Page 1


Virtually, anything is possible with Orbital Vision

GROWTH SPURT Reinvigorating Harveys

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MALLRATS Uncovering new sofa markets

BRAVE NEW WORLD Adapting to technology

24/07/2019 14:42 17:00 25/07/2019

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SERVICE QUALITY VALUE 25/07/2019 16/07/2019 14:42 16:23

19 16:23


INFORMATION ON THE COVER Editor-in-chief Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

“The uncanny valley between fact and fiction is closing”

Sales and marketing director (Furniture News portfolio) Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Sales executive Caroline Littler 07861 231461 Production manager James Ash 01424 817430 Production assistant Mike Beales 01424 776106 Digital production assistant Nyall McCurrach 01424 776107 Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108 Proofreader Keith Fitz-Hugh



hat’s one small step for

Like the look of that sofa? Rotate it,

[a] man, one giant leap for

replace the upholster, inspect it up close,


simulate how it’ll look in your living room,

It’s been 50 years since

Armstrong and Aldrin set foot in the Sea of

and check how well it fits. And that’s just the start.

Tranquility, fulfilling Kennedy’s ambitious

Enabling outcomes such as virtual

promises and effectively ending the space

prototyping, rapid PoS generation, and

race. The success of Apollo 11’s mission was

virtual or augmented reality experiences

a game-changing event for a nation, and our

(Ikea, for one, is set to relaunch its AR app


in the UK late this year with purchasing

In the decades since, there have been so

options), 3D renders are starting to replace

many examples of technology achieving

traditional photography in the furniture

Editorial director John Legg 01424 776104

the seemingly impossible – genetic

industry, promising shoppers richer, more

engineering, nanotechnology, the internet

interactive online shopping journeys.

– that it’s become harder and harder to

This month’s moonwalking cover star is

Publisher Nigel Gearing

align mankind’s desire to make progress

Orbital, one of a new breed of creative digital

with the ethical justifications of doing so

specialists making its mark on the trade. On

Accounts Wendy Williams 01424 817433

(as Jeff Goldblum tells Dickie Attenborough

p60, Orbital tells us where CGI technology

in Jurassic Park: “Your scientists were so

has taken our sector, how an increasing

preoccupied with whether or not they could,

number of leading retailers are embracing

Magazine subscriptions (UK-£65, Europe-£85, RoW-£95) 01424 774982

they didn’t stop to think if they should”).

its potential, and what the next steps (or

Connect VIP packages (UK-£95, Europe-£110, RoW-£120) 01424 774982

implications of its inexorable march are

quality of these renders, the uncanny valley

impossible to dismiss. Will AI make our jobs

between fact and fiction is closing.

Repro, print and distribution Stephens & George

a solution to earth’s dwindling resources?

watched on TV by at least one fifth of

And can technology really solve the Irish

the world’s population – yet a series of


questionable details, coupled with the sheer

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 efforts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to offset the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. The Publisher accepts no liability for any loss arising from an advertisement’s late or non-appearance.

FN365_Pages_2.indd 3

From our iPhones to our smart homes, technology is all around us, and the

redundant? Might the wider galaxy offer

leaps) are likely to be. Thanks to the increasingly photorealistic

Back in 1969, the moon landing was

For better or for worse, it’s going to be

audacity of the expedition, have ensured

crucial in tackling the challenges ahead –

that conspiracy theories still persist. For

and the same goes for our businesses. In The

better or worse, if NASA could pull off a

Big Question this month (p38 – get involved

hoax of that scale 50 years ago, just what

by following me on Twitter), we’re asking

might they get away with today?

the trade which new technologies are having the biggest impact on their working lives. Topics such as distance working (enabled by Cloud-based technology) and more streamlined mobile shopping are mentioned – but most prominent is the rapid evolution of 3D modelling capabilities.

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

25/07/2019 14:42

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019 11:10

Contents | 5





Partner Comment

8 News 16 Interview 23 Events Virtually, anything is possible with Orbital Vision

GROWTH SPURT Reinvigorating Harveys

MALLRATS Uncovering new sofa markets

BRAVE NEW WORLD Adapting to technology

FN365_Cover.indd 1

24/07/2019 17:00

Orbital Vision looks back over 50 years to the space race’s impact on technological development (p60)


The NBF’s Jessica Alexander on how dishonesty damages the trade


28 Resources 32



Dining Room


Beds & Bedroom


Out of Hours


Living Room


Out & About


Trade Services

62 Designer

Kellie Oliver (16)

Tom O’Neill and Louis Rose (32)

Orbital Vision (60)

Simon Haslam outlines the importance of protecting intellectual property rights outside the UK

At Furniture News, we want to bring you the most relevant content and offers. Scan this QR code with your phone’s camera – or visit – to opt into the communications you’d prefer to receive (including the printed magazine)

FN365_Pages_2.indd 5

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

26/07/2019 14:05

We are Beds See the latest products, collections and innovations in the bed industry at the UK’s biggest and best bed show.

Register now:

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26/07/2019 11:35 09:20 04/07/2019 15/04/2019 10:54

9 11:35 10:54


A question of trust “The old adage holds very true in our sector: ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’!” Just recently, BBC Director General Sir Tony Hall was widely reported

We know the message is getting through, with many retailers now

in the press saying that the world is in the grip of the biggest attack

insisting all their suppliers are NBF members. But there is much work

on the truth since the 1930s (the decade which saw the rise of

still to be done to raise awareness of this issue – with consumers,

Fascism and Hitler).

internet platforms (who must surely take more responsibility for

The internet has many upsides to it and has brought innumerable

what is sold on their sites, just as any retailer must for the products

improvements to our lives. It’s not a clock anyone should want to

it sells), and of course producers and suppliers using those platforms

turn back. But it also has its downsides. One of which is too easily


and irresponsibly enabling an environment in which rogue traders

We are told time and again that consumers today want

can apparently operate with ease and unconcern about being caught.

transparency. We’ve all seen the damage that can be done to brands

Truth – or honesty and transparency – is largely ignored and widely

when that trust is publicly broken. However, such worthy intentions


melt away when a bargain is spotted. The old adage holds very true in our sector: ‘If it’s too good to be true, it probably is’!

