces, accessories, and on-trend florals, will satisfy a range of tastes and styles.” Also new this year is Kettle’s new ‘delivered direct’ price stream, a costeffective way to deliver products directly to stockists’ customers, from small, single-item orders to large home project deliveries. “To say we are excited for JFS 2022 is a huge understatement – so we invite you to join us to see everything we have to offer, have a drink at one of our three bars, and discuss how we can work together,” Kettle concludes

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THE FORTE TEAM ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR VISIT! How to find us: The NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT stand 4-B/45 For more information on the BOHOL collection and to find out more about our other products, please email:

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FORTE FOREVER Forte is headquartered in Poland, but has operated in the UK marketplace for more than 16 years

Forte is one of Europe’s largest producers of self-assembly furniture. Founded 30 years ago – and making its debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange in 1996 – the Polish powerhouse operates from four modern furniture production plants, plus its own chipboard factory, Tanne.

Chip and win One factor that increases a company’s control and the stability of its production processes – and therefore impact on the environment – is vertical integration. With this in mind, in 2018 the Forte Group opened its own chipboard factory, which completely fulfils the company’s demand for this basic raw material used across its furniture production. Forte says that its chipboard factory in Suwalki is one of Europe’s most modern furniture industry investments in recent years, both in terms of high product quality and the environmental solutions applied. This fully automated factory uses intelligent robots, innovative technologies and systems, and implements environmentally

Forte operates from four production plants in Poland, and prioritises sustainable processes


Forte’s wide and diverse product offer includes furniture for dining, living and children’s rooms, plus bedrooms, halls and offices. It comprises whole collections, alongside complementary pieces, and nearly 600 new designs are introduced each year. Forte’s furniture is sold in over 45 countries, and is available in almost every major European retail chain. Sustainable development is a priority for Forte, which puts achieving the highest product quality on an equal footing with care for the natural environment, and ethical and employee issues. In all aspects of its activity, Forte says it is guided by “the universal values of responsibility, co-operation, sensitivity and development”.

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105 Forte plans to present a UK-tailored offer at the show Forte’s production and fulfilment capacity is prodigious

friendly solutions. The chipboard produced there is characterised by low formaldehyde emissions, meeting the requirements of the European and American markets. Since 2018, Tanne has been certified as California Air Resources Board (CARBII)compliant for the woodbased chipboard it produces – and it also certifies the compliance of formaldehyde emissions against that body’s strict standards. Lab leader The Tanne facility boasts its own laboratory, where Forte tests and studies its products to ensure they meet the highest quality standards. In January, the lab was approved by the Polish Center for Accreditation for testing formaldehyde emissions using the PN EN 717-1: 2006 method – a formal, state-endorsed confirmation of the high quality of services and competence of the Tanne team, which also gives it the opportunity to conduct accredited tests of wood-based products from outside the Forte Group. Forte says that Tanne is the first company in the wood-based products industry to achieve this accreditation.

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Closed circuit Knowing how valuable natural resources are and how important it is to use them properly, the Forte Group implements solutions in its factories in line with the circular economy concept. In February, Tanne started to implement a closed woodwaste (the basic leftovers from production processes) circulation system project. Since then, Forte’s chipboard production processes have relied heavily on recycled materials. This means that Forte not only

uses wood, but also production residues from sawmills and woodwaste from the production of furniture or damaged pallets. By 2025, 100% of the woodwaste generated by the Forte Group is set to be used within this closed circuit. For more information on Forte, its offer and products, email uksales@forte. – or visit the team on stand 4-B45 at this month’s January Furniture Show, and see the finely tuned results of these efficient and sustainable production processes

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WIEMANN’S WINNING WARDROBES Quito wardrobe in champagne and glass

German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is to showcase new ranges across all price points on stand 4-C50 at this month’s show …


Asmara, Quito, Breda and Tampa are set to be unveiled for the first time, along with new colours and trims across other popular ranges. Asmara and Quito are VIP, premium collections from Wiemann’s heartland, showing commitment to driving value for retailers – but the price-conscious shopper is not forgotten, with new entrylevel ranges, Breda and Tampa, included on the stand.

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Visitors will also be the first to see the latest update of Wiemann’s awardwinning, stylish and contemporary Monaco furniture system. Monaco 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 are the reimagined and greatly expanded upgrades on the range which saw Wiemann top the Bedroom Cabinet category in The Furniture Awards 2019. Expect multiple wardrobe configurations to show all aspects of the collection’s flexibility and functionality. There are also new colours and trims to complement the bifold, hinged and sliding door options, plus Monaco’s popular big, walk-in corner units, which remain a key feature of the collection. Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture, says: “We are looking forward to revealing these high-quality products that ooze practicality and represent great value for money. All Wiemann products are known for their excellent design, quality and value, and are backed up with the company’s five-star customer support service.” Perennial bestsellers including VIP premium range Loft, the medium-priced Shaker-style Cambridge and updated Miami Plus will also be on display

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Create your perfect bedroom with Wiemann!

Monaco from Wiemann

Bedrooms of distinctive style, quality and value See for yourself on Stand C50, Hall 4 January Furniture Show, NEC, 24-27 April 2022

made in germany |

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BETTER WITH AGE German bedroom furniture giant Rauch turns 125 this year, and thanks to the January Furniture Show being postponed by three months, it’ll have even more new product to unveil there, off the back of its at-home open week in Freudenberg. Furniture News asked area sales manager Christina Nitsche how Rauch plans to mark this impressive milestone, and what the manufacturer’s longevity means for its customers …

Can you summarise Rauch’s history so far? Our history is very much in the forefront of our minds at the moment, as everything we’re doing at Rauch is revolving around our 125th anniversary. The Rauch success story started in 1897, when Wendelin Rauch took up the time-honoured tradition of building quality furniture, made in Germany, in Freudenberg (around 60 miles south of Frankfurt). Rauch has since become the largest European supplier of wardrobe and bedroom programmes. The company has approximately 1600 employees and supplies over one million wardrobes each year to 37 different countries around the world. In 1996 – 25 years ago – Rauch went into partnership with a UK wholesale business. This was its first UK milestone, the beginning of Rauch’s business there. A lot has happened since. In 2014, Rauch UK Furniture was founded as a subsidiary of the German Rauch Moebelwerke company, and over the



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years the UK business has developed into Rauch’s largest market outside of Germany. Rauch UK has a dedicated sales team and office based in Evesham, with a UK-based agent network offering nationwide coverage of the UK and Ireland. How do you plan to mark your 125th anniversary? We weren’t exactly thrilled when the January Furniture Show had to be postponed to April, but in the end the move was actually to our advantage, because our Furniture Week takes place in Freudenberg just one week after it. This is a very special event, taking place this year on the occasion of Rauch’s 125th anniversary! The Rauch product development and marketing teams have been working towards the Furniture Week for months. As part of our 125th anniversary celebration, our entire showroom has been redesigned, and we’ll also introduce a large number of new products there. And that is exactly what we are now benefiting from at the NEC in April, because we can now present many new products there that we wouldn’t have had ready for the show had it taken place in January. So, our customers can be very excited – there’s definitely something to celebrate at the January Furniture Show! How have your new lines been tailored to meet today’s demand? Any new range developed by Rauch goes through an extensive process of planning, product development, manufacturing preparation and marketing before it’s released to the market. In terms of design innovations, we have significantly strengthened our position. Our designer network, consisting of internal and external designers, develops new ideas. In addition, feedback from the international sales teams is incorporated into the development process, as well as consumer insights such as consumer demands and market research results. We have developed an anniversary

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Finally, on a personal level, what would you say Rauch brings to the market that’s unique? Rauch is more than just a manufacturer and supplier of wardrobes and bedroom furniture – Rauch is the sum of many

things. Despite boasting four factory locations (including a chipboard production facility) and almost 1600 employees, we are still a medium-sized, family-owned company, with a focus on our customers – as a close and efficient partnership is important to us. Innovation and products are one thing, but service is another. Like most other companies, we are currently facing new challenges every day, both economically and politically, but we try to make the best of the situation.


Sustainability has always been important to Rauch – where does its approach stand today? Unchanged. It was, is and remains relevant for us. Sustainability is firmly anchored in our corporate philosophy. Indeed, Rauch is the only furniture company to have been awarded the German Sustainability Prize. From raw materials to design and product development to the final product, all Rauch furniture is 100% made in Germany from multi-certified and sustainable production – and has been since 1897. For the production of our wood-based materials, we only use fresh, weak and broken wood from domestic sustainable forestry operations.


model specially for the UK market to mark our 125th anniversary, which we’ll be presenting at the NEC. Be curious …

Furniture product is something people also want to feel and experience. The designs, processes and functionalities are important aspects that are relevant for buyers and sellers. Ultimately, we’re not just showing new models at the January Furniture Show – we also want to celebrate our anniversary together, and prove that we’ll continue to be a reliable partner in the future. Therefore we’re very much looking forward to welcoming visitors to stand 4-D35




Wendelin Rauch founded a carpentry business 125 years ago. Today, we are the largest supplier of wardrobe and bedroom ranges. This success story is based on the intensive and trusting cooperation with all of our partners - and for this we would like to thank you very much!


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CUSTOMER INVESTMENT It’s been a long time coming, but the furniture showcase event of the year is finally here – and supplier Julian Bowen is clearly focused on preparations, with a huge launch of new products incoming, across every category …

Berwick dining table and Brooklyn charcoal chairs

Julian Bowen intends to make a big impact at the January Furniture Show this month, where it will present a diverse range of new models developed by the company’s design team. The supplier says this launch will build upon its established strengths in dining and bedroom, with new ranges including oak with a rattan feature panel, painted furniture, and an extensive selection of contemporary dining and occasional ranges. Brushed gold, smoked glass and soft, sumptuous velvet dining chairs in a wide range of colours will be a key feature of the show. Julian Bowen is an acknowledged leader in children’s furniture, and this remains a key focus, with some innovative, modern and highly functional new designs incoming, including: the Mars bunk bed, which combines multiple storage options; and the Maine bunk bed in dove grey, anthracite, and surf white, which co-

Saturn midsleeper in taupe oak with Erika office chair

Langham teal bed

Bordeaux sideboard

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ordinates with the successful Maine bedroom collection; and the Jake Slide bed, a clever, contemporary children’s low sleeper with a feature slide – a practical but fun addition to Julian Bowen’s extensive children’s collections. The business is currently enjoying an aggressive investment programme focused on delivering an everimproving customer proposition and experience, which has seen the creation of a new 28,000ft2 warehouse, adding an incremental +20% of storage capacity, plus even greater additions to the amount of stock held, ensuring high levels of availability. In addition to its focus on product, Julian Bowen is keen to improve every aspect of its customers’ experience. The business’ emphasis on bespoke solutions and customer support has been a key factor in the development of its successful direct container business, which offers a one-stop solution from product development through quality control, shipping and in-bound distribution and ongoing stock management support, while leveraging the firm’s significant buying power to its customers’ advantage. As across the whole business, the emphasis is on making the buying process as easy, efficient and pain-free for its customers as possible. As MD Emmett Lenaghan explains: “We continue to forge ahead with new product innovation, working more closely with our customers, and this has resulted in much stronger business relationships, building solid growth plans for the future. “Customers can see that we aren’t resting on our laurels, and are continually pushing ourselves to give them an ever-wider range to choose from, with the quality and prices they are used to (and value us for). “I am really excited by our new product pipeline, which we’re looking forward to showing to our customer base in the coming months. Across the whole business, the entire Julian Bowen team will keep challenging itself to improve in everything that we do.” Visit Julian Bowen on stand 4-E20

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Sandringham 3 Seater - In Stock Now Visit Julian Bowen at The Furniture Show Hall 4 Stand E20 Bentinck House, Park Lane Business Park, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts NG17 9LE tel: (01623) 727374 email: web:

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STAUD’S CUSTOMER COMMITMENT After making good progress in the UK marketplace since its 2019 launch, German bedroom manufacturer Staud is making its NEC debut this month, and promises a plethora of fresh, innovatibe bedroom designs. Furniture News quizzed Staud’s UK sales director Michael Tattersall, and MD, sales and marketing, Stephan Paffendorf, on the details …


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What’s Staud bringing to the show? Staud is extremely happy to be exhibiting at the January Furniture Show for the first time! We’re bringing innovation and design in the form of our bestselling Sinfonie Plus Collection, which offers a large number of combinations and colours, plus sliding doors, hinged wardrobes, chests and bedframes to suit all bedroom designs. New ranges include Bodega, which displays a stylish use of glass and mirrors, while our Swing collection features innovative flip doors, whereby a complete wardrobe compartment can be opened without any noise and in just one movement. The flip door then folds in half and slides to the side, helping to save space and optimise access. There’s also the Aperto range, with its ‘wardrobe without doors’, which is simply perfect for the dressing room area. Staud will show these three new and innovative line-ups together with favourites like Satino, which features frosted glass fronts, Includo and Includo Glass, as well as decor- or glassfronted variations with their respective accessories. The whole team is very excited at the opportunity of taking our visitors through our collections on our 200m2 stand (4-B30).


Can you sum up Staud’s UK journey? After initiating our journey with market research and pilot projects, Staud has now been present in the UK for twoand-a-half years. We were planning a big push in 2020 – however, due to the pandemic and Brexit, we took a conscious decision to tackle the market in a holistic way, focusing on extensive preparation and analysis as well as onsite presence. With JFS being the biggest of its kind in the country, our presence is sending just the right signal – that Staud aims to be a significant player in the UK, in 2022 and beyond. Do you feel demand for your product has changed during the pandemic? The importance of home, and living comfortably, is definitely increasing – ‘cooconing’ might be the right buzzword. Perhaps more than ever, our customers continue to spend a significant amount of time at home and invest in creating comfortable interiors. Of course, this helps us, as we promise the highest quality of product and service.


How has Staud has negotiated the disruption of recent years? In general, customer expectations of manufacturers has risen, and has been accelerated due to recent events – there’s greater demand for more detailed product information and sustainability aspects, and quicker delivery times. Is there anything else in the pipeline? We are planning to expand in the UK and in our home markets, and take advantage of the vast variety in our portfolio. Therefore, we’ll certainly offer more innovation – within our current product range as well as in new items. Understandably, we want to keep this as a surprise until the unveiling, but we see exciting times ahead of us

Mo exte sta 24/03/2022 11:46

After 370 years we are finally established in Great Britain: High quality bedroom furniture from STAUD.


