#385 October 2021 www.furniturenews.net
HOT PROPERTY Sizzling CGI from Chilli Pepper Designs
The D2C dilemma The pros and cons of going hybrid D2C DIRECTIONS HOME OFFICE | BEDROOM LIVING | TRADE SERVICES
Simba’s CEO boxes clever Why salespeople need a holiday
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HYBRID BUSINESS MAY BE ALL THE RAGE, BUT SOME MULES ARE HARD TO LOVE Margins are squeezed, supplies are short, and the consumer wants more bang for their buck. Given today’s unpredictable post/ mid-Covid economy, it’s little wonder businesses are exploring every potential source of revenue – and that so many opt to sell direct to the consumer (D2C). Riding the ecommerce wave, the past decade has seen the rise and rise of D2C, with some of our sector’s biggest players once disruptive start-ups that made their name by cutting out the middleman. The benefits include reduced costs, greater control and insight, and arguably more convenience and affordability for the consumer. Which is all well and good for start-ups – but what about businesses that already work within a B2B framework, selling to distributors and retailers? Hybrid business may be all the rage, but some mules are hard to love. While going D2C might initially appear attractive to traditional operators, it’s risky business. This month, Furniture News takes a deep dive into the blurred lines between D2C and B2B trading. On p16 we look at why and how manufacturers incorporate new D2C sales channels, and discover what retailers and
suppliers have to say about this controversial approach. Then, from p20, we look at the inverse path, and meet some of the established D2C brands (Swyft, Emma, eve sleep and Luxdeco) which have embraced trade sales on the side. We also speak to Steve Reid (p10), the co-founder and CEO of British bed-in-a-box sensation, Simba, which is currently doing roaring trade, while upping the ante at the premium end (anecdotally, marketing efforts from the likes of Simba seem to have helped realign consumers’ perceptions of how much they should be paying for a mattress, and for the better). Ostensibly a D2C outfit, Simba has also traded through retail partners from the outset, and is now pushing hard down international avenues. B2B, D2C or B2C, the rules are being rewritten as we speak – but any business looking to reinvent itself should tread very carefully … Also this month, we meet La-Z-Boy’s new design guru Trev Hailes (p14), Gordon Hecht looks at the extensive and exhausting responsibilities of retail sales staff (p46), and the Autumn Furniture Show makes a welcome return (p26). Enjoy!
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#385 October 2021 www.furniturenews.net
CONTENTS 06 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Simba / 14 La-Z-Boy UK
HOT PROPERTY Sizzling CGI from Chilli Pepper Designs
The D2C dilemma The pros and cons of going hybrid D2C DIRECTIONS HOME OFFICE | BEDROOM LIVING | TRADE SERVICES
Simba’s CEO boxes clever Why salespeople need a holiday
CHILLI PEPPER DESIGNS www.chillipepperdesigns.co.uk
16 Risky business? / 20 Swyft / 21 Emma 22 eve sleep / 24 Luxdeco
26 Autumn Furniture Show
Gordon Hecht, business growth and development consultant
Stephen Sidkin, partner, Fox Williams LLP
Nick Garratt, MD, BFM
30 Bedroom / 34 Living / 36 Home office / 38 Trade services
44 OPINION 44 Taxing questions / 46 Above and beyond 49 Partner comment / 50 Feedback
10 COVID HASN’T CAUSED ANY DEVIATION FROM OUR INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION PLAN
JOHN LEWIS H1 SHAPED BY CUTS In its unaudited results for H1 (ended 31st July 2021), John Lewis Partnership said it had been forced to take “difficult but necessary decisions to reduce costs and improve competitiveness” at the start of its five-year plan to return the business to a sustainable profit of £400m a year. During the period, eight John Lewis stores were closed, and the consultation on the closure of an associated delivery hub is ongoing. The number of head office roles were reduced, and there are plans to have fewer managers in John Lewis, says partner and chairman, Sharon White: “This has been painful for the partnership. 80% of affected partners have found new roles in the partnership in the half, while retraining support has been available to partners to secure work outside. We are also creating new jobs – a total of 500 next year to operate our new warehouse at Fenny Lock.” H1 profit before exceptional items was £69m – up £124m on 2020/21, when the partnership made a loss of £55m. Compared to the first half of 2019/20 when the business made a loss of £52m, profit is up £121m. The business made savings of £66m, and received business rates relief of £58m. The partnership had exceptional costs of £98m in the half, due to property costs totaling £24m – principally to settle lease obligations arising from store closures – and redundancy costs of £54m. Including these exceptional items, the partnership
made a loss before tax of £29m – a significant improvement on last year’s loss before tax of £635m. Underpinning the growth in profit was a +6% increase in sales across the partnership. John Lewis saw strong sales growth in the first half, up +12% on last year (+13% LFL). Almost 75% of sales were made online in H1, broadly the same as last year. Growth was strong in Home (up +23%), yet margins remained subdued as sales in lowermargin categories remained higher than before the pandemic, and inflationary pressures in global freight pushed up costs. The retailer launched ANYDAY, a new own-brand which offers “style and value for money”, and has been its most successful own-brand launch ever for a spring season, delivering £56m of sales in the half. Sharon says that the retailer’s focus for H2 will be execution of the partnership plan, including expanding areas dedicated to John Lewis within Waitrose to approximately 40 shops by early 2022.
FURNITURE VILLAGE LAUNCHES HELPLINE TO TACKLE SLEEP PROBLEMS Furniture Village has partnered with The Sleep Charity to launch the UK’s first dedicated helpline for people who struggle to sleep. The National Sleep Helpline will be operated by specialist, trained advisors between 7pm-9pm five days a week, Sunday to Thursday. The team will provide callers with tips and advice so they can identify appropriate strategies, directing them to other organisations and services for specialist or long-term support. The launch follows a survey of 2000 UK adults conducted by OnePoll, which looked at the consequences of a bad night’s sleep. Results showed that more than a quarter (28%) said it had affected their mental health. This figure rose to 50%
for those aged 18-24. Lisa Artis, deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, says: “It’s clear that the great British public is in the midst of a sleep crisis which is affecting national mental health, work performance and even leading to alcohol misuse. Almost 60% of those surveyed felt that there was a lack of support for their sleep issues, which is why we have partnered with Furniture Village to set up the UK’s first National Sleep Helpline. Together we want to ensure that everyone has access to high-quality, evidence-based advice, regardless of age, ethnicity, background or income.” The helpline can be reached on 03303 530541.
RECORD RESULTS AND SUCCESSION PLANNING AT JYSK Worldwide, JYSK achieved a record-breaking €4.386b in turnover in its 2020/21 financial year (ended 31st August 2021). It achieved a turnover of €69.2m in the UK and Ireland, demonstrating +67% sales growth YoY. “I am very pleased that we have been able to increase turnover by +7% despite the fact that our stores have been temporarily closed in almost all markets,” says president and CEO, Jan Bøgh. Online sales increased by +43% (accounting for
28.6% of the UK’s total sales), in addition to JYSK’s Click & Collect results, and the retailer’s customer base grew by 230,000 YoY, with significant growth in new territories such as Ireland and Belgium. JYSK ended the period with 3085 stores – up 136 YoY. Jan has taken up the new position of president and CEO of Lars Larsen Group Retail, to focus on retail companies across the group and opportunities for acquisitions. Rami Jensen will take over as group president and CEO on 1st September 2023.
Heal’s has opened a new 7500ft2 outlet store in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, offering returned and overstocked pieces at significantly reduced prices, as well as establishing a presence in Fenwick (Newcastle)
The BFM will present three webinars in the coming months, on the following topics: doing business with the EU and NI post-Brexit (6th October); business’ insurance needs (19th October); and social media channels, strategy and content (11th November)
Geko Products, based in Nottinghamshire, has acquired home and giftware supplier Scarthingwell Replicas. Geko has launched a new Scarthingwell website to run alongside its existing offer, and Scarthingwell’s trade showroom has now moved to Geko’s head office
CIFF Shanghai, which was scheduled to run in September, has been postponed until 11-14th December, 2021
The Cotswold Company has appointed Lynsey Dorman as art director, to ensure brand positioning and purpose are present across all visual assets and content
SATRA’s Phil Reynolds has been appointed chair of the British Standards Institute (BSI) technical committee FW/6 ‘Flammability performance and fire tests for furniture’
Handy has reached an agreement to acquire the non-zip related assets and sales from Aero Zip, as that company’s founder, Will Evans, plans to retire READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET
READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET 7
The BFM Fabric Show London will return in 2022. The two-day event will take place in the week commencing 7th March 2022, back in the West Stand of Chelsea FC The Furniture Makers’ Company’s free-toattend webinar series returns this autumn, starting with ‘Targeting carbon reduction – expectations for the furnishing industry’ on 14th October at 11am, covering carbon reduction initiatives, the value of eco-design and commercial viability of circularity Wayfair has appointed Dr Jens Uwe Intat as its head of Europe, replacing Martin Reiter. Jens Uwe joins with a 30-year track record of scaling leading ecommerce businesses, including Amazon Germany and Electronic Arts Harrison Spinks’ commercial director Ruairi Giles is taking part in the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon this month, and hopes to raise £5000 for industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company as part of its Step 2 It campaign Shabby Store, a West Yorkshire-based etailer, has rebranded itself Shabby, launching a new website and branding, and unveiling greater online functionality Silentnight Beds has been awarded the Manufacturing Guild Mark by The Furniture Makers’ Company, in recognition of its role as “an exemplar of the UK furnishing industry”, highlighting its laudable sustainable journey in particular
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PROFITS UP AS DFS ADAPTS TO NEW NORMAL In its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 27th June 2021, DFS states that it saw revenue from continuing operations grow by £94.1m (or +9.7% compared to the non-Covid disrupted pro-forma FY19 period) as it leveraged its scale, operating experience and longstanding relationships to accelerate its make-to-order deliveries rate. Growth in new orders was significantly stronger than revenue growth, and was driven by market share gains, pent-up demand and a shift in consumer spending, leading to a high closing order bank that will be recognised through H1 FY22. Online revenues were up +184.3% YoY, with record underlying profit (before tax, excluding brand amortisation) achieved of £105.8m (£99.2m on a reported basis). DFS also realised a significant reduction in net bank debt, and established a new three-year agreement for a £225m ESG-linked senior revolving credit facility. Strong consumer demand continued over the first 12 weeks of FY22, with the current order bank at a record high, states DFS. Group CEO Tim Stacey says: “Despite numerous operational challenges during the pandemic, I’m proud that we have remained focused on our strategic agenda to lead sofa retailing in the digital age, and are on track to achieve the incremental
£40m of profit benefits set out in 2018. As we enter a new financial year, the group is very well positioned to build on its market leadership position in sofa retailing and to target further growth as we invest to strengthen our business platforms and extend our retail proposition into adjacent product categories.” During the period, the retailer made £9m of incremental efficiency savings across its property and marketing platforms. It opened five new Sofology showrooms, with eight openings planned in FY22, and integrated Dwell into the brand operating structure, creating a competitive fulfilment solution for DFS’ extended homewares offer. It also launched 15 upholstered bed ranges through the DFS brand, with “positive” early results, and strengthened its commercial beds partnerships, “driving the opportunity to gain share in the £5b+ bed and non-upholstery living room market”.
NBF ANNOUNCES 2021 BED INDUSTRY AWARD WINNERS Six bed businesses, from a shortlist of finalists chosen by an independent panel of judges, celebrated as they scooped the top accolades at the NBF’s Bed Show Gala Dinner in Telford ast month. This year’s winners were: Shire Beds for Bed Product of the Year; John Cotton Non-Wovens for Component Product of the Year; Hypnos for the Sustainability Award; Dreams for National Bed Retailer of the Year; Mattress Online for Online Bed Retailer of the Year; and Sussex Beds for NBF Retail Champion of the Year. After a year’s break, the Bed Industry Awards returned to Telford International Centre, hosted by
comic and writer, Jo Caulfield, and was attended by more than 350 industry guests. The awards, now in their 11th year, recognise bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers representing the best in inspiration, design, growth and innovation. “The annual awards are industry-renowned for recognising the standout companies in the bed sector,” says NBF president David Moffitt. “In a year of change, we congratulate all those who put themselves forward to be judged, and celebrate all the brilliant finalists and award winners.” See next month’s issue for more on the show, plus a celebration of the award winners.