From the bed industry’s perspective, that means far too many

We are committed to working with our members tirelessly

companies selling mattresses which are not at all as described. As our recent Due Diligence testing revealed, claims are made for

to improve standards and urge the industry to work together to

fillings materials which are either totally absent or present in such

encourage consumers to be more cautious in their buying habits and

minimal quantities they could not possibly provide the benefits those

check they are dealing with reputable suppliers.

materials are supposed to bring. The same is true of spring units, with spring counts less than half or even a quarter than the numbers cited. We have even found used spring units inside a mattress sold as new. These businesses undercut and damage all those trying to do things properly. And of course the trusting consumer has no way of knowing they are being sold a lie, unless they cut open their mattresses to look inside! Of course we report all our findings to the relevant authorities. Jessica Alexander is the

But we all know that public funding is critically short and trading

executive director of the

standards have to prioritise their limited resources towards those

National Bed Federation (NBF,

cases which put consumers’ safety at risk, the

So do we just shrug our shoulders and complain bitterly of the

recognised trade association

unfairness of it all to anyone who will listen? Or do we take more

representing UK manufacturers of

positive, constructive action? That’s what the NBF are trying to do.

beds and their suppliers. Founded

With our Code of Practice, we are aiming to put clear water between

in 1912, the federation’s members

those companies who aim to do the right thing and those who are

today account for some 75% of the

deliberately deceitful.

UK’s total bedding turnover.

Our 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

FN365_Pages_2.indd 7

26/07/2019 09:16

8 | News

Cylindo appoints business development specialist

Industry fire regulations update “imminent”

3D product visualisation specialist Cylindo has appointed Jens Fursund as its vice-president of pipeline engineering. Jens, formerly of Unity, ILM, Imagination Technologies and Pinscreen, boasts more than 15 years’ experience in 3D graphics engineering, and has five patents to his name. “Our ability to create quality content

Kelly Tolhurst MP addresses industry representatives The furniture industry can expect an update to the Furniture & Furnishings

in its efforts to reform the legislation. Speaking to delegates, Kelly Tolhurst

at scale is already unrivalled compared

(Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

said: “I recognise the need to update the

to anyone in the industry,” says Janus

“imminently”, according to Kelly Tolhurst

regulations to respond to developments

Jagd, the founder and CEO of Cylindo.

MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for

in furniture design, innovation and

“But we’re on a mission to 3D-ify all

the Department for Business, Energy and

manufacturing process, and the

products in furniture ecommerce so

Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who made the

environmental and health concerns that

we’re doubling down on our efforts

statement at the annual confederation

have widely been spoken of. My priority is

to automate the process even more

lunch organised by the British Furniture

to maintain product fire safety protections.

through AI and machine learning – and

Confederation (BFC) and The Furniture

Consumers need to have confidence that

bringing on Jens as our VP of pipeline

Makers’ Company in May at the Palace of

products in their homes are produced to

engineering is a testament to that.”


rigorous safety requirements.

Jens comments: “With the great

Around 70 senior-level employees from

“Updating those regulations is complex

team, strong leadership and exciting

companies representing the domestic and

and it has required careful consideration of

vision for automating and simplifying

contract furniture trade attended the event,

evidence and close engagement with diverse

3D visualisation, deciding to join Cylindo

which provides industry the opportunity to

stakeholders to ensure we find the right way

was not difficult.”

enagage directly with Government.

forward. I am pleased to be able to tell you

Sleepeezee’s charity efforts add up Over the past three years, bed manufacturer Sleepeezee has raised more than £250,000 for national and local charities as part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.

The BFC is a strong supporter of fire

that I will be publishing the Government’s

safety in the form of the Furniture &

response to the 2016 consultation, setting

Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

out the way forward, imminently.”

(as amended), but has long been concerned

Also in attendance was Maggie Throup

that the regulations have not been updated

MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary

in the 30 years since they were first

Furniture Industry Group (APPFIG), who

introduced. The BFC has been seeking a full

updated delegates on the efforts that

revision of the regulations since 2008, and

have been made to raise awareness of the

has fully co-operated with the Department

industry, which included a Westminster Hall

for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

debate in January.

One of the company’s main initiatives is its ongoing partnership with Travelodge. Each year Sleepeezee makes

Jysk founder passes mantle to son

a set contribution to the hotel chain’s

After managing

the board of many of the companies within

nominated charity of the year for every


Lars Larsen Group.

Travelodge Dreamer mattress sold. Last

chain Jysk and the

year, Sleepeezee donated £20 from

Lars Larsen Group

the sale of each mattress to Macmillan

for more than 40

Cancer Support – this donation, coupled

years, founder

of chairman is happening earlier than

with funds also raised through internal

Lars Larsen has

planned due to a diagnosis of liver cancer.

events, has enabled Sleepeezee to raise

stepped back. The

“Unfortunately it is a very serious diagnosis,

new chairman of

and therefore I have decided to spend my

the board will be

time and efforts on my family,” he says.

in excess of £100,000 for that charity to date. Continuing its partnership with Travelodge, Sleepeezee is now

Jacob Brunsborg

Lars’ son, Jacob Brunsborg. Lars says: “I am very happy and proud

“He is without doubt the right person to lead the company I started.” Lars acknowledges that the change

“However, it means a lot to me that the future leadership of the company is in

supporting the British Heart Foundation.

that Jacob has agreed to take on the position

The bedmaker also announced its

as chairman, which will ensure that Jysk and

support for homelessness charity Crisis,

Lars Larsen Group will continue as a family-

something unique, and it is impossible to

to which it will make a contribution

owned company based on strong values.

replace him,” he says. “But both I and the

from every sale of its new Perfectly

Jacob has been part of the company for

rest of our family will do our best to develop

British collection.

many years and has played a central role in

his impressive life’s work.”

FN365_Pages_2.indd 8

place.” Jacob comments: “My father has built

26/07/2019 14:12

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10 | News

Birlea acquires rights to Willis & Gambier brand Midlands-based supplier Birlea Furniture

The brand acquisition is underpinned by

has acquired the Willis & Gambier brand

the appointment of David Lane, formerly

and associated intellectual property rights.