Meet u

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24-27 A pril 20 22 Hall 4 Stand B30



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Made in Germany

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The Home of Home Office & Lounge Furniture Providing Unique & Affordable Furniture IMAGE: THE ASTANA COLLECTION

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Hall 4, Stand E55

• Direct Next Working Day Delivery • No Minimum Order Requirements • Specialised Bent Wood Furniture • Real Wood Veneer T: 01443 816982 /

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Texas grey pine double-wide chest

Loft office chair

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Core Products’ renowned flatpacked pine collections will be on show on stand 4-A40 at the January Furniture Show, along with new additions to reflect the resurgent demand for real-wood finishes. The new Texas bedroom and casual living collections – a combination of real wood and metal with environmentally friendly wood and wash-effect finishes – will make their debut, while Core’s other painted, contemporary and modern living collections will also be available to see, along with its traditionally inspired Highland Home ranges. Core Products won the Best Home Office Furniture Supplier category in Furniture News’ 2021 Readers’ Choice Awards, and retailers looking to address the consumer shift to home working will be able to peruse Core’s award-winning collection of desks, chairs and bookcases. Core’s significant commitment to stockholding in the UK, backed up with direct customer access to stock information, product ordering and order tracking, enables quick and efficient deliveries to stores or direct to the end-customer’s home, while the company’s dedicated, long-established after-sales website makes processes even simpler. Join Core at the show, and the supplier will plant a tree in exchange for the visit, as part of its ongoing environmental initiative. “As always,” says Core, “there will be plenty of show offers, so if you are looking to enhance your shop floor with great-value products, expand your ecommerce offer, or just want to see how Core Products can help you grow your sales please, do pay us a visit.”



Harvard corner desk with bookcase






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Think outside the box. You sell it, we deliver it, direct to your customers’ door.

See us at the January Furniture Show, NEC 24-27 April Hall 4 Stand A40

01738 630 555 |

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While maintaining and growing its bread-andbutter ranges, Devonshire is exploring and committing to more unusual, on-trend designs and styles this year – as visitors to stand 4-E10 will discover. With seven collections on show, Devonshire is moving into new materials, colours and shapes, such as rattan, blue reclaimed, and curved shutter doors. The supplier says that the reclaimed collections are of particular importance from an environmental aspect to help its eco-footprint, but all the ranges are impressive, with design features one would not expect to see from Devonshire. In all, the supplier promises a brave and bold launch, which will help fuel a successful 2022 for all parties involved.

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Vivense plots rapid retail expansion



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Price rises – the trade’s response Why Manchester is relocating to Harrogate

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Notes on the shipping crisis The ethics of trading out of lockdown

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Find us on stand 5-D4 this year

Read the latest issue at

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T: 0161 205 5444 / 0161 832 2240 E: / AWS Trading Ltd, Hill Street, Oldham, OL4 2AG


LEWIS Dining tables 200 x 100 x 75cm 180 x 90 x 75cm 150 x 90 x 75cm 120 x 80 x 75cm Round table - 130cm Coffee table - 120 x 60 x 42cm Console tables 140 x 40 x 75cm 120 x 40 x 75cm Lamp table - 50 x 50 x 55cm TV stand - 160 x 40 x 42cm

CHELSEA Dining tables 200 x 100 x 75cm 180 x 90 x 75cm 150 x 90 x 75cm Round table - 130cm Coffee table - 120 x 60 x 42cm Console table - 120 x 40 x 75cm Lamp table - 50 x 50 x 55cm TV stand - 140 x 40 x 42cm

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Jaipur Furniture will launch several new lifestyle collections of living and dining pieces on stand 4-D36. Jaipur prides itself on the style and quality of its products. With over 30 years’ experience in manufacturing, the business is proud of its latest collection, which boasts unique new materials and handcrafted details “at unmatched prices”.

Value Mark Furniture’s sizeable occasional and exclusive dining ranges will once again feature several new introductions, with the former offering retailers a notable point of difference, and all designed to sit well with a variety of upholstery groups. The team looks forward to welcoming visitors to stand 4-B10 at the January Furniture Show.


AWS Trading is a progressive, Manchester-based wholesaler of modern and contemporary furniture, including oak and marble dining sets, chairs, mirrors and mirrored furniture. Its bestselling pieces will be on show, and will be available in different colours, designs and sizes. “Come meet our colleagues at the January Furniture Show, and see our

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ranges for yourself,” says AWS Trading. “There are lots of new designs and items to arrive in the near future, and all at trade prices.” Delivery is available nationwide (including Ireland), and any orders collected from AWS Trading’s warehouse in Oldham will enjoy a collection discount. Find AWS Trading on stand 4-F36.

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grafU Grafu Baldai is a Lithuanian upholstery company that has been supplying the UK successfully for the past 10 years. It offers a large range of models and one of the largest fabric ranges available. Grafu’s range is unique in its flexibility, value and style.

ARC Masters in Furniture, producing cabinets, dining, living and bedroom furniture. Great quality and service, with wide selection of materials, wood stains and lacquered colours. Decades of experience is what best describes this proficient team, working with some of the most demanding markets.

X8 Chairs Well established specialist chair maker located in the heart of the Portuguese furniture region and the craft skills ensure huge flexibility supplying the UK retail market with contract quality standards. All frames are made of hard wood. Great upholstery standards and with a vast range of covers.



4 E27 07734 265 599 Brendan Brett

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5 C10



5 C10

Brand created out of love for design. Yeah, we know how that sounds. But it’s true. Bizzarto upholstered furniture collections form a team that really loves its work. Its CEO states they create furniture that they would like to have themselves, and on which they would like to relax on.

07734 265 599 Brendan Brett

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RICH PICKINGS Furniture design, sales and support specialist The UK Agency returns to JFS this year (stand 5-C10) with a raft of hot international brands. Furniture News asked owner Brendan Brett for a breakdown of what visitors can expect to find …

X8 Chairs “X8 is a well-established chairmaker supplying the UK retail market with contract-quality standards,” says Brendan. “All frames are solid timber, the upholstery standards are immaculate, and the range of covers – all FR and UK tested – is vast. X8 is located in the heart of the Portuguese furnituremaking region, and the craft skills there ensure huge flexibility. These chairs sit well with high-quality dining ranges – whether high gloss, marble or painted. There’s even a range of bar stools, and COM is welcomed. Bizzarto “This brand was created out of love for design. Bizzarto’s upholstered furniture collections – comprising sofas, corners and armchairs – reflect the passion of their makers.


Arc “This company was founded back in 1971 in the heart of the Portuguese furniture industry. A long-time investor in cuttingedge equipment and machinery, Arc achieves great quality and precision, no matter the product development stage. Its proficient team has worked in some of the most demanding markets. “In Germany, Arc products are displayed and sold alongside the most prestigious German brands, and in France they stand toe to toe with the best Italian contemporary products. Arc’s UK journey has just started, but it’s

a great opportunity for retail customers wishing to differentiate their offer. Grafu “Grafu Baldai are a Lithuanian upholstery company that have been supplying the UK successfully for the past eight years. It offers a large range of models, and one of the largest fabric ranges available. Grafu’s range is unique in its flexibility, value and style. Ronfe “Offering classic furniture, produced to the highest standards by skilled artisans, Ronfe boasts a hugely flexible range of designs, both modern and traditional. With almost 50 standard finishes, and the ability to finish to any sample colour, Ronfe products are made to a standard rarely found these days. “Mostly using cherry, along with oak and brass, Ronfe’s workforce can make some of the highest-quality product found anywhere in Europe today. It also makes the long-established Felix Monge range, which allows an even wider spectrum of choice in classic deco furniture. French-style items can be made in cherry and decorative finishes, with bespoke and contract made-tomeasure items made to order. Bozza “Contemporary bed manufacturer Bozza aims to blend comfort and sophistication, while its experienced team makes sure the beds stand the test of time. Scandina “Designed with unlimited lines and perfect details, Scandina’s relaxing seats and corner sets bring comfort and quality to living spaces with soft foam, steel springs and feather pads.


Flam & Luce “Imagine pleasant lighting, combined with a touch of functional and comfortable furniture … with a personal touch,” Brendan concludes.

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For more information, contact Brendan on 07734 265599, or email

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Rhea Eco Supreme 3000

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The new unit, due to be operational from this month, will accommodate the company’s growing medical and consumer mattress manufacturing division, enabling it to expand its production capacity by more than +300%. GNG will also be looking to create at least 50 new jobs in the region over the next three years. Having achieved carbon-neutral certification in 2019, GNG will be equipping the Normanton site with the latest low-energy lighting, solar power and electric fork trucks, along with additional investment in machinery to maximise production and efficiency to reduce its carbon footprint even further. The group saw business increase by +70% throughout the pandemic, as the company remained fully operational during the lockdowns to meet the unprecedented demand from the NHS critical care supply chain. This was combined with the relaunch of the Komfi mattress brand to the UK consumer market.

Komfi Active Sensory mattress

The GNG Group, manufacturer of performance products for the healthcare, sports, safety, consumer and contract mattress sectors, has announced expansion plans for its Mattress Division, with a new 40,000ft2 factory and warehouse unit in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

Komfi’s sales director, Stuart Hibbert, says: “This move for the Mattress Division is paramount to the continued success of our Komfi vacuum-packed mattress range – and particularly our new eco-collections, which have been designed and developed to look at alternative comfort fillings to more traditional foams. We want to manufacture products that are designed to be more sustainable and recyclable, taking end-of-life mattresses out of landfill and back into the recycling chain. “Our latest Rhea Collection features our exclusive Ecofoam and EcoAdvance, plus two carbon-neutral models which are creating a huge amount of interest from our retail customers and group accounts, who are looking to meet the demands of today’s eco-conscious consumer. “The expansion at Normanton is also enabling us to meet new business demands and develop partnerships with companies such as Nectar Sleep, to launch an impressive bricks-and-mortar mattress collection. “To find out more, visit us INDX Beds & Bedroom at Cranmore Park this month (see p72), where you’ll receive a very warm welcome!”

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SOMETHING FRESH. ALWAYS KOMFI. See us at the INDX Beds & Bedroom Show 26-27 April

The Komfi RHEA collection is the next evolution in luxurious and sustainable mattress design. • Innovative Ecofoam & Ecoadvance • Carbon neutral certified models • Luxurious ViscoGel comfort • Seaqual fibre technology (upcycled ocean waste) • Instore POS package • Own label option • DHD available on full range

British Made

Recyclable Mattress

10 Year Guarantee

Reduced Carbon


Over 2 million Happy Sleepers Worldwide

INDX Beds & Bedroom Show 26-27 April

Showcasing the new bricks & mortar Nectar Sleep mattress range. Optimum performance. Optimum profit for you. Night Sleep Trial

Lifelong Commitment

Nectar Smart Layers A division of the GNG Group. NHS Approved Supplier

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Email: Telephone: 01924 950 300

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STANDARDS, SERVICE AND SUSTAINABILITY FSC certification extends across Sweet Dreams’ own-manufactured timber product

In today’s volatile marketplace, with increasing costs and uncertainty of supply, Sweet Dreams – which will showcase its new ranges and bestsellers on stand 5-H10 – has actively focused on ensuring the key parts of its trade continue to ensure its customers have great-quality product delivered on time …

Sweet Dreams’ transport and logistics capabilities offering customers continuity of supply

Sweet Dreams’ investment in state-of-the-art machinery helps the manufacturer deliver a high standard across its full range of beds, headboards and upholstery, while investment in full FSC certification for all Sweet Dreams’ timber offers sustainability guarantees across all of its own-manufactured product. Further, recycled packaging and other initiatives show continuing investment in the supplier’s product sourcing, offering customers even greater confidence in the quality of its products. Sweet Dreams is SMETA and NBF audited, which ensures high standards for manufacturing, workforce, systems and processes. In 2019, Sweet Dreams was also SATRA accredited, which allows full testing in its cutting-edge,

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in-house testing centre. Sweet Dreams’ transport and logistics capabilities continue to provide nationwide coverage, ensuring regular deliveries, and is coupled with a DHD service – in all, offering customers impressive continuity in product supply. Sales advice and customer service, meanwhile, are key departments in its Burnley offices, and these teams work hard to help customers with orders, deliveries and customer enquiries. They are supported by a network of experienced sales agents, ensuring customers are up to date with product information, offers and availability. Additionally, high-quality glossy bed and upholstery brochures, produced annually, act as a useful reference point and sales aid for customers. “The start of 2022 has seen challenges and worries similar to those we all experienced with the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 – coupled with the unrest in Eastern Europe, these obstacles will put pressure on costs and product supply,” says the manufacturer. “Sweet Dreams do not have all the answers, but our customers can rest assured that our entire workforce will work tirelessly to overcome the difficulties they will face in the coming months. We’ve been serving our customers for over 30 years – here’s to the next 30!”

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Over 20 years of experience in supplying and sourcing furniture. 40,000 sqft warehouse and showroom in West Bromwich (B71). Additional showroom in London. Direct Home Delivery

In stock right now: Ceramic dining tables, Dining chairs, Sofas, Garden furniture



SHOW OFFER 3/2/1 £450 WHOLESALE: / 0208 680 5276 SOURCING / CONTAINER SALES: / 07867 787894 WAREHOUSE & SHOWROOM Unit 2&3 Church Lane Ind Est, Church Lane, West Bromwich, B71 1AR LONDON SALES OFFICE & (SMALL) SHOWROOM 477a High Road Leyton, London E10 5EL

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It’s been a long time coming, but the forthcoming January Furniture Show is set to propel World Furniture’s innovative new lines into the marketplace in style. Despite the pandemic and the challenges it has brought, the business continues to grow, and MD Marc Bunting says he’s looking forward to this year more than any other … World Furniture is entering its 23rd year of business, and remains one of Ireland’s leading wholesalers, delivering throughout the UK and Ireland, alongside a growing direct container programme to many countries across the globe. This year’s NEC event will see World Furniture present a significant number of new ranges in sintered stone. Having gained a formidable reputation for gloss/glass and melamine dining ranges in attractive textures and colours, this development is a natural progression for a company that considers its products innovative, of exceptional quality and price sensitive.

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Essentially, sintered stones are the next generation on from quartz tops – further perfecting the blend of manmade processes and natural minerals to create a surface which is more resistant to chemicals, abrasion, scratching, impact and thermal shock. Sintered stone is full of benefits which make it one of the most suitable materials available for dining tables and other home products, says World Furniture. Its benefits include: resistant to scratching; resistant to UV rays; resistant to high temperatures; waterproof; and recyclable, and 100% natural. These attributes are beneficial to both retailers and end-consumers, and the range of natural finishes – such as kass gold, vilas grey, and Italy white – make for eye-catching pieces of furniture. There are 12 new designs and 24 different colour and size options. To run alongside such a significant launch of dining tables, World Furniture has developed an extensive range of chairs in an array of designs and colours. The emphasis this year is very much on textures and colours, says Marc Bunting: “Our focus for 2022 has been firmly on design for our sintered stone ranges. “In order to complement our tables, we felt that colour and texture in fabrics need to be at the forefront. We see a willingness from our customers to get more colour into their floorspace – not just for show, but because consumers are asking for it.” Visit World Furniture on stand 5-H35

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POP-BY AND SEE US AT HALL 5, STAND H35 028 9182 8202 2 Ballyharry Business Park, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards, Northern Ireland, BT23 7ET

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JFS HALL 5 Millie



Lebus Upholstery says it is looking forward to returning to the January Furniture Show, where it will welcome customers old and new to view its impressive new sofa collections, which have been crafted by the company’s dedicated design and development team over the last few months. Visitors can find Lebus on stand 5-E10.