FOAM PRODUCER ACQUIRES UK MATTRESS MANUFACTURER The Vita Group, one of Europe’s leading providers of flexible polyurethane foam, has acquired mattress manufacturer Usleep from Northedge Capital LLP. Usleep produces a portfolio of foam, spring and hybrid mattresses for some of the UK’s leading mattress retailers and bed-in-a-box brands. Usleep’s two sites in Ashton under Lyne and Castle Donington utilise state-of-the-art machinery to create one of the UK’s most efficient automated mattress production processes. This is the third acquisition completed by Vita in 2021, following the acquisitions of IMPE, located in Naples, Italy, in Q1, and the UK-based Technical
Foam Services (TFS) in Q2. Vita says the Usleep acquisition significantly enhances and accelerates its strategy to grow its bedding business across Europe. Vita has existing mattress production facilities in France, Germany, Romania, The Netherlands, the UK and Hungary, plus a range of global partners in the bedding sector, building on R&D capabilities via its innovation centres in the UK (bedding) and Lithuania (chemistry/formulation). Ian Robb, CEO of The Vita Group, says: “This acquisition will enable collaboration on innovation across the end-to-end service, from unique foam technologies through to innovative mattress design.”
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BRINGING FABRIC TO LIFE Photograph by Donatella Simonetti
The 28th edition of Proposte, which took place from 7-9th September, attracted over 2700 visitors, of which more than 60% came from outside Italy. Belgium, France, Germany and Spain were the countries best represented, with a consistent number of British and US visitors, too. “We are highly satisfied with the results obtained,” says Piercarlo Viganò, Proposte’s president. “At the stands you could tangibly feel the enthusiasm and the desire to do business in person. Everyone was doing what had been most missed these last months – touching fabrics and looking into each other’s eyes.” Proposte has now moved online as
Fiera Smart 365, which aims to offer all Proposte exhibitors a virtual window until next year’s fair – taking place from 5-7th April.
DEMAND DRIVES PROFIT GROWTH AT DUNELM In its preliminary results for the financial year ended 26th June 2021, Dunelm cites “very strong sales growth” of +26% (against 21% in 2019), despite its stores being closed to customers for more than a third of the year. Dunelm says it made significant market share gains (up +1.6% pts to 9.1%), and achieved active customer growth of +8.5%, driven by strong growth across its digital channels. Digital sales grew by +115%. Profit before tax stood at £157.8m, (+45%). CEO Nick Wilkinson comments: “We are emerging from the pandemic as a stronger and better business, having transitioned from being a physical retailer with digital aspirations to being a proven, digital-first, multichannel retailer.” Dunelm also plans to develop its homewares and furniture proposition by “raising the bar on range development”, stating: “We are adapting our mix of good/better/best price points and the size of our promotional buys. We are now using online customer insight to increase choice and fill in gaps in those categories that we know are more frequently shopped. We will continue to extend our
range in new and developing categories, such as Decorate, Outdoor Lighting and Sofas & Chairs. Additionally, we will introduce new collections and sub-brands created by our in-house designers. “We are committed to introducing more sustainable products and are building capability to accelerate the introduction of new materials and circular sourcing into the design and manufacturing process. We will also be broadening our sustainable The Edited Life range to more categories, following the launch of our made-to-order sofa range (made from recycled materials, and designed for longevity with a 25-year guarantee). “We will also improve the range of furniture available for quick delivery and grow the geographic coverage of our own home delivery network. This will be enabled by our new furniture warehouse (in Northamptonshire) as well as investments into supporting supply chain and transport systems. We will also be extending customer support hours and offering shorter response times.” Dunelm expects this year’s profit before tax to be modestly ahead of the top analyst expectations.
MADE SEES MARGINS ERODED DESPITE REVENUE GROWTH IN H1 Made has reported record results for the six months to 30th June 2021, achieving +61% revenue growth (£171m). A strong trading performance delivered £214m in gross sales for H1 2021 (+54% growth YoY). Adjusted EBITDA was £1.1m (+£12.2m YoY). However, gross margin was down to 48.7%, due to global freight inflationary pressures and foreign exchange headwinds. Reported losses before tax were -£10.1m, including one-off IPO-related P&L charges of £5.4m – compared to a loss of £15.2m for the same period in 2020. Made’s active customer base grew by +34% over the six-month period, with an AOV at £244 (+12% YoY). The UK delivered gross sales growth of +55% YoY, while Made’s continental European markets grew gross sales by +53%. CEO Philippe Chainieux says: “Following on from
our successful IPO in June, I am pleased to report a record first half performance. We have continued to see strong and sustained consumer demand for our exclusive, design-led products, and have gained significant market share with growth in all eight of our markets. Thanks to our agile business model and supplier relationships, we are well positioned to navigate the industry-wide global supply chain disruption, which is expected to continue into the first half of next year.” Made’s product range grew to more than 8000 SKUs, and is set to expand with the addition of a “curated marketplace”, offering “third-party artisan brands”. The group nearly doubled the size of its UK large goods warehouse, and signed a letter of intent to extend its existing warehousing space in Antwerp.
TCM Living’s (Alstons, Ashley Manor, AMX Design and Alexander & James) CEO Mark Smith is to step down on 31st December 2021, following over 20 years with the group.He will be succeeded by current CFO, Jonathan Fearn
Harrison Spinks has appointed Scott Hollis as its first US-based sales manager, with the specific task of helping the business venture into North America
Dow Polyurethanes and Orrion Chemicals Orgaform, together with Eco-mobilier, H&S Anlagentechnik and The Vita Group, have inaugurated a pioneering mattress recycling plant in France as part of the RENUVA circular economy programme Silentnight has developed a new ad campaign, ‘Wake Up to a Silentnight’, which aims to communicate that seven out 10 people are “sleeping on the wrong mattress” Moda Furnishings reports that its garden furniture retail operation has doubled in size in the past year, and has seen furniture sales increase by over +60% YoY
JYSK has announced the rollout of six new stores in Ireland by the end of 2021 – in Ashbourne, Carlow, Tralee, Eastgate, Limerick and Dundalk
Julian Charles, bedding and linen retailer, has recovered to a breakeven position after experiencing a £2.1m EBITDA loss in the 18-month period to October 2020
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HELPING THE WORLD SLEEP BETTER IS A MISSION THAT SHOULD BE CHANNEL AGNOSTIC
TOMORROW THE WORLD With sales, profits and popularity at an all-time high, homegrown bed-in-abox brand Simba is enjoying a record year – and things can only get better, says co-founder and chief executive Steve Reid … www.simbasleep.com
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Following two quarters of record growth, how do you expect the rest of the year to pan out? Our investment into R&D, innovation and new premium product development are resonating with the consumer – and we do not envisage this changing. Our growth has springboarded from these pillars – something that we will continue to be tuned into. We expect the consumer movement of home and ecommerce to continue on a strong trajectory, but like everyone in our sector we anticipate and indeed hope that we can all continue to resume a more ‘normal’ life. And we understand that, with that, there are more demands on consumers’ disposable income. Could that impact sales numbers? Of course – but we are ready for it. Simba has a robust operating model, low overheads, efficient marketing spends and resonance with the consumer, so we don’t see anything seriously derailing what is now a solidly profitable and sales growth-led business.
Simba Hybrid Luxe
Co-founded by Steve, James Cox and the McClements family, Simba Sleep’s website went live in February 2016, and the brand has since sold over one million sleep products worldwide, generating over 150,000 five-star customer reviews. While many champion diversity in sleep surfaces, Simba’s flagship mattress has demonstrated nearuniversal appeal. The Hybrid, which employs springs and memory foam and was created in line with bodyprofiling data from over 10 million global consumers, has now been joined by the premium-end Hybrid Luxe, which has already outperformed expectations. This year has also seen Simba generate more sales in H1 (up +130% YoY) than across the entirety of 2019, making the half the brand’s most profitable to date, despite the reemergence of offline competition when lockdown measures were lifted in April. Simba also continues to attract extremely positive consumer sentiment, reaching over 150,000 five-star reviews, and achieving over 90% of both fourand five-star reviews on Trustpilot. Having outlasted many of its competitors, the London-based business is pushing ahead with international expansion, product innovation and partnerships, conscious that, despite making such impressive gains, its journey has only just begun …
COVID HASN’T CAUSED ANY DEVIATION FROM OUR INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION PLAN Just two years ago, Simba was discussing a potential merger with eve sleep. Was there a moment in which it felt like your fortunes turned? Our financial stability had very much begun to turn positive before the merger had been mooted in the press, so internally we took the reporting of it with a pinch of salt, as it wasn’t ever seriously considered. We could see that all of the work internally to reshape and refine the business to move to profitability were paying dividends, and that any merger with another brand wasn’t right strategically for Simba. We have remained wholly focused on our own sleep innovation and marketing budgets to communicate with and bring that to the consumer – both in the UK and as part of our considered international expansion plan. Are you keen to expand your bricksand-mortar retail partnerships? Our mission is to improve how the world sleeps, so if a customer can be found via a bricks-and-mortar or ecom-led partner, then we are keen to push that channel as much as our own website – because helping the world sleep better is a mission that should be channel agnostic! We just want as many people as possible to experience our technology. What supply chain issues have you encountered during the pandemic, and do you think you’ve fared better than the importers? Like everyone in the industry we have encountered challenges across the pandemic – across all parts of our manufacturing and distribution to
end consumers. But we are incredibly fortunate to work with exceptional partners who have been able to support the surge in growth that we have seen for our products. We owe them and all of their staff a debt of thanks for what they have done and continue to do for us. Have we fared better than importers? Yes, I believe so. But manufacturing locally has always been a key part of our strategy. We are intensely proud of making as much of our product as we can in the UK, for the UK market. We have such talent in the UK, so why wouldn’t we? How closely are you working with your manufacturing partner, U-Sleep? Our founding team had long held relationships with Belfield [see p7 for an ownership update] and we knew what a credible, reliable and talented team of people they have. As we continued to expand in the UK market, we needed a partner that could meet both the reliable output we needed, but also the demands on R&D and production line changes to keep pace with us, and U-Sleep fit the bill perfectly. We work incredibly closely with them, and are proud to be sole supply. The term ‘partnership’ gets bandied around freely in business, but with U-Sleep we both feel that we have a genuinely positive, harmonious, and continuously growing partnership – which benefits the consumer on every mattress we produce together. How advanced are your international expansion plans? Very. We took a capital injection from Cartesian Capital in late 2019 in order to expand Simba’s technology into
In terms of mattresses’, do you think hybrid is the future? Can you discuss any new product/material directions? We believe hybrid mattresses are the bedrock of a good night’s sleep, which is why we are so committed to them. But the fact we produce solely hybrids isn’t what makes a great mattress – it’s the technology within our hybrids that does. Our patented Aerocoil springs (cooling and supportive) and patented Simba-Pure foam are both unique in the market. We take the same hybrid (combined technology) ethos across our sleep system – the Simba Hybrid Pillow is a huge favourite amongst our customers, combining intricate tiers of Stratos technology (inspired by space suits worn by astronauts) for heat regulation with Nanocubes, for tailored firmness and support. The Simba Hybrid Duvet combines Stratos, too, with our new duvet fill called Simba-Renew, which gives the comfort and warmth of down, but is 100% made with fibres from recycled PET bottles. We are passionate about pushing the boundaries of sustainability in the sector. Simba mattresses are now 100% recyclable, we use eco factories with zero-waste policies and we are members of the BRC Climate Action Roadmap. More people appear to be buying your premium products. How long has it taken this mindset to come about? We have nurtured continuous innovation from day one, and consumers appreciate it. Within a week of launching the Simba Hybrid Pro Mattress in 2019, it had reached over 15% of the mix of our product – and then, when we launched the Simba Hybrid Luxe in April 2021,
The Simba Hybrid Bundle sleep system add-on aims to ease the purchasing path for customers
international markets in a diligent, disciplined yet fast-paced way, and not even Covid has resulted in any deviation from our plan. We continue our growth in France as a continental territory opportunity for further growth into Europe. The Canada market is beating weekly sales records every week, and remains a great opportunity in its own right – but also for the USA in due course. We also remain very focused on the China market, where we have also been recording record sales weeks – we strengthened our team in Shanghai significantly this year, as we push for high growth.