Willis & Gambier’s commercial director

The acquisition follows the exit from the

for 10 years, as trading director at Birlea

UK marketplace of the latter’s owner,

Furniture. Jake and Joe Magill, Birlea’s

Samson Holdings, in January, which was

joint owners and MDs, comment: “It is

attributed to “extremely challenging market

exciting times at Birlea Furniture, as the

conditions” brought about by Brexit.

business goes from strength to strength in

Birlea, a business with more than

a difficult marketplace. At Birlea we have

20 years’ experience, a worldwide

an ambitious, hardworking team, and the

manufacturing network and modern

acquisition of Willis & Gambier, together

logistics capabilities, operates from a

with the appointment of David, highlights

200,000 ft2 site in Derbyshire. The Willis

Birlea’s ambitions and our determination to

& Gambier brand has been in the UK

be a market-leading supplier.”

marketplace since 1990, and evolved

Willis & Gambier already has stock

into a market-leading brand in 1998 (the

in the UK and Asia, has further stock in

same year as Birlea’s inception), offering

production, and states that the design of

bedroom, dining and living collections.

new product is under way.

Carpetright signals return to growth following CVA Despite posting significant declines in revenue, Carpetright has stated that its business turnaround process following last year’s CVA is “on track, with an encouraging return to positive LFL sales growth”. In the retailer’s FY results (ended 27th April 2019), Carpetright posted a revenue decline of -17% (-9.1% LFL) for its UK business. H1 proved particularly challenging, with LFL’s down -12.7% as the group implemented the CVA and associated restructuring of its store portfolio, while its performance improved significantly in H2, with LFL sales down just -5.4%. The year saw Carpetright close 80 stores as part of the CVA, while 23 were

Truncated Tendence thrives despite the heat

Chief executive Wilf Walsh says: “2018/19 was a transitional year for the

Structured according to trading format,

business as we took tough but necessary

lifestyle and target group, Tendence 2019

action to address our legacy property

focused more closely than ever on the

issues and restructure the UK store

needs of customers. Despite a concurrent

estate. This difficult task was carried out

heatwave, over three days (29th June to 1st

against the backdrop of a challenging

July) 603 exhibitors presented their latest

trading environment but was essential

products to some 15,000 visitors, from 80

to put the business back on the path to

countries – a decrease on last year’s 17,736

sustainable profitability.

(then a four-day show). The proportion of

“From a trading standpoint it was, as

international buyers remained stable.

expected, a year of two halves, with the

Organiser Messe Frankfurt, which

first six months reflecting the impact

shortened the fair’s duration to three days at this edition, says that the fair’s

for the new concept, which allows us to offer

new concept, events and presentations

a variety of stimulating ideas and useful

contributed to a positive mood among

aids for retailers – helping them to remain

exhibitors and visitors. “These modifications


and the decision to adapt Tendence’s focus

retained on a nil-rent basis.

“The launch of two new online platforms

to retailers’ specific structures and needs

– Nextrade and Conzoom Solutions – also

have gained widespread acceptance among

underlines how Messe Frankfurt plans to

retailers during the event,” says Stephan

support retailers in the future as digitisation

Kurzawski, a member of Messe Frankfurt

continues to play an ever-greater role in the

Exhibition’s board. “This was the first

industry.” The next edition will take place

important step towards gaining acceptance

from 4-6th July, 2020.

of the CVA implementation, followed by a significant improvement in the second half and, in particular, during Q4. We are pleased to report today that this positive trend has continued into the new year with a return to LFL sales growth in the first eight weeks of the period, when UK LFL sales grew by +8.5%.” “We remain the clear numberone player in floorcoverings, having maintained our market leadership during an exceptionally challenging

Whitemeadow inspires for a fourth year

period, and our brand attributes remain strong,” Wilf continues. Carpetright plans to deliver £19m of annualised

Whitemeadow, Britain’s largest

Whitemeadow’s MD, Ian Oscroft, says:

independently owned upholstery

“Given the political confusion surrounding

savings as part of the CVA, amid further

manufacturer, has been named one of

the UK, we are proud to be flying a

investment in digital and a strengthened

London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000

small flag for British – and in particular

range across all flooring categories.

Companies to Inspire Britain for a fourth

upholstery – manufacturing, which in times

year. The report recognises the UK’s

of such uncertainty faces many challenges.

is to step down from Carpetright’s

most dynamic small-and medium-

Our fantastic team continue to navigate

board on 5th September, after nearly

sized businesses (SMEs). To be selected,

these difficulties with great skill, ability and

nine years’ service, while Pauline Best

businesses had to demonstrate revenue

enthusiasm and I am extremely proud of

has been appointed to the board as an

growth over the last three years, and

everyone for their contribution in helping

independent non-executive director,

outperform their peers.

the business achieve this accolade.”

with effect from 1st of this month.

FN365_Pages_2.indd 10

Non-executive director Sandra Turner

25/07/2019 14:42


ALL ROADS LEAD TO LONG EATON On the 23rd, 24th and 25th September 2019



Twinned with Romorantin-Lanthenay and Langen Pride


in :rewash fryo£.k..-..,.,,-...




UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture





Join us and our guests for the Autumn Long Point Exhibition in this famous furniture town, and enjoy the relaxed reception you will find at every location. September is a time to see the latest and exciting designs in upholstery and fabrics, with new shapes and finishes in lounge, dining and bedroom furniture. Our brand new website featuring new exhibitors will be announced shortly. In the meantime, make a note in your diary now.



FN365_Pages_2.indd LongEatonAug19.indd 11 1

25/07/2019 23/07/2019 14:42 12:57

12 | News

An evening of curry and commerce

Calling all bed buyers and specifiers The 10th annual Bed Show will take

The Furniture Makers’ Company’s

place from 17-18th September at Telford

Yorkshire region’s latest fundraising

International Centre. Organised by the

event, its fourth annual curry night,

National Bed Federation (NBF), the

took place in June at the Aakash

exhibition will feature more than 60 UK

restaurant in West Yorkshire, and raised

bed manufacturers and suppliers under the

in excess of £3000 for the industry’s

one roof, and promises to offer visitors the


sector’s latest trends and innovations.