COME SAY HELLO. We look forward to seeing you at the January Furniture Show 2022 24th - 27th April at the NEC Birmingham

Hall 5 Stand 10 W W W. L E B U S . CO. U K

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SL 1175

Sealy It’s where sleep matters, where where sleep ere sleep matters, whjust sleep It’s is not “something wewe all all do”, ng thi me “so t t jus is no do”, or “time spent inen bed” but more t more a bu d” be e sp t in orof“tim a question when, where, why and why and how , ere wh , en wh of tion can be better. ques how sleep r. sleep can be bette It’s our wholehearted commitment commitment our wholehearted It’sthe that allows Sealy team to make m to make tea t allows the Sealy tha mattresses that are not only different ly different on t no are t tha ses ttreslove, mawith & care but made passion & care ion ss pa e, made with lov but here . right in the UK. right here in the UK

Introducing Sealy Posturepedic With over 100 years’ experience in developing cuttingedge products, Sealy is the world’s leading sleep brand. The all-new Sealy Posturepedic mattress offers a support system that is unique from top to toe. Cleverly designed through decades of knowhow and developed using scientific research - each and every mattress embodies the unique and patented technologies that set us apart. Join us at the January Furniture Show for the unveiling of our all-new line up, including Sealy Posturepedic. We look forward to welcoming you.

Hall 5 / Stand B70

The Heart and Soul of Sleep

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customers visiting us will be met with a warm welcome from directors and agents alike, who will find out how beneficial our exciting new ranges for 2022 will be to their business – along with new PoS to help them achieve the most from Deepsleep Beds.” Deepsleep will be present on stand 5-C45, and I Hussein can be contacted on 07588 850011


Deepsleep operates out of a 120,000ft2 factory designed to facilitate smooth production and meet the ever-growing demand for its products. During the last decade, Deepsleep has seen a high level of growth in a sometimeschallenging marketplace, and to maintain growth, the business meets any challenges head-on, continually creating new products to meet evolving consumer demand. This year, Deepsleep plans to put even greater emphasis on service, through representative coverage across all areas of the UK. To ensure customers receive the best possible delivery service in 2022 and beyond, Deepsleep is targeting higher stockholdings, while at the same time expanding its truck fleet to ensure its fast delivery service is maintained to customers existing and new. “We are very excited to be exhibiting at the show again,” says Deepsleep’s I Hussain, “and existing and prospective


Deepsleep Beds (UK) is a leading West Yorkshire manufacturer of quality mattresses, divans and fashionable beds and headboards, offering quality, choice and value across its wide range of products.

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by you!

MADE IN BRITAIN Celebrity, Common Road, Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, NG17 2JY Tel: 01623 440626 January Furniture Show, Hall 5-C35

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Your natural sleep choice

24-27 April 2022

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Stand 5-C45

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Style and comfort in the bedroom

T • 01924 274465 | F • 01924 278280 | E • DeepSleep, Unit 2, Warneford Avenue, Ossett, Wakefield WF5 9NJ

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TOGETHER WITH TESSA A new joint venture between two long-term partners – Polish factory owner Lukasz Kaczmarek and British furniture entrepreneur Jon Higham – Tessa Europe, an established partner of many major UK high street retailers, is all set to deliver high-end design and manufacture to the UK volume market, starting at this month’s big show … “We think there is a gap in the market for products that have the real ‘wow’ factor you’d normally associate with high-end brands,” says Jon. “I’ve worked with Lukasz and his team for many years, and I know how good the factory is – they make quality furniture, of a standard I’d be proud to have in my home. All we’ve had to do is work closely with them to make sure the designs are fresh and have real appeal on the sales floor.” Lukasz adds: “I’m really pleased to be working on this joint venture with Jon. There have always been middlemen between me and my retail customers, and this isn’t good for either party – we wanted to get closer to our customers, so we can build great relationships and deliver great products.” Spanning two manufacturing facilities covering more than 25,000m2, Tessa’s factory is located in Bystrzyca Kłodzka, a major Polish furniture centre which boasts a skilled workforce of upholsterers, seamstresses and cutters. The factory itself employs some 200 experienced employees – many of whom have worked in furniture manufacturing for over 20 years – while its in-house training path features an approved apprenticeship programme, delivered in conjunction with a local technical university.

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In the factory’s design and development division, a multinational team combines manufacturing knowhow with fabric expertise to create fresh, eye-catching designs. A dedicated prototype construction team of skilled craftspeople creates various collections tailored to individual customer needs, and quality checks are conducted at every stage of the manufacturing process – every piece of finished furniture receives a comprehensive check before it leaves the factory. “We are looking forward to presenting customers with fresh ideas, and also to working in partnership to develop exclusive designs,” Lukasz continues. “Our prototyping team are always on hand to help make your design ideas a reality, and the UK design team can organise face-to-face meetings so you can see and feel the fabrics before making your sampling selections.” All of Tessa’s fabrics are sourced through UK and European wholesalers and are suitable for the British market, while all foams and fibres are also fully compliant with UK standards. The factory adheres to a stringent antislavery policy, while its timber is FSC certified and boasts a full audit trail. “Lukasz and I are relatively young for business owners, and we want our shapes to be up to date, and our fabrics on trend,” says Jon. “Furniture is part of the fashion business, and you have to stay ahead of the curve or you find youself falling behind. Our goal is to make sure Tessa Europe is always offering something distinctive and new – come and see us at the show, and judge for yourself!” For more information, call Mike Conroy on 07712 702044 or John Conroy on 07854 926975, or visit stand 5-G30 at the show

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Bringing high-end design and Polish manufacture to the UK volume market

“There’s a gap in the market for products with the ‘wow’ factor you’d associate with high-end brands” - Jon Higham

For more information, call Mike Conroy on 07712 702044 or John Conroy on 07854 926975

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JFS HALL 5 Ortho 2000

ESPOIR BEDS Espoir Beds is excited to be showcasing its latest models at this year’s January Furniture Show, along with its alreadysuccessful range originally launched at the NEC in January 2020. Espoir Beds is part of the DeepSleep Beds brands line-up, with a range featuring high-quality, varied spring

Eminence 3000

counts, hand-side-stitched borders, natural fibre fillings, luxury, soft-feel damask covers and an impressive range of headboards, incorporating some 6ft-tall models – all in a breadth of fabrics and colours to complement any bedroom. The new mattress models being introduced this year begin with a fresh, 2000-spring-count model, through to spring counts in excess of 10,000, to suit a wide variety of comfort levels for Espoir’s discerning customers. Find Espoir Beds on stand 5-C45.


TFW After working exclusively with one of the UK’s largest UK retailers (which operates more than 180 stores) for the last six years, TFW is returning to the wholesale marketplace, and is relishing the chance to again work freely with other UK retailers. The supplier says it is looking look forward to sharing its wealth of knowledge, expertise and supply chain advantages with visitors to stand 5-H25 at this month’s show. TFW is kicking off its relaunch in the wholesale market with upholstery and ceramic dining ranges. The former are chiefly recliners, but a few static lines are available – while the ceramic ranges are new for TFW, which was “blown away” by the response to its initial trial containers. Replenishment stock is arriving this month, along with extensions to the ranges (smaller tables). Extending tables will be added later this year.

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Come and see our furniture ranges, oak and metallic mirrors and framed fine art collection. We are Exhibiting at the January Furniture Show, Hall 5 stand B42. Tel: 01937 589188 Email: | Web:

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VALUE-ADDED PROTECTION Mattress protection is an essential consideration for family households

With consumers increasingly tuning into the benefits of health and wellbeing, the importance of good sleep is more prominent than ever – meaning significant opportunities for bed retailers looking to grow their sales, says Protect-A-Bed’s national sales manager, Gowsh Shanmugathan …

The protectors can be displayed in tasteful PoS stands

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“After a strong year, it’s clear from the early signs that maximising every customer experience will be increasingly important in 2022,” says Gowsh. Protect-A-Bed can help in this regard. As a global specialist in mattress protection, the business is well known for its potential to deliver significant sales growth in this category – but what sets its mattress protectors apart from the competition? “In terms of hygiene, the average person sweats up to a pint of fluid a night,” Gowsh explains. “With mattress fillings being highly absorbent, your mattress, if unprotected, will absorb hundreds of pints of sweat in its first year of use alone. “All of our mattress protectors use Protect-A-Bed’s unique Miracle Membrane, which is waterproof yet breathable, and allows body heat to easily pass through whilst preventing sweat entering the mattress. “The protectors are machine washable, meaning you can keep your sleep zone healthy and hygienic. Every Protect-A-Bed protector also includes a 10-15-year product guarantee and – when bought with a mattress – a 10-15-year anti-stain guarantee. Protect-A-Bed will have the mattress

professionally cleaned to the customer’s satisfaction or buy the customer a new one (if it fails and the mattress was bought with the protector). “This promise is significantly powerful and is at the core of our philosophy. Supporting it is an award-winning claims resolution and customer service. “Ultimately, in-store, it’s about creating value for the customer. It’s in both the store’s and the customer’s interest to purchase, and our speciality is driving in-store performance so linked mattress and mattress protector sales are extremely high – the customer benefits from a healthy and hygienic sleep zone, while the store benefits from increased sales revenue. Every customer who walks through the door, if buying a mattress, needs to buy a mattress protector. “Protect-A-Bed are specialists in the mattress protection category. Nobody else in the category has the same passion, drive and focus to grow sales, and that’s why we are the leading global brand in healthy sleep. “The importance of every customer – and every sale – has grown significantly, and Protect-A-Bed can help retailers maximise every sale.” To find our more, visit Protect-A-Bed on stand 5-J45 at this month’s show

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JFS HALL 5 Pandora

BUOYANT UPHOLSTERY The long-awaited return of the January Furniture Show is in sight, and Buoyant is “extremely excited” to be returning to the biggest furniture event of the year. “Preparations have been well under way – both at Buoyant and by the event’s organiser – for what promises to be a fantastic exhibition for the industry,” reports the sofamaker.


As usual, Buoyant will occupy one of the largest stands at the show, enabling it to display a vast array of its designs, collections and accent pieces. Visitors to Buoyant’s stand will be asked to sign in on arrival so the manufacturer can allocate the right person to guide them through the exhibition. Visit Buoyant on stand 5-F30.

HUGEL Over recent years, adjustable beds have become hugely popular in the US, Europe and Asia, and the recent revelation that the Beijing Winter Olympics treated all competing athletes to a motion bed gave them so much exposure that UK consumers are really starting to take notice – says Hugel, the manufacturer of a new generation of motion beds, which is bringing a selection of its collection to stand 5-G18 this month. Despite the rapid increase of healthconscious consumers looking for products to improve their sleep, the adjustable divan beds currently on offer in UK showrooms have limited appeal, says Hugel – which is on a mission to bring its beds’ benefits to all, embracing innovative comfort technology and ontrend design, while staying true to the principles of British bedmaking. Each Hugel bed’s NASA-developed Zero Gravity position simulates weightlessness for deep restorative sleep and muscle/joint tension relief, massage buttons for a soothing wind down, and

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an Anti-Snore position. These benefits can be enjoyed alongside classic British styling and a choice of deep, traditional sprung mattresses, as well as high-tech foam and hybrid models. Hugel’s founders have a wealth of experience in the design and manufacture of motion beds for the care, retirement and hospitality sectors, but the Hugel collection has been designed specifically for the home. Hugel has already onboarded several furniture retailers, which have benefited from the company’s impressive manufacturing and stocking capabilities. Next-day trade delivery is standard on select models,

with made-to-order beds coming in at a respectable 4-6-week lead time. “From the very beginning, we’ve had a great experience with Hugel,” says Stewart Walker, sales manager at John Doe of Diss. “The range has been a big improvement on our previous adjustable bed offering and has opened up a new type of customer, making a big contribution to our sales already. “The ongoing support is second to none – we receive brilliant training on their collection, the showroom set-up is classy, and the beds themselves look great. We took a leap on these adjustable beds, and we’re so glad we did.”

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Visit us at the January Furniture Show 24th - 27th April 2022 Hall 5 - Stand F30 MADE IN THE UK

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Burlington, Celebrity Lifestyle

Seating specialist Celebrity boasts over 30 years’ experience of crafting and producing quality upholstered furniture. Manufactured in the UK, Celebrity’s fixed and motion furniture is designed specifically for comfort. New for 2022 are the Canterbury riser/recliner range and the Celebrity Lifestyle Burlington collection. All Celebrity riser/recliner models are manufactured to BS:EN 8474:2013 standard, up to 160kg/25st. Find Celebrity on stand 5-C35.


Leading mattress brand Sealy UK will unveil a full range of new mattresses at the show, including its innovative and muchanticipated new Sealy Posturepedic range. Backed by world-leading orthopedic research, and using intelligence from the Orthopedic Advisory Board, the range’s unique spring system is designed to create the correct spinal alignment for the body at rest. Sealy Posturepedic technology aims to deliver support, comfort and durability throughout the life of the mattress. The brand-new ranges, available now, are evidence of Sealy’s investment in its global R&D facility and an ongoing commitment to cutting-edge research and development. Find Sealy UK on stands 5-B50 and 5-B60.

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MARGIN MAKER Shire Beds celebrates 25 years of innovative manufacturing this year. From its launch in 1997, the family business grew into an award-winning British brand in 2021, all the while maintaining one basic principle – if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well …

Signature Collection, Shire Beds

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With this ethos at the core of its manufacturing, Shire Beds’ Signature Collection was declared Bed Product of the Year in 2021’s NBF Bed Industry Awards, for an impressive range which answers calls from retailers for maximised margin – while still offering their customers a top-quality product. The Shire Signature Collection is a luxurious range of handcrafted mattresses that contain natural fillings of wool, cotton, cashmere, silk and latex. The products are available in high spring counts of 6000, 8000 and 10,000 – the latter being the highest spring count Shire has ever offered. The mattresses feature two or three rows of hand-stitched borders (depending on the spring count selected), while hand-side stitching ensures a high quality of finish and longevity. These bespoke, high-spring-count mattresses offer a sumptuous feel to satisfy the comfort demanded by customers at the middle and higher end of the market, says Shire, which developed the collection to achieve high shopfloor margins comfortably on the cost price, while still being considered good value and under the cost of some of the larger, better-established bed brands. “In this challenging trading environment, this is exactly what the retailer and end consumer are

looking for – quality products at great value,” states Shire, whose handmade mattresses are available with a choice of an own-label product, which promise to enable retailers to offer “a greatvalue, high-end product”. The collection also benefits from a two-week orderto-delivery timescale – an impressive achievement for this quality of product, with most competitors quoting 6-8 weeks at best, says Shire: “This ensures the end-user is able to sleep on their new mattress quicker and improve their nightly rest.” Building on the success of the Constable Natural Pillow Top launched at the 2019 Bed Show (itself a finalist in the Bed Product of the Year category), Shire Beds has developed this range of high-quality, high-specification, handcrafted, hand-stitched mattresses in line with its brand offering – “quality products at excellent value” – making the Signature Collection a worthy winner. Shire sees these high-spec mattresses as a logical development. As a company, Shire has enjoyed new heights of success since the launch of its Artisan collection in 2019, and the award-nominated Constable, and hhas been able to increase its share and move into the higher-end market by increasing the quality of its offer while keeping a close eye on costs. “The Signature Collection allows the retailer to sell with confidence and assurance an amazing luxury mattress, as it comes with an extended guarantee on the high standard of craftsmanship, giving total peace of mind both to the retailer and their customer,” says the manufacturer. This quality offering, in line with ecodesign principles, has elevated the Shire Beds brand, making it appeal to a wider range of retailers – and engaging more upmarket consumers, in turn. Today, the company’s beds, mattresses, divan bases and headboards are supplied nationally and internationally to major retailers and the contract industry, including education, care and hospitality sectors. Find Shire Beds on stand 5-G20 at the show

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HOME-GROWN COMFORT La-Z-Boy UK will present a newlook stand (5-E32) at the show, and promises to “surprise and delight” visitors with new, head-turning designs which are big on comfort, style, quality and innovation …

Visitors will also be able to see updated versions of classic models such as the Winchester, which has proven popular with its minimal lead-time stock programme, and a new rise-andrecline collection to bolster the current catalogue. Several popular releases from the Manchester Furniture Show will also be on display, in eye-catching colourways – including the elegant Bartelli (pictured)



It will be the motion specialist’s first NEC visit since acquiring its UK manufacturing division last year, and a number of UK-made models will be present. The firm has also joined the Made in Britain association, demonstrating its commitment to UK manufacturing. New motion ranges will include: Lawton, an on-leg model with broad appeal; the traditional Jones model; and Otta, a contemporary off-the-floor model available in a 3, 2, 1, or flexible corner group. Head of marketing Adam Morley says: “It will be great to meet customers once again, and we can’t wait for people to see what we believe is our strongest product range to date. Whether it’s traditional comfort and reliability that consumers are looking for, a single chair to kick back, or a suite with wow factor to relax in style, we have something for all tastes.”