DIFFERENTIATED AND PATENTED PRODUCTS ARE THE HEART OF OUR BUSINESS within a week it was also 15%. Both premium mattresses now account for over 50% of sales, affirming where we believe we sit in the market, which is at the accessible luxury end of a mass market, with products engineered to bring innovation normally used at the high-price ends – at a price that much of the market can afford to invest in. What do good user reviews mean to your brand? It means everything. If we’re not getting great feedback, then how can we reliably believe that we are helping our customers, both in their purchase experience, but fundamentally to sleep better? Every bit of feedback is used in our business to help us improve – whether it’s on customer service, delivery, or the product itself. We remain with what we understand to be industryleading NPS, CSAT, TrustPilot and 5-star reviews, and the pursuit of this positive feedback and improving on it remains central to the DNA of everyone at Simba. We don’t work to maintain a high score, we work hard to satisfy and ensure all Simba customers are delighted with every interaction to do with our brand and product. Great feedback tends to then, naturally follow. You’ve said that Simba is “focused on disciplined growth” – how have you gone about things differently to your less-successful rivals? It doesn’t matter what industry or sector you are in, if a business continually makes a loss, something isn’t working. Our mantra from launch has been that
if we engineer truly brilliant, cuttingedge products, at a price point attractive to the consumer, then customers will understand why Simba is a great investment in their future sleep. Differentiated and patented products are the heart of our business. We have always been fascinated by unique raw materials that complement each other to enhance sleep performance. It’s that energy that carries us forward – especially when the feedback underpins that they are satisfying the sleep needs of our customers. But when we talk about progression and forward thinking at Simba, it runs far deeper than the product, too. You have to continuously work on improving, evolving and shaping healthier business practices, supplier relationships and sustainability responsibilities. We are profitable, and in no small way this is thanks to us amassing an organic following of consumer advocates, happy to recommend us to others. We are in a position where we don’t have to pay for a significant proportion of our customers, which is important. What’s your next step? Does Simba have any ambition to explore areas beyond sleep? We know sleep really, really well, and we are focused on engineering optimal sleep for as many people as we can, in as many countries as possible – as quickly as is sensible. Our mission is to help how the world sleeps, and we are only just getting started on that journey, with much more impact to come. So, the bedroom is very much our sole focus
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WONDER BOY This summer saw Trevor Hailes (ex-ScS) demonstrate his design chops, as the new La-Z-Boy international product merchandising director unveiled a raft of fresh designs at Manchester Furniture Show in Harrogate, supported by greater local manufacturing capacity. Furniture News caught up with him post-show to learn more about the business’ new directions … www.la-z-boy.co.uk
Given your existing brand knowledge, was the transition straightforward? La-Z-Boy was always a very important part of the ScS business, and provided me with extensive knowledge of the La-Z-Boy brand and products prior to joining. It also provided me with the opportunity to build great relationships with key stakeholders in the industry – such as Keith Wilson, president of La-Z-Boy International and Joybird, and UK MD Mark Draper. This made the transition a lot easier, as I was able to bring my wealth of industry experience and flair for design, alongside my passion for the products
and ambition to grow the brand internationally, to the role, at a time when La-Z-Boy was looking for a fresh perspective. This allowed me to fit in and make an impact from day one. What kept you busy in the weeks prior to Manchester Furniture Show? It was very hands-on in the product development process. We launched eight new ranges with our longstanding UK manufacturing partners for the show. Stuart Shackleton and the development team did an incredible job. As the new boy, wanting to make the best impression, I spent a lot of time working with key stakeholders within La-Z-Boy to ensure we delivered an amazing show stand that represented La-Z-Boy and our pillars – quality, innovation, and comfort, consistently. What gaps did you perceive in La-ZBoy’s UK offer? Because of the unprecedented issues with international freight, we wanted to broaden our offering on made-toorder furniture manufactured in the UK. We’ve also been challenging consumers’ perception of La-Z-Boy’s product range for a number of years, introducing new styles, shapes, fabrics and colourways, identifying what’s on-trend, and what our consumers like and dislike, and then designing and developing the next range around our findings.
Trevor engaged in rapid product development in the weeks leading up to the show, exploring new directions in form and material
WHEN WE’RE DESIGNING FURNITURE, THE LA-Z-BOY EXPERIENCE IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF OUR MINDS
What did you do before joining La-ZBoy UK? I’ve always been in the retail industry – but I joined the furniture industry in 2004, with ScS Upholstery. Prior to that, I’d spent four years with Blacks Retail and four years with The Officers Club. The highlights of my career include seeing ScS grow from 38 stores to 100, and being part of the inspirational team that brought the La-Z-Boy brand to ScS in 2009. During my time as head of merchandise at ScS, I was also lucky to be mentored for 17 years by leading industry buyer (and ScS’ buying director at the time), Simon Nicholson. I’ve been with La-Z-Boy UK for four months now, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.
How were you able to innovate while staying true to the La-Z-Boy brand? La-Z-Boy’s core principles have always been quality and comfort, and of course, we are known as the brand which invented the world’s first recliner more than 90 years ago. Whatever our design, we always come back to these points. As well as that, as a company, we feel a sofa or recliner should be a long-term investment, and that the buyer is not just investing in their home but in their comfort, in a place to relax at the end of a long day and a place to socialise with friends and family for years to come. When we’re designing furniture, this LaZ-Boy experience is at the forefront of our minds, and if we don’t feel it delivers all the above, we don’t pursue it. La-Z-Boy never stands still. We move, act and adapt as our consumers, stakeholders and the industry change, and we challenge ourselves every day to meet needs and trends whilst maintaining quality, comfort and innovation as we move toward our century in furniture design. Did visitor feedback reinforce your direction, or are changes needed? The show gave us the best platform to launch our eight new made-in-Britain ranges – a USP our customers were keen to talk about. One of those turned out to be our show bestseller, which shows we truly have our finger on the pulse. Our products did the speaking for us in terms of design, detail, quality and appeal, and communicated our direction and commitment to evolve as a company whilst staying loyal to our key customer base. We were also thrilled to win numerous new accounts. Supply is a priority for buyers right now – how have you shifted your manufacturing model to achieve it?
While the traditional La-Z-Boy style of supportive comfort, leather armchairs and our handle recline remains everpopular, I wanted to update our concept of comfort to broaden our market appeal, so this year I’ve branched out in terms of on-trend colour palettes and the development of new SKUs. For example, in Harrogate we introduced a curved sofa, scatterback option, new faux-leather fabrics, and our contrast button Bartelli, which was one of the most popular ranges on display. The feedback we had all round was fantastic.
Manufacturing more new ranges in the UK means we have better control over our lead times. Also, one of our most popular ranges, the Winchester in Mezzo Vintage Tan leather, is in a stock programme available on a two-week lead time, which has proved a huge success. Our riser-recliner chairs, which have been designed to offer additional aid to users, are also available on a short lead time, as we understand that this kind of purchase has a more rapid decisionmaking process, and when the user needs it, they need it now. Our new UK introductions enhance our range, which involves longstanding relationships with manufacturing partners around the world. We’re committed to supporting the suppliers of some of our most popular ranges during these challenging times. Are there any other benefits to buying British that you’ll be promoting? La-Z-Boy has distributed and manufactured products in Britain for almost 30 years. What we have come to recognise is consumers are becoming so much more conscientious as to where their purchases are coming from, and this, plus the current climate when it comes to overseas logistics, made LaZ-Boy act and adapt. Not only does an increased UK-made product collection give us more control over lead times, but for an end-user, the carbon footprint of their furniture is lowered. It’s also supporting the local job market and skillset. We are currently in the process of looking at joining an association to further support the buy British campaign.
How well is La-Z-Boy addressing the demands of today’s retailers? I think La-Z-Boy is listening to multiple market demands to ensure a wide brand appeal. Our brand strength in the worldwide furniture market is unsurpassed, and we are renowned as the go-to name in motion living room furniture. We are immensely proud of our heritage, and our teams adapt and develop to ensure our brand power is a key selling point for retailers to cut through the noise of the showroom floor, in terms of product and PoS. Our priority is to reinforce the La-ZBoy brand and our values internationally by ensuring brand consistency, supporting existing partners with their PoS and promotions, and entering new markets. Above all else, though, we want to be the sofa and armchair brand that everyone aspires and wants to have, wherever they are in the world. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career? Firstly, relationships with people are very important to how I do business. Having trust helps forge great relationships with teams internally and customers externally, being able to do business honestly and fairly. I have also learned to always have a plan, and to plan for obstacles, which enables you to deliver ahead of deadlines. In this industry, it is essential to embrace innovation. You need to know your business’ strengths and limitations and work with them – understand the processes and your numbers. And, in the current trading conditions, it’s also important to be agile
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RISKY BUSINESS Driven to diversify, more and more furniture manufacturers are choosing to supplement/augment their established sales channels by going direct to the consumer (D2C). But what might this mean for the traditional supplierretailer model?
ONE IMPORTANT FACTOR IS WHERE THEY ARE IN THEIR D2C JOURNEY Steve Adams, CEO, Mattress Online
Furniture brands have long sold their products directly to the public at the same time as going through stockists, but the practice rarely sits comfortably. Manufacturers might argue that they go D2C out of necessity, or because establishing their own stores or transactional websites is the most effective way to raise their brand’s profile. Retailers generally see such approach as cannibalistic – biting the hand that feeds, so to say – and potentially depriving them of sales. Pandemic pressure created even greater need for manufacturers to explore new ways to stay solvent, and, given repeated store closures, a direct ecommerce channel must have looked a very attractive option. But how might taking this path be received by stockists, and how can such reinvention be negotiated? Faced with opposition, some pull back. Others press on, regardless of the potential fallout. Others still formulate a hybrid
model, insisting that doing so delivers the best results for both parties. In 2019, for example, Ekornes opened its first Stressless brand store, on Tottenham Court Road. UK MD James Thompson said the move would support independent retailers, lifting the brand’s profile and offering stockists training and merchandising assistance, while giving the manufacturer a greater understanding of the challenges those stockists faced – all while selling at RRP. Early on, James stated that the majority of the “vast number of quotes” the store generated were eventually converted in customers’ local retailers. “Many are choosing to support their local shop,” he said. Either way, without close consultation and a firm understanding of the benefits, most retailers meet any mention of ‘going D2C’ with suspicion – if not outright hostility. Furniture News asked its regular contributors for their thoughts …
Cutting out the middleman often comes at a price … (photo courtesy 123RF/ilixe48)
INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 17 Mike Murray, MD, Land of Beds: We understand the D2C model, and the associated pros and cons. If you happen to be the market leader with super-high brand recall, like Nike or Apple, then this model will work well for you – as long as you have excellent digital skills and deep pockets when it comes to marketing spend to back it up. It all comes down to brand, marketing spend and your internal business structure. If you do not have the above, it could have catastrophic consequences if you alienate your current retail customer base.
Anne Davies, owner, Room to Grow: Manufacturers going D2C is incredibly frustrating for a retailer. We spend a great deal of time, resources and budget marketing our brands, and for a supplier to go direct we are simply creating another channel for our customers to find them directly. Anne Davies
Steve Adams, CEO, Mattress Online: I’m comfortable (mostly) with my manufacturers going direct if managed transparently. Product ranges ideally should have clear differences, promotional activity should be aligned to show a consistent message and (if relevant) share a joint on/off promotional calendar. We already work with many manufacturers who have a D2C strategy, and so far we’ve had no major challenges. One important factor is where they are in their D2C journey. For instance, we sell Nectar, Simba, Dreamcloud and (formerly) Casper – they were D2C before we were their customers. I do, however have a slightly different perspective if an existing manufacturer chooses to start a D2C arm. This would need a grown-up conversation about cannibalisation of their traditional business, and agreements around PPC bidding. Gavin Boden, sales director, Rhenus Home Delivery (UK): It’s becoming more and more prevalent for suppliers and manufacturers to create another arm to their business B2C, but still a lot of them don’t want it to be known, with the risk of upsetting their retailers.
The manufacturer can be more price competitive, and it really is a hard hit for a retailer. We would look to buy from the factories directly if one of our key suppliers acted this way. I think the manufacturers see it as a quick win, but retail is complex and expensive, and the supplier runs the risk of losing their key retailers if they antagonise them by doing this – they need to be sure going D2C will outweigh the loss in retailers they could face. Emma Leeke, MD, Leekes Retail: We would carefully review our relationship with any supplier who chooses to go direct to consumers in a meaningful way.