One hundred people, including

More than 1500 tradespeople are expected

industry colleagues, friends and family

to visit the show. Parking and entry are free

attended the drinks reception and

for visitors, and once again complimentary

three-course meal at Britain’s biggest

refreshment vouchers, courtesy of bedding

Gala Dinner and the 2019 Bed Industry

Indian restaurant.

components specialist John Cotton, will be

Awards ceremony, which includes new

This year’s theme, Making sense

offered. The evening of the first day of the

categories this year.

of uncertain times: Northern grit and

show will see the return of the industry’s

Register to visit at


commerce – a political and commercial perspective, saw presentations from guest speakers including: Tracy Brabin,

Autumn show welcomes all

the Labour Co-operative MP for

Park near Kenilworth, promises two days of

Batley and Spen; Paula Sherriff, MP

buying opportunities for the entire furniture

for Dewsbury, Mirfield, Denby Dale


and Kirkburton; and keynote speaker

“This magnificent country setting, with

Kate Hardcastle MBE, The Customer

its convenient location close to Birmingham,


provides a professional and well-equipped exhibition centre,” says Roy Beagent, group

Association offers Brexit guidance

business manager of the show’s organiser, the Minerva Furniture Group. Over 80 of the sector’s top suppliers are set to unveil their newest products at the

The Furniture Industry Research Association has published a new guide,

The Autumn Furniture Show, taking place

exhibition. To register for a free entrance

Brexit – the importance of planning

this year from 1st-2nd October in halls 1 and

pass and complimentary lunch, visit www.

ahead. While the information is

2 of the NAEC showground at Stoneleigh

applicable to all across the furniture sector, it may be of particular use to SMEs which may not have the

Made unveils Lyon showroom

resources to secure key information

Digital-native European design brand Made.

independently, states the association.

com has opened a new showroom in Lyon,

The guide is an updated version

France. The brand’s eighth showroom in

and an amalgamation of updates

Europe, and second in France, the 220m2

published on FIRA’s website following

space includes integrated technology and

the association’s attendance at the

intuitive design insights, and, according

Government’s Business Readiness Panel

to the retailer, will be an evolving design


hub and event space, featuring a constantly

Author Suzie Radcliffe-Hart,

updated product selection from Made’s

technical manager at FIRA International

in-house design team and network of

(the service provider to the Furniture

independent designers.

Industry Research Association), says:

Supersized touchscreens include

“The aim of the updated guide is to

features such as Find My Style - to help

in the Rhône-Alpes region. Adding this

ensure all the latest information is easily

customers find products that match their

location to our flagship showroom in Paris

accessible and searchable within one

taste - and Shop Instagram, a shoppable

allows for us to offer our French customers

source, helping members find what they

feed of instagram posts featuring Made

the chance to experience the Made brand

based on the needs of their role or type

products. The showroom will also feature a

and see the latest pieces from our designers.

of business.

regular series of events and workshops for

As a digital brand, our showrooms and

customers and visitors.

brand spaces add an important human

“When Government meetings are reinstated we will once again be CEO Philippe Chainieux

connection and offer a tangible element to finding design inspiration with us.”

in attendance to garner details for

says: “As I am from the south of France,

members to ensure they are being

I’m personally proud to launch our new

supported through knowledge in the

showroom in the beautiful city of Lyon,

Amsterdam, Berlin, Leeds, Birmingham and

event of a deal or no-deal Brexit.”

giving us the chance to meet our customers

Hamburg, and flagships in Soho and Paris.

FN365_Pages_2.indd 12


The showroom joins brand spaces in

25/07/2019 14:43






REGISTER REGISTER FREE FREE TODAY TODAY For the sixth year running, this event


gives Irish & UK businesses in the furniture trade the opportunity to do For the For sixth theyear sixthrunning, year running, this event this event business in a relaxed environment gives gives Irish &Irish UK & businesses UK businesses in thein the and provides attendees with a furniture furniture trade the trade opportunity the opportunity to do to do pleasant environment to see business business in a relaxed in a relaxed environment environment new products, innovative ideas and provides and provides attendees attendees with with a a and avail of exclusive deals and pleasant pleasant environment environment to see to see discounts from the top suppliers new new products, products, innovative innovative ideas ideas in the Irish furniture industry. and avail and of avail exclusive of exclusive deals deals and and discounts discounts from from the top thesuppliers top suppliers WWW.IFHS-TRADESHOW.IE in the in Irish the Irish furniture furniture industry. industry.


24th - 27th August 2019 | The National Show Centre, Swords, Dublin th 24th - 27 24th August - 27th August 2019 2019 | The |National The National Show Show Centre, Centre, Swords, Swords, DublinDublin

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17/07/2019 14:43 10:03 25/07/2019

14 | News

Latexco appoints new CEO

NBF reveals initial random mattress test results The National Bed Federation (NBF) has

Belgian bedding foam and spring

revealed the results of the first round of its

manufacturer Latexco Group has

due diligence random testing programme

appointed a new CEO, Lieven

– with NBF members faring far better than


non-members. Introduced in 2018, and now

Lieven has a master’s degree in

forming part of the NBF’s Code of Practice,

business economics and over 25

the programme was implemented to test the

years’ experience in various industrial

effectiveness of the NBF’s factory audits and

management positions. He started

investigate allegations of non-compliance.

A failed crib 5 test

In the first round, 49 products were

manager Tristine Hargreaves. All results

Deceuninck, where he took, amongst

purchased at random – 24 from members

– good and bad – were shared with the

others, the role of business development

and 25 from non-members. They were a

companies involved, and in some cases via

director and VP of operations. Next, he

mixture of mattresses, headboards, divan

the retailer or online platform from which

entered the bedding sector as general

sets and upholstered bed frames. Each was

the products were purchased.

manager Europe at Bekaert Deslee. Up

subjected to relevant flammability tests,

to July this year, he was the MD of the

then cut open and its specifications checked

identified with 11 non-members’ products,

carpets and tiles division at Balta Group.

against marketing claims.

compared with just four from members.

his career with a 15-year term at

Lieven says: “I am really looking

Regarding flammability, 19 NBF

On trade descriptions, major issues were

These ranged from overstating spring

forward to start with Latexco. First and

member products passed with no issues,

counts, claiming the presence of fillings

foremost because Latexco is a family

compared with 14 from non-members. The

materials that were not present at all and,

business, which allows us to really go

remaining five NBF products were classed

in one case, evidence of a used spring unit

for the long-term. Second, I see a lot

as borderline, with fail tests on mattresses

where none was identified in labelling or

of potential for growth, enabled by the

not able to be repeated, while those on

marketing materials.

recent investments. The bedding sector

headboards had used compliant production

is in full transition, and I am convinced

materials along with test histories and

flammability and trade descriptions failings.

