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The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade #359 February 2019 |

The new MN Collection by Kettle Interiors

PINTEREST POWER! Why photography matters in media

FN359_Pages.indd FrontCover359.indd 11

STUDY GUIDE Designing for smaller homes

BORDER CONFLICT? The future of delivery in Ireland

28/01/2019 11:59 11:27

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19 10:12


“Customers and business partners will doubtless appreciate the assurance that their flow of goods will continue (relatively) uninterrupted, whatever the outcome” COMMENT


nd so the magical mystery tour

handling imports from the EU, are you on top of

continues. I don’t care if you’re a

the necessary changes to customs paperwork a

Government strategist or a fairground

hard Brexit would precipitate? If you’re exporting

fortune teller – I’d defy anyone to predict

to the EU, are you confident that your products

what the UK will look like in a year’s (or even a

are certified to the appropriate levels?

month’s) time with any confidence. In some ways, the juncture we’re at is exciting,

Last month, the BFM issued its members with a guide that summarises the implications of a

even funny (I expect plenty of outsiders watching

no-deal Brexit (and, online, the Government

the chaos unfold are having a right old laugh

offers its own advice for businesses). While

at this tragic comedy). But it’s hard to see the

there’s a chance that many of these safeguards

funny side when the future of your business and

will not be necessary, customers and business

personal life feels subject to the whims of our

partners will doubtless appreciate the assurance

nation’s frustrated, flip-flopping leaders, and the

that their flow of goods will continue (relatively)

profound sense of uncertainty the entire process

uninterrupted, whatever the outcome.

continues to create. We may not have a crystal ball, but we’ve got

Logistics are key to this continuity, and the promise of effective, flexible and reliable

the rest of the media circus. We hear tales of

deliveries will resonate all the stronger with

eccentric individuals ‘prepping’ for the hardest

Irish businesses, given the particular upheaval

no-deal outcomes by filling their homes with

they’re facing. In this month’s issue, we reveal

long-life food and water purification tablets.

how WS Dennison, a furniture logistics specialist

We read about plans to mobilise the army,

headquartered in County Antrim, is working with

about hospitals devoid of nurses, and – perhaps

the industry to help forge the best delivery paths,

most astounding of all – about politicians from

whatever shape the border takes (p64).

different parties joining forces. Call it ‘Project Fear’ if you like, but none of us

Meanwhile, Ireland’s in the spotlight again as we profile Abbeylands Furniture, which is best

really knows where the speculation ends and the

known for its bold, colourful furnishings brand,

truth begins.

Scatter Box (p38). MD Caroline Horgan puts the

But let’s keep things in perspective. This isn’t

situation succinctly: “I don’t think anyone really

an imminent natural disaster or nuclear attack.

can [Brexit-proof their business] at this stage

Making an omelette necessitates the breaking of

– but we’re certainly not just going to wait and

a few eggs, and no-one ever said it would be easy


(well, they might have done, but the referendum campaign feels like a lifetime ago), so we can

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, indeed.

probably afford not to take the extremes too seriously. But, at the same time, we shouldn’t sit on our hands. There are measures which can (and should) be undertaken by any business – be it retail or supply – which will help future-proof it against the most likely eventualities. You might be working at capacity already, but is there any space in your business that could accommodate a little excess stock? If you’re

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Paul Farley Editor-in-chief T 01424 776101 E Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

28/01/2019 11:59

4 | Contents

INFORMATION ON THE COVER Editor-in-chief Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED Sales and marketing director (Furniture News portfolio) Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Sales executive Caroline Littler 07861 231461 Production manager James Ash 01424 775304 Production assistant Mike Beales 01424 775304 Digital production assistant Nyall McCurrach 01424 775304 Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108

CIFF Guangzhou (24)


Partner Comment










Beds & Bedroom


Dining Room

Proofreader Keith Fitz-Hugh Editorial director John Legg 01424 776104 Publisher Nigel Gearing Accounts Wendy Williams 01424 774982 Magazine subscriptions (UK-£65, Europe-£85, RoW-£95) 01424 774982

Scatter Box (38)

Bruna Martins, Artisan Furniture (50)

Connect VIP packages (UK-£95, Europe-£110, RoW-£120) 01424 774982 Repro, print and distribution Stephens & George

Gearing Media Group Ltd 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AG ISSN No: 1475 - 3731 © Gearing Media Group Ltd 2019 General information No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written agreement of the Publisher and may not be stored on any type of retrieval system. Furniture News/ Gearing Media Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction. Special colours (Pantone etc) can be catered for with prior arrangement. Some elements of the editorial content in this publication are submitted by the trade, however, all e�orts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to o�set the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. The Publisher accepts no liability for any loss arising from an advertisement’s late or non-appearance.

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28/01/2019 11:59

Contents | 5

Ian Cull’s Cornholme (70)


The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade #359 February 2019 |

The new MN Collection by Kettle Interiors

PINTEREST POWER! Why photography matters in media

STUDY GUIDE Designing for smaller homes

BORDER CONFLICT? The future of delivery in Ireland

FrontCover359.indd 1

28/01/2019 11:27

Kettle Interiors (www. kettleinteriorsagencies. com) reveals its new MN Collection, which pairs oak tops with soft grey-painted cabinetry (p44)



Living Room

62 Furnisher


Trade Services

70 Designer

Dan Whytock explains how technology will enhance the high streets of the future


Jan Turner reveals how Instagram and Pinterest can be invaluable marketing platforms


WS Dennison (64)

Cameron Fry (76) imm cologne (28) TSG’s Natasha Bougourd explains how customer

The Furniture Trade Directory The indispensible guide for UK suppliers and retailers,

behaviour is driving digital transformation

in print and online

FN359_Pages.indd 5

28/01/2019 11:59

FN359_Pages.indd Full page USE.indd 6 1

28/01/2019 11/01/2019 11:59 11:25

19 11:25

Partner Comment | 7

Design rights in a post-Brexit Britain Having spent the last few decades immersed in the furniture

until December 2020. If there is no deal, the future, sadly, is

sector – whether in the interior design world or as CEO and co-


founder of Anti Copying in Design (ACID) – there is no doubt that

The most important aspect of Brexit – whether deal or no deal

the intellectual capital underpinning UK furnishings brands is an

– to those in design, is that those who do not register their designs

impressive asset.

are vulnerable.

The intangible value of a business – its people (skills, experience

Why? Because when the UK leaves the EU it will no longer be

and leadership through knowledge management), trading

possible to rely on unregistered design right in the 27 remaining

relationships and structural capital, are the essential components

states which, currently, UK designers can access automatically.

which give an organisation its competitive edge.

Through representations to Government there will now be a

Intellectual property plays an integral part in the protection of

supplementary right similar to the EU right (which offers broader

any organisation’s intellectual capital, whether micro or macro,

protection) but this will only be valid in the UK. ACID continues to

and good, well-made original design is increasingly becoming

press for clarity from Government.

a key differentiator. In the UK we are very good at design – the

Looking at trademarks, currently, UK and EU trademarks are

Furniture Makers Company Design Guild Mark holders, for

perpetual monopoly rights (subject to use), renewable every

example, are exemplars.

10 years. There will be no change for UKTMs and the Madrid Protocol can be used for international applications. Post-Brexit,

“What is emerging nationally and globally is a worrying and consistent increase of online and offline IP theft”

EU trademarks (EUTMs) registered before the end of the transition period will automatically generate a new UK trademark (same filing and renewal dates) – this will be automatic and free. We may exit the EU with a trade deal in place, or we may not. There might be a transition period, there might not. But one thing is certain – now is the time to start preparing yourself for B-Day, and what better way than to check whether your IP is in a healthy place, and how it might be affected by the biggest political event of

However, what is emerging nationally and globally is a worrying

a generation?

and consistent increase of online and offline IP theft. During 2019, ACID will continue our conversations with Government and our industry to raise awareness that access to simplified, cost- and time-effective IP redress is a priority. The bottom line is that IP is a property right, and to steal property is a crime. It is theft. Another aspect of our continuing remit is to raise standards within the industry to ensure that within its declared corporate social responsibility, ethics, respect and compliance are at its core.

Dids Macdonald OBE is the CEO

We’re also here to help with pressing legislative developments.

and co-founder of Anti Copying

For example, are you unsure, lost, unclear, puzzled, confused or

in Design (ACID), the UK’s leading

baffled about your intellectual property post Brexit? If so, you needn’t be, because ACID has initiated a Brexit advice resource

membership and campaigning

with practical steps to future-proof IP.

organisation for design and IP, supporting a safer trading

In March 2017, an initial Draft Withdrawal Agreement was published by the EU, and an updated Draft Withdrawal Agreement

environment (

has now been agreed by EU leaders and the Cabinet. If there is a

She is also vice-chair of the Alliance

deal, we will be out of the EU and there will be a transition period

for IP.

Our Media Partners Exclusive UK Member

Furniture News supports the aims and objectives of ACID (Anti Copying In Design) which is committed to fighting intellectual property theft

Official Media Partner

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8 | News

Devonshire appoints new MD

DFS cautious despite strong sales DFS reports good trading for the five-

overseas,” DFS reports. “However, we do

month period ended 30th December 2018,

expect benefits of previous and ongoing

with underlying sales growth of +10%, LFL

investments in our online activities, our

growth across all brands and +22% growth

final-mile two-man logistics and the

in online gross sales.

continued integration of Sofology, together

The retailer says this performance was

Nicolle Hockin and Andy Waddell Andy Waddell has been appointed MD of furniture manufacturer and importer Devonshire. He replaces founder Peter Hockin, who has retired after growing the company over the last 25 years. Andy has been with the company for

with progress being made at Dwell and Sofa

helped by latent demand as consumers

Workshop, to help mitigate this challenging

deferred purchases from the hot previous

market environment.”

quarter – as such, it remains cautious, and its FY expectations have not changed. “We are mindful of the broader political and economic uncertainty and the further

After six years with the group, CFO Nicola Bancroft is to retire from full-time executive roles. While a succession process is conducted,

risk this may pose to consumer confidence

Mike Schmidt, currently chief development

and lead times for the proportion of our

officer, will become interim CFO from 1st

made-to-order products that we source


18 years, having started as a delivery driver before progressing to the position of transport manager and then

Gallery acquires Parlane International

factory manager, commercial director and operations director. He will be joined by development

Gallery Direct has purchased Parlane

businesses will work closely together to

International, one of the UK’s top interior

deliver benefits to both companies and their

director Nicolle Hockin, who has

product companies, which designs and

respective customers.”

worked in the family business for four

supplies home accessories to the trade.

Mike Burgess, MD of Parlane

years, and is also studying for an MBA.

The deal was part of a strategic decision

International, says: “We are very proud of

The board is further strengthened by

to expand Gallery’s home accessories

our business, which has been developed

Huw Johns, marketing director, and

collection and boost its complete interiors

over the last 48 years with the outstanding

Mike England, finance director.


team here in Bourton-on-the-Water. We

Andy says: “I have been very

“This is great news for Gallery’s and

have grown to a size where we now need

fortunate to have had a diverse career

Parlane’s clients,” comments Gallery Direct

to partner with a like-minded business.

at Devonshire which I have greatly

MD Peter Delaney. “The two companies

The synergies between Gallery Direct and

enjoyed. I very much look forward

share the same core values and work ethics.

ourselves are obvious, and we are delighted

to taking the business to the next

Like ourselves, they are a well-established

to become part of the Gallery team going

level and maximising on all the

business who have developed a strong,


opportunities that we have as a leading

trusted brand, focusing on design, quality

UK furniture manufacturer.”

Furmanac appoints new sales manager After joining Furmanac in

and value for money.

Peter adds: “Mike and his team have such in-depth sector knowledge that we

“They have close working relationships

know will help our ongoing strategy and

with their suppliers, who produce excellent

expansion further into the sector. It has

products for them.

been a pleasure dealing with and getting

“Many are designed in-house by the

to know him and the Parlane team, and we

Parlane team or are exclusively procured

look forward to welcoming them on board.

from their high-quality international

We are excited about the future and have

suppliers. I am confident that the two

great plans to continue leading by design!”

2018, sales director Stuart Page has left to spend

Next revises outlook despite good Christmas

more time

Next has reported that its full-price sales

at home and

over the Christmas trading period (from

sales growth of +3.2% for the full year, and

start a new

28th October to 29th December) were in

has revised its profit guidance downwards,

venture on his

line with expectations and up +1.5% YoY,

by -0.6% – a difference of £4m, which


with strong sales in the three weeks prior

Next attributes to higher sales on seasonal

to Christmas and a good half-term holiday

products plus increased operational costs

taken up the position of national sales

week at the end of October making up

associated with its online sales.

manager at the business. Like Stuart,

for the retailer’s disappointing sales in

Philip brings a wealth of experience


Philip George

Consequently, Philip George has

to the company, and is set to help

While online sales were £17m (+2.2%)

The retailer expects to post full-price

Brexit fallout nothwithstanding, Next expects the year ahead to return a sales performance similar to what it saw in H2

grow the family of brands within the

ahead of expectations, retail sales were

2018 – physical retail sales down -8.5% and

Furmanac business.

£16m (-1.7%) behind.

online sales up +11%.