HARRISON SPINKS’ VELOCITY DEMONSTRATES HOW D2C SELLING, DONE RIGHT, CAN BE A GOOD THING FOR RETAILERS Andy Stockwell, buyer/manager, Gardiner Haskins
Henrik Pontoppidan, director, S2U Design Containers: This has been a trend for many years and it has fostered many discussions, usually simplifying matters too much. First of all, there seems to be two camps arguing that one model is better than the other, for various reasons. Secondly, what does D2C actually mean? The internet has made it more accessible to run a hybrid, for example, to market direct to the consumer, but letting Henrik Pontoppidan
Andy Stockwell, buyer/manager, Gardiner Haskins: D2C is a doubleedged sword for retailers. On the face of it, suppliers selling direct to end consumers seems like bad news. Who better to buy from than the people who make/supply the product? It cuts out the middleman and the slice of the profit they build into the price, so it surely must be cheaper. You’d also think any issues would be resolved more quickly by the supplier, not having to go through the retailer first. Why would any retailer be happy about D2C selling? A lot depends on how the process works and why suppliers choose to go D2C. It can be a way to establish a ‘generally available’ price, creating a genuine RRP for the product which retailers can then show a discount against in-store. Essentially, this means suppliers selling their products for more than the retailers do. It seems counter-intuitive, but it helps promote greater sales through retailers, and any sales made direct to consumers will be at higher margins. The other way it can benefit retailers is when they get a cut from the sale. Harrison Spinks are successfully doing this with their award-winning Velocity range. It’s a partnership between the retailer, who has to show the mattresses in-store, and the supplier,
who gives a credit for each mattress sold to the retailer who directs the customer to the supplier’s website. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship which demonstrates how D2C selling, done right, can be a good thing for retailers.
Adam Ashborn, founder and creative director, Reborn Marketing & Design: The D2C approach has been on the increase over the last few years, with online platforms really taking off, and businesses who typically avoided D2C are now realising this is another revenue stream available to them. However, it’s not something that can be controlled easily, now consumers are becoming more familiar with online researching before purchasing. Consumer
A FAILURE TO APPRECIATE THE SUPPORT SYSTEMS NEEDED TO PROPERLY MANAGE A D2C MODEL WILL SEE MANY STRUGGLE Peter Harding, MD, Fairway Furniture confidence in the brand, along with the purchasing process, will ultimately win over the customer. If you found the same product at the same price with the same warranty, etc, from an unfamiliar supplier at a recognised retailer, I’m sure you would still opt to purchase from that retailer. This is why having a strong brand image, trusted online ecommerce presence and good customer reviews will help towards making a sale. It’s great for the consumer who’s looking for a good deal, but for businesses it could impact profit margins. That’s why businesses should try to reinvent themselves and stay competitive in the market. Mike Rowley, CEO, Core Products: Each manufacturer has to make their own decision on this, but has to balance the considerable costs of running a D2C operation against the trade supply route. Personally, I feel that expecting to have both is unwise. Lee Ness, general manager, Global Upholstery Solutions: We don’t supply to consumers, but I think direct from the factory is becoming more prevalent. It wouldn’t work for us, but I understand the attraction for the manufacturer. Many retailers will obviously push back against the factories for doing this, but that will eventually fail. The only way for retailers to survive is to do two things: have a product that is exclusive; and offer a service that the customer can’t get from a factory. One without the other won’t work. Peter Harding, MD, Fairway Furniture: Suppliers moving into a D2C model are a threat, but they will inevitably face significant unforeseen challenges. I am of the view that many believe the retail side is ‘easy’, yet a failure to appreciate the support systems needed to properly manage a D2C model will see many who try ultimately struggle. Furthermore, in a market where the tactile nature of the product remains a major trigger within the buying
process, the ability for customers to see the products in person will remain in some form. If suppliers expect their current stockists to stand by and provide showrooms for them, so they can then take the orders themselves direct, it won’t be long before they are struggling to understand why they can’t get customers … We increasingly try to work with suppliers who genuinely appreciate the work retailers have to put in to deliver business for their factories. Own-label ranges are one route we’ve been going down, trying to build exclusivity where we can. The traditional furniture business model will, I believe, always have a place – based on the personal service levels that we can offer – but the past 18 months have probably served to accelerate structural change (such as online and D2C moves by suppliers) that would have happened over the next 5-10 years. Royce Clark, MD, Grampian Furnishers: I think we all need to adapt and work with manufacturers where both sides can benefit. The ones that go 100% D2C may find that this backfires and they still need a physical presence, and I feel there will be an increase in white-label products – the value of the brands within our trade has been diluting for many years Royce Clark
a middleman take care of the logistics. This is essentially what happens with the large platforms such as Amazon and Wayfair. For 15 years in the past, My business was in etailing, with decent success. But I also learned that, like any business model you engage in, it only works if you’re good at it – meaning that you’re actually better at offering something that your target needs, better than your competition. So, there is no right or wrong model when it comes to going D2C, or not. The traditional furniture business model surely needs to adapt, and its actors need to explore new avenues. But let’s not forget that the mindset of a manufacturer is so different to that of a retailer, which in turn is different to that of a wholesaler. What is important is that wherever you are in the supply chain, you fully understand your own function. Without this understanding, you cannot focus on becoming competitive and add value better than your competition, and you could easily end up as jack of all trades, and master of none. That doesn’t work in a competitive environment. I used to believe in the idea of ‘cutting out the middleman’ and I did use that route for many years – but now I am a middleman, because I’ve realised the need for this link in the chain. The fact is that retailers, large, medium or small, cannot handle the huge challenge of marketing their retail business, at the same time as sourcing, QC’ing, carrying out technical development, sampling, searching, selecting and negotiating with factories. This happens through middlemen and consultants. So yes, I buy direct from factories, and my strength, I guess, is that I know and understand firsthand the challenges of the retailer – and the manufacturer. And I am needed as a middleman – less so as a retailer, and less so as a manufacturer.
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Manufacturer brands taking a trade offer to the wider market is sometimes viewed with suspicion – but what of the businesses that go the other way?
SWYFT www.swyfthome.com Spokesperson: Lynne White, head of business development When did your D2C brand first take a B2B route, and why? We always wanted to go this route. My role was created specifically to launch and develop the B2B sector – we knew it was a market that Swyft would work extremely well in, both with retailers and also on the interior design, home staging, build-to-rent and landlord sectors. These sectors still face similar issues that B2C has, where lead times are still long and compromises are being made to enable a faster turnaround to buy a quality sofa. How did you approach that market? We made sure we did lots of searching for the right retailer and trade partner through many different channels. One pivotal point in our strategy was when we attended two trade shows in January 2020 – this was the first time Swyft had been showcased physically outside of London.
This month, Furniture News meets the people behind four established D2C furnishing brands which have elected to pursue trade sales opportunities alongside their consumer-facing operations. We ask eve sleep’s Cheryl Calverley, Emma’s Neil Robinson, Luxdeco’s Carina Bartle and Swyft’s Lynne White how and why they took this path, how their message differs from audience to audience, and what potential they see in the sector …
The response was immense, and our strategy was formed literally there and then. We launched with our first trade partners in March 2020, and have gone from strength to strength. We knew we didn’t want Swyft to be everywhere, so I have been really selective with who we partner with – we work as partners, which really helps develop that relationship between us, the brand, and them. It’s important to me that our partners really understand what Swyft is about. We are not just a flatpack sofa – we are young, dynamic, and offer sustainability. We move at a rapid pace. Partners have been excited that we launch new models regularly, and offer an exciting product range at a great price and excellent quality. They really appreciate our customer service level too, so if by chance something does go slightly awry, we move fast to rectify it too. How does your trade-facing communication differ from your consumer-facing work? My role is all about the trade. I have a trade manager who now mainly manages our interiors side – he works with customers that need help with their interior projects, he can offer great advice and, for those that need it, we can now offer Crib 5 fabrics for those projects.
We do send out marketing emails to those trade customers which use more trade-related terminology and more designer-led communications. We usually have many communications with a trade customer before they order, and they enjoy the benefit of that personal service. We have also created a store PoS to help our retail bricks-and-mortar partners to promote Swyft in-store, and offer giveaways so they can promote Swyft to their social media followers, too. What’s the growth potential – and limitations? I will limit the number of retail partners we have (I have just launched with John Lewis as our national retail partner). As long as our factory can manufacture stock, then we can continue to grow and there shouldn’t be many limitations. The potential is huge, and I feel we have only scratched the surface of supplying into the B2B sector. Can you provide an example or two of how you successfully work with trade partners to achieve results? Launching in John Lewis is a massive result – and is testament to the strength of such a young and new – yet exciting – brand, that constantly delivers. We launched three weeks ago, and we are already well above the forecasted numbers.
WE KNEW THE B2B SECTOR WAS A MARKET THAT SWYFT WOULD WORK EXTREMELY WELL IN
INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 21 Neil Robinson
EMMA – THE SLEEP COMPANY www.emma-sleep.co.uk Spokesperson: Neil Robinson, sales director – retail, UK & Ireland When did your D2C brand first take a B2B route, and why? In 2016, we launched Emma in the UK with an online-only approach. The mattress market there is one of the most online-driven markets worldwide – every second mattress is purchased online. However, many UK shoppers are also looking for personal advice in-store. They want to see, feel and experience the product offline before buying it. Since 2019, we therefore started to pursue our omnichannel strategy here, offering products both online and offline, to ensure we meet our customers wherever they need us to. Currently, Emma has more than 200 retail partners worldwide, and our products are available at over 3000 physical touchpoints. How did you approach that market? It has always been important to us that we don’t just adapt the online experience offline. Our retail customers have very different needs than online buyers. Therefore, we created a unique shopping experience for our partnering retail stores. For example, different marketing assets like light boxes or technical videos simplify the explanation of mattress types, and the presentation, with large, emotional images, gains attraction in the displays of brick-andmortar stores. We also did surveys with our offline customers to learn more about their needs, trying to understand what they want to experience. How does your trade-facing communication differ from your consumer-facing work? In consumer-facing work, we highlight the risk-free and convenient purchase that our customers can have online. For example, we offer a free trial so that customers feel comfortable ordering a mattress online because they can still
THE OFFLINE EXPERIENCE CAN NEVER BE FULLY REPLACED BY ONLINE SHOPS return it for free. In trade-facing communication, we don’t need to focus on this since customers are experiencing the product beforehand (even though we are still offering a 100-night trial regardless). Instead, we want to provide all the information about the product they need in order to facilitate their decision. Furthermore, we differentiate our products by highlighting different USPs to make them easier to comprehend. This is supported by a system of different colours to highlight the distinctions. What’s the growth potential – and limitations? At Emma, we are convinced that there will always be a more advisory-oriented target group that wants to experience the product before buying it. To be clear, we think the offline experience can never be fully replaced by online shops. After growing a lot in the online world, we are now investing more in trade, building a local retail team located in the UK, underlining the big growth potential we see. Prospectively, there will be new sleep products that might need even more explanation because they are techy or offering new types of solutions. This is where the offline experience will be irreplaceable – we want to explain this to our customers.
At the same time, the online share in the UK is immense – and after buying a mattress online once, a lot of people won’t miss out on the convenience in their next purchase. As a result, we are convinced of the benefits of an omnichannel approach – both channels will be needed to offer everyone a perfect sleeping experience. Can you provide an example or two of how you successfully work with trade partners to achieve results? The collaboration with our Emma Select retail partners in general is a good example. Our trade partners offer Emma a strong brand presence in stores, including brand builders with range information along with TV and Emma signage. At the same time, our brand awareness supports our retail partners to get their customers to the stores. In addition, we offer a transparent product assortment which simplifies the customer’s purchase decision. Our mattresses can also be partnered with a variety of bases. Lastly, we offer quick delivery, 10-year guarantee and a 100-night free trial. This allows the retailer to display the Emma Select as a varied, supportive and convenient range, making our collaboration a win-win situation.