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0333 222 1804

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When your customers buy a La-Z-Boy sofa, they’re not just buying a sofa, they’re investing in: • A place to relax and unwind • The heart of their home • Time with their family and friends • Comfort and wellbeing FN391_(80-155) 2.indd 154

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To experience our new designs, visit us at the January Furniture Show, Hall 5 E32. For more information or to book a meeting with the team, please email: Proud members of the Made in Britain Association. FN391_(80-155) 2.indd 155

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THE GREAT SOFA SEARCH Although the upholstery market has long been dominated by particular colours, materials and styles, consumer tastes are constantly evolving – to find out which sofas are set to be most in demand this year, Mikaila Storey, writing on behalf of corner and sofabed retailer MSofas, looks at the most frequent searches made through Google and social media, and how these have changed since last year …



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We wanted to find out what people were looking for when choosing a sofa, so we studied search data from Google and Pinterest on sofa colours, styles and materials. We looked at how demand has changed in the past year, and which characteristics are likely to be a popular trend in 2022 based on this data. Colours In the last few years, coloured sofas have become a huge trend. Shades of pink, blue and green have been particularly popular. Search data tells us that the bold and bright trend is shifting slightly, but isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Despite the growing trend of coloured sofas, grey was still the most searchedfor sofa colour in 2021 according to data. However, the number of searches decreased by 18% YoY, possibly showing that more people are stepping out of their neutral comfort zone. ‘Grey sofa’ also has the most hashtags on Instagram compared to other colours, and grey had the highest number of searches on Pinterest at the start of 2021. This isn’t surprising, as grey was a hugely popular colour in interior design, and was also Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2021. Interestingly, green became the most searched-for colour by the end of the year, backing up the evidence that people are no longer shying away from bold colours – and green and pink sofas are still popular choices. According to Google data, +22% more people were looking for pink sofas in 2021 than in 2020. Pink was also one of the most searched colours on Pinterest throughout 2021 – although search numbers dropped by -4.7% by the end of the year (the ‘millennial pink’ trend became huge in 2017, particularly in interior design, but the trend also crept into fashion, and even food!). Last year, a staggering +49.5% more people were looking for green sofas YoY. Pinterest data shows green sofas were also one of the most searched-for colours on this platform in 2021, and had the highest number of searches of all colours by the end of the year.

When it comes to this colour’s popularity, it isn’t strictly on one shade, as it is with millennial pink – sage, mint and forest greens are all as popular as each other. The popularity of this colour may have been influenced by the pandemic. Green is a calming colour, which is definitely needed after a few whirlwind years – as well as this, green makes people feel more connected to nature, something we may have lacked over the years whilst being indoors. Both of these colours were amongst the highest number of hashtags on Instagram, with #greensofa having a total of 33.1k and #pinksofa with 31.2k. Despite the continued popularity of these colours, data shows that search for these colours steadied towards the end of 2021 – whilst these may still be popular sofa options (green in particular), we don’t see them becoming the biggest sofa colours of 2022. When comparing Google data from the start and end of 2021, we notice that one colour in particular had a huge rise throughout 2021 when compared to 2020 – according to our data, orange sofas are set to be the next big sofa trend of 2022. Google data shows that +50% more people are seeking orange sofas than they were in 2021. Searches for orange sofas increased by +85.2% from the start of 2021 to the end, suggesting this is a growing trend. There was also an increase of +31.8% in Pinterest searches from the start to the end of 2021. Orange was a popular fashion trend last summer, with many influencers wearing the bright colour to show a more fun, creative side. Similarly to green, the pandemic may have influenced people to use orange more in the home as it brings positive, happy, social and fun feelings to an environment. Other colours which received an increase in search included yellow and black. Searches for both of these colours increased at the end of 2021, suggesting they may be a trend this year. Materials Velvet sofas have been a huge trend

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Duresta was ahead of the curve when it launched Antibes in 2018

in recent years, particularly in 2020. However, according to data, they are reducing in popularity. Pinterest searches for velvet sofas dropped by -40.6% from the start to the end of 2021. Also, yearly Google searches dropped by -18.5% in 2021 – there was a -33% decrease in velvet sofa searches from the start to the end of the year. Despite the trend drop indicated by the decrease in search, this material is still very popular – it was the second most-searched-for material in 2021. There is a range of reasons velvet sofas are so popular. Firstly, it’s seen as a luxurious fabric, with its soft touch and indulgent feel and look, but it’s also an extremely versatile fabric which is easy to look after and clean – making it the perfect choice for all lifestyles. It’s safe to say that leather sofas are classic, and despite trends coming and going, leather will always be a popular option. This material was the most searched for in 2020 and 2021. Despite the high number of Google searches, it appears that leather sofas aren’t as ‘Pinterest worthy’ – they have the least amount of searches on the platform. However, they are definitely ‘Insta worthy’, with a total of 158k hashtags on Instagram (the highest number of hashtags of all the materials). Leather is a timeless material and has been around for a long time. Ultimately, it is a more durable than fabric, which is why people may favour it for a long-term investment such as a sofa – and it’s also much easier to clean! Although this material is undeniably popular, we don’t see it being a major trend in 2022, as search volume at the end of 2021 dropped by -18.2% when compared to the start of the year. The material with the biggest interest from the start to the end of 2021 is surprising. PU sofas saw a +33% increase in search YoY. Although the overall number of people searching was fairly low, the number of searches at the end of the year compared to the start increased by +150%, showing that people are increasingly intrigued by PU sofas. PU is much cheaper than real leather. Also, it doesn’t absorb water, which makes it easier to clean. It’s vegan friendly, and can be made in a range of colours and styles – all of these characteristics may be why PU sofas could be a 2022 trend. Another material that we see trending

WE’LL CONTINUE TO SEE BOLD, BRIGHT COLOURS THIS YEAR in 2022 is wool. In 2021, we saw woollen sofas all over social media, with many influencers and celebrities leading this trend. The average yearly search for woollen sofas went up by +23.8% in 2021, seeing a +52.4% increase from the start to the end of the year – this suggests the woollen sofa trend will continue. The increase of woollen sofas may be due to people wanting to be more environmentally friendly – there has been an increase in people opting to use more natural, sustainable materials in their lifestyle (this is certainly the case in fashion and interior design). Styles There is a wide range of different sofa styles available on the market today – more than people might think – and, when thinking of the most classic sofa style, what comes to mind? For us, it’s definitely the chesterfield! This has been an extremely popular style for many years and, judging by the search data, this won’t change any time soon. The chesterfield sofa was the most searched-for sofa style in 2020 and 2021. It also had one of the highest number of hashtags on Instagram. Based on the beginning versus the end-of-year search, we believe that sectionals will be a big trend in 2022 – the data revealed a +21% increase by the end of 2021. We have seen more sectional sofas lately on social media and in interior design – they are extremely practical, perfect for saving space if needed, and look great. There are many reasons why sectionals are popular – they’re versatile, create space, and can be set up in multiple ways. They have been out of style for a while, with smaller statement sofas taking over – however, with families spending more time together in lockdown, a need for space may have become more apparent, and more important than an aesthetically pleasing statement sofa. According to Pinterest data, curved sofas will be the next big thing in 2022.

Search for curved sofas increased by +51.9% from the start to the end of 2021. L-shaped sofas have been a big trend in recent years, yet Pinterest data shows that search for this style dropped by -70% across 2021 – this style was the most searched for at the start of the year, and one of the least searched by the end. We have seen a rise in more ‘curves’ in general, with many designs used in art and fashion featuring curves. Using curved furniture in interior design brings a more relaxed look to a room. Curves are important for feng shui, as they balance out the flow of a room and bring positive energy. Celebrities also have a huge influence on interior design – Kim Kardashian shared a sneak peek of her curved sofas on Instagram in 2021, potentially influencing the popularity of this style. The ultimate 2022 sofa So, what happens if we draw from the above data and take the top-trending result from each category to see what the ultimate trendy 2022 sofa would look like? According to this data, the ultimate trendy sofa of 2022 could be orange, the material will be PU, linen or woollen, and will be a sectional or curved sofa. In the first instance, the orange paired with PU leather sounds questionable. However, we often see tan or burnt orange leather sofas which look great, so we feel this sofa could look good in the right home! Judging by all of the above, we certainly think that we’ll continue to see bold, bright colours, more practical materials being chosen and interesting styles featured in 2022

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MD Paul Wray with operations director Zuo Shu Ling


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Modern Outlook Furniture’s MD, Paul Wray

Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, China-based supplier Modern Outlook Furniture has experienced rapid growth – and husband-and-wife team Paul Wray and Zuo Shu Ling now supervise a (still growing) team of 10 industry specialists …

The industry experienced unique challenges throughout the pandemic, including restricted travel and the rising cost of shipping. Despite the obvious challenges, there has been a growing demand for furniture and the need to supply, says Paul, “and having a representative working on behalf of your business in the country you’re buying from has never been more important”. Paul began thinking about how he could utilise his already-established relationships and reputation within the industry, and apply his knowledge amassed over 25 years to help

businesses in the UK – and Modern Outlook Furniture has now established partnerships to supply premium-quality furniture across all categories to major furniture retailers and household names across the UK and Europe. Modern Outlook Furniture’s team comprises furniture industry specialists in research and development, procurement, quality control and account management.These professionals work with businesses of all sizes to assist them in sourcing, negotiating and manufacturing processes, and in ensuring practices are in line with a company’s values. “By having a physical presence, and someone who understands the culture and processes, you can eliminate a vast proportion of the stresses encountered when buying from abroad,” says Paul. “Modern Outlook Furniture enables you to benefit from reliable manufacturing partners across the Far East, quality assurances and worldwide shipping. Our team of furniture experts also offer an AQL inspection service to brands with established manufacturing partners which are looking for peace of mind. “If you’d like to know how partnering with Modern Outlook Furniture can eliminate risks, increase your profitability and improve the predictability of your supply chain, get in touch via”

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ALL STEENS AHEAD TO FTG! All in stock for next day delivery with no MOQ! The recent acquisition of Steens furniture into our partner factory Tvilum, has enabled us to build on our strong supply offer. Tried-and-tested ranges like Steens for Kids, Baroque, Tromso, and Sandringham, to name a few – all under the FTG one-stop-shop umbrella.

We can offer you 1200 + UK Commercial products available for same day dispatch from our UK warehouse. Great products, great images, great marketing material, 97% stock availability, e-commerce support, and a modern thinking customer service approach – all fused together to delivery a great customer proposition.


STEENS FOR KIDS More than 60 unique collections. All in stock for next day delivery. No MOQ. Ecommerce support. Just call us: 02380 517067 and let’s see how we can support you. |

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STYLE WITH SPIRIT With a keen focus on interesting details and eclectic styling, Gregor Ryan’s creative director Ryan McNeish spent the initial lockdown designing and producing a collection of design-led interior pieces across living, dining and lighting, resulting in a range that references his passion for interesting, stylish products – Superstylin …

Superstylin is a new lifestyle brand developed with quality retail partners in mind, which offers a unique approach to home style that “speaks volumes”, says its creator, Ryan McNeish. “Designing the collection allowed me to reflect and reference the inspirations that I love the most,” he explains. “As I see it, 21st century style isn’t about reinventing the past – it’s about reinterpreting the future, and pushing the style and craft at the heart of a range.” “The collection offers different material options wherever we feel appropriate,” he continues, “and this provides a range that you can mix and match to your own style. We have interesting brass, gunmetal, polished and antique finishes. We also use stone granite, white marble and French brown marble, and our signature Italian ice, baked and Isobar stone, alongside walnut, weathered finishes and reclaimed woods. We offer different

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price points for different partners, with modern living at the heart of our story.” Ryan believes that giving back to the environment is an important ethos for any business, as are charitable contributions – therefore, he has pledged to plant new trees for the wood used in the range’s creation. The metal frames employ recycled scrap steel – which is added into almost all of the new steel production local to the manufacturer, says Ryan – while the marble products are mined locally at various production sites. Ryan is very close to the Superstylin project, so understandably has a few personal favourites from the portfolio. “I’m particularly proud of some of the liquid metal lights,” he says. “I love the Notre Dame, Molten and Turbine lights most. These are oversized statement lighting pieces, and I love the modern design aesthetic fused with classic references. “The Rotunda and Prysm tables are stylish modern pieces in dining, as are the Fusion and Artisan collections – both beautiful and timeless, yet with a modern aesthetic. The Lotus and Velocity chairs complement our collections, but there are lots of beautiful alternatives. “In all, it’s a dichotomy of stylish pieces, using a modern, earthy colour palette with complementary glamorous and vintage materials.” For more information, contact Jane La Valle (England and Wales) on 07976 636929, or Stewart Sutherland (Scotland and Ireland) on 07792 518842

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Jane La Valle : 07976 636929 England and Wales Stewart Sutherland : 07792 518842 Scotland and Ireland

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Baobab in Suarez blue

Featuring Baobab and Trammel, The Structures Collection, a new rug range from Louis de Poortere, uses altered woven loop pile heights, yarn thickness and densities to create a deep relief effect. Bringing depth to the organic design in Baobab and the linear, net-like formation of Trammel, the pronounced effect is distinct and apparent at every angle. Baobab is the tree symbol of Senegal, and Louis de Poortere’s design is inspired by the bark, perpetuating the tree’s magical spirit across a palette of rich green, copper, blue, black, oyster, gold and beige. The rug also comes in a new circle shape (240cm in diameter). Echoing the structure of a fishing net, Trammel’s distinct layers create volume as if filtering the sea. Tone on tone, Trammel’s timeless design is presented in expanses of blue, beige, white, black, gold and green. This style is also available in Louis de Poortere’s new circle shape, as well as a standard collection of rectangular styles. Both are made from polyester, for a shimmering quality that catches light to accentuate the depth of each structured design. An anti-slip latex backing comes as standard.