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News | 9

Willis & Gambier seeks buyer as parent exits UK Samson Holding, the parent company of

“We are looking to sell all or part of the

Peterborough’s Willis & Gambier, is to exit

business,” financial director, Elliott Li,

the UK marketplace by the end of April,

told Furniture News.

whereupon Willis & Gambier will cease operations. The parent company states that the

“We’re not in an administration situation, the company is still solvent – the parent company is ceasing its UK

decision was made following a year of

warehousing operation, so the model

“unprecedented market conditions” and

going forward would involve more direct

“significant soul-searching”. The report

business – but we welcome enquiries from

reads: “The UK, following the Brexit

interested parties.”

decision made in 2016, is facing extremely

Normal repeat orders taken up to and

challenging market conditions, with little

including 28th February will be supplied

sign of clarity. Furthermore, the change in

in the usual manner whilst stocks allow,

customer buying patterns and expectations

with deliveries completed by 31st March.

has added to the pressure placed on our division in the UK, Willis & Gambier.” Samson will continue have a presence in

“It was a difficult decision for Samson Holdings, but the group wants to adjust the focus of its global business,” says

the UK through hospitality and direct supply

Elliott, who also confirmed that Willis &

OEM projects, but these will be administered

Gambier would not exhibit at this year’s

from Asia.

January Furniture Show.

Dunelm cautious despite revenue growth Dunelm saw LFL revenue continue to grow in its Q2 (to 29th December 2018), concluding it up +9.0%. Store revenues rose by +5.7% YoY, while online grew +37.9%. Total growth at group level was +2.0%, reflecting the closure of the Worldstores and Kiddicare websites. Dunelm says it is now focused on its core offer, and continues to invest in its new Home of Homes marketing campaign and develop a stronger multichannel propostion – although later than expected, the retailer expects to launch its new website in Q4. H1 profits before tax are expected to be in the region of £70m, following an impairment charge of £3.8m in relation to the Fogarty brand. Nick Wilkinson, Dunelm’s chief executive, says: “Despite our strong

Harrison Spinks launches consumer campaign

performance in the year to date, we remain cautious on the outlook for the second half given the ongoing uncertainty in the UK economy. However, in the medium term, we see significant opportunity to grow the business by focusing on our customers and seizing opportunities in a digital world.”

Mattress Online helps combat homelessness Harrison Spinks launched its first-ever TV

agencies. We have repositioned the brand,

ad on Boxing Day as part of a multimillion-

developed a new website and launched our

pound consumer marketing campaign. The

True Bedmakers proposition.

TV spot follows the journey of a Harrison

“Our TV spot first aired on Boxing Day

Spinks mattress from farm to factory,

and is part of a wider six-month B2C

alongside one of the company’s hand-

initiative that spans print, radio, digital,

reared sheep.

PPC and PR. This is not only our first TV

Esme Westmoreland, head of marketing

campaign, it’s the first time we’ve created

at Harrison Spinks, says: “Our first-ever TV

an integrated consumer-facing campaign

and consumer marketing campaign is the

in our almost 180-year history.”

culmination of 18 months’ work from our in-house marketing team and supporting

Almost 1000 stockists have received instore PoS materials as part of the launch.

Mattress and bed retailer Mattress Online has donated over £2000 to national homeless charity Crisis. The donation, which totals £2496.18, was made following a campaign undertaken towards the end of 2018, where the retailer set aside £1 from every order received over a two-week period in December. In addition, Mattress Online’s staff also contributed to the total, with a bake sale held at the retailer’s headquarters. Mattress Online’s MD Steve Adams says: “We’re delighted to be making this

Glasswells raises funds for air ambulance A charity quiz night held by retailer

“The annual quiz night has become an

donation to what is an incredibly worthy cause. Crisis do exceptional work in supporting people out of homelessness at

Glasswells in December raised £950 for

important and much-anticipated event in

Christmas and throughout the year, and

the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Eighteen

Glasswells’ calendar,” explains MD Paul

we’re proud that we are able to support

teams, made up by members of staff at

Glasswell. “We are over the moon to have

them in doing so.

Glasswells, took part in the annual quiz,

raised such a significant sum of money

“Of course, we’re extremely grateful

which is now in its 12th year and has raised

for such a worthwhile cause – I cannot

to our customers who placed orders with

thousands of pounds for local and national

thank the staff enough for their continued

us during the period when this campaign


enthusiasm and generosity.”

took place.”

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10 | News

The Furniture Awards 2019 winners revealed

imm cologne achieves greater international reach

Following an extensive evaluation process, the winners of this year’s edition of The Furniture Awards have been chosen. Organised by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the January Furniture Show – and supported this year by the BFM and Orbital Vision – The Furniture Awards recognise the industry’s champion suppliers, based on the strength of the imm cologne (and its associated

executive of the Verband der Deutschen

LivingKitchen show) closed on Sunday 20th

Möbelindustrie (Association of the German

a shortlist, this year’s judges – Ross

January, and recorded a total of 150,000

Furniture Industry, VDM), says: “After

Beveridge (Archers Sleepcentre), Matt

visitors (including estimates on the final

a challenging 2018, this edition of imm

Hesketh (AHF), Malcolm Walker (FIRST

day of the events), with 52% of the trade

cologne was an outstanding event and a

MW) and Rob Scarlett (Furniture &

visitors coming from abroad, meaning the

successful trade fair that we as the industry

Print) – gathered to inspect the most

co-located events achieved a greater global

are very pleased with.”

promising entries in person, before

reach than ever.

new products launched at the event. After narrowing the entries down to

The events achieved significant rises in

Visitors attended from 145 countries,

trade visitor numbers from China (+23%),

and growth in overseas trade visitors was

North America (+15%) and South America

the winner was Sealy UK, for its

especially strong. But the trade fair duo also

(+29%). Within Europe, considerably more

Activsleep range, while Silentnight

attracted greater numbers of visitors from

industry professionals attended from Greece

was highly commended for its Eco

other European nations.

(+31%), Ireland (+30%) and Portugal (+31%)

returning their verdict. In the Mattresses & Divans Category,

Comfort Collection. The Bedroom

“These results underscore once again

Cabinet Category saw Wiemann take

that Cologne is the place to be for the global

the top spot, for its Monaco wardrobe,

world of interior design.

while Jual Furnishings was highly

“The past seven days have shown clearly

travelled to imm cologne and LivingKitchen. Specialist retailers and high-profile international visitors from the furnishings trade and interior design business were

commended for its San Francisco Smart

that it is here in Cologne that the industry

recorded as visitors, with many of them


sets the direction for the coming year,”

coming from the global top 30 chains.

says Gerald Böse, president and CEO of

Growth here was especially strong from the


UK, with visitors from DFS, Heal’s, John

In the Accents Category, Hartman UK took first place, for its Julia resin chair, while Thought Machine was

Echoing his comments, Jan Kurth, chief

Lewis, Hatfields and Kingfisher.

highly commended, for Saviour. In the Upholstery Category, the winner was Parker Knoll for Collection 150, while

John Lewis sees moderate growth over festive period

Alpha Designs was highly commended, for Nido. Finally, ALF won this year’s

John Lewis & Partners achieved gross sales

differentiated products and service to

Living & Dining Cabinet Category for its

of £1160m over the Christmas period (the


Fusello table, while Gallery Direct was

seven weeks to 5th January 2019) – up

highly commended, for Barcelona.

+2.5% YoY (+1.0% on a LFL basis).

“We continue to expect FY total partnership profits to be substantially lower

The trading period was defined by a

this year, driven by slower sales growth over

develop a photorealistic rendition of

longer Black Friday promotion, a strong

the year and margin pressure in John Lewis

their entry, courtesy of creative digital

week running into Christmas (including a

& Partners along with higher costs, mainly

agency, Orbital. Next month’s issue

record Christmas Eve in shops as customers

as a result of our continued investment in

of Furniture News will feature a full

took advantage of the full shopping

our IT capability.

analysis of each winning entry.

weekend) and an encouraging first week of

Each winner now has the chance to

prepare for the current pressures in retail

the market once again.

mean that the partnership has the financial

Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership,



“The actions taken in recent years to

clearance sales, and LFL sales outperformed

strength and flexibility to pay a modest

Sir Charlie Mayfield, comments: “Two

bonus this year, without impacting our

main factors are affecting the retail

ambitious investment programme. However,

sector - oversupply of physical space and

the board will need to consider carefully in

relatively weak consumer demand. Despite

March, following the usual process, whether

this, we had a positive Christmas trading

payment of a bonus is prudent in the light

period thanks to the extraordinary efforts

of business and economic prospects at that

of partners in our business, delivering




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Full pag Gallery

NEW IN for SS19 Launching brand new products for SS19 in all our ranges of furniture, home accessories, lighting, made to order, soft furnishings and wall décor.


FN359_Pages.indd Full page USE.indd 111 Gallery - Feb Issue FN.indd 1

28/01/2019 11:59 21/01/2019 08:46 17/01/2019 11:05:00

12 | News

Emma issues warning to rivals following strong quarter

New-look Lombok defies expectations

European Bed-in-a-box brand Emma

online mattress bubble has burst and if it

Mattress has reported its biggest grossing

is possible to grow a successful mattress

quarter in the UK since its launch in 2017.

brand without burning a significant

Lombok has issued a positive trading

The brand turned over £9.4m between 1st

amount of money.

update, in which it states that its new

October and 31st December 2018 – a YOY increase of 170%. Emma Mattress’ Boxing Day sale saw the

“These concerns have been borne out of the unsustainable strategies being adopted by our well-funded European bed-in-

brand sell one mattress every two minutes

a-box competitors. Spending heavily

during the 12-day promotion, generating

on advertising and building a brand at

£4.4m. Emma’s UK revenues have remained

the expense of marketing efficiency and

strong throughout the year, ending with

product quality is simply way to burn out

a +246% growth in turnover YOY, and

quickly. That’s why, at Emma Mattress,

contributing towards parent company

we’re proud to be bucking the trend and

Bettzeit Group’s annual revenues of €79m.

proving that, with a sustainable, long-

The company reports that it was the most

term business model, and a commitment

visited bed-in-a-box website in the UK,

to R&D and product development, the

France and the Netherlands in December

online mattress market can continue to

2018 (according to Similarweb data),


receiving +39.3% more visits than its closest

Commenting on the market outlook, he

management team and product ranges are continuing to drive the retailer’s growth. Lombok has bucked industry trends, with trading up +11% YOY for online and retail sales for Q4 2018. The retailer saw a particularly strong online performance in December, with sales up +45% on 2017, and this trend continued into the new year. In addition, Lombok says that retail sales have shown steady growth across Q4. The growth in online sales came from the Lombok’s furniture category,

adds: “We have already seen the warning

driven by new products in all ranges

signs for those bed-in-a-box brands who

such as upholstered beds, sofas and

Quiroga-Rivera, says: “Emma’s positive

do not operate a profitable and sustainable

armchairs. Other contributing factors

results are testament to our profitable and

business model.

have been higher-than-planned core

competitor. Co-founder of Emma Mattress, Benjamin

sustainable business model, which focuses

“For those competitors who continue

line sales, bolstered by Lombok’s new

on product quality, investment in R&D

not to heed these warning signs or are

brand identity. According to the retailer,

and efficiency when it comes to marketing

simply unable to turn their business

working with a new supplier in Europe,

spend. This comes at a time where some

model into a profitable format, we expect

where Lombok finds that lead times are

within the industry - and within investor

to see consolidation or dropouts within

shorter and QC easier to manage, has also

communities - are questioning whether the

the bed-in-a-box market in 2019.”

contributed to its success.

BFM summarises implications of no-deal Brexit The BFM has summarised a recent Government publication on the trading measures that would need to be put in place in the event of a no-deal Brexit, highlighting those aspects most relevant to the furniture industry. In summary, says the association, if they wish to continue trading with the EU, businesses will have to apply the same customs rules to goods moving between the UK and the EU as are currently applied in cases where goods move between the UK and a country outside of the EU. This means that the EU would require customs declarations on goods coming from or going to the UK, as well as requiring separate safety

Dunelm cautious despite revenue growth Dunelm saw LFL revenue continue to grow in its Q2 (to 29th December 2018), concluding it up +9.0%. Store revenues rose by +5.7% YoY, while online grew +37.9%. Total growth at group level was +2.0%, reflecting the closure of the Worldstores and Kiddicare websites. Dunelm says it is now focused on its core offer, and continues to invest in its new Home of Homes marketing campaign and develop a stronger multichannel propostion – although later than expected, the retailer expects to launch its new website in Q4. H1 profits before tax are expected to be in the region of £70m, following an impairment charge of £3.8m in relation to the Fogarty brand.

and security declarations for imports into the EU. Duty will be payable on certain goods, and changes will occur to VAT collections. The guide, which is available to the association’s members,

Airsprung invests in technology

identifies the steps companies need to take – whether that is

Airsprung Group has announced a £250,000 investment in machinery

when it comes to importing materials or exporting furniture.

at two of its companies. Cavendish Upholstery, the group’s sofa

It contains links to publications and sites where more

manufacturing operation based in Chorley, has taken delivery of a new

information can be obtained, and addresses particular issues

Lectra automated cutting machine. As well as increasing reliability, the

that affect certain products.

investment offers a considerably higher capacity to service the brand’s

Mike Dimond, the BFM’s director of membership affairs, says: “A lot of the required new trading measures cannot be

expanding customer base. Swanglen, the group’s headboard brand, recently installed a CNC

put in place overnight and if companies are concerned, they

cutting machine at its Bristol facility. This investment greatly increases

need to think about taking action now to prepare for a no-deal

the speed of production and reliability, and allows for greater flexibility


in new product development.