that Latexco holds a unique position

evidence of purchasing the correct materials

Where major (and some minor) issues were

that enables the company to emerge as

from suppliers. All 11 failures from non-

identified with members’ products, further

a winner.”

members were clear-cut, with issues such as

investigations and site visits pointed to

match test failure on non-sleeping surface,

the reasons being mistakes rather than

fillings that failed the relevant tests and a

deliberate. Further checks and purchases

contract mattress failing crib 5 testing.

will be made to ensure they are resolved. In

Dunelm reports Q4 growth In an update for the 13-week period to 29th June, Dunelm reports that its total LFL revenue for Q4 increased by +15.4%, which it attributes to strong

In several cases, there were multiple

“These significant flammability failures

some cases, the issues identified were due to

do raise concerns about the safety of those

incorrect product details being advertised by

products on the market and we have of

the retailer rather than the manufacturer.

course reported these and all our findings to Trading Standards,” says NBF technical

A further 50 products will be selected for random testing this year.

underlying growth in stores and online, a weak comparator period last year, and favourable weather. LFL store revenue

Bensons’ sustainability successes

grew +12.1%, while LFL online revenue

Bensons for Beds is celebrating a

deconstructed and segregated into different

continued to grow strongly, up +37.0%.

breakthrough in its sustainability practices,

materials to be reused in various industries.

Dunelm expects its full-year profit

with recycling rates and sales of its eco-

before tax to be towards the upper end

friendly Silentnight Choices range at an

taken for recycling in the past 10 months

of its expected range (£126m).

all-time high.

– saving around 1800 tonnes of mattresses

There were two new store openings

According to TFR Group, the UK sees

Bensons has seen around 40,000 beds

from landfill. In addition, sales of its

(including one relocation), increasing

around 7.5 million mattresses thrown away

Silentnight Choices range – featuring

Dunelm’s store footprint to 170. The

each year – which equates to 247,500

mattresses made from recycled plastic

retailer expects to open two new stores

tonnes – and around 12,000 mattresses are

bottles – has seen an uplift of +96% in the

(including one relocation) in the coming

illegally dumped each year, with mattresses

past year.

half, and will transfer to a new digital

accounting for 13% of all fly-tipping.

platform during the next financial year. Dunelm’s CEO, Nick Wilkinson, says:

Bensons saw an opportunity to offer a

“Customers are actively seeking out more sustainable options from retailers,”

solution through the introduction of its

comments Pam Johnson, Bensons’ head of

“In the short-term, we remain cautious

recycling scheme in August last year. Under

buying. “We’ve seen a huge increase in the

about the uncertain political climate and

the scheme, customers can recycle their

number of eco-conscious customers. As a

the impact it may have on consumer

old mattresses and beds when they have

business, we are committed to being even

spending, but expect to make further

their new item delivered. With the bed bases

more environmentally-friendly and are

progress in the year ahead and are

being recycled for fuel and biomass, the

constantly looking at how we can be kinder

confident about the group’s longer-

mattresses undergo an extensive process

to the environment with every new product

term prospects.”

at the recycling bank, where they are

we introduce.”

FN365_Pages_2.indd 14

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Full pag Sherbo

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A new Aquaclean fabric, the Sargasso range, and new Queensbury Slate leather have also been added to much acclaim.

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23/07/2019 14:43 10:33 25/07/2019 23/07/2019 09:43

16 | Interview

Kellie Oliver

To boldly go Operating through more than 160 stores, Harveys is one of the UK’s largest furniture retailers, and has served the British public for over half a century. Yet recent years have been unkind to the brand. Ongoing losses, coupled with fallout from accounting irregularities at its parent company [Steinhoff International], forced Harveys to take turnaround measures such as new brand messaging and targets, greater focus on efficiencies and cost savings, and the appointment of new management. This month, Furniture News meets its head of buying, Kellie Oliver, who is applying her unique blend of customer insight and trends to help Harveys engage new audiences …

I’ve been working in buying for more than 15 years, and in furniture specifically for 10 of those. I started out at Marks & Spencer, where I worked for eight years before moving to BHS, where I managed its cabinet and upholstery categories. I then moved to the Middle East for two years, where I worked with a major home retailer. This was a fantastic experience, and allowed me to understand how consumer habits and interior style preferences over there differ from ours in the UK.

“We now source many ranges from the UK and Europe, allowing us enough versatility within our mix to offer our customers real choice”

I’m currently working on the new product launches for Christmas, our peak trading period and most exciting time. I’m flying out to the Far East with my team in the next couple of days to see how the ranges are developing. By far the most exciting development at Harveys in the past year has been the introduction of Bold by Louise. Our collaboration with [singer, presenter, fashion blogger and interiors enthusiast] Louise Redknapp has allowed us to tap into

When I moved back to the UK from Dubai, I was keen to gain experience in the nation’s

consumer habits, which allows me to get

a design area that we had never engaged

retail parks to complement my previous

under the skin of what the customer wants

before, enabling us to invite a new audience

work on the high street.

when they walk into one of our stores. An

into our stores.

An opportunity arose at Harveys, and I

understanding of design trends and fabrics

We’ve also introduced more stylish,

was fortunate to be offered this fantastic

is also a must in the trade – it ensures

contemporary ranges that were aimed at

position. I’ve been lucky enough to work

I provide our customers with the right

our younger customers. Beautifully designed

here for the past 20 months. Following a

choices, so everyone finds their perfect

shapes with premium fabric and leather

promotion last year, I’ve been in my current

furniture match.

options are now available within all our

role for nine of them, heading up the buying

I love my job. It’s the people I work with,

division across all categories – including

both internally and externally, who make it

upholstery, cabinet and accessories.

so special. I’ve built strong relationships in

stores and online – we’re now firmly on the map for our more style-led credentials.

the furniture trade over the past 10 years –

Our approach to sourcing has changed

My experiences have led me to where I

no matter where I am in the world, I always

significantly over the years. As well as

am today. I have extensive knowledge of

bump into someone I know!

the Far East, we now source many ranges

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Interview | 17


from the UK and Europe, allowing us

The expansion of our cabinetry has also

Those traditional high-back recliners

enough versatility within our mix to offer

been key for us. We have sourced some

continue to sell very well for us, and we’ve

our customers real choice. Whether they

beautifully-designed dining tables, with

also seen great success in our stationary

want a traditional high-back recliner or

which we’ve paired with accessories we feel

fabric proposition, which continues to

a contemporary velvet chaise-end three-

complement the look of some of the UK’s

grow. Our dining collections continue to be

seater, we have a range that will appeal.