Made by hand in the UK Specialist in traditional, modern, mid-century club & armchairs Bespoke sizing Wool and other high quality fabrics, sheepskin, velvet & leather Express delivery from stock

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Jual Furnishings is “thrilled” to be returning to the January Furniture Show (taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 24-27th April), and its team is looking forward to welcoming visitors to stand 4-E55 …

Siena’s wooden additions


With its signature curve design at the heart of all of its products, Jual always strives to keep up to date with the latest trends – and this approach can be seen in its new collections this year. Jual says its 2022 ranges have already received a “tremendous” response from customers. With an attractive real oak veneer, Jual’s signature curve design and solid wood legs, the sleek minimalistic look of the Oslo Collection makes it suitable ensure for any living area, home office

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or occasional space, says the supplier – while the impressive Astana Collection is a real showstopper, combining an on-trend grey mist finish with Jual’s unique curve style and lattice design. “This collection will get your neighbours talking – for all the right reasons,” says the supplier. Due to the success of its Siena range, Jual has decided to add sleek, chamfered-edge, wooden-topped tables to the collection, which incorporate an on-trend conical base, and are finished with a powder-coated black metal plate. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Smart Height Adjustable Desk helps to improve health and wellbeing while working from home. The seamless height-adjustment function allows users to smoothly transition from sitting to standing throughout the day. This innovative desk is robust, user-friendly and stylish, says the supplier. As a small, family-run business established in 2006, Jual has come a long way, from producing glass and aluminum TV stands to being one of the UK’s leading suppliers of occasional furniture. “With the trials and tribulations of recent years, we are delighted to continually support our customers through some very challenging times,” states the company. “Offering next-working-day delivery direct to the store or end-user, and ensuring that our stock levels are healthy, means our customers’ needs are met in a timely and attentive manner. “It has always been our aim to provide the best quality furniture at the best possible price, with the best customer service”

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Copper Latex Latex Copper Copper Latex Copper Latex Encapsulated Pocketed Encapsulated Pocketed Encapsulated Pocketed Encapsulated RangePocketed Range

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ALL STEENS AHEAD TO FTG! All in stock for next day delivery with no MOQ! The recent acquisition of Steens furniture into our partner factory Tvilum, has enabled us to build on our strong supply offer. Tried-and-tested ranges like Steens for Kids, Baroque, Tromso, and Sandringham, to name a few – all under the FTG one-stop-shop umbrella.


We can offer you 1200 + UK Commercial products available for same day dispatch from our UK warehouse. Great products, great images, great marketing material, 97% stock availability, e-commerce support, and a modern thinking customer service approach – all fused together to delivery a great customer proposition.



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More than 60 unique collections. All in stock for next day delivery. No MOQ. Ecommerce support. Just call us: 02380 517067 and let’s see how we can support you. |

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IN-HOUSE INSPIRATION With over 30 years’ industry experience, Bentley Designs continues to deliver designs for better living through its dedication to uncompromising quality and distinct craftsmanship. Furniture News caught up with the supplier to discover how it negotiated recent challenges, and what lies ahead …


Where can buyers see your latest products? Whilst we’re not at the NEC for the furniture show, we are excited to announce an in-house show at our stateof-the-art showrooms this spring – so watch this space!

mention from many of our international relationships powered by Zoom! Image-based platforms like Pinterest are also a great source of inspiration, helping us keep our finger on the pulse and stay current within the furniture industry.

What can visitors expect to find at your in-house show? A mixture of our very best – from stunning new additions to timeless classics. We’ve been exploring new combinations of materials and earthy finishes to capture the latest market trends and fashions in boutique and contemporary styles. Upcoming releases like Camden dining and Indus office showcase an industrial aesthetic with rustic, fumed and weathered oaks, whilst our Sienna bedroom range highlights more refined features such as satin brass handles and chevron veneer patterns. You’ll also find Bentley firsts, like the beautifully crafted fabric tambour doors in Monroe dining, or oval-shaped marquetry tabletops in our Ellipse collections. Our teams are working hard to ensure these latest designs are here in time for our in-house.

How has Bentley Designs evolved over the last decade? Getting up to speed with technology and ecommerce has probably been the biggest change we’ve made in the last 10 years. We now have a fully transactional trade website, which has made a huge difference to order processing and management, as well as how customers view our products. Another recent addition, which has been really useful to our stockists, are our bespoke brochures – traders can rebrand our designs to fit with their own. We want to make sure we’re evolving all the time, and it’s a really exciting time to be part of Bentley Designs’ journey.

Where do you find design inspiration? In spite of the restrictions and challenges that Covid has imposed, we’ve continued to find our design process a global – and collaborative – effort. Ideas often spark from conversations with our suppliers, customers, and the Bentley team – not to

How have you dealt with the global shortage of supplies? We were fortunate to have had healthy stock levels in both our UK and Vietnam warehouses, allowing us to better deal with the temporary factory closures due to Covid, as well as the ongoing supply chain disruptions. We also have multiple distribution options at our disposal, so delivering direct to the end-consumer has been an option for some of our customers who have faced issues with transportation and supply.


What trends and styles are Bentley Designs looking to this year? As always, we’ll be looking to create quality collections with timeless appeal, but we’ll also be looking at some of the big trends of 2022 – natural materials, earthy tones, and lots of texture.

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Where can we find out more? For our complete product offer, as well as newly launched ranges and recent developments, visit our website. You can also keep up to date by following us on Instagram (@bentleydesignsuk) and signing up to our mailing list via the website

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Monroe Silver Grey Dining Range Get in touch to book your showroom appointment: bentleydesignsuk

Unit A1, Symmetry Park, Morrell Way,


Bicester, Oxfordshire OX26 6GF

020 8833 7500

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Each year, contemporary furniture specialist Torelli strives to bring fresh and unique products to the market, and 2022 is no exception. With demand for ceramic furniture on the increase in the UK and Europe, Torelli has grown its ceramic furniture offer – new ranges Brando, Alonso and Lorenzo will make their debut in 2022. with 12 new ranges added to its current collection, Torelli is fast establishing itself as a leader in this field. The introduction of ceramic-top tables to Torelli’s existing glass models will add an ultra-modern look to its offer, while this year will also see the addition of new fabric and leather dining chairs in various fabrics and on-trend leather colours.

YOTFC “It’s all good news from our side,” reports YOTFC’s MD, David Harrison. “Our suppliers are on track, and we’re offering a 2-4-week turnaround on finished products – while fulfilment of our raw, ITW product is quick to land.

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David says YOTFC is currently polishing a large number of chairs and stools, including recent additions, the Lynden high chair and Modern saddle. “We’re also making complete tables – A frame, X frame, doubles, pedestals, square leg, taper leg, farmhouse leg – in solid pine, for finishing in paints, wood stains, waxes, lacquers and oils, to suit our clients’ needs, and with oak tops in either character oak or A-grade prime oak.” These can be oiled, lacquered, or finished in resin colours, says David. “We’re also doing benches to suit every model, and these are available with upholstered seats.Bespoke sizes are also undertaken. “We deliver on pallets with our own vehicles, and many customers like to come down to our site, meet us, and take a look around at the wide range of options, colours and styles we offer.”

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Where elegant design & craftmanship comedesign together! Where elegant &

Where elegant design & craftmanship craftmanship come come together! together!

Contact: Contact:

Contact: Contact: Contact: (0141) 632 632 1025 1025 (0141) (0141) 632 632 1025 1025 (0141) (0141) 632 1025 137 Shawbridge Shawbridge St, St, Glasgow, Glasgow, 137 137 Shawbridge Shawbridge St, St, Glasgow, Glasgow, 137 G43 1QQ 137G43 Shawbridge St, Glasgow, 1QQ G43 1QQ 1QQ G43 G43 1QQ Full page page USE.indd USE.indd Torelli_JFS.indd 1 11 171 Full FN391_(156-212) 3.indd

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5-H47 5-H47 Stand: 5-H47 5-H47

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UP TO THE MAMMOTH TASK Following on from Mammoth’s recent announcement that it would be extending its licensing agreement with Airsprung Beds into the bricks-andmortar retail channel, the health and wellbeing brand has announced that it will also be strengthening its in-house and agency sales team as it enters into a new phase of growth …

Stuart Page has been appointed as Litmus Furniture’s national sales manager for Mammoth Sit & Sleep. Stuart brings 30 years’ experience in the furniture trade to the role, and already possesses a deep understanding of the Mammoth brand. Also joining the Mammoth team is Andrew Parkin, who will assume the role of key account relationship manager. Andrew, too, boasts a wealth of experience in retail, having been a long-time champion of Mammoth across both national and independent accounts for 10 years. Mammoth has also announced that Litmus Furniture will be retaining the services of a number of existing sales agents as it assumes responsibility across Mammoth’s Sit & Sleep division. Stuart Nutbeen, MD of Mammoth Sit & Sleep, says: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure the services

Mammoth Excel Hybrid 8000

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of Stuart, Andrew and the majority of the sales agents who have helped Mammoth to establish itself as the industry’s leading health and wellbeing brand over the last decade. “We now look forward to delivering on our ambitious growth strategy across product collections and retail channels over the coming years, simultaneously building on our research and development work, testing and growing a number of patented technologies.” Stuart Page comments: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join Litmus Furniture and continue working for Mammoth as the brand looks to build on its successes of the last 10 years. Having worked across the Mammoth Comfort collection extensively, I know first-hand how highly Mammoth’s technologies and products are regarded by both retailers and consumers. And the opportunity to continue on this journey with the brand as it enters its next phase of growth is one I am very much looking forward to.” As part of Mammoth’s new agreement with Airsprung Beds, the company will assume responsibility for manufacturing and distribution across both Mammoth’s national and independent accounts. It will also support Mammoth’s continued international growth, demonstrating the brand’s broad appeal and demand for its leading health tech. For stockist information on the Mammoth Comfort or Women’s Health Men’s Health collections, contact sales@

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Allow us to reintroduce ourselves

Our pedigree

For over a decade Mammoth have been driving industry standards in sleep and comfort through advanced healthcare technologies and extensive testing. Backed by unrivalled credentials that consumers can trust, we go further than any other brand to help people lead healthy, happy lives.

Scientifically shown to improve sleep* where participants:

Fell asleep 29% quicker

Experienced a 7% increase in sleep efficiency

Reported a 21% more enjoyable sleep

Born out of healthcare Grounded in sleep science Patented technologies Innovations in Health Award Winners Backed by health professionals Loved by the sporting elite

Independent testing* resulted in

47% Greater Pressure Relief

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*See for details.

Ready to add a healthy choice to your shop floor, contact us today on FN391_(156-212) 3.indd 173

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ENVISAGE From its factory in Birmingham, luxury bed and sofa manufacturer Envisage designs and makes hundreds of different premium models for retailers across the UK and further afield. With a bespoke offering available in a huge choice of fabrics, Envisage boasts total quality control over every product, and offers a DHD service plus discounts on showroom models. The manufacturer states: “As the demand for British-made products increases, Envisage is always focused


on introducing new lines to the market – our sofa range, for example, consists of everything from old-school chesterfields to modern models – and our marketleading frames are made from the finest

materials in our very own wood mill by our experienced carpenters, giving the end-consumer the peace of mind that their furniture will last for many years to come.”

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FILLING FINE AT 40 Fibreline is renowned for its quality products across a broad range of cushion seat fillings, delivering combinations of different fillings to achieve specific results – but this success did not happen overnight. This year, Fibreline celebrates 40 years of business in the comfort sector …

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Founded by John Prudhoe in 1982, Fibreline has grown into the UK’s largest independently owned upholstery cushion fillings manufacturer. John had significant experience in the upholstery market, and could see the potential for carded synthetic fibres in upholstery – consequently, Fibreline became a pioneer in the use of polyester fibre in the UK furniture industry. Initially based on Marley Street in Keighley, the company soon outgrew its location and, in 1992, moved to the old Waddingtons playing card factory – Victoria Park Mills on Hard Ings road. Over the following decade, Fibreline diversified into feather and foam cushion fillings, thus offering a one-stop shop for all cushion fillings. Innovations came thick and fast, and in 2003 Fibreline became one of the first foam convertors to install a fully integrated foam-cutting line. One of the main problems with 100% fibre seat cushions is that they flatten over time and require strenuous plumping. Fibreline sought a remedy for this problem with Encore. Fibreline started to develop the Encore range in 2010. Initially, this comprised Encore Fibre, which had the look and feel of a fibre cushion but recovery characteristics that were

more like foam. Encore Fibre was quickly awarded the FIRA GOLD seal of approval, and went on to become a great success story. Encouraged by the success of Encore Fibre, Fibreline developed Encore Feather and Encore Foam. Encore Feather has the look and feel of a feather cushion, but with muchimproved recovery when compared to a traditional, feather-filled seat cushion. Encore Foam provides the clean lines of a foam seat cushion but the snug feel of a fibre seat. While all this innovative development was going on, Fibreline also introduced a number of industry production process firsts – for example, pioneering the robotic drilling of foam components in 2015, and installing a robotic fabrication line in 2019.These improvements and innovations have helped Fibreline remain competitive in terms of both pricing and delivery. The latest product from Fibreline is Fibrefill Blue. Fibreline recognised the need to offer cushion manufacturers an environmentally friendly solution using recycled plastic, so found a way to convert the equivalent of 100 plastic bottles into each “very comfy” cushion. Fibreline will continue to innovate and provide customers with high quality solutions across fibre, feather and foam. This, along with a high level of customer service and tight delivery schedules, promises to set Fibreline firmly on a successful path for the next 40 years, and beyond

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Our two-man home delivery team could make the difference between a smile or a frown from your customers. Get in touch to find out how we deliver an extra helping hand for growing businesses.

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BEDS WITH BENEFITS The National Bed Federation (NBF) has expanded its member benefits with NBF Protect, a slick business support package for its UK-based members. In collaboration with Quest Services, UK members now have access to four vital services to support their business around the clock – HR, legal, health and safety, and tax.

business, it will still be worth calling NBF Protect for a second expert opinion, without incurring any additional fees.” As well as NBF Protect, all members (UK and European) can access current consumer bed-buying habits through the federation’s regular bespoke research reports. Quarterly bed market sales data is available too via the NBF Tracker, which enables businesses to benchmark their performance against the industry. Members also receive a UK and global economic review from the NBF’s resident behavioural economist, Roger Martin-Fagg. One of the biggest and most desirable perks of NBF membership is the opportunity to exhibit at the Bed Show, which is held annually in Telford and will take place this year from 20th-21st September. For any business that is interested but is not yet a member, the NBF is always keen to welcome new members, either through its full or associative memberships, for UK- and Irelandbased manufacturers and suppliers. Further details can be found on the NBF’s website

The new business support package for NBF members covers several vital services (image credit: Canva/NicoElNino, Getty Images Pro)


Professional support is a phone call away for the NBF’s bed manufacturer and supplier members, with a dedicated helpline powered by Quest to meet their business needs. The HR and legal helplines are available 24/7, offering free and professional advice 365 days a year. Members can also seek health and safety and VAT and tax support via the helpline during office hours. What is more, a free library of over 750 documents, including helpful templates, is available, as well as a free ‘one-toone’ review service to discuss any HR or health and safety issues within a business. Access to the online package is via a password-protected portal. Head of marketing and membership at the NBF, Simon Williams, says: “We are thrilled to be able to offer these services to our UK-based members, which we believe will genuinely protect them and give them peace of mind in these challenging times. I encourage all eligible members to use these premium-quality services. Even if you already have separate arrangements covering these critical areas for your

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Sleep comes easy when you buy beds made by an approved NBF member

Our vision for the bed industry in 2022 and beyond is clear – we want to make it right. How? By setting standards and driving ethics, transparency and responsibility. By championing excellence in bed-making and selling. By supporting sustainability through the NBF Pledge for the Planet and an ecodesign framework for mattresses. And by educating consumers on how to improve their sleep.