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18 | Events


HEIMTEXTIL SETS NEW BENCHMARK DESPITE HINDRANCES German textile fair, Heimtextil, which ran from 8-11th last month, concluded with a satisfied Messe Frankfurt reporting visitor numbers of around 67,500 (down from 70,000 in 2018) – a good performance given the obstacles in visitors’ way, says the organiser …


his year’s exhibition featured 3025 exhibitors from 65 countries, which faced up

to an uncertain economic outlook with positivity, and embraced the changes taking place across the event – including an optimised concept and new hall structure, taking Heimtextil to a new level and covering the entire exhibition site. “Exhibitors and visitors accepted the new trade fair concept with great enthusiasm and confirmed the trade fair’s position as the world’s most important meeting place for the industry,” says Detlef Braun, Messe

slight decline due to various reasons,

– particularly in the hotel and

Frankfurt board member.

such as difficult travel conditions

hospitality sector – as well as

on account of the storms in the

decorative and upholstery fabrics,

impressed the exhibitors, as did the

alpine region and airport strikes in

digital printing solutions and

number of new business contacts from



“The quality of the decisionmakers

156 countries, especially international

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A key focus was placed on

Next year’s Heimtextil – the show’s

ones – thus enabling Heimtextil to

sustainable textiles and the benefits

50th edition – will take place from

set a new benchmark. Around 67,500

of healthy sleep. In addition to

7-10th January 2020 in Frankfurt am

visitors ensured that there was a busy

its renowned trend show, the fair


atmosphere in the halls, despite a

also focused on contract business

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20 | Events


RESTRUCTURED BUYING HUB LOOKS TO THE FUTURE International consumer goods fair Ambiente returns to Frankfurt from 8-12th this month, covering three product areas – Dining, Living and Giving – and presenting a raft of inspirational features and seminars for forward-thinking retailers …


mbiente represents a

this year’s fair mean this momentum

trading locations for volume business

significant sourcing

is likely to be maintained.

outside of China.

The opening of Hall 12 at the

Following in the footsteps of

seeking anything from dining, cooking

Frankfurt exhibition grounds last

Denmark, France, Japan, the US,

and household items to furnishings

autumn has given the show’s

Italy, the UK and the Netherlands,

and fashion accessories.

organiser an opportunity to develop

the forthcoming Ambiente partner

a completely new show structure

country will be the Republic of India.

countries will be setting trends for

– visitors will now find Living and

This partnership will be reflected

2019 and beyond,” says Ambiente’s

Giving, with interior design including

across a wide range of products by

vice-president, Nicolette Naumann,

furniture, lighting and accessories, in

traditional crafts and artisans, curated

of the upcoming edition. “In 2018,

Hall 8, while Interiors & Decoration in

and designed by Jaipur-based Indian

Frankfurt attracted 4376 exhibitors

Hall 9 will feature all the above, plus

designer Ayush Kasliwal, and shown

from 88 countries, occupying over

design concepts and home textiles.

again in Galleria 1.

opportunity for any buyer

“Exhibitors from around 90

308,000m2 of gross exhibition

As always, the Ambiente Academy

space and demonstrating their new

established part of the international

will provide insights into current

developments and innovations for five

volume business taking place at

market developments, while key


Ambiente, and this year the Sourcing

trends across dining, cooking, living

and Dining area covers four levels

and giving will be presented by design

visitors from 168 countries, keen to

in Hall 10 – comprising some 1500

studio Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano

explore the broad product offer on

exhibitors from 55 nations in all, and

in Galleria 1.

display – and improvements ahead of

making Frankfurt one of the premier

That edition attracted 134,600 trade

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Global Sources is now a well-

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22 | Events


FABRIC EVENT PROMISES THE PERFECT MATCH The London Fabric Show returns to the Chelsea FC stadium at Stamford Bridge in Fulham from 4-5th next month, where it will present the trade with over 35 high-end fabric producers from the UK and Europe.


rganised and hosted by the

jacquard woven rugs and upholstery

years, the company is a leading UK

BFM, the two-day show –


velvet weaver, and produces over 750

taking place a little later

luxury velvets for upholstery and soft furnishings.

than usual this year due to a fixture

and textile manufacturers from

clash – gives manufacturers of

Belgium are among the many regular

upholstery, beds and soft furnishings

exhibitors. Beaulieu, Greenstreet

Lancashire-based company which

an opportunity to see high-end fabrics

and Muvantex are just some of the

specialises in bright wools, linens and

from some of the best mills, weavers

names from Belgium renowned for


and suppliers in Europe.

the quality of their textiles returning

Art of the Loom is another

Fabric treatments will be on display,

to the show this year – their fabrics

too – Spain’s Inter Fabrics promises

good number of visitors despite

include jacquards, linens, velvets and

to have every kind of fabric treatment

poor weather afflicting much of the

chenilles in traditional and modern

covered thanks to its well-known

UK. Those in attendance included


Aqua Clean brand, and produces its

Last year’s edition attracted a

Other returning European exhibitors

own extensive collections of fabrics

described the event as “a great

include Arruma Trapos from Portugal,

for a variety of industries, including

show”, and Alstons’ Matthew Cave,

Eurotex from Germany, Imatex from


who stated: “Great exhibition, plenty

Italy and Boyteks and Turman from

to see, easy to visit and knowledgeable


Steinhoff’s Kai Winders, who


Between them, they will present a

Jackie Bazeley, joint MD of the BFM, comments: “The London Fabric Show is now a firm fixture in the diary for

variety of natural fibre and mixed-

our upholstery and bed manufacturers.

Bill Beaumont Textiles, a leading

texture fabrics in plains, stripes,

It is the perfect opportunity to see a

brand in the soft furnishings industry

florals and abstracts, in soft and

varied and rich collection of fabrics

that supplies curtain fabrics, made-

vibrant colours.

from expert fabric producers in one

New exhibitors this year include

to-measure soft furnishings and

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Well-regarded Flemish fabric

Returning exhibitors from the UK

hit, with the added bonus of a first-

wallcoverings, and Ragolle, one of

include the Lancashire-based British

class venue.”

Belgium’s leading manufacturers of

Velvets. Producing velvets for over 80

28/01/2019 11:59 London BFMDe Fabri

Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th March 2019 Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS

See exclusive fabrics for upholstery and soft furnishings. Meet 35+ premier suppliers and producers from around the world. Attend the UK’s best fabric show.

For full information and to register your attendance go to: We look forward to welcoming you.

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24 | Events


FAIR COMMENT: CIFF GUANGZHOU Canton (or Guangzhou in Chinese) is China’s third largest city, the capital of Guangdong Province, and a flourishing commercial centre. It’s also the home of one of the world’s biggest industry events fairs, China International Furniture Fair (CIFF) …


aking place across two phases

Attendance: Each year, CIFF

trade, creating huge value for the

this year (the first from

(Guangzhou) attracts more than

world’s home furnishing industry.

18th-21st March, covering

190,000 importers and exporters, retailers, designers, architects,

Guangzhou will be promoted with an

the second, from 28th-31st March,

and other professionals from 200

image that integrates the content of

oriented towards contract, office and

countries and regions.

the entire furniture industry supply

manufacturing), CIFF Guangzhou,

In 2018, 195,082 visitors attended

chain represented there, portraying

which is sometimes referred to as

the show. Of the foreign visitors in

all five of the main categories with

“Asia’s furniture sourcing centre”, is a

attendance, more than 40% came

corresponding colours and iconic

gargantuan event that brings together

from Asia, about 30% from North

furniture pieces.

more than 4000 exhibitors and nearly

America, 18% from Europe, and 12%

200,000 visitors.

from Australasia, Africa and South

been further optimised. CIFF has


been upgraded across the five

The relocation of CIFF’s autumn edition to Shanghai in 2015 may

The edition featured 4122 exhibitors

The exhibition layout has also

main categories, as well as the

have widened the brand’s appeal

– CIFF (Guangzhou) 2019 will host

seven aesthetic spaces dedicated to

to international audiences, but the

over 4100 exhibitors from 41 countries

individual trends – high-end import,

Pazhou-based show comfortably

and regions, and covering the entire

design trend, whole house customised,

remains the business end of this

industry supply chain, from home

decor life, leisure life, efficient office,

Government-backed event. Furniture

furniture to raw materials.

and intelligent manufacturing.

What’s new? There are five notable

of X Species – New Arrivals of Global

New special features include: Oasis

News asked the show’s organisers for more details …

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Next is a new image. This year, CIFF

home furniture and furnishings, and

developments this year. First is a

Home Furnishing Brands; Ten Parallel

Identity: Founded in 1998, CIFF has

new theme – “The preferred choice

Lifestyles; Design Dream Show; and

run for 42 editions to date. Together

for the launch of new products and

Smart Home of Young People.

with the Shanghai edition, held in

trade” – which emphasises CIFF’s

Finally, the show’s services will

Honqiao each September, CIFF is a

ongoing commitment to offering a

enjoy an upgrade. This session hopes

one-stop trading platform for the

global platform that best launches

to further strengthen interactions

world furnishing industry’s product

innovations from quality brands and

with visitors, improving the exhibition

launches, domestic sales and exports.

facilitates domestic sales and foreign

layout and environment, and

28/01/2019 11:59


t: 0208 997 7397 e: Highbridge Oxford Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1HR





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019 11:34

Events | 27

enhancing the exhibition experience and the commercial atmosphere on-site. CIFF 2019 promises plenty of workshops and special events. Which of these are the must-attend attractions? To offer a preview of trends in the furniture world, CIFF will devote a large space to a rich programme of design brand activities, including the Home Furnishing Design Show, China Interiors & Decorations Conference, Global Garden Lifestyles Festival, and Office Life Theme Pavilion. Besides these, there are the other new special features already described. What are the advantages of exhibiting? CIFF constantly commits to offering a global platform that best launches exhibitors’ innovations, and takes great care to

CIFF is thus proving to be the proud

Can anybody attend?

welcome the sector’s professionals – a

leader and reflection of a rapidly growing

Yes. Visitors can pre-register on the official

growing number of foreigners among them.

China – not only from an economic point

website or WeChat account, whereupon they

In fact, over the years, CIFF (Guangzhou)

of view, but also, and above all, from the

will receive an email with a confirmation

has consistently come in first place, with

standpoint of a good living culture.

letter and QR code. After that, visitors can

It follows that all the latest Chinese

enter CIFF with the printed confirmation

compared to all other Chinese trade fairs,

trends and proposed products, which are

letter, or the QR code on their electronic

recording 30,000 foreign operators amid

increasingly sought-after in terms of design


its total of 200,000 visitors – which is

and quality, will be represented at the

testament to CIFF’s worldwide value.


the highest number of overseas buyers



Tel: (0044) 3885 1509 Email: 85 Teaguy Road, Annaghmore, Co. Armagh BT62 1LX DerrysFeb19.indd 1

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28 | Events


SYNERGY FROM CREATIVE DESIGN After a successful outing last October, Thailand’s three-in-one design trade fair, Style Bangkok, is following up with another edition, taking place from 17th-21st April at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC).


tyle Bangkok aims to bring together the newest in Thai

Cane Collection

homewares and furniture

design, together with fashion goods and gifts, in a celebration of creativity and innovation. The show strives to highlight lifestyle products which are uniquely Thai – those made from locally sourced materials, by local craftsmen. Yet the event also incorporates the work of international creatives, paving the way for lifestyle industries looking to enter the Thai marketplace. Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce (DITP) first launched Style Bangkok in 2017, effectively providing a 47,000m2

seniors, mothers, children and pets,

forum for over 1000 brands and

while also offering experiential

fostering an alliance between more

opportunities at the event.

than 24 organisations. The show now

In a world in which everything

brings together some 2000 exhibitors,

is increasingly interconnected, and

and is part of an initiative to establish

trends in one product category

Thailand’s design credentials on the

can easily influence another, Style

international stage.

Bangkok strives to present a full

One way Style Bangkok achieves


spectrum of lifestyle ideas, while

this is through its focus on inclusivity

promoting the emerging Thai design

– the fair’s Niche showcase, in

scene across south-east Asia and

particular, features products


specifically designed for active

Moonler Collection

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30 | Resources

Is digital technology killing high street shopping for all products, including furniture? Perhaps not, says Down Your High Street’s Daniel Whytock – Amazon’s investment in bricks-and-mortar stores, among others, suggests that the high street will be part of our retailing future. Yet technology will almost certainly play its part, no matter the size of your business …

How will technology shape the high street? “The technological future of the high street will not just be about large companies with expensive robot devices and AI”

Emotional responses – with robots

retailers must move fast, or be left behind.

we can track patterns and understand how

up more options in how we shop, but one

This can often leave many high street

behaviours are evolving.

thing that will not change is what motivates

Modern consumers want the best of both on- and o�ine shopping, particularly for something as personal as the furniture for their homes or as important as furniture for their o�ces. This means they want convenience, choice, and a diverse range of shops and businesses. Omnichannel retail that seamlessly integrates digital technology is the key to high street survival. However, retail tech is

is replacing high street, we also hear how robots will eventually replace people in customer service. This is unlikely to be the case. Robotics will certainly take over some roles in the retail industry, but this will only serve to enable more quality interaction with customers. For consumers, the internet has opened

moving so quickly that high street furniture

businesses feeling that the future is bleak –

As with the notion that internet shopping

There are already legacy data

our purchases. Customers need to have an emotional

particularly smaller independent retailers

management solutions and customer data

who cannot a�ord to take the same risks as

platforms (CDPs) available to retailers to

response to prompt them to buy, and

larger brands.

unify the data and make it available to users

interaction with another person is vital

However, the technological future of

in a way that is easily digestible. While these

to create an emotional connection. This is

the high street will not just be about large

tools are usually adopted by larger retailers

particularly important when the customers

companies with expensive robot devices and

with IT teams, there are cloud providers

are deciding how to spend a substantial sum

AI – it is rooted in a change of approach and

o�ering CDPs that can work for smaller

on furniture.

understanding, in low-cost technology and


data, and a unified approach to online and

In addition, the advance of the Internet of

AI and robotic devices can help customer service sta� be more responsive to

Things (IoT) will give easier, deeper insight

customers, by freeing them from the less

into products and customer behaviour. For

interactive aspects of their roles. In-

Data-driven future

example, shelves and storage units that

store robotics are already able to scan the

The number one investment furniture

can tell us how often products are picked

store for pricing corrections and tidy up

retailers need to make to navigate the

up/viewed and put down again will help

shelves and floors, freeing up sales sta� to

changing retail landscape is in data

establish the products that are drawing

concentrate on the customer interaction

collection and management.

interest but are not being purchased due to

and experience in order to make that all-

cost or lack of further information.

important sale.

o�ine high street shopping.