most stylish homes.

successful, too, with the likes of marble and

Icon sofa in oxblood

FN365_Pages_2.indd 17

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18 | Interview

gloss our best-selling materials. Personally, I love the simplicity and


design of The Conran Shop’s range of cabinetry. I’m also a fan of B&B Italia’s upholstery. The Italian concept – beautiful high-end fabrics upholstered to the very highest standards – appeals to my tastes. Technology is an important factor for all retailers, as consumers are increasingly browsing the web before deciding which stores to visit. We must attract them from the moment they click through to our site – so we have a great team of people constantly working to improve and develop our digital offer. In our stores, sales can now be carried out on a tablet, allowing transactions to be more friendly and personable – they can be executed while sitting on a sofa, rather than having to move to a desk. At Harveys we have three core foundations which ensure we maintain and expand our audience every year. We have the ability to be reactive to the market, we continue to launch exciting new ranges that are design-led, stylish and contemporary, and we absolutely never compromise on comfort and quality.

“Our collaboration with Louise Redknapp has allowed us to tap into a design area that we had never engaged before”

Last year, Harveys unveiled Bold by Louise, a vibrant contemporary collection developed in partnership with singer Louise Redknapp

FN365_Pages_2.indd 18

25/07/2019 14:43


sofa source quality • design • choice

Our new range of bespoke English-made Chesterfield suites with luxurious Harrington fabrics

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25/07/2019 13:42 14:43

20 | Interview

Window shopping Name: Jason Peterkin Position: MD Business: 247 Home Furnishings, an online supplier of window blinds, shutters and curtains

Three words that describe your business

They may not be as well-known, but they

as a brand, we’ve been able to reassure

I would have to offer four small words –

are very popular in Europe. If you’re a little

customers that they’ve made the right

quality made for you.

daring with your decor, I’d recommend a

choice in us.

brightly coloured day/night blind – it can The last trade show you visited

bring a real splash of colour without making

The tastes that best reflect your audience

The last trade show I attended was R+T

too much of a statement.

Across the windowcovering industry, we have found that the most popular colours

Stuttgart 2019. Your approach to staff training

tend to be natural, cream and white tones.

Your most praiseworthy supplier

We find that on-the-job-training works

Due to their versatility and enduring appeal,

As a business, we deal with a vast number

best for us. Practice makes perfect, after all.

they have always proven prominent –

of different suppliers depending on the type

We have a relatively small team who are all

colours that won’t go out of fashion have

of window you need to cover and the time

experts in their fields – it’s great to know

natural longevity in people’s homes and

scales you’d like. We’re proud to say that

that all of our staff have good knowledge


we have a very open and communicative

of our range and are always willing to help

relationship with them all and are sure

newcomers who aren’t quite as experienced.

The technology you’ve introduced most

to have regular catch-ups. Therefore, I

We have a list of common enquiries that we


couldn’t single one out as the most integral

are now well versed in dealing with, which

Online sales, especially with home

cog in our well-oiled machine – all of our

has made training new starters a simple

furnishings, is key – where else can you

suppliers are key.


find accurate lifestyle images of the product

There’s no better way of learning than

actually in use? We have recently spent a

getting stuck in.

lot of time, invested a lot of funding and

Your best-performing product

dedicated many resources to ensuring the

Within the industry, we have long been known as one of the leading suppliers of

The most significant change you’ve made

images of our products are of the highest

wooden Venetian blinds. We have a fantastic

in your business recently

quality. These have enabled us to give

range of high-quality products, all with fast

We’ve really focused on our overall

customers a true representation of what

delivery times that have proven hard to beat.

brand image over the last 12 months, and

they can expect our blinds to look like in

The Venetian blind, with its wooden panels

have tried to steer 247 Blinds towards

their homes.

coming in classic white shades, has proven


to be timeless in the UK. Saying that, we

Our customers can use a number of

Your number-one selling tip

have seen a rise in demand for grey designs

platforms to interact with us – we want to

Hassle-free selling of good-quality

over the last year.

offer the exact same experience across all

products, at the best price possible, has

of those channels. We’re very aware that

always proven to work well for us.

Your personal favourite

we’re part of a marketplace with businesses

You can’t beat a day/night blind – a

that may seem similar to us on the surface

combination of Venetian and roller blind.

– by focusing on consistency in our identity

FN365_Pages_2.indd 20

25/07/2019 14:43



AUTUMN AUTUMN FURNITURE FURNITURE FURNITURE FURNITURE FURNITURE SHOW SHOW 2019 SHOW SHOW SHOW 2019 2019 2019 • NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2LZ • Over 80 Exhibitors • Global portfolio of suppliers • Complimentary lunch

Registration is now open

Make a date for October! Tuesday 1st 9am - 5pm Wednesday 2nd 9am - 4.30pm

FN365_Pages_2.indd Minerva_August19.indd211

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FN365_Pages_2.indd Full page USE.indd 1 22

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Events | 23

PREVIEW AUTUMN FAIR Visitors to Autumn Fair – returning to the Birmingham NEC from 1st-4th September – will witness something of a transformation to the home and gift exhibition’s established format, as its feature content, layout and product offer evolves to meet today’s retail demands …


areth Watkins, head of living,

see a completely revamped content

also be part of the new re-edit. With

accents and decor at Autumn

programme to help ensure homeware

over 22,000 visitors expected, the

Fair, says that this year’s

suppliers stay ahead of the curve and

show offers unrivalled dealmaking

edition is adapting to meet the latest

continue to drive orders into late 2019

opportunities with the sector’s boldest

market challenges head-on: “In our

and beyond.