To find out more and for a list of NBF Approved members visit BEDFED.ORG.UK

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In other words, we’ll keep on making sure our members do the right thing.

Because when we do, everyone sleeps better at night.

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INVESTMENT AND OPPORTUNITY ActivEdge and Caliber Edge in place

Leggett & Platt Springs UK has expanded its componentmanufacturing capacity, and will introduce new options in comfort layers and its ActivEdge product line during the year – all while continuing to offer an extensive line-up of highquality innersprings and value-adding innovation …

NanoCoil can be utilised for mattress toppers, comfort layers and filling-layer applications

NanoCoil micro-coil comfort layers enhance air circulation

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NanoCoil NanoCoil micro-coil comfort layers are versatile and responsive, enhancing the sleep surface by increasing coil counts and delivering consistency and comfort life that is built to last. These layers enhance air circulation by creating a channel for air to flow in and out of the mattress, enabling the body to reach its desired temperature for achieving deep, restorative sleep. Available in a number of specifications, NanoCoil can be utilised for mattress toppers, comfort layers and filling-layer applications. ActivEdge Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge spring perimeter solutions extend comfort life, reduce or eliminate roll-off, and deliver a sleep surface that is consistent

all the way to the edge. Its pocketed innersprings move independently to support the individual contours of the body, and are heat-treated and tested for performance, quality and durability. ActivEdge products can compress, fold, and roll-pack, making them ideal for use in shippable mattress programmes. Caliber Edge Caliber Edge is part of Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge line of innerspring products, which form a steel coil perimeter around select pocket systems to deliver consistent support across the entire sleep surface. Caliber Edge offers longer and more resilient edge-to-edge comfort life with improved perimeter firmness and reduced feeling of rolloff. It decreases mattress build time and eliminates the need for foam borders, cutting costs, saving time, and increasing recyclability. Leggett & Platt Springs UK L&P Springs UK’s facilities form a state-of-the-art, vertically integrated business that serves as the primary locally based supplier of high-quality innerspring and micro-coil comfort layer solutions to the region. Its “global, yet local” strategy drives the business to meet the demands and challenges of an ever-changing and evolving landscape, in order to help its customers succeed

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Learn more at

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CGI by Chilli Pepper Designs

CGI by Chilli Pepper Designs

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Chilli Pepper Designs provides impressive interior computergenerated images, and considers itself at the forefront of CGI. “We believe in going above and beyond, and showcasing interiors in their best possible light with the least possible hassle,” states the visualisation specialist. “We were born during the pandemic – in a time when viewing products or putting together photo shoots was near impossible. Instead, we found a way to not only solve the issue, but to pave the way for the future of interior design, elevating the way companies showcase their products, and making the whole process easier and more cost effective.” Chilli Pepper Designs promises clients savings in various areas. “We can save you money,” it states. “Product photography costs can quickly rack up, with you having to fork out for everything from a location to a photographer, retoucher and vans to transport everything there and back. CGI negates the need for all of this, with everything done digitally. It strips back the majority of costs and is much more budgetfriendly for your business, yet with no compromise on quality.” The business can also save its clients time. “As business owners ourselves, we know your time is precious. With our CGI designs, we take the work out of your hands. You don’t need to spend days out

CGI by Chilli Pepper Designs

Looking to streamline the way you do business? To cut costs but improve profitability? To get ahead of the competition and future-proof your company? Chilli Pepper Designs says it can help with all the above, and much more …

of the office on shoots – instead, you can get on with the other tasks that your business needs. We will provide you with updates along the way and ask for your feedback, so the end result will go above and beyond your expectations. “The whole process is effortless. Turning the traditional way of shooting and marketing products on its head, CGI doesn’t require location scouting, photography teams and days spent out of the office. Instead, you just need to send in a rough sketch or description of what you’re after, and this can be transformed into a realistic-looking CGI render.” Taking this approach to marketing can also help the environment, points out Chilli Pepper Designs: “Sustainability is a core focus for many businesses, and CGI is a great way to do your bit. Without any of the emissions from transport to get to a shoot, or the high-energy lighting and tech equipment, CGI is a much more environmentally friendly alternative. “In conclusion, the possibilities are endless. Through our CGI service, you can instantly elevate your business, maximising profit, minimising effort and focusing on what really matters – getting the word of your products out there. Once you’ve experienced the immense power and endless possibility of CGI with us at Chilli Pepper Designs, you’ll never look back!”

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CGI – THE FUTURE OF FURNITURE EXHIBITIONS Do you still rely on exhibitions and traditional expensive photoshoots to sell your furniture? There’s a better way to get the shots you need – and you don’t even need to exhibit or pick up a camera.


At Chilli Pepper Designs we create detailed, scalable digital 3D furniture models, which can be placed in a scene of your choice, anywhere, and used in any way. This showroom is a CGI virtual model that we generated to prove it. That means unparalleled flexibility, huge cost savings, and you can take your products to market in a fraction of the time you would usually associate with a traditional photoshoot or exhibition. In today’s world, with lock downs, shows being cancelled, supply chain issues, shipping headaches, sampling difficulties all amounting to delayed product, and therefore lack of imagery to sell from, theres never been a better time to embrace CGI.

Get in touch – CGI is the future of furniture photography whatever the occasion…



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HELPING MANUFACTURERS MAKE THE CUT A client’s completed project

On a mission to provide good-quality, safe machinery and services with a personal touch, and to help its customers build up their own successful businesses, Micromax Machinery Group understands the daunting task of starting a manufacturing workshop, or needing a new CNC machine as production needs grow and change …

Precise woodwork, courtesy of Micromax-supplied machinery

Perfect cuts can be achieved with a Micromax CNC

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So often, the decisions to be made do not relate solely to the machinery itself, says Micromax – one needs to consider site layout, hidden costs, new technologies to learn and initial expenses to be covered before installation can even begin. Then, of course, there are all the different types of CNC equipment to consider – and finally, a wouldbe manufacturer really needs to understand which CNC simultaneously meets their needs at the moment, and will also grow with their business in the future. “We have learnt all of this – and far more! – over 20+ years in the machinery service industry, both as a user and supplier of machinery, and while helping our own customers go from strength

to strength,” says Micromax. “It’s our mission and our passion to support our clients’ goals and needs – whether that means increased productivity, workshops that result in better flow, new sectors to enter and compete in, and even the types and styles of products they can offer their own customers.” With clients that span numerous sectors – from kitchen manufacturers to signmakers and specialist producers – Micromax takes great pride in its return customers, which ask the machinery specialist to help them through every change and challenge that they encounter. Micromax offers everyone – not just past customers – general service calls and bespoke contracts, breakdown support and emergency cover, regular machine maintenance and parts updating. “We are especially passionate about aftercare and support, because we fully understand that working with new or updated machinery can be an intimidating prospect – and our commitment to a client doesn’t end after they have paid us,” states Micromax. “We will be here for you for as long as you need, for whatever you need – your success is ours, and it’s our passion.” For more information, call Rob on 07380 286052 or email rob@

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Every day, people are having to cope with financial hardship due to the impact of bereavement, relationship or family breakdown, illness, reduced work hours, an unexpected loss of income or redundancy. But they do not have to deal with this alone, states The Furniture Makers’ Company, whose welfare officer, Sue Dean, is on hand to support anyone in need – and everyone in the trade can make a difference to someone’s life, by helping spread the word about the charity in their workplace. Here, Sue provides five tips on how to be a welfare champion … Display the charity poster and other collateral “This is the simplest way that you can make your co-workers aware of our charitable support,” says Sue. “We have posters and discreet brochures that can be affixed to notice boards, displayed in the cafeteria or even pinned in bathrooms and toilet cubicles.

(photo credit: Shutterstock/SORANAT7)

Tell HR about the charity “In the past, HR departments have been great aids in communicating our message to employees at their company who they know to be struggling. We’re very keen to connect with as many HR professionals in the industry as

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Sue Dean

As the charity for the furnishing industry, The Furniture Makers’ Company has been supporting the welfare of people working in the trade since 1903, helping furnishing industry people who are dealing with financial hardship by providing grants and useful advice.

possible, so please refer us to your HR department so we can make contact. Share the charity’s content on social media “We regularly disseminate information about our grants on social media. You can help get more views on our content by liking and sharing what we publish. It is a simple action that can have a dramatic effect on the number of people who ultimately engage with the post. Do not be afraid to recommend the charity “Welfare is a tough subject to talk about, but the only way we are going to change that is by addressing it head-on. If one of your co-workers or contacts from the trade has disclosed that they’re going through hard times, don’t be afraid to let them know that we exist. Let the charity know if a supplier or customer goes out of business “If a company that you have dealings with goes out of business, please take five minutes out of your day and let us know. We can then get on the case of contacting either the insolvency practitioner or someone from the HR department to explore how we reach the affected employees,” concludes Sue. For more information about welfare support, visit The Furniture Makers’ Company’s website, or contact Sue on 020 7562 8528 or sue@furnituremakers.

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A2 Welfare Pos

The Furniture Makers’ Company the furnishing industry’s charity

SUPPORT FOR FURNISHING INDUSTRY PEOPLE Struggling financially? We’re here to help! As the charity for the furnishing industry, we have been supporting the welfare of people working in the trade since 1903. We help furnishing industry people by providing financial grants and practical, useful advice.

020 7256 5558 07366 568 458 The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers’ Charitable Funds incorporating the Furnishing Trades Benevolent Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1015519) and a registered company (no. 02759359) in England and Wales

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Manufactured from renewable sources – castor oil, sunflower, and soybean-based polyols – Vita’s sustainable Origin filling is available in different grades across the group’s range of combustion-modified and visco-elastic foam. “There is now a clear competitive edge to working greener,” states The Vita Group, “so Origin is the type of product that your customers want – if not demand!”


(photo credit:

FIRA members can now access the latest Quarterly Standards Update as part of their membership benefits, at This update covers seating, tables and desks, storage furniture, beds and mattresses, educational furniture, ergonomics, outdoor furniture, children’s furniture, hardware for furniture, the circular economy, cable management, flammability, and surface finishes. Also included is the latest on the new expected Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations, the UKCA Mark and REACH regulations.

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SATRA supporting you Membership provides businesses with a range of benefits such as bespoke technical support and advice through our technical team, helping businesses to understand current legislation, influence new standards and develop product specifications.

F by ind vi ou sit t m in o g re fu a rn bo ish u in t m gs em .s b at e ra rsh .c ip om

SATRA Technology has launched a new furniture and floor coverings membership package, specifically tailored to meet the needs of these industries.

Also included are testing discounts, 20% of the annual subscription value returned in the form of vouchers and access to SATRA’s new online Furniture & Floor Covering Hub, a go-to repository for the latest industry news, technical information on standards and regulatory requirements, as well as industry focussed features such as polls. Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000 Full page USE.indd3.indd 1 FN391_(156-212) 189

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Standards for furniture are regularly reviewed and updated where necessary to ensure they are effective and fit for purpose. SATRA Technology Centre regularly publishes factsheets providing an at-a-glance, up-to-date overview of standards covering particular areas, with recent additions covering finger entrapment, proposed regulatory changes for construction products, and the implications of the CE, UKNI and

UKCA markings for the floorcoverings industry. These factsheets and other reports, such as quarterly standards updates which provide an overview of all standards activity in the furniture and floorcoverings industries at domestic, European and international levels, can be accessed by SATRA furniture and floorcoverings members on the SATRA Furnishings Hub. For more information, contact




Email: / Phone: +44 (0) 77445 540524 Rhenus Home Delivery UK, Unit 7 New Cheshire Business Park, Wincham Lane, CW9 6GG, Northwich

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INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS An unrivalled edit of news, insights, opinions and new products every month – subscribe today to make sure you never miss an issue

#389 February 2022 #390 March 2022

#386 November 2021


#388 January 2022

BALANCED PERSPECTIVE Libra celebrates 50 years of iconic design

#385 October 2021

New brands broaden Kettle’s portfolio



Emma Select’s personalised sleep solutions

HOT PROPERTY Sizzling CGI from Chilli Pepper Designs

The D2C dilemma The pros and cons of going hybrid

Qualita Discover control Sweet Dreams’ luxurious new line-up


Brexit’s impact, one year on

HOME OFFICE | BEDROOM Sustainable seating LIVING | TRADE SERVICES Upholstery’s green pioneers speak up

Retail’s customer-tracking technology revealed


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Track record

Forecasting the product trends of 2022


Toons’ Huw Williams takes the stand

In the BHAGECO CONSCIOUS | RETAIL FINANCE Sussex Beds’ extraordinary expansion planOUTDOOR | TRADE SERVICES

Disruption ahead for digital marketing

Vivense plots rapid retail expansion Karl Walker on Lebus’ succession strategy FN385_Pages.1.indd 1

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The sustainable packaging dilemma


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Simba’s CEO boxes clever Why salespeople need a holiday

What JFS’ postponement means

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ON/OFF SWITCH Online isn’t just here to stay – it has taken up residence and changed the locks. But how is our industry handling the transition to a post-pandemic landscape of heightened ecommerce adoption, and any appetite for greater digital integration in-store? Paul Farley asks around …

The developments of the past two years have put paid to any notion that ecommerce is somehow an optional diversion for any serious retailer. In the wake of the pandemic’s digital sales boom, online revenue growth fell back to a modest +2.7% YoY in 2021, its lowest gain in 22 years, reported IMRG/ Capgemini. But set 2021’s performance against 2019’s, and you have an astonishing +39% increase. Given the tactile nature of our industry, there’s a good deal of argument that the ‘bricks’ will be the more substantial part of any ‘bricks-and-clicks’ equation, and that the effective merging of the two

is increasingly the retailer’s biggest challenge. So, what is the right mix for today’s consumer, and what does the future hold? Do interactive features such as live chat, social commerce, VR and AR (see December’s issue for more on that) promise to truly bring online shopping experiences to life, or is greater automation and better fulfilment the real battleground? And can independent furniture retailers really compete with the digital giants? We asked a range of retailers and ecommerce experts to share their views and experiences …

This month’s panel, clockwise from top left: Mike Whitman, John Northwood, Steve Adams, Mike Murray, Steve Pickering , Royce Clark, Rob Walker and Peter Harding


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Peter Harding, Fairway Furniture: Online is not going to go away, so we must continue to embrace it. We saw our online sales jump sharply, and although they have calmed whenever stores have been open, there is little doubt that their importance continues to grow. We’ve seen online more than double each year over the past three years. We have been investing in our online presence through 2021, and already have plans for further investment this year. Having a strong online offer is vital, as it serves both as a digital shop/shop window and as a revenue protection channel, ensuring that if customers have been in-store, they can convert at home. Our experience is that consumers shopping online for furniture can be broadly split into two distinct types – the distress purchase, such as a bed, and the more considered items, such as cabinet and upholstery. Our online sales breakdown differs markedly from

that we see in-store and is, I believe, reflective of the continued challenge that we face in getting customers to commit to expensive upholstery items when it is such a tactile product. The development of AI software that easily allows customers to view items in their own home has leapt forward, but needs to be more accessible. Suppliers and retailers need to work together more closely on imagery for online use, allowing customers to see items in all available colours, and perhaps offering fabric sample services. In terms of who is getting the online/ offline balance right, there are lots of examples of retailers doing well, but there is, I believe, a limit to how many customers will part with £3000 for a sofa group without seeing it, sitting on it and feeling it.

strategy. We believe that utilising the expertise of your staff in-store through the forum of the internet is a logical step – highlighted by the use of video live chat becoming increasingly popular. We predict that this trend will grow to allow consumers to communicate directly with product experts from the comfort of their home, or wherever they have an internet connection. Technology will ultimately bridge the gap between online and offline, bringing physical products digitally into people’s homes. Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) will become the norm. Additionally, logistical expertise will become fundamental in whether companies succeed or not. Efficient delivery, returns management and promotion will be key in ensuring that the operation runs profitably.