D2C DIRECTIONS Cheryl Calverley
EVE SLEEP www.evesleep.co.uk Spokesperson: Cheryl Calverley, CEO When did your D2C brand first take a B2B route, and why? eve has worked with a number of B2B partners almost since it was first incepted. Customers have a wide range of shopping habits, and eve sleep’s misison is to help give everybody the sleep they need to rise and shine, which means making better sleep accessible to all. We didn’t want to be exclusive as a brand, and recognise that some shoppers prefer to shop in physical retail, or with retail brands that they’ve used for many years and for a wide range of products, rather than come directly to an ecommerce business. How did you approach that market? In various ways, depending on the partner. The main priority is understanding the customer of each particular retailer and proposing a product and plan which would fit their customer need. So, customers shopping at a brand such as Argos are looking for a very different thing to a customer in Boots, which is different again from the Next customer. How does your trade-facing communication differ from your consumer-facing work? That’s a hard question to answer, because it doesn’t, really! Our brand is our brand, and everyone is a consumer of our product (everyone sleeps!), so we focus on the benefits of our products, what they give you (better mornings) and how they can fit into each customer’s individual (sleep) lives. What’s the growth potential – and limitations? The retail sector is undergoing a huge amount of flux, but there will always
be a role for strong retail brands curating the right range of products for their customers. The potential for us is to reach the customer who perhaps doesn’t know of eve, or is on a different shopping mission to pure ‘sleep wellness’, or who would rather bundle their sleep purchase alongside a range of other goods, such as wider homewares. These customers will always be better reached in channels other than eve’s D2C channels, and we continue to craft products and offerings to meet exactly these needs with our partners.
THE MAIN PRIORITY IS UNDERSTANDING THE CUSTOMER OF EACH PARTICULAR RETAILER AND PROPOSING A PRODUCT AND PLAN WHICH WOULD FIT THEIR CUSTOMER NEED
Can you provide an example or two of how you successfully work with trade partners to achieve results? Last year we launched an exclusive range of sleep gifts with Boots. It was a funny old year – Christmas cancelled and the high street open and shut – but that partnership not only allowed Boots to explore sleep as a category, it allowed us to identify the right products to launch ongoing on our own site, and to further develop for partners. As such, it acted as not just a retail partnership, but a new product test bed, and to drive brand awareness for eve. Our most successful longstanding partnership is probably with Argos, and again here I think the power has been in understanding the Argos shopper mission and customer, and evolving our product to really meet that need – which is a different need to that which we serve through our own site, and means this relationship can thrive alongside our D2C business.
we weren’t dealing directly with the designer.
LUXDECO www.luxdeco.com Spokesperson: Carina Bartle, VP sales and partnerships When did your D2C brand first take a B2B route, and why? When LuxDeco was launched in 2012, we assumed that interior designers wouldn’t want to use us because we were potentially treading on their toes a little bit. Back then, the site was very curated – all by theme or by look – something that no-one else was doing at that time, so we didn’t really know how we were going to be received. But it actually went the other way. A few of our very first customers were trade customers – both interior designers and architects – and the trade element of the business just grew organically from there through word of mouth. We’ve got two splits of customer base – the residential interior designers, and the part of the industry that works across hospitality projects. Both are very different B2B customers. The residential interior designers came through quick and fast for us, particularly in the UK. We also worked with a lot of international interior designers. With the hospitality clients, we initially had a few organically come through, including major global hotel chains, but we had very limited communication because
How did you approach that market? To build on hospitality specifically, we went directly to the designers that we were working with and essentially pitched our services to them face to face, with a really open conversation to explore what we could do. At the time it was a really unique approach to this market because we were a young and agile business with amazing products from around the world, plus our own lines that were selling really well for residential projects. We have learned a lot about how to tailor our offer, resulting in a decision to put a team member in Dubai permanently. They’ve been here for a year, and we’ve seen sales increase over +400% and our customer base grow exponentially. It has given us the ability to support and work with the designer or procurement agency locally on exactly what they need, exactly when they need it, because timing is such an important factor in the business. How does your trade-facing communication differ from your consumer-facing work? Communication with our LuxDeco Pro customer is different to how we deal with our D2C LuxDeco customers – mainly because there’s a lot more regular communication, you’ve got a lot more of an opportunity to build a rapport, and essentially, if someone wants to work with you, you have to make it fun – you have to make them feel comfortable. Trade communication is very much reflective of the tone that the client uses with us. If a client uses a formal tone, we’ll reply with a formal tone. If a client wants to build a relationship and communicate over WhatsApp, use emojis, jump on the phone and have a chat, you take a different approach. It is always tailored to how they want to work and who they want to work with. For designers using LuxDeco, they
TRADE COMMUNICATION IS VERY MUCH REFLECTIVE OF THE TONE THAT THE CLIENT USES WITH US
know they can get accessories, furniture and pretty much anything else from us. We often get a quick WhatsApp or call asking about a specific product or style, and if we can help. We feel like we’re part of their team. That’s one of the things we say when we sign people up for a trade account – we’re an extension of your team, and here to assist. What’s the growth potential – and limitations? The growth potential for LuxDeco is wider global projects. At the moment our core markets are the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East. However, we work with global brands and we have global customers, so for us, the growth potential is having teams in different markets – for example, the US. Where we have the Dubai team working alongside the London team and have seen such growth, it’s now about growing into new markets. The limitations are set by the industry, but the biggest is timescale. For a really beautiful piece of furniture it can take 12-14 weeks, and the industry demands pieces fast. Designers are under more pressure to deliver a scheme that is exceptional, that has detail, but in a really quick timeframe and on a budget. So, how can we improve the timescale of the deliveries and craftsmanship? It’s important to note that interior design, and the way interior designers work, is such a process. It’s an art. Sometimes, even though the customer demands it, there’s going to have to be some pushback, as meeting their request is not always possible, despite our best efforts. We know that if you rush or need items quicker, quality is going to fall. Can you provide an example or two of how you successfully work with trade partners to achieve results? We have a trained interior designer in our trade team, so we really understand what they need and can offer additional services. Sometimes we’ll be sent a scheme from a designer, if they’re running out of time, and we’ll assist with the last mile – the heartbeat of a project – which is all the accessories. Once we have the scheme, we can pull together a list of accessories that are available within the timeframe, within budget, and that will work together. We can even go so far as to do elevations to make sure that things are going to check in the spaces
Flying the flag for British Manufacturing
BFM is the voice of the furniture industry, providing representation and a range of services that meet the needs and add value for our members. As a member of the BFM, you get many benefits including; • Use the BFM logo and promote your business • Improve your profitability • Business support
• Employment and commercial legal advice • Health and safety and technical advice • Benchmarking and trade data
BFM Representing the industry Visit our new website www.bfm.org.uk @BritishFurnitureManufacturers
EVENTS AUTUMN FURNITURE SHOW
RICH PICKINGS The Autumn Furniture Show returns to the NAEC at Stoneleigh Park Exhibition Centre from 5-6th October, with an extensive and varied roster of exhibitors … www.theautumnfurnitureshow.co.uk
The popular Autumn Furniture Show is making a strong return this month, after a temporary hiatus brought about by last year’s Covid-19 restrictions. Now in its seventh year, the event is firmly established as an important fixture in the industry calender, and this edition promises to be especially appealing to trade buyers due to the wealth of buying opportunities it will offer, covering every furniture trade sector across two sizeable halls. Upholstery suppliers including Alpha Designs, Alstons, Ashwood, Celebrity, Duresta, himolla, HTL, New Trend, Parker Knoll, Sherborne, SITS and Westbridge will join cabinet specialists such as Welcome, Wiemann, Bluebone, Julian Bowen, Devonshire Pine, Kettle
and Smart Occasional. Mattress exhibitors include Komfi, Hypnos, Mammoth and Shire Beds, while trade service providers including Furniture Sales Solutions, Protect-A-Bed and RetailSystem will be on hand to offer a detailed explanation of their support capabilities. Lighting, decorative accessories, soft furnishings and accessories will also be present – visit the Autumn Furniture Show website to see the full roster, and to register for free entry to the event. The venue, located close to Kenilworth in a country setting, boasts convenient road, rail and air transport links, and ample free parking is provided adjacent to the exhibition halls – along with a complimentary lunch for all visitors
METALLIC MIRROR RANGE New metallic mirror ranges offers eight current on point Designs • These Mirrors are aimed at the discerning customer, lookingMIRROR to blend METALLIC colours, textures and themes in their modern homes.
• Hand made to order in the UK METALLIC MIRROR RANGE METALLIC MIRROR RANGE • Produced to order from our factory in Wetherby • No long delivery times or surcharges! • £500 Net minimum order for FREE DELIVERY 36x24”
ALLIC MIRROR RANGE METALLIC MIRROR RANGE METALLIC MIRROR RANGE Available in ﬁve sizes … 36x24”
METALLIC MIRROR RANGE (BEVELLED MIRROR SIZE SHOWN)
… and in eight moulding designs
T: 01937 589188 E: email@example.com W: www.smartoccasional.c
Deighton Grange Farm, Boroughbridge Road, Kirk Deighton, Wetherby, North Y
T: 01937 589188
T: 01937 589188
SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk 20x16” E: email@example.com W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk Black/Old Gold Bronze/Old Gold Bronze/Old Brushed Silver Brushed Black/Brushed Silver 30x20” Black/Old Gold Gold Gold Gold Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Silver Silver Black/Brushed Silver Black/Old Gold Black/Old Bronze/Old Gold Bronze/Old Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Silver Deighton Grange Farm,Available Boroughbridge Road, Kirk Deighton, Wetherby, North Yorkshire LS22 Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror in mirror Grange Farm, Boroughbridge Road, Kirk Deighton, Wetherby, North Yorkshire LS22 5HN Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror 30x20” sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, SMA/7124 SMA/2018 sizes: SMA/2017 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, SMA/7122 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Black/ 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 Black/ 30x20 & 20x16 Bronze/ & 20x16 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 Brushed30x20 Silver 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 SMA/2018
SMA/2017 SMA/2017 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/2018 Bronze/Old Gold Black/Old Gold SMA/2017 Black/Old Gold Bronze/Old Gold SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 SMA/2017 SMA/2018 Black/Old Gold Bronze/Old Gold Black/Old Gold Bronze/OldSMA/2018 Gold Available in mirror Available inGold mirror Black/Old Gold Available in mirror Available inGold mirror Black/Old Bronze/Old GoldGold Black/Old Gold Bronze/Old Gold Black/Old Gold Bronze/Old Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available inBronze/Old mirror sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: Available in in mirror Available in in mirror Available in mirror Available in 36x24, mirror Available mirror Available mirror Available in mirror Available in1650x600, mirror 40x30, 48x12, 40x30, 48x12, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30,36x24, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12,sizes: 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 30x20 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, T: 01937 589188 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
E: firstname.lastname@example.org SMA/2018 SMA/2018 SMA/2018 SMA/2018
Black/Old Gold Black/Old Bronze/Old GoldBronze/Old range Farm, Boroughbridge Road, Kirk Deighton, Wetherby, North Yorkshire Black/Old Gold LS22 5HN Bronze/Old Gold Gold Gold
Bronze/Old Gold in mirror Available Available Available in mirror in mirror 1650x600, sizes: Available sizes: in mirror sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 40x30, 48x12, 48x12, 36x24, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