24/7 economy, trying to keep up with

“September sees an important

“A completely re-edited Living,

fabric, colour and design trends can

Accents and Décor sector, and a

launch of new lighting products as

be exhausting. The 2019 show will

new location, situated alongside the

we run in to the autumn months, and

Summerhouse across halls 18, 19 and

a good selection of products from

20 in the NEC, will mean exhibitors

Light & Living, Serene, Calex, Culinary

can expect more streamlined

Concepts, Libra and many more are

thoroughfare and greater exposure

perfectly positioned, with our early

to more high-profile and receptive

September show dates. “Showcasing only the latest

retailers than ever before. “Joining the show for the re-

furnishings, home accessories, textiles

edit will be new exhibitors such as

and decorative finishing touches, the

Distinction Contracts, who visitors

show is also set to create a forum for

won’t be able to see at any other trade

suppliers to share expertise on trend,

shows this year. Visitor-favourite

design, sales strategy and more.” Register to visit at

bellwethers such as Cozy Living, Kaemingk and Coach House will

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See us at the

The International Alliance of Furnishing Autumn Fair Publications (IAFP) is an association Hall 8 Stand 8B82 comprising the leading industry trade a N publications in 18 countries. rC Established in 1997, the IAFP aims to improve e T Natural salt lamps communications between international markets ps spmal tlas larutaN h W Natural Natural Natural salt salt salt lamps lamps aN Crafted saltlamps lamps ps s pmal tlas detfarC and create new business opportunities. o r I Crafted Crafted Crafted salt salt lamps salt lamps lamps r C Tea-light holders s sredloh thgil-aeT S U Tea-light Tea-light Tea-light holders holders holders e T Furniture News is the IAFP’s representative insthe White salt lamps pmal tlas etihW u l P White White salt White salt lamps salt lamps lamps h W UK, and can offer readers and advertisers target ps spmal teksab norI Iron basket lamps IronIron basket Iron basket lamps basket lamps lamps o r I market information, contacts and reach through spmal tlas BSU USB salt lamps USBUSB salt USB salt lamps salt lamps lamps S U h p the most effective B2B channels. erom hcum sulP PlusPlus much Plus much more much more more Plus much more u lP m e Contact us on 0044 (0)1424 776101 or visit the w kugnirpsn eva eh heavenspringuk 0485 5840 723 1610 :enoh p IAFP website to find out more. heavenspringuk heavenspringuk heavenspringuk phone: phone: 0161 phone: 0161 327 0161 327 0485 327 04850485 h p heavenspringuk phone: 0161 327 0485 ku.oc.gnirpsnevaeh@ofni :liame email: email: email: m e email: ku.oc.gnirpsnevaeh.www w

19 10:27

IAFP_FNQP.indd 1 FN365_Pages_2.indd 23

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24 | Events


IRISH FURNITURE & HOMEWARE SHOW Irish Furniture & Homeware Show is an Irish-led event for the Irish furniture, flooring and decorative accessories market which the organiser says is the only one of its kind in Ireland, and is attended by many of the country’s top furniture suppliers and businesses.


ow in its sixth year, the Irish Furniture & Homeware Show (IFHS) has grown

steadily since its inception. Originally conceived from a need to boost Ireland’s furniture industry, the exhibition quickly became an essential trade show for the national market, seeing an increase in both exhibitors and attendees at the show each year since. In 2016, the show saw the launch of the Irish Furniture and Home Awards, giving industry suppliers an opportunity to promote their best products, and reflecting the innovation and efforts taking place in the Irish market – the winners of this

praise for the variety of homeware

furniture design and innovation, the

year’s edition will be announced at

and furniture products shown in

top trends of 2019 and to plan and

the show.

Dublin each year. The event houses

place orders for the year ahead. The

many of the major suppliers of

trade-only event is set to be packed

which takes place in Dublin’s National

upholstery, dining, bedding, cabinet

full with the biggest brands in the

Show Centre and runs from 24-27th

and accessories with a good number of

Irish market. A full list of exhibitors

August – is that people do business

the key players in the furniture supply

can be found on the IFHS website.

with people, and that continues to be

chain exhibiting.

The philosophy behind the event –

the driving force today. Year after year, IFHS receives high

FN365_Pages_2.indd 24

IFHS 2019 is set to offer trade visitors a comprehensive insight into

Register to visit at:

26/07/2019 14:21

Full pag

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26 | Events

Honey B ( strives to secure customer

The impressive Royal from Signature Living (00353 4293

satisfaction with its award-winning products. The Northern

82693, suite featuring button-hole

Ireland-based wholesale company prides itself on handmade,

design velvet fabric and studded detailing accentuating the lines

high-quality furniture which allows its customers to shop with

is one of the many suites available for immediate delivery from


stock. Comprising a three-seater, two-seater, chair and matching

Constantly developing the business to ensure customers’ satisfaction, Honey B has introduced its high spec show van this year – which allows customers to view the products in person

ottoman, Royal is an upscale design equally suited to both contemporary and traditional design schemes. Signature Living has purposely kept its range of upholstery,

and in the comfort of their own stores. In addition, the brand has

bedroom, living/dining, occasional and mattress products to a

launched three new ranges to diversify its quality offering.

reasonable size, thus ensuring it always carries a substantial back-

Going the extra mile to ensure maximum success for its customers is fundamental to Honey B’s business approach.

up stock which enables the Dundalk business to serve its customers in a prompt and efficient manner.


Award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann (www.

Litmus Furniture. “Last year proved to be a big success for the team will once again be attending the Irish Furniture

so we’re looking forward to being back with a bang!

and Homewares Show (IFHS) between 24-27th August. “We’re delighted to be attending the exhibition for the third year in a row,” comments Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s UK agent,

FN365_Pages_2.indd 26

“We will have a mix of our latest core collections on display including Bern, Berlin, Brussels, Cambridge, Dakar 2, Miami 2 and award-winning Monaco.”

25/07/2019 14:43

Events | 27



… OTHERS MAKE A PLACE BEAUTIFUL Tel: (0044) 3885 1509 Email: 85 Teaguy Road, Annaghmore, Co. Armagh BT62 1LX DerrysAugust19.indd 1

04/07/2019 12:08

Come and view our New Delsey range of chairs at the IFHS

Main distributors of the Danube range throughout Ireland and UK

Gecko Furniture Imports Ltd t: + 353 1 8078160 / + 353 1 8078133

Gecko_August19.indd 1

FN365_Pages_2.indd 27


22/07/2019 09:02

25/07/2019 14:43

28 | Resources

In the third of a series of articles looking at intellectual property (IP) protection, Simon Haslam of Abel & Imray explains how a business can obtain IP protection outside the UK …

Handling IP issues abroad Furniture exports from the UK have been growing over recent years, and were set to exceed £1b in 2018. For many businesses, international trade is becoming increasingly important, and being able to obtain and enforce IP rights outside the UK is crucial to their overseas strategy.