Mike Murray, Land of Beds: The key is to bring the online and offline experience together as seamlessly as possible through an omnichannel

Rob Walker, Orbital Vision: Online furniture retail is going in one direction – up. Our workload hasn’t stopped growing since the start of the pandemic. As more and more businesses came to realise that they need imagery to sell their products, our client list grew. We spent a lot of time not only producing fantastic imagery, but working closely with clients to see how else we could benefit their business. Not only are we now a one-stop-shop for many of


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our clients, but we offer a digital sales package – complete with everything you need to sell a product online – and a product customiser which will transform the way our clients sell products online. Consumer expectations are only growing when it comes to what they want to see online – showing a product in all available materials was great a year ago, but it won’t cut it now. If customers can’t view a product as a 360, interact with it or have the ability to use AR, they will turn elsewhere to shop. Customers want to be able to see the product in as much detail as they can before they purchase it. Steve Pickering, Sussex Beds: We have seen ecommerce transactions increase by +400% since the start of the pandemic. We had expected volumes to decrease as stores reopened, but this was not the case – online revenue remained at this elevated level. Omnichannel retailing will be essential to remain competitive, meaning offering consumers online/ offline purchasing choice and experience. More than two thirds (68%) of our in-store purchasers had visited our website prior to purchase. Our ecommerce platform benefits greatly from physical presence, brand awareness and mainstream store marketing methods. Those businesses focusing on only one channel, either online or offline, will be missing out on opportunity and operating at a disadvantage. John Northwood, trade agent: The only way our industry is going to maximise business is to get the balance of a bricks-and-mortar retail site and an online web shop. To rely on one platform for sales is risky, and you can capitalise on gaining business from those consumers that still want the experience of seeing and feeling the product – which is, after all, what our business is about. Royce Clark, Grampian Furnishers: Obviously, there was a huge swing to online shopping in the UK as we faced the stay-at-home message and our

SEEING AND FEELING THE PRODUCT IS WHAT OUR BUSINESS IS ABOUT trade was classed as ‘non-essential’ and remained closed for longer than most. I do think this has resulted in many bad experiences, with goods being promised quickly and then not delivered, and a lack of communication from the sellers which, a lot of the time, are being run from garages or a back room. Online will always have a place, as the end-user is time short and working from home is becoming more widely accepted. However, I have always believed – and still do, even after everything we have been through – that a robust bricksand-clicks offering is key to being successful. Steve Adams, Mattress Online: The move to online sales is not going away – the pandemic has certainly accelerated this trend, but it was always going to happen organically, and technology will only help to compound this transition. Over the next couple of years we will see technological improvements in transactional user experience and customer service. Social commerce will become the norm, as will using social channels for customer service. Mobile shopping experiences will get better, and live video will play a larger part of online transactions. However, there will always be a place for bricks and mortar, and those companies that successfully bridge the two experiences will be gaining market share in 5-10 years. Mike Whitman, Iconography: A quick look at the industry can quickly show that there have been some real winners and losers. Recent research has been backing up the anecdotal evidence, too – companies that were prioritising digital pre-pandemic are the ones who’ve won. Those who hadn’t planned for it are now playing catch-up.


Some of the research I’ve read (which was looking at homewares and interior design in general, and not just furniture) figured that 30% of revenue was the minimum for businesses that are targeting digital. Pre-pandemic, Next was just over 40%, and they actually grew that to 45% alongside a revenue increase during 2020/21. Laura Ashley was deriving around 25% of their revenue from digital, a figure which dropped to 23% just before the pandemic. For the smaller independents we work with day in and day out, it’s really important to prioritise. With limited budgets and manpower, those companies have no choice but to target the quick wins and low-hanging fruit. That’s why technologies that allow for automation are becoming increasingly mainstream (and, although there are plenty of innovations there, I’m not talking about customer-facing ecommerce features). If a retailer has to manage thousands of products, they need an RMS that works with them, not against them. Processes which can automatically (and reliably) apply warranties or other upsells to made-to-order items without human input are crucial to those wanting to maximise online revenue. Tools which automatically add or remove fabric swatches from every product in the catalogue with a single click are another essential element of the modern digital platform. We’re also watching a lot of companies that are starting to look beyond the traditional software providers. They’ve been sold the idea of a ‘seamless’ integration one too many times, and are now getting wiser. Software houses are having to be a lot more careful with what they promise, as retailers are getting more and more experienced. The benefits of omnichannel mean that it is here to stay, and customers expect the same quality of service online and in-store – the trick is to find a platform that can actually support omnichannel without being more hassle than it’s worth

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Effective & efficient omnichannel retailing A new, unified retail ecosystem

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Not enough buyers? Or enough of the right buyers? (photo courtesy Las Vegas Market)

In January, Furniture Today’s editorin-chief Bill McLoughlin attended US furniture event Las Vegas Market – and the view from the show floor prompted him to reflect on the bigger picture for trade shows …

As I write this, Las Vegas Market has just opened, capping a busy month of markets that, by various accounts, have been slow, busy, better than expected, slower than expected, quiet but productive, solid with no tyre-kickers. Depending on who you ask, all of these things are true. Most of them were common phrases before the pandemic, and are as old as the trade show business. I have little doubt that, when asked to assess the very first market, there were those who said they expected to see more people, and those who were thrilled to see as many as they did. And without having entered a single showroom, I can tell you the traffic report on Las Vegas. It will go something like this: “Traffic was off compared to before the pandemic, but the people who came were there to place orders.” And that’s good news. Why? Because over the past several years, buyers had trended away from order writing. Instead, the focus was more about continuing conversations around programmes, getting a list of ideas for later follow-up or, if you had the clout, getting a key exclusive to box out the competition. While there’s little doubt the pandemic has been a challenge to market and trade show operators, it’s been a blessing in two key ways. First, the focus is once again squarely on buying and selling. Retailers are coming to market because they need goods

(desperately in some cases). In September last year, Furniture Today Strategic Insights conducted a study of furniture retailers to assess the environment for markets. Nearly 80% of respondents described their inventory position as “fair” (49%) or “weak” (29.9%). That’s had a significant impact on retailers’ open-to-buy rate, with 60.5% indicating it had increased since 2020 and 50% saying they expected it to increase again in 2022. The other factor that bodes well for in-person markets is that retailers are more open to adding new suppliers than at any time in recent memory. The same survey indicated that 77% of retailers are not getting all the goods they need from existing suppliers. And a whopping 89% said they are considering adding new suppliers. And where will they look? According to the survey, it’s markets. Nearly 60% (57.85%, to be exact) said markets were “very important” when it came to finding new sources of supply. So, when it comes time to assess this week’s market, or even others in the future, the metric shouldn’t be how many bodies you see in the elevator line or how busy the hallways look. In today’s environment, it might be better to measure those you’ve seen whom you’ve never seen before. Are you getting share from your competition? Did you sell more or less to those you did see? It’s a new game, and time for new conversations

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HOME & RETAIL FURNITURE DISTRIBUTION 15/03/2021 12:04 11:24 24/03/2022



STREAMLINING SOCIAL With exhibitions and other networking opportunities repeatedly postponed, salespeople have been forced to recreate these experiences effectively online – but unless handled correctly, social media outreach can be undermined by screen fatigue and a lack of focus, says sales performance coach Peter Holland …



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Social media provides amazing opportunities to connect, but with so many potential contacts, leads and content available, it’s no wonder we sometimes feel overwhelmed. Additionally, people around the globe have had to adapt to living with a pandemic. In such circumstances, it’s easy to feel demotivated and to experience fatigue. So, we need to stimulate interest and add value to those we’d like to connect with. How can you ensure your social media efforts will produce results? Let’s review some practical tips to organise your activities and maximise results using SMSP (Social Media Sales Process): 1. Research Pick your channels carefully – you need to hang out where your contacts hang out. Streamline your feed so you can quickly see the news that’s important to you. Using lists in Twitter is a great way to do this. For example, you could create lists for media, clients, targets and competitors, which will keep your information flow organised. Using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator enables you to search and create lists with specific criteria, ensuring you are connecting with good potential prospects. Make sure you’re spending time with the right companies and titles – if the person is the right profile, you have a chance. If they aren’t, all the skills in the world won’t help you win a new customer. So be selective – focus on the people you can add the most value to. 2. Making new connections Active contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter may be more open to connections than those who are not active. Look for trigger events to comment on, like their posts – or, if appropriate, send a request to connect with a carefully worded invitation explaining why it would be mutually beneficial to do so. Who do you know? It’s all about your 2nd degree connections. Browse the contacts of your good contacts to see if there are individuals you could possibly help, and ask them if it would be worth introducing you. Join webinars you


think your target audience will attend. Ask good questions at the end to make yourself stand out – these events provide a unique opportunity to network online. 3. Meetings Create a marketing attraction campaign aimed at delivering value and expertise. Include a series of emails, social media messages and follow-up calls to see if your content was useful and relevant, along with an invitation to share a couple of additional ideas. Share knowledge. Use companyproduced content to send to contacts on LinkedIn, but personalise it to them, alongside an invite to meet. Add value with your team. Working virtually provides a great opportunity to bring in other team members on calls. Create a standard image with photos of colleagues from other departments who might add value to online meetings. This will make the invite more personal, and you can demonstrate that this is part of your service offering. Share the successes of your colleagues in online meetings. Real-life case studies provide some of the most engaging material for prospects. Be of value. Offer to set up a company-wide webinar with value specifically to their organisation (this is particularly interesting for global teams). Lastly, create valuable content. Plan one excellent post once a week on LinkedIn, and think about what your contacts would be interested in. It could be a shared article, new brochure or TED talk, or you could create your own article if you have something important to share, like a case study. Do this in a mindful way, not just ‘because you should post something’ – focus on relevance and value.


4. Monitor progress and results Select a few metrics to measure your activities and monitor your success. Continually review what’s working and what’s not. Which messages and content resonated with your audience? Which ones resulted in invites for meetings being quickly accepted?

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We are at Proposte! 26/28 April 2022 Via V Giornate, 8, 22012 Cernobbio COMO, Italy

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A consumer will want to know that their furniture is made to last

Can the predicted lifespan of furniture be calculated? What are the consequences when apportioning partial refunds? Furniture purchases typically come with the expectation that they are made to last, explains the CEO and chief ombudsman at the Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman, Kevin Grix – so what do retailers need to understand when managing complaints?

The introduction of the Right to Repair Law in the UK last year, designed to combat ‘premature obsolescence’ of electrical goods by placing a duty on manufacturers to make spare parts available to consumers, marks an important step in the move towards a more sustainable approach to everyday products. Technically speaking, higher-quality furniture should outlive that which is of a lower quality. However, wear and tear is unavoidable, regardless of the original quality. The Code of Practice to which all our members adhere contains specific references both to the provision of “clear and accurate product information” along with information regarding the likely performance of a product. Furniture purchases are typically big-ticket items, and a consumer will want to know that their furniture is made to last – we encourage retailers to supply accurate and comprehensive care guides. Likewise, consumers should be educated to ask the right questions to ensure their purchase is suitable for them. This results in consumers receiving the right information to enable them to receive the best service possible from their furniture, for the longest possible time. The rule of six The six years within which consumers can potentially enforce their consumer rights can be a useful benchmark, but

it’s not an indication as to maximum durability, since the law applies to a myriad of consumer products – from Biros to Bentleys. So, what’s the position when a lower-value item is sold which may not reasonably last for six years with normal use, or when a big-ticket item should last considerably longer? It’s important to look at the information available to enable customers to make a purchasing decision, and to consider what’s fair within specific circumstances. This is also subject to any guarantees offered by retailers or manufacturers. If a mattress is sold with a 10-year guarantee, it’s surely reasonable to expect that, with the appropriate care, it will last for at least a decade. What does the law say? The implied terms state that furniture should be of satisfactory quality, which does include an element of durability. Therefore, furniture should be sufficiently heavy-duty enough for it to be fit for its intended purpose. The law also includes a reference to the price paid, which can also be taken into account. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 places an even greater emphasis on the information which is available, and so care instructions and product specifications will be important evidence in assessing the potential lifespan of a product and how it should be maintained to ensure its expected longevity.

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OPINION Retailers and their customers can benefit from having an intermediary such as the Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman manage complaints on their behalf (image credit: 123RF/ilixe48)

What happens if a known fault occurs within six years of purchase? The consumer remedies are tiered such that, in the event of a fault, once the time for a short-term right to reject has passed (30 days after delivery), they’d be entitled to a repair or replacement in the first instance. The second tier of remedies, a refund or price reduction, are then available if the repair is impossible or can’t be carried out in a timely manner or without significant inconvenience to the customer. Of course, a price reduction would only be appropriate if the goods still function, but could be used to recognise an aesthetic issue, for example. This is important, as in the first instance, at least a consumers’ entitlement is for the issue with the furniture itself to be remedied,and a physical repair may be considered as the most sustainable option. If a fault is found later down the line, the law allows the retailer to account for the number of years’ usage the consumer has enjoyed prior to this fault – this is known as a partial refund. This means that if a fault occurs and a repair or replacement has either already been attempted or cannot be undertaken, a partial refund may be the most appropriate remedy. It is worth noting that the refund cannot be apportioned within the first six months, but if an issue arises after that, usage can be recognised by the retailer making a financial deduction.