In your furniture business, you’ll already have databases, spreadsheets, social media

The blockchain also has the potential to

Much like robotic household devices such

page analytics, customer service call logs

transform retail data. A digital record of

as the Roomba vacuum cleaner, these robot

and emails – the challenge lies in unifying

data and transactions chronologically linked

store assistants are likely to become more

data silos. New technology is giving a

provides complete transparency for both

commonplace in shops of all sizes as the

more complete picture of customers’ (and

retailers and consumers right across the

technology advances and becomes more

potential customers’) behaviour, meaning

supply chain.


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32 | Resources

Robots will transform warehouses. As we

Behind the scenes

can continue to open and thrive across the country.

New technology will not only be a

are beginning to see in the large ecommerce

foreground feature of the customer

storage spaces owned by Alibaba and

experience, it will also play an increasingly

Amazon, robotic arms and interconnected

marketplaces can take for the demise of

big role in the logistics and stock storage

automated conveyor belts can pack and sort

the high street, their forward-thinking and

side of the business. For furniture retailers

hundreds of goods for deliveries at high

entrepreneurial spirit have gone some way

this will be especially helpful in saving


to reducing the barriers for furniture and

And, for all the blame that online

Employment in high street retail

other retailers to help grow their digital arm

reactive supply chain management to

warehouses will be transformed from

and feed in-store sales. As taxes for online-

complement more engaging customer

often-dangerous, low-skill work to highly

only sellers are imposed, they lose their cost


technical skill requirements for maintenance

advantage over bricks-and-mortar sellers,

and monitoring of technology – entry-level

making it easier for high street shops to

agile to survive difficult trading conditions

retail training is going to look very different

compete. More specialised marketplaces

and ensure they have enough stock for busy

in years to come.

created for bricks-and-mortar independents

money on space rental and provide fast,

Furniture retailers will need to be more

offer incentives and technical support

seasonal trading periods. New tech-led

tailored to their needs.

models of service can help cut warehouse

A future for all

costs with short-term and pay-as-you-go

Government and large corporations realise

pay models for storage space, resulting in

the value of keeping the high street alive in

future will look different, but it is driving

mobile storage which can easily be scaled up

the digital age, and are investing in more

a return to our retailing roots – individual

or down in response to changing stock levels

initiatives to support the UK high street

customer service and an experience to

and location requirements.

and ensure that a diverse range of business


Technology means the high street of the

THE AUTHOR Dan Whytock is the MD of, a free-to-join, low-commission online marketplace that is on a mission to save the UK’s high streets. hosts millions of products that were previously unavailable online, with managed services for UK independent high street shops, allowing sellers to create or integrate their online presence easily and seamlessly with total service support, saving retailers time and money.

AbbeylandsFeb19.indd 1

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11/01/2019 11:19

28/01/2019 12:00

Full pagObaby


AmyChilds Brand Ambassador for Obaby

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34 | Resources

What’s the secret of successful consumer marketing? After working for many years in the industry, AKA PR’s Jan Turner believes there is a golden bullet – stunning photography, presented by an imaginative PR team. And, thanks to the opportunities presented by social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, it’s more important than ever …

Why good photography is more important than ever Wow-factor photography is particularly relevant to anyone in furniture and furnishings, and critical for those in the industry who talk direct to the consumer. That’s because we’re not just in the business of making furniture and furnishings. We’re in the business of selling a lifestyle – and the best way to sell the

“Pinterest claims to be the top home decor site, with 60% using Pinterest for home decor decisions” A quick Google confirms just how rapidly

So, what’s new? While aspirational

billion home decor searches and saves per year, and 11 billion home decor pins. With a predominantly female user base (70% in 2017, according to Forbes) Pinterest says 72% of people state that the platform inspires them to shop when they aren’t actually looking for anything, and 70% say they discover new products there. And,

dream is with beautifully styled, aspirational lifestyle shots.

decor decisions – worldwide there are 2.3

both sites have grown – there’s a wealth

perhaps most impressively, 66% say they buy something after seeing a brand’s pins.

images have always been key to successful

of impressive statistics. According to

consumer marketing, the recent explosion

Instagram, experts believed it was on course

tool for those with the photography, the

of such picture-led social media platforms

to reach one billion monthly active users

time and the know-how to maximise what

as Instagram and Pinterest have made it a

by the end of 2018 – more than double the

is essentially a free service for reaching

requirement that is even more imperative.

monthly active users of Twitter and over

consumers actively looking for new ideas.

While Twitter and Facebook remain the most powerful platforms in terms of followers, Instagram and Pinterest

three times as many users as on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. With 95 million posts per day, Instagram

It all adds up to a powerful marketing

What is for sure is that both Pinterest and Instagram ‘eat’ imagery, so not only is it vital to have good images, but plenty

are manna from heaven for anyone with

says under-25-year-olds use the platform

of them, regularly refreshed. Videos too

products where the appeal is largely

for 32 minutes a day, compared to 24

are massively important, although the

aesthetic. And these platforms are growing

minutes per day for the 25s and older.

encouraging news is that these don’t

Pinterest, meanwhile, claims 250 million

at a phenomenal rate.

produced – many companies realise the only

top-notch photography, as it means

the UK alone) with 80% of people using

way to keep budgets down and content up is

they can further maximise their ROI by

its mobile app. “Pinners”, it says, “span

to do it themselves.

harnessing the power of both sites – with

the globe”, sharing a desire to seek out

Pinterest being a particular gift of an

helpful, inspiring ideas and plan for what’s

products, Pinterest also drives traffic and

opportunity. Launched in 2010, it allows

important in their lives – from home

is a great tool to help increase links back to

users to compile a virtual scrapbook of

decorating and furnishing ideas to easy

your website, which, in turn, drives more

images, ideas and products they like by

dinner recipes or the perfect pair of shoes.

traffic. This clearly relies on good content

curating images and videos. You can join Pinterest as an individual or a business.

Pinterest claims to be the top home decor site, with 60% using Pinterest for home

Instagram is similar to Facebook or Twitter in that it is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos


necessarily have to be professionally

users every month (10 million-plus in

This is great news for companies with

As well as providing a showcase for

– creating and sharing content that your audience likes means they’re more likely to follow your links. And that all starts with creating great visuals. Back to that word again – and the need to

from a smartphone. So, while it’s a definite

showcase products in the most aspirational,

opportunity for visually showcasing

lifestyle-based way. Because whether it’s for

products, Pinterest is an altogether different

use across traditional or digital platforms,

proposition, much loved by people seeking

editorial or advertising, websites or POS,

out ideas and inspiration for all kinds of

on-trend, great photography will reap

new product – especially for revamping the

dividends for companies with the vision to


budget for it.

THE AUTHOR As well as a regular correspondent for the National Bed Federation (NBF), Jan Turner is the director of PR for AKA PR. Established more than 20 years ago and based in Skipton, Yorkshire, AKA specialises in traditional and digital PR for the home furnishings sector.

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36 | Resources

Much is said of the importance of digital transformation to modern businesses – TSG’s Natasha Bougourd argues that technology is essential to furniture manufacturers wishing to meet changing customer demand …

How customer behaviour is driving digital transformation Digital transformation is the business

Whilst buyer habits are changing rapidly

(AR) is becoming a huge trend in the sector

priority of the moment, with a particular

and therefore proving challenging for the

– most notably Ikea’s implementation of

resonance in the furniture manufacturing

industry, consumer demand for furniture is

the technology. Whilst customers can’t

industry. We’ve experienced a seismic

growing – total consumer spend increased

test their furniture for feel and comfort

shift in buyer habits, with research and

+24% between 2012 and 2016, according to

online, AR adds an element that wouldn’t be

transactions now overwhelmingly carried

the Furniture Industry Research Association.

available in-store – the ability to visualise

out online – respondents to a 2018 Royal

In order to succeed and ensure a share in

how furniture would look in the buyer’s home.

Mail survey said they carried out 80% of

what is an undeniably competitive market,

their shopping digitally. And of those online

furniture manufacturers and designers must

shoppers, a significant portion shop on their

adapt to buyer demands – and, with the

in with existing decor and get an idea of

mobiles, presenting new challenges to the

visible shift to online shopping, ecommerce

the space the items could take up. Interior


is more important than ever. The Royal Mail

companies including CTD Tiles and B&Q

survey found that over half of all online

have also experimented with visualiser tools

digital-first world, a number of leading

shoppers do so to compare prices and

that will allow customers to see how, for

businesses have turned to managed IT

explore their choices.

example, their chosen floor tiling will look.

In order to prioritise adapting to this

services. High-street stalwart Marks &

There’s no doubt that showrooms and

Shoppers can see how items could fit

This new shopping experience lends itself

Spencer has committed to a five-year

stores are still essential, as a lot of key

well to the increase in mobile shopping,

Technology Transformation Programme

furniture-buying experiences are lost

with many vendors launching AR mobile

which saw 250 IT-based roles move to

online – the touch and feel, the comfort


an external IT provider in March. The

test, and importantly, the look and size of

programme is designed to save the company

the furniture. That’s why augmented reality

Manufacturers that take care of their own delivery and installation must also ensure

£30m, as well as make the retailer “faster,

they meet buyer demands. The Royal Mail

simpler and more focused on achieving a

study further found that 84% of online

seamless customer experience”, according

shoppers make decisions heavily based on a

to CEO Steve Rowe.

business’ delivery rating – factors include

Through its transformation programme,

cost, speed and reliability. Buyers are more

M&S aims to focus on “delivering digital-

prepared than ever to pay extra for delivery

first retailing across [all] stores and offices”,

and setup, so it’s vital that furniture vendors

with technology as the driving force.

get this service right.

As one of the highest performers in

With so much to focus on, it’s only

the UK at the moment, with the industry

natural that furniture manufacturers look

producing its highest output in 10 years

to offload less profitable functions like IT

(according to ONS data), the manufacturing

support to managed IT service providers.

sector is taking a similar approach. The

There are a number of ways in which the

furniture sector, specifically, has seen YoY

furniture industry can acclimatise to the

growth of +8%, representing a positive

digital-first world – but there’s no question

future for designers and manufacturers

that to thrive in the sector, adapting is a



THE AUTHOR Natasha Bougourd is the lead applications writer for TSG, an IT support company that has expertise across a wide range of technologies and has helped businesses achieve GDPR compliance through the use of technology. From O�ce 365, Sage and Pegasus ERP solutions to IT support, infrastructure and cybersecurity solutions, TSG’s skilled workforce works across all areas of business technology

FN359_Pages.indd 36

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38 | Profile

Part of the Autumn/Winter 2018 collection

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Profile | 39

Bold moves Abbeylands Furniture – best known in the trade for its Scatter Box home interiors brand – celebrates four decades of business this year. Last month, in a rare moment of reflection between Heimtextil and the January Furniture Show, MD Caroline Horgan took the time to speak to Furniture News about the company’s past, present and future …

Scatter Box is one of Ireland’s leading designer furnishings brands. Based in Navan, County Meath, the 31-strong Abbeylands team creates everything from cushions and throws to art and occasional furniture for the domestic and contract marketplaces, while offering local manufacturers fillings from the company’s own foam conversion unit. Established in 1979 by Danny Fitzpatrick, Abbeylands began life as a furniture manufacturer, but was forced to diversify its offer 12 years ago, and hasn’t looked back since … Caroline Horgan What prompted the decision to diversify? Abbeylands was established by my father as a convertor/supplier of foam and fibre for the manufacturing industry, and I took over the company upon his retirement in 1999. However, over the following years, it was devastating to see the trade dying and factories closing due to the growth of leather imports. It wasn’t really an automatic decision to move into soft furnishings, but we looked at all the products that fitted within our resources and factory capabilities, such as sewing and fillings – and we started to produce beautiful sample products inhouse, like futons, beanbags and cushions.

“The Irish consumer is well travelled, and we have more returning expats bringing their aspirations for something new and different in their homes”

Despite our diversification, the last decade of overall global economic downturn has made surviving in the industry a real challenge – but we haven’t ever rested on our laurels. We continued to assess the market’s needs, offering our lookbooks as part of our USP that we follow fashion trends and source worldwide. We’ve launched new products, adding art and occasional furniture to the Scatter Box brand last year. This is part of our strategy to move towards offering a complete accessories solution.