Black/Old Gold in mirror Available Available in mirror Deighton Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, sizes: Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x2036x24, & 20x16 30x20 40x30, 48x12, 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/2137 SMA/2137 SMA/2137 SMA/2137 Silver Chrome SilverSMA/2137 Chrome SMA/2137 Silver Chrome SMA/2137 Silver Chrome SMA/2137 Available in mirror Available inChrome mirror Silver Chrome Available in mirror Silver Chrome Silver Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, Silver Chrome sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 36x24, Available in in mirror Available mirror Available in 48x12, mirror 40x30, 48x12, Available in 36x24, mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 20x16 sizes: & 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/7122 SMA/7122 SMA/7122 SMA/7122 Brushed Silver Brushed Silver SMA/7122 SMA/7122 SMA/7122 Brushed Silver Brushed Silver SMA/7122 Available inSilver mirrorBrushed Silver Available inSilver mirror Brushed Silver Brushed Brushed Available in mirror Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, Available in in mirror Available in in mirror Available mirror Available mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600,36x24, sizes:&1650x600, 30x20 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20
T: 01937 589188 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/7122 SMA/7124 SMA/7124 SMA/7122 Brushed Silver Brushed Black/Brushed Silver E: email@example.com W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Silver Silver Black/Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Available inSilver mirror
Brushed Silver Available in mirror
30x20 & 20x16
30x20 & 20x16
Available in mirror LS22 5HN Available in mirror Available in mirror Available inRoad, mirror Farm, Boroughbridge Kirk Deighton, North Yorkshire sizes:Wetherby, 1650x600, sizes:in 1650x600, Available mirror sizes: Available in mirror sizes: 20x16” Grange sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 48x12, 36x24, sizes:40x30, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 20x16” 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 36x24, 20x16 30x20 40x30, 48x12, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24,30x20 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 & 20x16
SMA/2137 Silver Chrome SMA/2137 SMA/2137 SMA/2137 SMA/2137 Silver Chrome Silver Silver Chrome Chrome Silver Chrome Available in mirror Available in mirror in mirror Available in mirrorAvailable sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/7124 SMA/7124 SMA/7124 SMA/7124 Black/Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Silver SMA/7124 SMA/7124 SMA/7124 Black/Brushed Silver Black/BrushedSMA/7124 Silver Available in mirror Silver Black/Brushed Available in mirror Black/Brushed Black/Brushed Silver Black/Brushed Available in Silver mirror Available inSilver mirror sizes:sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, Available in in mirror Available in mirror Available mirror Available in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk SMA/2017 SMA/2017
SMA/2047 Antique Gold
SMA/2047 SMA/2047 SMA/2047 SMA/2047 Antique Gold Antique Antique Gold Gold Antique Gold Available in mirror Available in mirror in mirror Available in mirrorAvailable sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/2047 SMA/2047 SMA/2047 SMA/2047 Antique Antique Gold GoldSMA/2047 Antique Gold SMA/2047 SMA/2047 Antique Gold SMA/2047 Available in mirror Available in mirror Antique Gold Available in mirror Antique Gold Antique Gold Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, Antique Gold sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30,in 48x12, 36x24, Available in in mirror Available mirror Available mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Available in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/7126 Black/ Brushed Gold
SMA/7126 SMA/7126 SMA/7126 SMA/7126 Black/Brushed Gold Black/Brushed Gold Black/Brushed Gold Black/Brushed Gold Available in mirror Available in mirror in mirror Available in mirrorAvailable sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/7126 SMA/7126 SMA/7126 SMA/7126 Black/Brushed Gold Black/Brushed Gold SMA/7126 Black/Brushed Gold SMA/7126 SMA/7126 Black/Brushed Gold SMA/7126 Available in mirror Available in mirror Gold Black/Brushed Available in mirror Black/Brushed Gold Black/Brushed Available in Gold mirror sizes: 1650x600, Black/Brushed Gold sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Available in in mirror Available mirror Available in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Available in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 Oak Oak Oak Oak Available in mirror Available in mirror in mirror Available in mirrorAvailable sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 Oak Oak SMA/OAK01 Oak SMA/OAK01 SMA/OAK01 Oak SMA/OAK01 Available in mirror Available in mirrorOak in mirror Oak Oak Available in mirror sizes: 1650x600, Available Oak sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Available in in mirror Available mirror Available mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, Available in in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600,36x24, sizes: 30x20 &1650x600, 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 30x20 & 20x16
SEE US AT AUTUMN FAIR, MINERVA STAND 30
T: 01937 589188SMA/2047 SMA/2047 SMA/OAK01 SMA/7126 SMA/2047 SMA/OAK01 SMA/7126 SMA/OAK01 SMA/7126 T: 01937 589188 Antique Gold Antique Oak Black/Brushed Gold Antique Gold Gold Black/Brushed Gold OakOak Black/Brushed Gold SMA/2047 SMA/OAK01 SMA/7126 Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror art-trading.co.uk W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Antiquesizes: Gold1650x600, Oak Black/Brushed Gold sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, sizes: 1650x600, E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.smartoccasional.co.uk 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in48x12, mirror36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, SMA/2137
SMA/2137 SMA/2137 Silver Chrome Silver Silver Chrome Chrome SMA/2137 Available in mirror Available in mirror Available in mirror Silver Chrome sizes: 1650x600, sizes: sizes: 1650x600, 1650x600, 48x12, 36x24, Available 40x30, in mirror 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16
30x20 & 20x16 roughbridge Road, Kirk Deighton, Wetherby, North Yorkshire LS22 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x165HN sizes: 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 sizes: 1650x600, sizes:30x20 1650x600, 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30, 48x12, 36x24, 40x30,Deighton, 48x12, 36x24, Deighton Grange Farm, Boroughbridge Road, Kirk Wetherby, North Yorkshire LS22 5HN 30x20 & 20x16 30x20 & 20x16
30x20 & 20x16
30x20 & 20x16
FURNITURE SHOW 2021
NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire ● ● ●
2 day trade event - Central location Global portfolio of suppliers Complimentary lunch
Make a date for October! Tuesday 5th 9am - 5pm Wednesday 6th 9am - 4.30pm For show details, full exhibitor listing and to register, please visit our website: www.theautumnfurnitureshow.co.uk
For show details, full exhibitor listing and to register, please visit our website: www.theautumnfurnitureshow.co.uk
SHOW AND TELL As a Royal Warrant holder, Sleepeezee is renowned for its superior quality beds and mattresses, and customer service. Now, having worked with partners and suppliers in the UK and abroad for over 96 years, the business has opened a new showroom in Rochester, Kent, alongside a new and improved website. www.sleepeezee.com
The showroom, which took four months to complete, has been created to enhance the experience of Sleepeezee’s partners, and to provide them with a professional space in which to see, touch and feel the many ranges of beds and mattresses Sleepeezee has to offer. The showroom not only displays all of Sleepeezee’s retail collections, but also its dedicated export and contract hospitality ranges. Clive Parry, retail sales director, says: “We are excited about the new showroom, which the team have worked very hard on in recent months. Featuring new graphics and branding as well as a modern meeting area, it creates the perfect environment for us to meet with new and existing partners and to present our ranges to them.
“We have also invested heavily into developing a new company website, by evaluating how consumers interact with us and looking at how best to engage with our customers online. It has involved a lot of research and careful consideration – to make it the easy-to-navigate, informative site we are proud to now offer.” Consumers can also access technical details about the many ranges available, and then easily locate a retailer close to them and see what they have on display to try, as well as regular new content on sleep-related matters, including how to choose the best mattress and how to get the best night’s sleep. To make an appointment to visit Sleepeezee’s new showroom, contact Clive on 07990 591581 or visit the new website
After a hard day’s work
LEAVE THE REST TO US
HEALTHY DECISION The recently launched Women’s Health Men’s Health retail collection made a successful first appearance at the 2021 Bed Show last month …
As one of the most trusted voices in health and wellness, Women’s Health and Men’s Health have created a mattress range that not only offers an impressive level of comfort, but is also shown to improve sleep, thanks to the inclusion of M-Tex Health Technology. The latest innovation from the Mammoth Group, M-Tex is a combination of carefully selected comfort materials and award-winning health technologies designed to enhance sleep quality and improve recovery – ideal for those who want to lead active lives.
Combining household favourites like pocket springs and memory foam with HD Health Foam derived from UK healthcare, M-Tex is designed to support body weight, relieve pressure, aid circulation and keep the skin cool and comfortable – and the addition of soft CoolPlus heat- and moisturewicking fabric ensures that the sleep environment remains dry and hygienic through the night. For consumers, M-Tex represents a mark of genuine quality, which tells them that their Women’s Health Men’s Health mattress has been rigorously tested and shown to improve sleep, states the supplier. According to recent research by publishing giant Hearst UK – the parent company of Women’s Health and Men’s Health – 83% of people are more aware of the importance of good health in 2021 as they emerge from the pandemic. Similarly, in 2021, 78% of people made health and general wellbeing one of their resolutions for the future. With their reach and reputation in the health and wellness space, Women’s Health and Men’s Health are well placed to encourage the public to invest in high-quality sleep. For stockist information on the Women’s Health and Men’s Health collection, contact sales@mammothuk. com
YOUR 2022 SALES SUCCESS STRATEGY
CORE PRODUCTS The new Options bedside cabinet collection offers models in white, grey or midnight painted finishes
5 ESSENTIAL WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR SALES AND PROFIT • ADVERTISING – Most advertising does not work very well. If yours isn’t, stop wasting your money now. Don’t blame the media, blame your message. Re-design your advertising campaigns using a benefits-orientated-style. Call Greenwood for effective copywriting know-how. • PRODUCT OFFER – Be ruthless. If a product or collection is not pulling its weight after being given a fair chance, then clear it and replace it with a better performing one. Test and measure the profitgenerating potential of your entire range during a Greenwood Sale.
Core Products offers a vast array of flatpacked furniture, shelving and storage products, available from its UK warehouse for quick delivery to the store or direct to the customer. As one of the pioneers of direct-to-home delivery, Core has designed each product for easy home assembly by the endcustomer. The supplier’s continued investment in technology also allows trade customers easy access to online ordering, stock availability, images, product and assembly information, along with a dedicated parts-ordering system to ensure any customer issues are quickly and easily resolved.
• SELLING SKILLS - Get good at selling. Most retailers don’t employ a proper retail sales process. The most successful ones do. Invest time and money in quality sales know-how. Call Greenwood to arrange an effective sales training course for your team. • COMPETITION – Check your competition to find out what they are offering. Avoid all-out price wars. Out-perform your competition on the most relevant beneficial points including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood to mystery shop your competitors. • PROMOTION – Promote your business effectively. Every good retailer from Aldi to Harrod’s does. Consider holding a Greenwood Sales Promotion to increase sales, turn stock into cash and win future market share, while protecting your profit at the same time. Call Greenwood!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GREENWOOD SALES...
Learn all about the new super-effective Greenwood Digital Sales Campaign. Call me on 07771 700247 to discuss the exciting possibilities for your next big sales event without obligation or, send an e mail enquiry with your contact details and I’ll call you… We are booking Greenwood Sales right now across the UK and Ireland for 2022 on a first come first served basis. The best launch dates go quickly.
BOOKING NOW FOR 2022 CALL BERNARD EATON ON 07771 700247
Despite the challenges facing the UK bed industry, Highgrove invested a further £500,000 in a new 25,000ft2 storage facility at its Liversedge site last year, to ensure the business had sufficient spring stocks to meet demand. “We have now firmly bedded our three main brands into the marketplace: HG at the entry level; our established flagship Highgrove brand taking up the centre ground; and Sanctum targeting the premium, hand-tailored sector,” says Highgrove’s head of marketing, Shane Harding.