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A CONSUMER WILL WANT TO KNOW THAT THEIR FURNITURE IS MADE TO LAST For example, a sofa costing £600 which develops a fault when it’s three years old, and which can’t be repaired or replaced, could see a partial refund of £300. How are partial refunds calculated? Some furniture can reasonably be expected to last more than six years during normal usage (for example by virtue of its price, quality or guarantee period), whereas some items can’t be expected to last even half this timeframe. For example, if it’s stated that an occasional-use mattress should only last three years, then a partial refund would be calculated on this basis. On the other hand, retailers need to be aware of setting unrealistic expectations when specifying a guarantee period which could also be used to calculate a partial refund. Ultimately, a practical view should be taken on these questions, because there’s no set number of years each item should last, and each case is judged on its own merit. However, the product, information relating to it and any guarantees will play a role when calculating the lifetime of a product. Whilst it is important that consumers

and retailers alike understand the remedies that are applicable to faulty products, choosing the right remedy to fit the circumstances is equally important. A retailer may feel it’s disproportionate to replace a faulty item after it has received four years’ usage, whereas a price reduction is of limited value if the damage is such that the goods cannot be used for their intended purpose. Equally, consumers may be happy to receive more than one attempt at repair if it means a more sustainable approach to the application of their rights. When making purchases, customers who buy from businesses that are registered to a voluntary, Governmentapproved, not-for-profit ombudsman scheme are offered an additional layer of protection. In turn, our members reinforce a commitment to manage complaints formally and at a level that is higher than what the law prescribes. We support businesses and their customers in finding solutions when disputes occur without having to use the courts, which can be costly and time-consuming, which consequently promotes fair trade and inspires consumer confidence

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NO KIDDING? Don’t write off children’s beds – with the right presentation and messaging, they’ll become high-value products once parents understand the benefits, writes US bed industry consultant Gordon Hecht …



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During my two-decade career of pounding a retail floor, few things brought me more excitement than the opportunity of greeting new walk-in guests. Each one provided the chance to improve their lifestyle – and my income. However, two kinds of shoppers could quickly suck the joy away – recliner shoppers, and those looking for kids’ mattresses. Both instances meant a race to zero on price, and little chance to add on needed accessories. Even back then, it amazed me how little money parents were willing to invest in a restorative night’s sleep for their urchins. Not a lot has changed since then – reflecting on a holiday season where the hottest gifts were iFruit phones, Beats earbuds (so named because they beat up your Visa card to get them) and smart watches (so you don’t have to be smart enough to know where Mickey Mouse’s hands are). With price tags of $300-$1000 or more and planned obsolescence at 12-18 months, you would think that parents would expand their mattress budget to at least three figures. Unfortunately, when it comes to picking the right sleep set for their offspring, parents’ thought patterns lean towards “he’s just a kid”, or “we don’t want to spend a lot because she’ll probably ruin it in a couple of years.” You can help them understand that children’s beds are a worthwhile investment. From the time they leave the crib until the time they leave for college, children require more restorative sleep than their parents do. Where we hope for 6-8 hours, our youth need about 10. It is also a critical time for posture and spinal development. Selecting a bed with proper support will have a great impact in years to come. And proper support does not mean as hard as wood – we all enjoy a comfortable bed, no matter our age! Many families are discovering that specialty foam or hybrid technology are great options for kids’ beds. Often purchased in twin or full size rather than a queen, the price becomes affordable.

The mattresses give great support and comfort, and also offer healthy aspects like being resistant to mould, mildew and dust mites. And, since a kid’s world revolves around their bedroom, it’s easy to show how the flexibility of an adjustable base is perfect for laptop work, reading, gaming and TV viewing. But – you have to show it to sell it. Why not consider devoting 250-300ft2 to a kids’ corral of mattresses? Start with a basic model (perhaps on a lowprofile foundation) add in three more on adjustable bases and one deluxe model. Tie in some free Wi-Fi and chargers in the area, and you’ve got a kid magnet – somewhere they can even hang out while you shop. For the real junior juniors that are moving from crib to mattress, it can be a challenge to move off basic models (and rightfully so – many parents are concerned about overnight accidents that can soil a mattress). The new technology used in today’s mattress protection products allow a freeflow of air but prevent liquids from soiling the mattress. They are removable and washable, often come with warranties, and are an investment that protects the bed and the health of the child. Showing and selling children’s beds is nothing to be quiet about. Review your competitors’ ads and websites, and you’ll see that this is a category that’s been hushed. Shout out online, social and traditional media that you are the place that cares about the health, comfort, and development of the children of your community! Devote part of your advertising budget to this category. An easy way to start is make it equal to the results you want to achieve – if you want kids’ beds to be 20% of your sales, you need to invest 20% of your ad budget to that cause. This year will test our ability to innovate and expand our market. Promoting existing products in a new manner is an easy way to maximise resources with little extra cost. Protecting and investing in kids – our nation’s future – may just protect your business’ future

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MENOPAUSE IN THE WORKPLACE UK employment law protects those suffering the effects of chronic illness or disability – but, writes Tina Chander, head of employment law at Midlands law firm Wright Hassall LLP, for those women who experience the potentially debilitating and severe symptoms of the menopause, it is often not that straightforward …



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Employment tribunals citing the menopause as the primary grievance have more than doubled since 2019, leaving many employers questioning just what their legal obligations are to these women. Of course, each woman’s experience of the menopause will be different, so there is no sure-fire solution for managing the effects it has in the workplace. But that is little excuse for business owners, who really need to put some plans in place if they want to minimise any potential legal threat in the future. So, how can businesses enhance their professional environments to avoid facing claims of discrimination? And what can women do if they feel they have been a victim of discrimination? Here are the facts: How can the menopause affect the workplace? With 75-80% of them still at work, women of a menopausal age form the fastest-growing demographic across the UK workforce. Between 30-60% of these women will experience serious conditions as part of the menopause, with an estimated 14 million workdays lost per year due to the far-reaching physical or mental complaints they suffer. A quarter (25%) of those most badly affected will have contemplated resigning from their job at some point, with nervousness about revealing menopause-related health challenges to male or younger managers being mentioned as a major factor in this. What does the law say? Though there isn’t any legislation dedicated exclusively to protecting menopausal women, they are covered under the Equality Act 2010 which comprises of three principal characteristics – age, sex, and disability discrimination – and the Health

and Safety at Work Act 1974, which incorporates working conditions. Rulings in the majority of menopauserelated tribunals can be erratic at best, with comparable cases often accomplishing very different outcomes, especially when the case cites disability discrimination. Although the most severe and long-term symptoms of the menopause can hypothetically be covered under section 6 of the Equality Act (disability), medically, the menopause in itself is considered to be a phase of life, much like pregnancy or teething. So, despite the fact that there have been some successful disability claims, most will be that of sex discrimination. What can employers do? There is no protection from the effect that an employee’s symptoms or repeated absence might have on a business’ performance. There is also no legal obligation to have a dedicated policy to support employees through the menopause. To maintain wellbeing in the workplace, and so that everyone knows what is expected of them, however, ACAS recommends that a policy or framework be devised, that will stipulate just how the business plans to tackle any issues which might be brought about by the menopause. The policy should look to cover topics such as how the business will educate and raise awareness of the menopause amongst staff, the provision of a confidential support network for those that need it, and advice on how not to exacerbate a woman’s symptoms by creating a challenging working environment. Incorporating risk assessments is beneficial for protecting the interests of all those impacted, and these should clearly address themes such as flexible working, drinking water, ventilation and restrooms.

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(photo credit:

What should you do if you feel you are being discriminated against? Employees who feel that they are being victimised because of their menopausal status should be careful to keep thorough, diarised records of any correspondence, conversation, or action they have taken to try to resolve the issues at hand. If needed, this documentation will help to build a picture of any workplace neglect within a legal claim. Claimants will need to make it clear to the court that every other possible solution has been attempted before a case is pursued, so it is vital to try and obtain support or assistance internally in the first instance, whether that be from an HR partner, a manager, colleague, or a trade union representative – basically, anyone who may be able to help you achieve the changes you require.

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It is also reasonable to include any possible self-help measures that may benefit sufferers or help to relieve their symptoms. For example: taking additional breaks; frequent exercise; healthy eating; improving access to natural light; reducing intake of caffeine; wearing clothing made of natural fibres; and reducing or stopping smoking and/ or drinking alcohol. It is wise to create any new policy with the assistance of an occupational health professional, to ensure that it cannot be left open to misinterpretation – which is a common starting point for many discrimination claims.

If this fails, the next step would be to make a formal complaint or launch a grievance procedure, as this will ensure that the matter has to be formally acknowledged. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide support for this if needed If positive results still cannot be achieved, relationships deteriorate, discrimination worsens, or an employee chooses or feels forced to resign over the ongoing situation, then there may be grounds for an employment tribunal. Those who find themselves in this position should seek expert legal advice immediately. An employment tribunal will help to determine if a claim falls under unfair or constructive dismissal – ‘unfair’ being when an employer has

ended a contract of employment on unreasonable grounds, and ‘constructive’ being when an employee feels that they been mistreated to the point where they had no other option but to leave. Both require the employee to have had at least two years of service at the business in question. Employment tribunals can be stressful, deeply personal, and costly to the claimant. Given the inconsistent nature of historical rulings in menopause cases, claimants should be absolutely positive that they have exhausted all other avenues first. However, no-one should be suffering in silence, and legal advice should most definitely be sought if an employer is failing in their duty to protect the wellbeing of their staff



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COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENT AWS has been ordered, to publish on its website homepage and in Furniture News, a fair summary of the Judgment handed down by Recorder Douglas Campbell Q.C in the case of ASR Interiors Limited (“ASR”) -v- AWS Trading Limited (“AWS”). In the above case the court found that AWS have infringed three registered designs owned by ASR Interiors Limited. ASR’s registered design numbers 6050903 has been infringed by AWS’ Rose Chair, ASR’s registered design number 6050906 by AWS’ Roma Wings and ASR’s registered design number 605128 by AWS’ Two door three drawer Roma Sideboard. AWS has been ordered to withdraw from sale its infringing products and pay ASR damages to be assessed. AWS has been restrained by an injunction from making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using products which produces the same overall impression as ASR’s registered designs without ASR’s consent. AWS was further found to have fabricated two documents it had put forward to defend the claims and its key witness was disbelieved. The court held that the fabrication of the documents to support a false defence was an abuse of the courts process. As a consequence of the manner in which AWS has behaved the IPEC costs-capping regime was disapplied and AWS has been ordered to pay indemnity costs to be summarily assessed. AWS has also been ordered to make a payment on account of costs in the sum of £25,000 by 4:00pm on 17 March 2022 and prior to the summary assessment. A full copy of the Judgment is available at:

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SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS We all appreciate the importance of sustainability in business, but the sheer scale and complexity of the issue can be overwhelming. Here, Susan Inglis, resident expert and educator-in-chief at the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) in the US, explains how breaking the challenge down into managable priorities could better position businesses to make a difference …

• Reducing CO2 emissions by sourcing materials and production nearby need not cost much more that importing from

the other side of the world – especially in this era of constrained supply chains • We are all adversely impacted by pollutants in our environment. Making a concerted effort to ask what something is made of, with an eye to avoiding harmful chemicals that occur commonly in our industry (such as VOCs, flame retardants, PFAS, antimicrobials and PVC), will make a difference to your employees’ as well as your customers’ health • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training is enlightening. Plan to offer it as a team development experience for your own staff – your experience will help you talk to your vendors about the policy /social equity code of conduct that you request they adhere to • You can save water and honour your employees by giving them an inexpensive home water-saving kit • Reducing waste saves money. Becoming zero waste to landfill involves learning all about your waste streams. Every company that goes through the process discovers that they throw away less money when they throw away less material • The furniture resale market is expected to reach $16.6b by 2025, a +70% increase from where it stood in 2017. If you are not already selling secondhand furniture, now is the time to start! There are many issues to address! Whatever is top of mind for you is a good place to start. The important thing is that we all begin – and if we have begun, accelerate. We need each other, and the future needs all of us pulling together



Sustainability is complex, with many inter-related aspects. For 15 years I have been watching eyes glaze over and minds wander as the issues are presented. I have often been asked what matters most in developing a plan for reducing corporate environmental footprint – I have tried answering in various ways, and today I will try again! The fact is that what matters most is that we understand there is a problem in our over-consuming world, and that we must all take some real responsibility. Fortunately, we can also profit from doing so. We just need to look through a different lens and we will succeed in sustaining a healthy future for our businesses as well as for our communities. In recent years, we at SFC have tried various ways to illustrate and demystify the complexities of interrelated issues that impact sustainability, breaking the topic down into the following areas: reducing greenhouse gas emissions (especially CO2); maintaining health and wellness; ensuring social equity; managing water; reducing waste; and incorporating circularity. We at SFC have working groups on each of these topics, so our members can learn from each other. It is heartening to see the impact of the exchange of ideas and the sharing of experiences between companies involved in our industry in various ways – suppliers of materials, manufacturers of all kinds of furnishings products, retailers large and small, and interior design firms. Here is some of what we have learned from each other in the last 15 months or so:

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THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds) My favourite place to shop is Designer Outlet Ashford in Kent. This is due the simplicity of the experience. You park centrally, it is a circuit of shops visible from all sides, you walk around, complete the purchase, maybe eat from the good selection of hospitality food outlets and then travel home. As you might well gather, I am not a browser, but more of a purpose-shopper Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture) I’m not a great shopper, but I tend to enjoy those places that introduce retail theatre and allow you, as the customer, to get involved and try the products. Tech, cookshop and niche food stores are probably my favourites – places like Apple stores, Lakeland, and local farm shops Rob Walker (Orbital Vision) Amazon – it has everything you could ever need John Conroy (Morrisofa Europe) Apple stores – the people are passionate about the product and the consumer, and the offering is so well integrated that it’s an all-round experience Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers) It’s a terrible admission, but after 45 years of working in shops, I hate shopping and try to avoid it. I do however like to visit other retailers in the same market as us, looking for ideas. My favourite is Housing Units in Manchester, which I think is a great business


Paul Wray (Modern Outlook Furniture) Living in China, Taobao is probably my most favourite place to online shop. It’s very convenient, as I have a busy work life Mike Murray (Land of Beds) I’d have to choose, as the choice of product, delivery options and exchange process are excellent Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins) Physical, independent stores, definitely. I like to see what I’m buying, touch them, see and feel the value in the product. Independent stores are always more interesting than the national chains – not necessarily better, but always more interesting. No two are the same, and they have more personality. The owners and staff are always more invested in the business

Mike Whitman (Iconography) I recently moved house so find myself doing a lot of DIY, and I’ve found that Screwfix have extremely good stock visibility online, along with an excellent click-and-collect experience and a simple omnichannel returns process, so they’re very easy to buy from Steve Adams (Mattress Online) Online, of course – anywhere that means I don’t need to go to a shopping centre! If I had to pick one it would be Spoke London – their chinos fit perfectly

Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers) I’ve lived in the US for almost 40 years. I recently moved house and was in the market for new furniture, and found a local Long Island store that funnily enough was just like my own – independent, family-run, with 60+ years of trading under their belt. Their massive range of inventory – some homegrown and some imported – appealed to my eclectic taste, and it was greatly educational for me to be on the other side of the fence and be the customer Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID) Fortnum & Mason – I love the packaging! Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers) I’m not a big fan of shopping overall, but I do enjoy visiting furnishing stores when I’m travelling around the world. I was in Southampton on the day of the Royal Wedding and chose to go to the new IKEA rather than watching it on TV. I ended up buying a frying pan!

#391 April 2022



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