But, of course, we had no customers, and no sales or design team. Sales and

cushions and throws, and relaunched at the

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen

market demand were our first challenge,

January Furniture Fair at the NEC in 2006 as

in the soft furnishings industry?

so we made approaches to major retailers

a trendy new brand – Scatter Box. We came

In terms of design and colour trends in

such as Dunnes stores to supply them with

away with a full order book and plenty of

recent years, fashion and home are now

own-label products. We were successful in


competing neck and neck. Scatter cushions

securing large orders from a few groups,

This in itself created problems, as while

in particular have become an integral part of

and that gave us a start. But we needed

we had the capabilities, the culture and

home décor – and you can see this in high

more mid-market customers, so, because

nature of foam supply was on a JIT basis –

street retailers such as Zara, River Island

it was what we knew, we decided to target

but textiles needed planning and production

and H&M, who have all moved into the

furniture retailers.

budgeting as well as a competitive materials


Abbeylands exhibited in Dublin in September 2005, with a full selection

supply chain from Asia and Europe. We learned from this, and invested

Traditional furniture retailers also recognise the value of soft furnishings in

of products and memory foam pillows.

in people with the skill to manage the

enhancing their upholstered furniture. With

The reaction to our soft furnishings was

process of supplying to retailers (rather

the trend in the past few years of using

amazing, but the feedback we received was

than manufacturers). The costs associated

plain-colour bases in upholstery furniture,

asking for a more co-ordinated range, so

rose substantially, but we undertook lean

sofa and bed buying decisions can often be

we went back to the drawing board and

manufacturing strategies to ensure we were

influenced by decorative pillows, and these

came up with a collection of co-ordinated

operating at our keenest costs.

in turn are influenced by fashion colours.

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40 | Profile

The emergence of digital printing has changed the versatility of design choices in fabrics – unique designs can be produced in the small quantities needed for scatter cushions. However, despite the higher costs, we also see increasing demand for digital printing in fabrics for curtains and bedding, as designs can be changed more quickly to keep up with demand for fashion trends and keep fresh products coming through the stores. Can you share any tips on upcoming colour/pattern trends? We’ve always been bold in our colours, and our original handpainted floral designs have been a staple within the collections. This year, the floral trend is more for bold watercolour looks, but we’ve taken inspiration from the huge trend in fashion of animal prints. As well as the classic black/cream, we’ve taken the key colours for 2019 – greens, blues, teals, yellows, mustards, greys, blush, orange and coral – and added colour to animal-inspired patterns. We’ve seen trends using nature in all aspects – our new collection comprises designs with leaves, feathers and birds (look closely and you’ll even see fish!). Velvet is still a key base fabric that we don’t see changing for a few years, as

Part of the Spring/Summer 2019 collection

it is reasonable to produce and durable. However, fabric mills are developing new mixes of fabrics, with some viscose yarns and textures adding sheen and interest to fabrics. The classic fringe is also making a

“In terms of design and colour trends, fashion and home are now competing neck and neck”

comeback, as it adds perceived value to what were plain piped cushions. they love to see newness. Where does your team look for design

The design and sampling process means


we need to work six to nine months in

Last year alone we attended 14 different

advance of new releases.

accessory displays as essential– not only for sales, but to the overall store appearance and customer experience. Online is also important – you not only need the flat shot of the product, but a mood

trade fairs, and in each country we also researched the shops in the major cities –

How are soft furnishings displays changing

setting image, too. Photography has become

for example Paris, London, Amsterdam,

in retail?

an additional but essential expense for our

Montreal and New York. We look not only

In Ireland, all the major furniture retailers


at home offers, but at fashion and wallpaper.

are investing in new shop fit-outs which

Enterprise Ireland run fashion workshops

include dedicated accessories areas. The

How is the Irish furniture and furnishings

in design and colour, and we buy their trend

salespeople now see the value of selling

market developing in contrast to its UK

books and have access to their database.

cushions or art as an upsell – or even, as


However, the real heart of our inspiration

I previously mentioned, something that

While there isn’t a massive difference

is based on our team’s gut instinct when

clinches the consumer’s decision to buy.

overall to what can sell in either, there is a

it comes to introducing new colours – the

This trend is also visible in the UK. We’ve

big lift in demand within the Irish market

number one criteria is that we have to love

attended the opening of some beautiful

that we don’t see in the UK. This is mainly

it. Commercially, we have to look at what

new stores and refits in UK garden centres

due to new housing and refits to tackle

sold last year, what our customers liked and

such as Blue Diamond and Klondyke, plus

the huge housing shortage we experienced

how we move it on without being the same

retailers including Dwell and Barker &

during the recession. There were several

– we have a base to work from, but we know

Stonehouse, to name but a few. They see

new stores opened in 2018 – and there

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Profile | 41

are more to come in 2019 – from the key

We hope that our first European

plus improving our marketing material,

exhibition will result in us winning more

contributed to an increase in turnover of

customers in each European city and

+15% and higher profitability. However,

we have more returning expats bringing

securing more business for the next decade

there was a decline in some areas (like ready

their aspirations for something new and

of Abbeylands!

made curtains and fabrics), so in 2019 we

players in our market. The Irish consumer is well travelled, and

need to keep monitoring sales and trends

different in their homes. There is a challenge for the buyers to have different styles and

Have you been able to Brexit-proof your

and continue to invest in new product. For

brands within these stores – exclusivity,

business at all?

example, we are developing a new product


I don’t think anyone really can at this stage,

range to launch at the Irish Furniture &

but we’re certainly not just going to wait

Homewares Show (IFHS).

Why did you decide to exhibit at Ambiente this year?

and see. We are working with Enterprise Ireland’s

We are also investing more in marketing. Retailers are paying more attention to their

The UK is still our most important export

Brexit team, who are keeping us up to date

store concepts, and we want to support

market and we exhibited at the January

on all of the latest information. We know

them by making it easier to co-ordinate

Furniture Show 2019 with a bigger stand

what the worst scenario is – if there are

their ranges. To this end, we now view our

– but this year we decided to look at an

tariffs introduced – and we are working

marketing material in two ways – firstly as

alternative to Spring Fair in order to meet

with our logistics companies as they are key

a basic buying tool, but secondly also as a

with more international customers.

to overcoming customs delays and extra

selling tool. We want to show high-quality

We’ve researched all the European trade

administration. We dispatch daily to the UK

photography, key trends and the end use of

fairs, and with the timing of shows, stands

with a two-day delivery, so any delays may

our product to tell a story – showing how

offered and costs, we decided on Ambiente

potentially affect our business – but we are

to style our product together, prompting

[taking place in Frankfurt from 8-12th

looking at alternative solutions, and haven’t

customers to really buy into our brand.

February], and trust this will be a fruitful

ruled out a UK distribution centre.

We are keeping key colours in the same shades to run through the next season, so

decision. What plans do you have for the rest of

our retailers will be still be able to combine

we’re equipped to handle extra capacity


our new collections with their existing

– and we’re committed to allocating the

This is our 40th anniversary year, and we

ranges and allow their consumers to mix

resources needed for follow-up, whether

want to celebrate it as well as increase

and match styles to their own selections.

that means boots on the ground, or not. It

business. We achieved a lot in 2018 – the

will all depend on lead generation.

introduction of art and occasional chairs,

When it comes to export, from production

“In Ireland, all the major furniture retailers are investing in new shop fit-outs which include dedicated accessories areas”

Part of the Spring/Summer 2019 collection

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44 | Profile

Essentials by Kettle Interiors’ GAO Dining

Essential expansion promises maximum margins This year’s January Furniture Show certainly provided the usual mix of highly commercial furniture ranges – and in few places was this more apparent than on Kettle Interiors’ stand, where the supplier not only launched the MN Dining and MN Bedroom collections, but also a completely new brand ready to transform the way furniture is sold … With the launch of Essentials by Kettle

without compromising the success of

Mirror and Chair collections. Each new

Interiors, a brand aimed at delivering ranges

retailers favouring our mainstay ranges.

collection enters the market at a price that

designed to take on a very competitive

“The answer is the new brand you see

ensures price-driven promotions can still

marketplace, Kettle Interiors has made

today, Essentials by Kettle Interiors. It

deliver good margins for bricks-and-mortar

a firm commitment to giving furniture

represents everything that retailers have

retailers, while ecommerce and discount

retailers of all sizes the best chance of

come to love about Kettle Interiors – the

retailers can benefit from high-value

driving sales through entry-level value.

quality of items and efficiency of service

furniture all-year round.

Each collection from Essentials by Kettle

– but with fundamental differences to

It is this flexibility that Simon is keen

Interiors comes with this promise in mind,

make furniture under the brand even more

to stress: “Naturally, with Kettle Interiors

without forgetting the supplier’s reputation

obtainable for consumers across the country.

we’ve enforced pricing policies to protect

for quality and service. Simon Ainge, sales director, picks up the

“We’ve kept the essence of our mainstay collections but engineered new

thread: “Ranges such as LO, NT, NTP and

constructions and adapted sizes to match

TT have become a reliable source of sales for

the very best entry-level furniture.

many furniture retailers, but as competition

“The goal is to make sure that every

our main customer base, but with Essentials by Kettle Interiors, the gloves are off. “With our Essentials by Kettle Interiors collections, there’s no restriction on price, and so retailers can promote mind-

and price-driven promotions have become

Essentials by Kettle Interiors piece meets the

blowingly low special offers to drive footfall,

fiercer than ever, we knew that there was

demands of today’s first-time homeowners,

or use the collections as great-value

more work to be done to ensure that Kettle

renters and consumers wanting the very

mainstays catering to serve the entry-level

Interiors maintained its position as one of

best value.”

market. This flexibility makes Essentials

the UK’s premier furniture suppliers. “So, back in early 2018 we began thinking of the best way to solve the dilemma,

FN359_Pages.indd 44

Essentials by Kettle Interiors has launched

ideal for all retailers, whether on the high

with three dining ranges, four styles for

street, operating out of town or selling

the bedroom and new introductions to the


28/01/2019 13:09

Profile | 45

Essentials by Kettle Interiors’ RAO Bedroom

The GAO Collection

The RAO Collection

The RA Collection

Offering 21 items for dining and occasional

In a rustic oak finish with antique-effect

Sharing the same lines as RAO, the RA

and 12 items for bedroom, The GAO

cup handles and rounded corners, the RAO

Collection from Essentials by Kettle Interiors

Collection’s stylish looks are set to appeal

Collection brings traditional style to modern

features an attractive dove grey paint finish

to shoppers hunting for modern furniture.

homes, in 12 bedroom and 21 dining pieces.

and contrasting oak tops. Finished with

Featuring rounded corners, with bevel

Taking the Essentials by Kettle

chrome cup handles, the range captures the

detailing to the tops and tapered legs, GAO is

Interiors mantra of impressive value, this

essence of classic English furniture and is

full of detail, underlining that the Essentials

aggressively priced collection is ready to

available with 20 pieces for dining and 12

by Kettle Interiors ranges not only offer

bring high-value oak to the home. Like the

for the bedroom. Proportioned for modern

impressive value, but also on-trend looks.

other Essentials by Kettle Interiors ranges,

homes, The RA Collection aims to make

This natural-finish oak collection has been

RAO is is available through the company’s

painted-style furniture more accessible than

crafted in proportions to suit today’s homes.

Wholesale, Stockist and Container options.


Essentials by Kettle Interiors’ RA Bedroom

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46 | Profile

The BP Collection The final range to come from Essentials by Kettle Interiors this season, the BP Collection comes in both classic white and moonlight grey paint finishes and brings clean, simple sophistication to any bedroom. With sculpted cornices, elegant feet and pewter-effect handles, this collection offers 12 bedroom pieces in each colour. The MN Collection A new introduction to Kettle Interiors’ portfolio, the MN Collection is a blend of classic styling and current trends. Oak tops are paired with soft grey-painted

Essential by Kettle Interiors’ BP Bedroom

cabinetry, adorned with chrome handles. Featuring detailing from top to toe, including carved legs and bun feet, this collection comes with 15 dining and

MN Living

occasional pieces and 13 bedroom items. Elsewhere, Kettle Interiors has expanded The Mirror Collection, with new styles joining the range, including round window, leaner window, small arched window, large arched window and narrow arched window mirrors. Available individually boxed for convenience, The Mirror Collection is so competitively priced that it now forms part of the Essentials by Kettle Interiors portfolio. The Chair Collection has also grown, with the introduction of two new styles – a studded dining chair with tweed fabric, and a button-and-studded dining chair, available in either grey or beige.

“This year certainly represents a

homeowners, the brand represents an

With aggressive pricing across all styles,

major milestone for Kettle Interiors, and

excellent opportunity for retailers of all

including office chairs and stools, the range

we’re hugely excited by the launch of

shapes and size to bring their customers

joins The Mirror Collection by now being

the Essentials by Kettle Interiors brand,”

unbeatable value.

part of the Essentials by Kettle Interiors

continues Simon. “Now bringing our style,


quality and service to a new audience of

“We’ve ensured that there’s no compromise on style, so whether the modern oak of GAO or the classic style of RA, ranges from Essentials by Kettle Interiors will look great in any shop window or landing page, leading the charge with always-great value on every piece. “Combined with our Kettle Interiors ranges, including the new MN Collection and favourites such as LO, NT, NTP and TT, we now offer arguably the UK’s widest range of furniture, at price points that ensure retailers can cater for a broad range of budgets. “More than this, retailers can order any combination across Kettle Interiors and Essentials by Kettle Interiors, safe in the knowledge that every single item comes fully backed with our proven and flexible service.”