GREENWOOD RETAIL LTD Your Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion
EASY LIVING Sofa in a Box is the debut collection in Gallery Direct’s new Design Project series, which was conceived to create products that provide solutions to everyday problems, with each Design Project looking at a specific issue and delivering products to help overcome it … www.gallerydirect.co.uk
Model 1 Chesterfield, fresh out of the box
WE WANTED TO OFFER CUSTOMERS A RANGE OF SOFAS AND CHAIRS THAT ARE EASY TO DELIVER TO ANY ROOM IN ANY HOME
For many properties, the delivery of a sofa can be tricky and problematic. Narrow doorways, tight corners and awkward staircases all make it difficult to get a conventional sofa into place. To solve this problem, Gallery developed its Sofa in a Box collection. Launched at last month’s Autumn Fair, the range of luxury sofas, armchairs and sofabed offers six models to suit different styles of interior. Each model is available in a choice of fabrics, offering 65 options in total. James Hudson, commercial director, says: “We wanted to offer customers a range of sofas and chairs that are easy to deliver to any room in any home. However, we were determined not to compromise on the style, quality and comfort. We have therefore combined exclusive designs with premium materials and a practical solution for easy delivery. “A great deal of thought and time has gone in to developing the range,”
continues James, “so we were delighted that the project was incredibly well received at Autumn Fair.” The products are handmade in Gallery’s UK factory by its highly skilled and experienced team, paying great attention to detail. Each is delivered in a box. The parts can be unboxed and assembled, ready to use in under five minutes, with no tools required, thanks to the easy lock-in mechanism which features a tapered design with hard nylon edges to keep the seat rigid once built. The packaging can then be recycled. All sofa and chair models feature pocket-sprung seat bases to add an extra layer of comfort, and the sofabed model has a fully sprung pocket platform, offering comfort for both sitting and sleeping. The seat cushions feature feather, fibre or foam wraps, depending on the model. Model 1 is a Chesterfield-style threeseater sofa, offering a traditional look with its rolltop arms, deep buttoning
INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 35 Model 1 Chesterfield
and carved wooden feet. It is available in an exclusive natural-waxed aniline leather, as well as a choice of textured fabrics and luxurious velvets. There is also an option of a mixed scatterback style, with the sofa and seat cushions upholstered in leather with four fabric cushions, and a reversible cushion, with leather on one side and fabric on the other, for the scatterback. Easy to place and boasting a simple style, the Model 2 Everyday design is suitable for a wide range of interiors. It features sleek, sloped arms and dark wooden feet, and is available as a twoseater, three-seater and armchair. All are offered in a choice of six fabrics – three textured and three velvets. Model 3, Townhouse, is modern in design and sleek in style, oozing elegance and sophistication. It is available as a two-seater and threeseater, each with side bolster cushions to complete the look. Both versions are offered in a selection of six luxurious velvets. For those who prefer a Scandi feel, Model 4 is ideal. The streamlined contemporary design features simple, tapered wooden legs and slightly rounded arms to create a stylish look. It is available as a two-seater and
three-seater as well as an armchair, in a choice of four fabrics, chosen to complement the style. Unique in style and design, the Model 5 Sofabed offers “practicality in a box”, states Gallery. This durable sofa can be turned into a practical and comfortable 120cm bed in seconds, in one simple movement. It is offered in four fabrics. Last, but by no means least, is Model 6, Contemporary. This range
has a completely modern style, with statement stitching and unique metal legs. It features a two-seater and a three-seater, as well as an accompanying footstool, in a choice of four leather-look options. To find out more about this innovative new collection, contact Gallery’s sales team on 01795 439159 or email@example.com, or visit the supplier’s website
Model 3 Townhouse
Model 4 Scandi
Model 5 Sofabed
Model 5 Sofabed
PRODUCTS HOME OFFICE
CORE PRODUCTS www.coreproducts.co.uk
Core Products offers a wide and varied selection of flatpacked home office furniture, which the supplier says has really captured customers’ attention over the past year as so many have been working from home. This was recognised as Core scooped Furniture News’ Readers’ Choice Award for Best Home Office Furniture Supplier 2021. Every piece in Core Products’ home office ranges is developed so it looks good, with hardwearing finishes, while also being functional, with a variety of desk and shelving designs. A varied selection of home study and home office chairs is also available. Suitable for use in any room, Core’s ranges will make the most of any space, and all are held in stock in the UK for quick delivery, either to the store or direct to the customer’s home.
TREND INTERIORS www.trendinteriors.co.uk
L-shaped desk with wall storage, with under-cabinet lighting plus shelving
As part of Trend Interiors’ bedroom portfolio, the Home Office collection offers either complete projects or additions to existing bedrooms. Incorporated are various space-saving configurations, including base units, two- and threedrawer filing units, printer tray units, drawer tidies and worktops. Depending on the price group there is a choice of either 13, 12 or nine colours and finishes. Trend Interiors is part of the Mereway Group, a British manufacturer with over 30 years’ experience of creating high-quality kitchens.
IN STOCK NOW
E S T. 1 9 8 6
NEW FOR AUTUMN 2021
Our NEW Como bedroom furniture collection is designed especially to suit rooms where space is at a premium. With soft rounded corners on both tops and uprights,easy glide drawer runners, adjustable door hinges and subtle metal handles. All our ranges are available from stock here in the UK for quick delivery to your store or direct to your customer’s home.
See our full 2021 catalogue online at
t: 01738 630555
e: sales @coreproducts.co.uk
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
THE RETAIL WORLD IS CHANGING – AND SO ARE WE
Over the last 18 months, we’ve experienced an unprecedented amount of change. Furniture retail, especially, has experienced a rollercoaster period, with supply chain disruptions coupled with a seismic shift in buying behaviour which has transformed the industry. But it’s not just the high street that is repositioning itself. Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance – one of the UK’s leading providers of retail PoS finance – has announced that it is embarking on a major rebrand, as it sets its sights on rapid expansion, accelerating investment in its retail systems. The rebrand to Novuna Consumer Finance, which will be fully implemented by March 2022, follows the merger of the business’ parent company with Mitsubishi UFJ Lease and Finance Company earlier this year. This was a significant move for the business, and means it is now part of one of the world’s largest and most diversified financial groups. Vincent Reboul, MD of Hitachi Capital Consumer Finance, explains the thinking behind the rebrand: “Novuna comes from the Latin words Novo – New and Una – Together, which captures
the essence of our business and how we work with our retailers, creating innovative solutions together and supporting our customers through rapid change. “It’s a bold, fresh brand that resonates with the changes we are seeing not just in retail, but in society as a whole, and reflects our digital transformation programme which is enabling us to create unique customer experiences and deliver efficiencies across all sectors.” With competition in retail intensifying, having the right PoS credit offering is a sensible move. Providing a fast, seamless integration, 24/7 retail offering with improved credit decisioning functionality, is what the business sees as its core strength, which will be brought to life with the new brand. The full rebrand won’t take place until March 2022, with the products and services currently offered remaining the same, alongside the account management teams and contacts – but in the longer term, this is far more than a change of name. It represents how the business has evolved and its ambitions to accelerate growth
THE REBRAND CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF OUR BUSINESS AND HOW WE WORK WITH OUR RETAILERS, CREATING INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TOGETHER AND SUPPORTING OUR CUSTOMERS THROUGH RAPID CHANGE
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.
www.satra.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
ROAD WARRIOR www.executivehomedelivery.co.uk
Thanks to many years of industry experience, Executive Home Delivery has developed a detailed understanding of its clients’ needs, and consequently offers an array of services to ensure that any delivery can be handled within its own network, reducing the need for additional logistics partners. The company’s white-glove home delivery service is executed via a modern fleet of 12- and 3.5-tonne vehicles crewed by highly trained, conscientious staff. All deliveries are electronically tracked, ensuring full traceability of orders throughout their journey. “All planning, routing and WMS is carried out on our systems, so we can see everything at the touch of a button, says MD Brian Adam. “Our system updates in real-time, too, which means that photos taken on delivery are uploaded back to our office and to clients to view if needed. This means any claims for missing or damaged products can be investigated instantly.” Executive Home Delivery understands that when it is chosen as a business’ delivery partner, it is representing that business, and therefore puts great emphasis on ensuring each delivery is carried out to the highest standard. The business also has a fleet of articulated vehicles and trailers dedicated to delivering goods direct from manufacturers to furniture retailers. Again, its team is highly
Furniture fulfilment specialist Executive Home Delivery, operated by Brian Adam’s Transport, offers home and retail deliveries to Scotland and Northern England, as well as UK-wide furniture logistics, including trunking and warehousing services.
trained – not only in customer care, but in the manual handling of furniture, ensuring deliveries are made with the same care and attention offered on home delivery items. “Every item of furniture we handle is treated with the care it deserves,” says Brian. “We have a saying that we live by here – it may be your 40th delivery of the week, but it could be the customer’s first in 10 years.” The company’s trunking services are available nationwide, and it can collect and deliver goods from anywhere in the UK, and its warehouse has the capacity to hold stock on behalf of manufacturers, importers and retailers, ready for distribution
BRIAN ADAM’S TRANSPORT IS A FAMILY RUN FURNITURE DELIVERY SPECIALIST WORKING THROUGHOUT SCOTLAND & NORTHERN ENGLAND FOR CLIENTS ALL OVER THE UK & EUROPE OUR SERVICES INCLUDE: • 1 & 2 person deliveries • White glove delivery • Retail deliveries • Assembly services • Old item disposal • Stock control • Storage & trunking Full service can be tracked live 24/7 via customer speciﬁc portal Exceptional levels of customer communication Real time stock levels & data Solutions tailored to exact customer needs We can collect from any UK warehouse on our own trunk vehicles
0141 952 7222 email@example.com
www.executivehomedelivery.co.uk Brian Adam’s Transport Ltd, Unit 6, The Alpha Centre, 10 South Douglas Street, Clydebank G81 1PD
HOME & RETAIL FURNITURE DISTRIBUTION
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
VÄLINGE INNOVATION www.threespine.com Renowned interior architect and designer, Rainer Kalesse, and Välinge Innovation, are teaming up to create a unique, ready-for-production Threespine furniture collection. “What fascinates me about Threespine is that it works without tools, it’s simple and really intuitive,“ says Rainer. “With our collection, I want to inspire the furniture industry to break new ground.” Rainer spent over 20 years at the helm of Nolte-Küchen’s design department before starting his design firm, Rainer Kalesse Design-Management, in 2017.
The designer is excited about the potential that Threespine brings to the industry, stating: “Threespine brings a whole new dimension to flatpack furniture construction. It’s now possible to combine high quality and good design with a simple, safe, and sustainable solution.” The unique, patented Threespine click joint means furniture can be assembled without tools or fittings, and up to 8–10 times faster than furniture with traditional fittings, says Välinge. The technology is also flexible enough
to realise any design vision, as it is suitable for all types of materials and construction — from flatpack and fine furniture to fully fitted kitchens. “Designers and creators understand the possibilities of Threespine, so our collaboration with Rainer is a fantastic new direction for us,” says Jonas Banestig, senior key account manager of furniture at Välinge Innovation. “We’re really looking forward to being able to offer retailers and producers a modern, finished-concept furniture collection using our easy-assembly technology”
The Furniture Makers’ Company the furnishing industry’s charity
IT’S TIME TO
STEP 2 IT
Step 2 It is the exciting new fundraising campaign by industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company.
The Furniture Makers’ Company is launching its largest ever fundraising campaign in May, asking the furnishing industry to ‘Step 2 It’ and help raise £250,000 to support people from the trade who have been impacted by COVID-19. Step 2 It aims to inspire companies and individuals to organise sports-based fundraisers between May 2021 – April 2022 in aid of the charity, encouraging friends, family and co-workers to join in the fun. What’s more – thanks to a benefactor, every single penny you raise will be matched, effectively doubling your donation. Last year our charity awarded a record number of financial grants to people from the sector whose lives and livelihoods were disrupted by the pandemic. Now we need your help to raise funds so we can keep supporting the industry.
Have fun, raise money, support lives, Step 2 It Claim your fundraising toolkit: www.furnituremakers.org.uk/step2it
TAXING QUESTIONS With the increase of national insurance contributions (NICs), some businesses with employed sales representatives will be looking at the viability of inviting the employees concerned to become self-employed sales agent, writes Stephen Sidkin – but what issues should they consider?
THERE CAN BE TAX SAVINGS FOR BOTH PARTIES
By STEPHEN SIDKIN www.agentlaw.co.uk
A change in the status of the sales force needs to make commercial sense –for the business and the sales force. For both, there will be an issue of “how do we make it work?”. The business can be expected to want to include in any agreement with the newly appointed agent some provisions which will give it confidence that the agent will service customers and seek new customers in ways consistent with the business’ objectives. An agent can be expected to look for some form of financial assistance, as most agency models work on a commission basis with a time lag between the taking of an order and the customer paying. Different financial schemes – ranging from a temporary monthly retainer to the payment of advance commission – can be put in place to bridge the initial time gap following the commencement of the agency, so as to ensure that the agent is not financially disadvantaged. The agency agreement The change in status will mean replacing the employment contract with an agency contract. From a legal perspective, there is a material difference – an employed sales representative will move from being an employee to self-employed. Whilst this may seem to be a statement of the obvious – and is the key to addressing the increased NIC cost mentioned above – an agency agreement should address issues which are different to those found in employment contracts. The scope of the appointment of the agent must be stated – what the extent of the agent’s entitlements and responsibilities is, in terms of: geographical territory; products; new products in the future; and customers and channels to market. What’s reserved to the business should also be stated. What would be the duration of the agency? In a situation where the status of the employed sales representative is changing, it would be unusual for the duration to be fixed. Instead, it can be expected that the agency will be continuous subject to either party being required to give a specific period of notice (for example, three months).