The Mirror Collection now forms part of the Essentials by Kettle Interiors portfolio

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28/01/2019 13:09

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28/01/2019 15/01/2019 12:00 10:52

48 | Profile



Nathan lands in style at AIS show Next was Tiverton, a sophisticated

Supplying quality furniture to the retail sector since 1916, teak and hardwood

painted living and dining collection,

specialist Nathan Furniture demonstrated

featuring attractive parquet-style tops. Finally, there was the Somerdale

its ability to meet modern demands by launching four new eye-catching collections

bedroom range – an extension to the

at the AIS Furniture Show last month.

popular Somerdale dining collection from

The first of these, Palma living and dining

Nathan’s Charlton’s brand, Somerdale is

and Palma bedroom, are modern industrial-

a quality painted collection which brings a

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50 | Profile

Direct model promises to empower retail

Bruna Martins in Artisan Furniture’s silver embossed armchair in crushed velvet

Online drop-shipping platform Artisan Furniture connects factories directly to retailers, promising struggling sellers an opportunity to sell online and profit without investing in stock – backed up by trending designs, state-of-the-art technology and an advanced imports infrastructure. Manager Bruna Martins explains how the business works … Artisan furniture is a British company

size, design, style, wood finish, paint and

and styles. These ideas are then shared with

based in London, which was launched in

fabric. All our products are handmade, and

our factory to create product prototypes,

October 2016. Our founder, Amit Basu, saw

the entire sourcing process is carried out

which are converted into commercial

a niche in the market to directly empower

directly from our own manufacturing units

products. These are then delivered straight

troubled retailers by supplying excellent-

and craftsmen.

to the end consumer’s doorstep on behalf of our trade customers. By directly linking

quality handmade furniture directly from our factory in Jaipur, India, bypassing

We source all our products from our own

factories and retailers, our process allows

conventional importers, wholesalers and

factory. However, we are planning to add

Artisan Furniture to be a hassle-free online


factories in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.

sourcing module.

By socially empowering our artisans and We primarily offer solid wood as well

craftsmen, we encourage them to utilise

There are plenty of benefits to working

as upholstered, industrial and painted

their skills to create top-quality products.

with us. We offer free delivery within three working days, with no minimum order for

furniture. In addition, we offer our customers the option of bespoke orders,

For further inspiration, Amit and I regularly

value or volume. This means our customers

where products can be customised in

visit trade shows in search of new trends

benefit from not having to worry about

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Profile | 51

storage space or delivery costs. Customers

marketplace module, in which multiple

our nascent New Jersey operations to create

can also benefit from our Click & Collect

factories and retailers are hosted in a

a delivery mechanism that covers America

service (minimum order values apply),

stockless, seamless, profitable ecosystem.

and Canada. There’s plenty going on!

which allows them to collect directly from

We also aspire to establish a fulfilment

our warehouse, eliminating any delivery

centre in Kassel, Germany, by late 2019.

T 0800 689 4736


Furthermore, we are planning to scale up

We take shipping safety seriously. Over the past few months we have developed a solid proof packaging method which is 100% mail

Classic English chesterfield armchair in multi-tweed

order compliant, followed by a stringent drop test covering all angles from 1m high to ensure every product is safely delivered – which gives us a damage rate of less than 3%. We like to give new customers the best possible impression of the quality of our products (and this is especially important, given our lack of a showroom), so we take all the necessary measures to present them in their truest form – we have multi-angle images of each product, using 3D renders alongside digital and lifestyle images. In certain instances, we invite customers to visit our office, where we have a few iconic pieces. Over the next five years, we aim to strengthen Artisan Furniture’s reverse UK

“Our founder saw a niche in the market to directly empower troubled retailers by supplying excellentquality handmade furniture directly from our factory in Jaipur”

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Bruna with Artisan’s shoe storage unit with tweed top and bun feet

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BEDS & BEDROOM The BP Collection from Essentials by Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, offers bedroom furniture in a classic white or moonlight grey paint finish. Adding clean, simple sophistication to any bedroom, the range features sculpted cornices and elegant feet, and comes finished with pewter-effect handles. Offering 12 pieces in each colour, and proportioned for today’s modern homes with many items suitable for one-man delivery, this new variant is aggressively priced and, as with all Essentials by Kettle Interiors collections, the product is suitable for headline promotions. Available through Kettle’s Wholesale, Stockist and Container packages (and ready for fast delivery from UK stocks), The BP Collection joins three new dining collections and three other new bedroom ranges now available through Essentials by Kettle Interiors.

ASG (07377 074488, offers high-quality, commercial furniture at prices that enable retailers to thrive in a fiercely competitive marketplace. New lines are regularly added to ASG’s portfolio to help its customers maintain a competitive advantage. Its portfolio comprises furniture for the home, garden and storage, plus decor. Various customisation options are available, even to smaller customers. To fulfil its promise of profitable, hassle-free partnerships, ASG’s China-based team draws on more than a decade of supply chain management experience, covering market analysis, product development, logistics, quality and pricing control, and works closely with reliable manufacturers to deliver winning product and fulfilment solutions, time after time.

Misura, one of the latest VIP ranges introduced by German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann (enquiries@, www.wiemannuk., combines practicality with impressive designs. The wardrobes feature half-height slider doors with drawers below to provide a space-saving solution. Consumers can choose from two-, three- or four-door combinations from 1.65-3.3m in width. Misura is available in white and white glass, pebble grey and pebble grey glass, dark havana and a glass havana finish, or a combination of these plus mirrored doors. The VIP collection also features soft-closing doors and a smart greystriped interior finish as standard. LED interior lighting plus additional storage facilities including trouser, utensil and tie rack pull outs can be added. All of this comes with Wiemann’s customary attention to detail in quality and respected sales support, including nationwide home delivery and installation.

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G IVING YO U R CU S TOM E R THE B E S T CH O I CE • Extensive range of beds • UK made • 50 colour choices on each bed

T: 01274 571 077

• All available with matching buttons or diamante • Ottoman version available on all models





Steve Johnson 07508 852572

Sara Haines 07916 164624

Stephen Fownes 07850 431604

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18/12/2018 12:00 09:16 28/01/2019



Launching in bedroom and dining varieties, The RA Collection from Essentials by Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@ offers a dove grey paint finish and contrasting oak tops, capturing the essence of today’s trends. Finished with chrome cup handles, the RA Collection offers 20 pieces for dining and 12 for bedroom, each proportioned to work within the modern home. As part of the Essentials by Kettle Interiors brand, The RA Collection enters the market at a price to ensure that price-driven promotions and everyday low pricing can be enjoyed in stores and online, making the popular classic style of the furniture truly accessible. Mostly suitable for one-man delivery, the range meets the demands of today’s first-time homeowners, renters and consumers.

Portugal’s Aleal ( has created luxury furniture and accessories since 1975, and its collections have been installed in residences worldwide, as well as in exclusive commercial and hospitality projects. Using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology at its factory in the north of Portugal, Aleal takes high-quality woods, metals, glass, lacquers, leathers and fabrics, and combines them to produce an array of sleek furnishings – from cabinet furniture and upholstery to mirrors and accessories.

This Easter treat the one you love to a Special Chair...

High Back Slat Granddad Chair Ref. 122

Slat Back Rocking Chair Ref. 126

High Back Fiddle Granddad Chair Ref. 123

Fiddle Back Rocking Chair Ref. 127

Smoker’s Bow Chair Ref. 125


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56 | Dining Room

Corndell (, one of the UK’s largest furniture suppliers, has been based in the Cotswolds for over 30 years, and creates ranges which combine quality, choice and strong design. From classic to modern, in oak or painted, Corndell offers furniture to suit every home, and extra touches can be added to many of its ranges, thanks to the variety of colour and handle choices on offer.

This season sees Ireland’s Vida Living ( launch several new ranges for the home, including new contemporary dining lines. The company’s sofa offering has been particularly enhanced with the arrival of some striking corner groups boasting contemporary fabrics that sit well with the latest trends.

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Beech Nordic (available in any painted colours)


Oak Farrington upholstered (also available in Beech)

Beech Farmhouse Spindle (also available in Slats and Fiddles)


Beech Amish

T: 01604


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Beech Amish painted and upholstered

E: or

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LIVING ROOM Having searched the world for the finest makers of porcelain, ceramic, marble and glass lamps, David Hunt Lighting’s ( Alchemist Collection invokes a spirit of travel and exploration, while complementing the company’s Cotswold heritage. Headlining the new additions to the collection are the Nomad, Inca and Apache table lamps, crafted from Portuguese Pele de Tigre marble, which boasts striking blue-grey veining. Marble is a natural material with distinctive variation in colouration and markings, so David Hunt Lighting’s Pele de Tigre products are defined by their uniqueness. Finished with wood detailing, these natural materials boast a timeless elegance that suits a range of interior styles. These new designs see The Alchemist Collection grow to over 30 different glass, ceramic, porcelain and marble pieces.

Nomad, Inca and Apache marble table lamps

Shankar’s (01902 399764, new Dorchester sofa range has been bolstered, thanks to the addition of two new colours and plain buttons replacing the existing diamante option. The models are available in quality brushed velvet in three colours – grey, ocean blue and green. The range has an emphasis on clean lines and offers stud detailing around the front, back and sides. Each model is finished with polished chrome legs, lending the collection further opulence. The armchair comes complete with a cushion and two bolsters, while the chaise comes with a single bolster. The sofas all come with two cushions and bolsters, and the fhe range also includes a stylish footstool.


Last year was a tough one for much of the furniture industry,

MD Mike Aramayo comments: “2018 was a difficult year, with

but that did not prevent Buoyant (01282 691631, www.buoyant-

consumer confidence seriously knocked by the Brexit saga – but I from going from strength to strength. Buoyant

am confident that Buoyant’s exciting new range will help retailers

enjoyed “excellent” results at this year’s January Furniture Show,

stimulate the consumer’s interest in spending again. Our value-for-

with its new product launches – such as Dazzle, Roko and Prince –

money, on-trend models and fabrics are just what the market needs

being extremely well received.

in 2019.”

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60 | Advertorial

The Tulip coffee table is made of oak wine barrels


Where old meets new Based in southern Poland at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, upcycled contemporary furniture collective Due may be surrounded by mass production facilities, but its approach to manufacturing couldn’t be more different … The furniture industry is extremely resource-hungry, and as the world’s fourth-largest furniture manufacturing nation, Poland boasts more than its share of factories that are reliant on wood from its forests. This timber is commonly used to create chipboard panels and other components – but, for a growing company based in Nowy SÐcz, the material has much more value when it comes in more natural forms. Polish furniture manufacturer Due works with a network of around 50 local workshops and specialist craftspeople to bring a growing portfolio of contemporary furniture designs to life. Although modern in style, each model boasts a rustic, timeless quality, thanks to the timber from which it is made.

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A concept of natural harmony Due was established by Polish entrepreneur Jarosław Kowalik, whose passion for wine led him one day to muse what could be done with aged oaken wine barrels that had fulfilled their purpose. He also looked around his region and saw the many old wooden cottages that were being demolished to make way for new homes. Surely, he asked, all the strong, warm timber that was going to waste in these two sources could be given a new lease of life? Furniture was Jarosław’s immediate vision, and he began designing and making pieces as a hobby – but, driven by feedback to his early successes, this hobby soon became a business, and Due was born. With the help of his friend Irek, who

would handle production, and Monika, who headed up the design work subsequently, Jarosław set to work building a furniture brand rich in provenance – one which employed unique upcycled materials, sourced from eclectic locations and formed into eye-catching designs by skilled local craftsmen. Its product lines still utilise wood from European wine barrels – typically Tuscan or Piedmontese – as well as old barns, wooden houses, and Catholic and Orthodox churches. Due combines this wood with stone and glass, merging vintage, Provence and Scandi styles. The result is a wide range of characterful, high-quality furniture, with options for customisation based on stockists’ preferences.

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Advertorial | 61

Manhattan coffee table

Coffer is made of a French oak barrel which dates back to 1979, and was used to store Tuscan Sangiovese

Class, a table made from a rafter from a mountain cottage, dating back to the early 20th century

From production to fulfilment Because Jarosław insists upon a minimum of automation, Due’s production process is challenging – often the craftsmen must draw on traditional woodworking techniques, handed down from generation to generation, to fulfil their brief. Today, Due’s network of craftsmen makes around 50 models each day – but Jarosław is keen to take his operation to the next level, and is seeking international partner stockists to join his company’s journey. Having recently exhibited at trade shows in Dubai, Stockholm and Cologne, Due

is eyeing the UK marketplace from its London office, where team members Marta (office manager) and Lilianna (sales and marketing) work alongside Monika and Irek to bring the company’s portfolio to the market. At the moment, Due is working on a variable production lead time of around eight weeks. This may be longer than some retailers are willing to wait for cabinet furniture – but, as Jarosław might suggest, like a fine wine, achieving the best results takes time.

An eclectic square double-top table made of old wood coming from a mountain cottage located near Lacko (Nowy Sacz County)



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62 |

Tunupa Blue and Salt

Inspired by the world’s largest salt flats in Bolivia, the Uyuni

Tweed, and presents an organic chequered design in three rich and

Collection of rugs by Louis de Poortere (,

natural colourways. “The multi-layer, almost hand-crafted texture brings multi-layered effects through

of Uyuni belies its jacquard flatweave machine-made origins, and

undulating depth of structure reflecting the thick, lithium-rich salt

we’ve pushed our machinery hard to create these wonderful effects,”

crust for two unique creations.

explains Alan Russell, UK sales director for the Belgian manufacturer.

Weaving together cotton chenille in varying thread counts with

“By combining different yarn counts of cotton chenille with wool

yarns of space-dyed wool, Tunupa’s horizontal ripples are presented

we have been able to change the definition of yarns throughout each

in two colourways inspired by rich wool hues, filtered through cotton

rug. With the technique we’ve used, each Uyuni rug is somewhat

chenille tones of brine and salt.

unique, bringing something a little extra to this brand-new

For Colchani, Louis de Poortere was inspired by the iconic Chanel

The Furniture Makers’ Company the furnishing industry’s charity


Things don’t always follow the design


There may be times you need

collection for 2019.”

have in mind

often throw some curve balls

We will always be there for

The Furniture Makers’ Company has been supporting the welfare of employees in the interiors and furnishing industry for more than 100 years. If you or someone you know is in need of financial support, let us help. Visit our website or contact 020 7256 5558 This advertising space was generously donated by Furniture News magazine in support of The Furniture Makers’ Company’s welfare campaign. The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers’ Charitable Funds incorporating the Furnishing Trades Benevolent Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1015519) and a registered company (no. 02759359) in England and Wales

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64 Trade Services

SAFEGUARDING IRELAND’S DELIVERIES, POST-BREXIT As one of Ireland’s leading storage and logistics providers, WS Dennison has taken steps to safeguard its customers’ operations ahead of the arrival of Brexit. Furniture News speaks to former manager Pamela Dennison about what the future of Ireland’s furniture delivery industry might look like, and what WS Dennison can do to help …

Founded in 1979, WS Dennison now operates from two facilities – Antrim in Northern

Ireland Freight Transport Association (FTA). “We want to ensure that we can continue

“We are confident that import customs formalities can, largely, be divorced from

Ireland, and Limerick in the Republic of

to support our customers to deliver the

the physical movement of goods, and that

Ireland – and works with many of Europe’s

service level that their customers have come

we can maintain supply chains similar to

best-known furniture manufacturers,

to expect,” she explains. “Because of that,


retailers and importers.The company

we do not think it is viable to wait until

handles 3700 pieces of furniture on average,

March to see what is going to happen. We

March 2019 without a formal agreement,

says Pamela, and is responsible for more

want to be proactive in our preparations

there would be an immediate change to

than 500 home deliveries each week (which

for Brexit so that our customers’ Irish

the way businesses like ours trade with

accounts for more than half of its business).

marketplace business activity is not affected,

the EU. Customs formalities would be

whatever the outcome of the negotiations.

required, and tariffs may apply. In addition,

WS Dennison operates an all-Ireland

“Should the UK exit the EU on 29th

transport business that relies on

potential delays at the Irish border could

unrestricted movement across the (currently

affect journey time reliability, and there is

invisible) border between Northern Ireland

a real threat of increased administration for

and the republic.

haulage businesses such as ours.”

With Brexit negotiations at a critical

According to Pamela, retailers and

phase, the business is preparing for every

consumers have become accustomed to

eventuality, including a no-deal outcome.

receiving deliveries within an expected

Pamela has been heavily involved in the

timeframe – either directly to their home

company’s preparations – both as part of

via online purchases or from manufacturers

the business, and in her roles as national

to retail stores – but, without putting

officer for the Chartered Institute of

provisions in place, consumers could soon

Logistics and Transport (CILT) in Northern

have to get used to a very different scenario.

Ireland, and vice-chair of the Northern

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WS Dennison took the initiative to

28/01/2019 12:00

Trade Services | 65

ensure this does not happen, starting

Today, this is a huge benefit to WS

flexibility in our business culture already

with the development of a Brexit strategy

Dennison’s customers – but in the context

and our team is constantly adapting to

in conjunction with external specialists.

of Brexit this puts it in a much more

customer requirements.

This strategy is now being implemented,

powerful position than its competitors,

and is preparing the business for a no-

because the contained nature of its supply

range of measures aimed at combating

deal situation as the most extreme – but

chain will be favourable to HMRC from

the possible effects of a hard border.

increasingly possible – outcome.

a supply chain security and traceability

These include a Simplified Customs


Procedures and Trusted Trader status,

The Brexit consultants engaged to assist the company include advisers to

In contrast, says Pamela, other delivery

“As a company, we have introduced a

which will speed up and simplify customs

key Government agencies in the UK and

companies in the sector are known to

procedures, ensuring our customers have

Ireland, who have actively helped WS

frequently sub-contract three or even four

an unrestricted service offering. These

Dennison design processes that will enable

times throughout the supply chain – the

accreditations have taken some time and

it to secure its distribution supply chain

security that her company can offer is

involved a heavy financial investment, but

and maintain service levels for customers


we feel they are important and necessary.”

– no matter what shape Brexit eventually

WS Dennison is also proactively

Pamela concludes: “We believe that we

takes, WS Dennison is working proactively

communicating with customers to

are further ahead on Brexit preparations

to streamline its procedures so that it

identify specific requirements for

than even some of the biggest names in

can guarantee service levels post-Brexit,

individual contracts post-Brexit, including

the industry, so we are confident that we

regardless of a hard or soft border, and

establishing any foreseen changes to their

will continue to be best placed to deal with

any other newly-introduced customs

processes. It is supporting its customers

furniture logistics into Ireland, whatever


to prepare for changes – for example,

Brexit brings. Like most of the business

encouraging them to apply for Economic

community in Ireland we are cautious, but

secondary depot in Limerick, on the west

Operator Registration and Identification

because we are doing everything we can to

coast of Ireland. Currently, the majority

(EORI) numbers where they are not already

prepare, we hope that our efforts will be

of furniture brought into Ireland by WS

required, as these are necessary for customs


Dennison is routed via its Antrim facility

entry declarations clearance procedures for

T 02894 465108

initially, where loads are re-consolidated

import and/or export shipments travelling

into more viable consignments for onward

to or from the EU.

Pamela says that key to its strategy is the

movement. The Limerick depot – which will still be

It has also approved extension plans for an additional floorspace warehouse of some

located within an EU country when/if the

40,000ft2, should it be required in the near

UK departs from the EU – offers an option


to ship and re-consolidate via the Republic

MD William Dennison explains: “We

of Ireland where necessary, and allows the

have built our business on flexibility, and

company to complete its all-Ireland delivery

have years of experience in tailoring each

process without deviating from its own

account to the needs of both our client and

well-established resources.

their end customer. In terms of the quality

Preparations at Limerick are under way to

of service required, there is very little that

ensure that the facility is ready to shoulder

we can’t or aren’t willing to do, even if it

the responsibilities that have traditionally

means training staff to provide a new skill.

been undertaken at Antrim.

This means making changes to satisfy

Likewise, the company’s all-Ireland

the requirements of Brexit won’t

delivery process is a major benefit, because

come as such a shock to

the business has full control throughout the

our staff as it might to

supply chain. The fact that WS Dennison

others, because

uses only its own in-house team of

we have that

warehouse operatives and drivers means it can offer full traceability, accountability and consistency of service, from manufacturer/ retailer collection to end-user delivery.

“We are confident that import customs formalities can, largely, be divorced from the physical movement of goods”

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66 | Trade Services

WHY MANUFACTURERS MUST BE SWITCHED ON With electrical furniture now being identified as coming under the scope of the EU Machinery Directive, international inspection, verification, testing and certification specialist SGS explains the CE marking requirements that manufacturers of electrical furniture should be aware of …

In July 2017, new guidance for the application of the EU’s Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was published. This resulted in electrically-actuated motorised domestic furniture being identified as coming under the scope of the directive – meaning electrical furniture must now carry the CE mark to access European markets. The EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/ EC was passed by the European Parliament and Council in 2006. It has been amended several times – most recently in 2017 – and essentially describes the health and safety

“The identification of electrical furniture as being under the scope of the Machinery Directive represents a major change for furniture manufacturers”

Compliance with the Machinery Directive requires the manufacturer to prepare a Technical Construction File (TCF) according to Annex VII of 2006/42/EC. This includes a construction file, comprising: a general description of the machinery; the overall drawing of the machinery and drawings of the control circuits, as well as the pertinent descriptions and explanations necessary for understanding the operation of the machinery; full detailed drawings, accompanied by any calculation notes, test results, certificates, etc, required to check the conformity of the machinery with the

requirements that must be applied to all one of which moves, with the appropriate

essential health and safety requirements;

actuators, controls and power circuits, etc,

the documentation on risk assessment

2017 guideline, but the application for some

joined together for a specific application; or

demonstrating the procedure followed the

countries is still unclear.

an assembly of machines which, to achieve

standards and other technical specifications

the same end, are arranged and controlled

used, indicating the essential health and

so that they function as an integral whole.

safety requirements covered by these

machinery offered onto the EU market. Most of the countries have recognised the

It defines machinery as: an assembly of linked parts or components, at least

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68 | Trade Services

standards; any technical report giving the

for the purposes of trade within all the

also apply to furniture with an electrical

results of the tests carried out either by the

countries of the European Economic Area

component, including: the Low Voltage

manufacturer or by a body; a copy of the

(EEA). The CE mark is a demonstration that

Directive (LVD) – 2014 / 35 / EU, which

instructions for the machinery; and a copy

the product has been assessed and satisfies

applies to all electrical products and

of the EC declaration of conformity.

the legal requirements to be sold within the

equipment designed for use with a voltage


rating of between 50-1000V for alternating

Also, for series manufacture, the internal

current (AC) and between 75-1500V for

measures that will be implemented to

The identification of electrical furniture

ensure that the machinery remains in

as being under the scope of the Machinery

direct current (DC), and whose hazards are

conformity with the provisions of this

Directive represents a major change for

primarily of an electrical nature;

directive must be presented.

furniture manufacturers. Until now, they

Electrical Compatibility (EMC), the ability

have normally only considered the scope of

of a product to operate within normal

the scope of the Machinery Directive

the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD),

conditions in its electromagnetic energy

include: height-adjustable desks/tables;

which does not require CE marking. The new

(emissions) and offer protection (immunity)

operated seating; operated beds; beds with

requirement for furniture to carry the CE

against electromagnetic energy that occurs

TV lift systems; air mattresses with pumps

mark only relates to electrical furniture, and

in the environment of its intended use; and

as part of the product package; adjustable

does not affect other furniture.

the RoHS Directive – 2011/65/EU, which

Types of furniture that may come under

storage units; doors/drawers; and massage chairs. It does not cover furniture incorporating

To self-certify for the CE mark, the usual

restricts the levels of hazardous substances

process is to: 1. Identify the applicable

that can be used in the manufacture of

directive; 2. Identify the applicable standard;

electrical and electronic equipment.

springs or gas springs (office chairs, for

3. Assess products against applicable

example) because those mechanisms are

directive requirements and test products to

powered manually, not electrically.

applicable standards; 4. Complete technical

SGS operates through a network of over

documentation relating to CE marking

2400 offices and laboratories around the

electrical furniture must now carry the CE

requirements for all applicable directives

world, and can help manufacturers with

mark. European Directives are the legal

to support the Declaration of Conformity

every step of the CE marking process – from

basis for CE marking. They are designed to

(DoC); 5. Issue DoC and CE mark the

directive and standard identification to the

promote and harmonise the requirements


review of technical documentation.

To access the European market, therefore,

for free trade within the EU because a product with a CE Mark has free movement

Stakeholders should also be aware that other directives requiring the CE mark may hardgoods/furniture


Steely Trolleys - Known and Proven

Increase Space and Efficiency Call Steely: 0161 702 7002 Email: Web:

SteelyJan19.indd 1 FN359_Pages.indd 68

The most extensive range available from including: Touch Up Markers & Graining • Transparent & solid colour markers • Clear finishing markers • Graining markers & colouring sticks

Repair Aerosols • Dye & Pigment Colouring Aerosols • Finishing Aerosol in 6 sheens • Low Odour Finishing Aerosols • Speciality Aerosols for spot repairs, blushing etc

Repair Kits • Touch Up Furniture Repair Kit • Professional Furniture Repair Kit • Cabinet Installation Kit • Flooring Installation Kit • Solid Wood Repair Kit • Quick Repair Burn-In Kit

Fillers • Simple Fill-Sticks & Quick Fill hot sticks • Burn In Repair Systems - matt & gloss • Epoxy Repair Fillers + Wood Touch-up & Repair Training Courses

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Staingard, trusted by UK furniture retailers for the last two decades


CleanRest and Mattressgard join hands to bring world leading mattress protection products to the United Kingdom.

For more information call 01244 888 658 or visit Rated ‘Great’ on

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70 Designer

The Cornholme Desk is crafted in solid oak with oak veneers and contrasting solid African walnut drawer handles

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Designer | 71

Designed to accompany the desk, the Cornholme wall board also works on its own as a wall-mounted storage platform

A place for everything UK homes are shrinking. Last year, research by LABC Warranty found that on average, new-build living rooms are -32% smaller than their 1970s counterparts – in short, the demand for furniture which is functional, flexible, and fits, has never been higher. In this exclusive article, furniture designer Ian Cull explains why and how he developed Cornholme, a fully-featured home office range, with these modern pressures in mind …

Ian Cull

Every time I put pen to paper to design a

was being developed to address similar

product (or a collection of products) I try to

issues around space and storage – as well as

offer as much as I can in terms of features

being affordable.

and functionality. I don’t know where that

I shared my ideas with Nick around

desire comes from – perhaps it’s because

18 months ago, and he was immediately

I’m a stingy Northerner and just want

supportive. He gave me unfettered access to

to ensure people get value for money. Or

Nathan’s production facility so I could begin

because I feel that all design should offer

to turn what was in my head into reality. In

that little bit more to differentiate it from

all my years working with various factories

the competition. I’ll go with the latter, I

around the world, I’ve never come across a


more capable and responsive factory.