Various obligations on the agent can be expected to be included, such as: providing the business with details of customers contacted or to be contacted; transmitting orders obtained and generally acting as a conduit between the business and customers; attending sales meetings and possibly trade shows; and providing market reports. Correspondingly, obligations on the business can be expected, including: supporting the agent with samples, information, PoS materials and technology (for example tablets); and how and when commission is to be paid. The Commercial Agents Regulations The Commercial Agents Regulations have been in existence for years, but still urban myths abound about them. The regulations govern the relations between businesses and their agents. Whilst the regulations are pro-agent, there are ways in which they can and should be balanced, given the intended relationship between the business and its agents. These include: providing for the above notice of termination to be given and expire at any time; stating that, subject to meeting various requirements under the regulations, the agent will be entitled to an indemnity (and not compensation) following termination of the agency; and addressing the provisions in the regulations that specify that actions taken by the agent before termination and resulting in orders after termination will not result in the payment of commission by the business to the agent (this is particularly important where a new agent is succeeding an old one, and the business could face having to pay two lots of commission for the same sale!). Take-home points A business/agent relationship is symbiotic – the better the business does, the better the agent does, and vice versa. Whilst the change from an employed sales force to self-employed agents may be considered as resulting in the business having less control over sales, this can be addressed in the agency agreement – as can, to a large extent, the pro-agent regulations. Finally, there can be tax savings for both parties
Ye Olde Traditional Furniture Company
WE ALWAYS GO THE EXTRA MILE!
WE ARE GREAT AT TABLES AND CHAIRS Tables available in many different styles of base Tables Tops and Benches available in Pine, Rustic Oak & Prime A-Grade Oak Huge range of Chairs available in Beech & Oak All items made, painted and finished on site Competitive prices for large or small orders with packaging to suit Call us on 01604 890956 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website
ABOVE AND BEYOND
I’M NOT SURE IF THERE IS A DAY TO RECOGNISE THE SERVICE OF OUR FRONTLINE SALES TEAMS, BUT THERE SHOULD BE
By GORDON HECHT email@example.com
This month, industry consultant Gordon Hecht asks why there’s so little recognition for the hard-working and multi-talented retail salespeople of the furniture industry …
Pick any day on the calendar, and you’ll probably find that it’s dedicated to some event or cause. These national days celebrate everything from pizza to ‘talk like a pirate’, to ice cream. Some of those days spill into the workplace too – in the US, we have National Bosses Day, and National Administrative Assistants Day. I’m not sure if there is a day to recognise the service of our frontline sales teams, but there should be. We need a National Commissioned Salesperson Day. Having invested a lot of the early days of my career as a commissioned salesperson, I can relate to the many tasks that retail sales associates (RSAs) need to be proficient at to walk the tightrope of performance-based pay – often without a safety net below. Really good commissioned salespeople ensure a good or great customer experience, because their paycheck depends on it. For them, it’s a case of take care of your customers and you’ll eat steak. Fail and you’ll eat beans. We could probably solve a lot of the world’s problems if we put our governments on commission! Last century (okay, 25 years ago) I took my kid to my store on National Take Your Child to Work Day. He experienced my entire 12-and-a-half-hour retail day – store hours of 10am to 9pm, that started an hour before unlocking the doors and 30 minutes after the last shopper left the building. His eyes got to see all the jobs that a retail salesperson must do. After the work day, he commented: “Wow, I thought all you did was sit around
and drink coffee all day.” (Not true, sometimes we drink tea.) Sure, RSAs are expected to greet shoppers and convert them to buying customers. But here are some of the roles of the retail salesperson not mentioned in the job description … Merchandise locator: Showing and selling is difficult enough. During and after the sale, a good RSA needs to be an inventory control expert too! They have to know what’s in stock, what’s on the road, and sometimes help shift merchandise from customers wanting delayed delivery to other customers needing immediate gratification. Most RSAs are paid on delivered sales, and they want merchandise delivered asap. Credit counsellor: Consumer financing has played a role in retail for a long time. Today, it’s everything from credit and debit cards to promotional terms, second-tier credit, no credit check leasing, and borrowing from relatives. RSAs need to know when to start the credit check process, how to introduce alternative financing, and how to build sales tickets with free promotional terms. Some retailers pay their RSAs based on the finance discount rate, meaning sales written with 60-month terms pay less commission than sales with 12-month terms. Top RSAs know how to downgrade and upgrade the terms to make the most sense to their shopper. Customer service associate: Whether your organisation has five members or 5000, when there’s a problem with an
47 order, the first point of contact is the salesperson. After all, that’s the fella or gal that sold them the stuff! RSAs must juggle valuable selling time with issue resolution time. Often, the issues that appear are out of the control of the RSA, and still they figure a way to resolve the problems and still save the sale. RSAs not only need to be able to sell merchandise, they need to be adept at selling solutions to problems as well. Psychologists: You don’t have to be crazy to work in sales, but it helps! Every shopper that walks into your store carries a full set of Louis Vuitton baggage in quirks, defects, and personality dysfunctions. RSAs work through shoppers’ self-imposed boundaries and hang-ups. They solve issues for 45-year olds who still need their mum’s approval to buy something, to imaginary doctor recommendations on comfort levels, to helping shoppers who haven’t purchased since Madonna’s last hit record adjust to sticker shock. Even if your store doesn’t sell upholstery, your RSAs are still providing complimentary couch time.
IT department specialist: When I started selling, PoS systems included a four-part carbon paper sales order and a 19 cent Bic pen. We wrote sales by hand and counted out the cash or rubber stamped the check. Even if you’re still writing out sales slips, chances are good that your salespeople are entering it into some sort of computer, or the RSA is entering a credit application or utilising a bank card terminal. Some RSAs record their guest log into a terminal. Others do all the above. Electronic sales processing is great. You couldn’t build your empire without them. But BTW, those same systems break! On almost every RSA team, there is that one special salesperson who knows how to get things back online or knows a better workaround. They are either fixing the system for themselves or someone else to quickly process an order.
As winter nears and momentum builds to the January shows, November’s issue explores some of the season’s key buying trends – from eco-friendly furnishings and practices to top garden goods – and meets the British bed industry’s finest.
Housekeeping department: When I was a knee-high sprout and left a mess in the house, my mum would remind me that “it’s the cleaning lady’s day off”. Most of the stores I visit these days don’t have a housekeeping department. Shoppers haven’t gotten that news, and still leave displays a mess, not to mention leaving coffee cups, gum wrappers and other flotsam on floors, tables, and other sample merchandise. That stacks another duty on the sales team. It’s up to them to clean and straighten the showroom to return it to A1 condition. We’ll never see everything that RSAs do on a job description, and it’s not likely we’ll ever celebrate National Commissioned Salesperson Day. That doesn’t prevent you from honouring the efforts of your sales team today. You can never tell someone that they do a good job too many times. And while you’re applauding, don’t forget that your factory reps, advertising salespeople and most outside suppliers are your own personal psychologists, cleaning crew, merchandise locators, credit counsellors and IT specialists, putting in extra effort to keep your business relevant and successful
YOU CAN NEVER TELL SOMEONE THAT THEY DO A GOOD JOB TOO MANY TIMES
Storm the market with Furniture News
Want to make a splash in the furniture industry? You’ve come to the right place.
November’s issue offers the following special features: ECO CONSCIOUS The latest sustainable developments, plus a focus on the move towards greener upholstery BED SHOW Our complete review of the NBF event, plus a celebration of 2021’s Bed Industry Award winners OUTDOOR FURNITURE With garden furniture booming, we take a look at what’s new RETAIL FINANCE The PoS finance providers supporting more flexible purchasing paths We also present the latest in Bedroom, Dining, Living and Trade Services products and services. Whatever the weather, make sure you’re home and dry with Furniture News. DON’T MISS OUT ON GETTING IN! Call Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOKING DEADLINE: MONDAY 14TH OCTOBER
INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS
SALES AGENT REQUIRED
JYSK’S NEW DAWN David Ashton’s ﬁve-year plan WILLIS & GAMBIER RETURNS INSIDE MADE.COM, SOHO
JOB TITLE: Sales Agent SALARY: Commission JOB DESCRIPTION: Man Wah, The Worlds number one reclining sofa maker is looking for a well connected agent for England and Wales.
At The Helm Join Hydeline’s voyage of discovery BEDROOM / DINING / LIVING IFHS / AUTUMN FAIR / TRADE SERVICES
#367 October 2019 www.furniturenews.net
Man Wah have the biggest and best collection of reclining sofas in the market and this is a huge opportunity for a go ahead sales person. The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) comprises 17 of the world’s leading industry trade publications.
In the ﬁrst Instance please send CV and details of Agencies you are currently carrying to: David Barnes, Sales Director email@example.com
As the IAFP’s UK representative, Furniture News can offer exporters and importers market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels. www.iafpalliance.com
The centre of knowledge for the furniture industry
ATTENTION ALL FURNITURE BUYERS Here at Gallery Direct, we are expanding our procurement team as a result of our ongoing success and subsequent growth, and are now looking to recruit a strong Buyer to join our Furniture Category team. This is an exciting opportunity for the right individual with experience in a home furniture buying role. Are you that experienced buyer with a proven track record in global procurement of home furniture? If so we want to meet you. You will be responsible for managing all aspects of buying, range building for each season and monitoring market trends. This role would perfectly suit someone with international buying experience, who is looking to progress their career and further develop within our dynamic home furnishings business. Salary is dependent upon experience and we offer a great package of benefits, including generous staff discount.
Find out how membership can benefit you
If interested, please email or call HR Manager Cathy Land on firstname.lastname@example.org 01795 411966 to discuss the role further.
++44 (0)1438 777 700
TALKING TRADE Furniture manufacturers can access invaluable expertise via a new webinar series hosted by the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) – but this is just part of an enhanced package of online services for members, explains MD Nick Garratt …
By NICK GARRATT www.bfm.org.uk
We’re delighted to launch the webinar series, which follows recent major investment in digital offerings including a new website, with individual profile pages for each member. The topics covered during the webinars will help those in our industry to protect and support their businesses, providing an informed overview of a range of issues that can present challenges to member businesses on a daily basis – and we’re grateful to our partners for sharing their expertise. The first session, taking place on Wednesday 6th October, kicks off with the topic ‘Doing business with the EU and Northern Ireland, postBrexit’, delivered by Jason Croke, VAT & customs director at chartered accountants Rayner Essex LLP. It will cover importing goods from the EU to the UK for B2B and B2C, postponed import VAT accounting and duty deferment accounts, as well as exporting goods from the UK to EU for B2B and B2C, import duty, commodity codes, incoterms, rules of origin and Import One Stop Shop (IOSS). The webinars are free to attend for members, who can simply book their place online. Each guest will give a halfhour presentation, and the sessions end with a Q&A session. The webinar series follows a major investment in the digital realm by BFM in recent months, following the launch of our new website, which provides each
member with a profile page dedicated to their business and offers customers an easy-to-search showcase of the best of British furniture and homewares. The service is of particular note for smaller manufacturers, who can take advantage of raising their profile in an engaging format. We also launched a new Legal Hub in June, giving members a free toolkit offering legal and business advice on key topics such as health and safety, employment, contracts and data protection, as well as featuring policies, forms and guides created by qualified solicitors and business experts. Since 1947, we’ve represented the interests of the British furniture industry, with a membership ranging from rural craftspeople to major household names.Today, we issue industry-specific updates to members, to keep them abreast of developments in the sector, as well as providing a dedicated hotline and an online members’ area information service, which is constantly updated. We continue to develop a package of services that meet the needs of our members and champion the nation’s furnituremakers to the wider industry and to customers across the UK – the webinar series adds another layer of support, bringing expertise in specific fields to members in a way that is accessible to all, and I’m pleased that further events are planned going forward
THE WEBINAR SERIES FOLLOWS A MAJOR INVESTMENT IN THE DIGITAL REALM BY BFM IN RECENT MONTHS
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THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Adam Ashborn (Reborn Marketing & Design) All pieces of furniture have their rightful place in my home
Adam Hankinson (Furniture Sales Solutions) It’s actually our ‘plaid’ Brintons carpet that runs throughout the house. I love the tartan effect, and everyone who visits compliments us on it
Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins) Probably the picture that we don’t have on our living room wall. We’ve been looking for the right picture for maybe three or four years. We’ll know it when we see it
Anne Davies (Room to Grow) Definitely my artwork and photos. I think these can add so much personality and really make a house a home
Lee Ness (Global Upholstery Solutions Lighting, for me
WHAT ACCESSORY/ FURNISHING ACCENT MAKES THE BIGGEST IMPACT IN YOUR HOME? Steve Adams (Mattress Online) Not sure it’s an accessory, but my pool table made a positive impact on lockdown boredom
Emma Leeke (Leekes Retail) Currently my wine fridge …
#385 October 2021 www.furniturenews.net
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