Good design shouldn’t cost any more than bad design, and if I can add as much as

We had no real plan to collaborate at that

possible to a reasonably compact package,

stage other than from a manufacturing

then I will. From a retail perspective, I’m

perspective, but I’ve always had a desire

also giving a salesperson more to talk

to sell my own designs directly to the

about, so hopefully there’s more chance

public one day. After a number of months

of a sale. Most of the products I design –

of development, the Cornholme collection

from TV stands to desks – seek to solve the

was launched at London Design Fair in

increasing problem of storage in smaller

September last year. Although it was just


prototypes on show, the collection was incredibly well received, with a constant

I’ve known Nicholas Radford of Nathan

stream of visitors – both trade and public –

Furniture for a number of years, and if one

who were incredibly complimentary.

furniture brand in the UK aligned itself

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Following the exhibition, Nick and I sat

closely at one time with my way of thinking,

down and came to the conclusion that it

it’s Nathan. Looking through Nathan’s back

would make a lot of sense for the collection

catalogue, it’s clear to me that around the

to become part of Nathan’s range – we

middle of the last century their furniture

branded it ‘Ian Cull for Nathan Furniture’.

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72 | Designer

On home offices My decision to develop a home office range stemmed from my own situation. I’ve worked from home for almost a decade, and I’m yet to find a piece of furniture that gives me everything I need. Feature-packed products have always been a bit of a theme in my designs, and developing a reasonably compact desk with plenty of storage and other practical features seemed an obvious choice. It’s also important to me that a piece of furniture differentiates itself stylistically from other lines without being a ‘Marmite’ product. I’m all for simple lines that suit a multitude of interior decor styles. And, although it’s a bit of a cliche, I really do believe that the function of a product

In addition to two drawers, hinged flaps at the rear of the desktop reveal further storage for cables and power supplies, and double up as tablet supports

dictates its form – to a certain extent. But Cornholme isn’t necessarily just a

On development

home office collection. It was definitely designed to be one – yet each piece has a

The development process for a new

detail. The original idea behind Cornholme

distinct purpose in its own right. The desk

collection of furniture always starts off

was for a modular collection, with various

won’t look out of place in other areas of

quite simply – with an idea. That idea

elements being put together to form a wider

the home, and the amount of storage it

usually won’t budge out of my head until

variety of products.

provides, along with its cable management

I begin to get it onto paper in the form of

and wireless charging features, means any

initial hand-drawn sketches. This is the

couldn’t let it go. The more I was able

clutter can be kept to a minimum.

most exciting time of the process, as it’s

to add into it – in terms of features and

the first time I can see something physical

functionality – the more I loved the idea.

isolation. The low-profile design means it

resulting from the images that have existed

I produced a number of hand-drawn 2D

will be equally at home in a hallway (the

in my head for some time.

visuals of the desk to resolve its proportions.

The wallboard can also be used in

hanging rail is perfect for scarves and

It’s also the time to begin refining

Once I sketched the desk, however, I

The restrictions of desktop height, legroom

umbrellas, for instance), kitchen or bedroom

the design, firming up the features and

under the desk (always an issue where

as in an office or study.

functionality, and addressing some of the

drawers are present), storage space, cable management, etc, all helped me to finalise the design ready for drawing in CAD.

“I’ve worked from home for almost a decade, and I’m yet to find a piece of furniture that gives me everything I need”

Comprehensive cable management is included, with space for power strips within the desktop itself

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The key aims were always to produce a visually attractive piece of furniture that would suit any interior decor, and to offer the end-user as many useful features as possible.

Hidden wireless charging comes as standard for Qi-enabled devices

28/01/2019 12:00

Designer | 73

The only real change that was made to the original concept was the handle design. I’d originally developed a pop-out leather handle that sat flush with the drawer fronts – indeed, the original prototype was produced with this handle – but it perhaps added a bit too much complexity to the product (even by my terms!), so I thought it’d be safer to revert to a contrasting walnut handle instead. I was happy to make this change as I think the new handle design looks fantastic, and its concave profile is incredibly tactile. It’s also one of the details of the collection that’s not necessarily apparent at first glance. One of the most difficult decisions to make was in respect of the hidden wireless charger, mounted centrally at the rear of the desktop. There were two schools of thought – the first, that there needs to be some indication of where the charger is located (originally, I intended there to be a contrasting walnut inlay to show the position of the charger). The contrasting take was that a hidden wireless charger should be, well … hidden! In the end, I opted for offering no evidence of where the device is positioned, as ultimately once someone purchases the desk they will soon learn where it is (plus we’re including a removable sticker to show where it’s positioned!). When the desk was launched at London Design Fair, the fact that I’d completely hidden the technology was a hit with everyone who came to see it.

“The more I was able to add into it – in terms of features and functionality – the more I loved the idea”

Unity – all for one

Unity coat hook with mirror

Ian first had the idea for his Unity collection at the beginning of his professional design career, almost 20 years ago. “Even back then I was looking to offer as much as possible in terms of functionality in a product, and I was looking to use materials in a slightly different way,” he says. “I also hate seeing fixings – both Unity products are designed in such a way than any wall fixings are completely hidden from view once they are installed. This is something I’ve carried over to Cornholme, too – the wallboard fixings are hidden behind the cork board.”

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74 | Designer

On manufacturing

On the future

I’ve worked with a number of UK-based

After its success at London Design Fair, I’m

manufacturers over the last 20 years

planning on taking Cornholme – perhaps

or so, and I’m a huge supporter of the

with some new products – to events later

sector. My Unity collection, for instance,

this year. For now, the collection can be

is entirely manufactured in the UK – in

seen at Nathan’s showroom in Radstock,

fact, all its components are manufactured

Somerset, or at my studio near Chorley in

within 40 miles of where I’m based in rural


Lancashire. My network of manufacturers, established

I’m handling all the direct retail sales through my own website, whilst all trade

over my working career, mainly includes

orders are processed by Nathan, therefore

component manufacturers (four separate

taking advantage of their well-established

suppliers are involved in the production of

warehousing and distribution network.

my Unity shelf and coat hook, for instance)

We’re both looking for more retail stockists,

and I don’t have the facilities yet for

and the initial stock is due in their

assembling larger items of furniture.

warehouse next month.

But working with overseas manufacturers

T 07083 033350

definitely has its place – and the facilities,

skills and materials available from a factory such as Nathan’s in Indonesia can’t be ignored. I’ve worked with manufacturers across Europe and the Far East for over two decades. It’s very rare that I work with a manufacturer without a visit to their factory floor at some stage, but in the case of

Crafted from solid oak with a tan leather upholstered seat pad, the Cornholme chair’s slatted back rest offers comfort plus a touch of individuality

Nathan’s factory in Indonesia I haven’t had to worry about that. From the moment I shared the initial concept sketches with them it was clear they possessed a great understanding of what I was trying to achieve, as well as the capabilities to turn it into reality without having to make any compromises along the way. Each piece in the collection is far from straightforward to manufacture, but I’ve been met with nothing but positivity and a great deal of support throughout the entire process.

All about Ian Ian Cull works from an office in Salford and a studio and workshop in Brinscall, Lancashire. He studied at the University of Salford, where he earned a BSc (Hons) in Product Design & Development, before going on to work with some of the UK’s biggest retailers – both in-house and on a freelance basis. Through his business, Ian Cull Furniture Design, Ian works closely with manufacturers across the UK, Europe and the Far East to develop furniture and accessories which are clean, contemporary and commercial, yet retain a British character. His resume lists the likes of Stil Furniture, Alphason, Moventi and Profili, yet his white-label work is far more prolific than this summary would suggest. “As an independent designer it can be quite frustrating to work incognito on projects, with an NDA in place – it isn’t the best way to promote the work you do! – but, fortunately for me, Nathan have always been happy to promote collaborations with designers, as they see the benefits of doing so,” he says.

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Sponsored by

28/01/2019 12:01 11:57

76 | Designer


Theodore Bench-Desk System, Cameron Fry Cameron, the owner and creative director of Liqui Group, led the development of this desk, which attempts to bridge the gap between the home and the office sustainably, and in style … “Theodore is a brand-new product that we’ve just finished designing and putting into

“We named it after the

production. We drew inspiration from a bygone

Theodore Roosevelt desk

era where desks were more than just something

that still sits in the White

to sit behind – they could become a status

House to this day – if that’s

symbol in their own right”

not sustainable design, we’re not sure what is!”

“The materials employed are

“We designed it to


have a domestic feel.

sourced oak and

The days of sterile-

oak veneered

looking offices are

birch ply”

slowly but surely coming to an end – after all, we spend more time there than we do in our own living rooms. We’re just trying to make it a more enjoyable place to be”

“Our motto is ‘Because things can be different,’ which refers to sustainability in design and manufacturing” Training: After school, Cameron went on to study 3D Design at college – then, after completing a City & Guilds qualification in Jewellery Design and Making, he moved on to 3D crafts, specialising in Commercial Furniture at Brighton University. Achievements: Cameron then exhibited at the New Designers exhibition in London, where he was shortlisted for the New Designer of the Year accolade for his cardboard coffee table concept. Since launching his company, Liqui Group, in 2007, he has built it into a multifaceted design and manufacturing group based in London and Brighton, which works on design-led projects worldwide. Today, the group comprises Liqui Design (interior design), Liqui Contracts (contract furniture and lighting), Liqui Associates (an architectural consultancy) and Crate47 (a branding agency). Other than the Theodore Bench-Desk System, the group’s key works include the Trapeze Chair, the Splice Stool, the Hove Club Sofa, the Studio Easy Chair and the Paper Bag Light.

T 01273 686119

FN359_Pages.indd 76

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01/02/2019 09:15

78 | Designer

Know your rights! ACID’s chief executive, Dids Macdonald OBE, answers your

“Often, the first instance of market entry for new products is a trade event/exhibition. Due diligence in checking exhibitions for potential copies is an effective way of identifying these and taking action”

design and intellectual property (IP) queries …

My design has been copied by a foreign

possible, and to allow for a budget to enforce

manufacturer, but I can’t afford to take

those rights if there is infringement.

action in China. Where should I start?

With easy access to the UK and European

This could prove costly and expensive.

Community-wide protection (until Brexit)

As most copies made in China are for

for designs and trademarks, the cost is much

importation into the EU and the UK, it could

lower than it used to be.

be better to go after those who are having

Bear in mind that if a company is

the copies made and then importing them.

registering a series of designs, the cost

This could be a UK company rather than the

reduces considerably, so for 11-plus new

Chinese factory.

designs it is as little as €60 to obtain a

Often, the first instance of market entry

registered Community design, which lasts

for new products is a trade event/exhibition.

for 25 years (renewable every five) and

Due diligence in checking exhibitions for

covers 27 EU member states.

potential copies is an effective way of identifying these and taking action.

Also, many companies pay a small additional fee and defer publication (on

ACID has had many instances of being

the OHIM website,

able to offer advice at trade fairs, and its

so that their competitors cannot see their

accredited law firms have been able to act

new designs before they are launched and

quickly and effectively when knock-offs are


discovered. There is help available through IP

The advantage of having a registered UK or EU design is that taking legal action

attaches who have been appointed by the UK

is easier and more cost effective because

Government in Canada, Brazil, south-east

you have a piece of paper – a numbered

Asia, China and India. They work within

certificate which says you own the design

the UK embassies in these countries and

and it cannot be used by third parties

are a significant resource for those who

without authorisation.

How can I ensure design protection in the

find difficulties in IP enforcement. Details


are available through the UK Intellectual

an additional registration system for

The US does not have a design registration

Property Office.

trademarks which can make registration

system as such, and it is necessary to apply

To ensure brand protection, there is

more cost effective, but there are no pan-

for a design patent in order to protect 3D

What are the realities of protecting

national design registration systems outside

wholly or partly functional designs.

IP within the UK, the Eurozone and

the EU, so national registration is necessary.

According to the US Patent and

worldwide? It seems protection and

Therefore, it makes sound sense to

Trademark Office, “design patents may

enforcement often comes down to cost …

do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses,

be granted to anyone who invents a new,

If a design or manufacturing company

opportunities, threats) analysis of the

original, and ornamental design for an

is creating intellectual property through

countries in which your products will be

article of manufacture.” Fees are expensive,

their innovation, an integral part of any IP

marketed, and allocate appropriate budget

and it is advisable to instruct a local agent to

protection strategy is allocating sufficient

to ensure you have adequate IP protection

draft and file the application.

budget to register new designs, if at all

in each.

“The advantage of having a registered UK or EU design is that taking legal action is easier and more cost effective because you have a piece of paper”

Got an IP query for Dids? Email her on or visit to find out more about ACID (Anti Copying In Design), the UK’s leading design and IP campaigning organisation.

FN359_Pages.indd 78

28/01/2019 12:01


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The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) is an association comprising the leading industry trade publications in 18 countries. Established in 1997, the IAFP aims to improve communications between international markets and create new business opportunities. Furniture News is the IAFP’s representative in the UK, and can offer readers and advertisers target market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels. The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade #357 December 2018 |

Contact us on 0044 (0)1424 776101 or visit the IAFP website to find out more. Bowood Night by Rowico

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Furniture News #359  

In this month’s issue, we’re discussing where the UK might go from here. However Brexit manifests, there are measures which can help future-...

Furniture News #359  

In this month’s issue, we’re discussing where the UK might go from here. However Brexit manifests, there are measures which can help future-...