“If there are plans to expand your business outside the UK/EU in the next five years, are you taking the right steps now to protect your future business opportunities?”

If you’re currently only protecting your IP in the UK/EU, would your business be bothered about a Chinese manufacturer

in mind. When wanting to assert or enforce

in the EU via a single design or trade mark

supplying their own domestic market or

the rights against others, you will have to

application. Post-Brexit, the protection

exporting to the US? If there are plans to

be able to prove that you own those rights.

afforded by these EU IP rights will still

expand your business outside the UK/EU in

Keeping good records of authorship and

extend to the UK. Protection can be obtained

the next five years, are you taking the right

design evolution is key here. There is also

outside the EU, and may be obtained for

steps now to protect your future business

no infringement of such rights, unless it

some countries in one application by making


can be shown that there has been copying

use of the International trade mark (Madrid)

– you cannot stop someone from trading a

and design (Hague) systems. Kartell has made use of the EU registered

Free protection

copyright work if they made the copyright

Some IP rights (such as copyright and

work independently (without copying your

trade mark and design systems, obtaining

EU unregistered design right) exist


registered trade mark protection for the Kartell word mark to stop third parties

when something is created without any need to register those IP rights, either

Registering rights abroad

from using the same or similar names, and

in the UK or abroad. Copyright protects

Registered IP rights (such as patents,

registered design protection for the shape

drawings, paintings and works of artistic

registered trade marks and registered

and appearance of many items of furniture

craftsmanship (such as iconic furniture

designs) allow you to take action against

to stop third parties from making products

designs, like the Eames DSW chair, the

third parties without having to show

which give the same overall appearance as

E1027 side table and the Egg chair). EU

copying, and independent creation is no

the designs which are registered.

unregistered design right can protect the

defence to infringement of those registered

2D or 3D outward appearance of a product,


or part of it – including, for example,

Registered IP rights are territorial and so

Under the European Patent Convention (the EPC – note, not an EU treaty), it is possible to get a European patent which

the colours, shape, texture, pattern

only provide protection in the territories in

can be put into force in up to 44 countries

and/or materials of the product or its

which they are registered. For example, you

including all those presently in the EU and


cannot enforce a French patent in the UK.


Obtaining these unregistered rights is

However, it is possible to obtain registered

Brexit will not have an effect on the

automatic and therefore free, but while

protection in many countries through one

European patent under the EPC, nor on

such rights are enforceable in countries


your patent attorney’s ability to file and

other than the UK, there are some aspects of this free protection that you should bear

FN365_Pages_2.indd 28

For example, you can register both trade marks and designs in all of the countries

prosecute them. Julius Blum GmbH has over 4000 patents

25/07/2019 14:43


LIVING Visit us at IFHS Stand B34

Dromiskin, Dundalk, Co. Louth Tel: +353 42 9382693 / +353 42 9382824 / +353 41 9849093 Email:

Signature_August19.indd FN365_Pages_2.indd 29 1

22/07/2019 14:43 09:26 25/07/2019

30 | Resources

and patent applications, filed in many

obtain IP protection in those countries

UK applications can be relatively cheap,

different countries –the US, China, Taiwan,

where competing manufacturers will be

even with professional advice, because of

Malaysia and Europe, for example – for

based. Other times you might want to get

the very low official fees payable at the UK

furniture, particularly in relation to the

protection in those countries where most

Intellectual Property Office.

mechanisms which facilitate movement of

sales occur. And sometimes, both will be

different parts of the furniture.


Where, when and how to file/get

design protection in advance of making any

cover Europe, and obtaining European-wide


sales or other non-confidential disclosures,

IP rights can be surprisingly cost-effective.

Obtaining IP protection outside the UK can

as the options for getting protection can be

Even with professional advice and assistance

cost a good deal. You therefore need to make


included, an EU-wide registration of a

It is important to apply for patent and

sure that any IP protection you obtain is

In some cases – such as registered

For most businesses in the furniture industry in the UK, the most valuable form of IP protection abroad will be rights that

design can be obtained for around £1000,

designs in the EU or US – there may exist a

providing for years of monopoly rights

grace period of, say, 12 months, allowing a

across all of the EU – renewable for up to

IP protection versus potential gain, you will

company to still obtain valid protection.

four further five-year periods.

need to consider your markets and potential

The first step to obtaining foreign

proportionate and pays its way. In assessing how to balance the cost of

Your patent attorney or trade mark

markets, those of your competitors and

protection is to file a UK application, which

attorney will be able to advise you on how

those of your licensees.

can secure a filing date – a priority date

best to protect your IP outside the UK and

– for the basis of a future foreign right.

what routes you might take to achieve that.

Sometimes it will make sense to

THE AUTHOR Simon Haslam is a senior associate at London law practice Abel & Imray, and is writing on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). Simon has wide experience of the drafting and prosecution of patent applications in the European Patent Office and in the other major industrial countries, plus extensive experience of IP agreements, with particular involvement in patent licensing and other patent-related agreements. E

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Full pag


For more information on our product ranges please contact us

tel: 01902 459898

email: FN365_Pages_2.indd Full page USE.indd 1 31

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32 | Profile

Sofa Club Lakeside

Mall world Sofa Club – formerly Furniture4U – was launched by Tom O’Neill and Louis Rose in 2012 in a broom cupboard. Today, this innovative retailer boasts a 95,000ft2 warehouse, a substantial online presence and mall kiosks across the country. Tom spoke to Furniture News about his mission to bring an innovative sofa-buying experience to destination shopping centre visitors …

My father owned three small furniture stores, which I worked in over the

Sofa Club’s Lakeside kiosk

holidays and weekends while at school and university. When I left uni I went to work for a small furniture wholesale company, and realised there was a gap in the market for good-value sofas with short lead times. By May 2012 I had 12 years’ furniture industry experience under my belt, and Louis had just completed his Business Management degree. With minimal overheads and just a handful of sofas, we set up a website and booked our first promotion at the Whitgift Centre, Croydon - and Furniture4U was launched. Quite literally working out of a broom cupboard, I was the only salesman, and Louis ran the office side of things. In 2017, we rebranded as Sofa Club. Originally we were going to expand to sell all types of furniture, but we decided to stick to what worked for us.

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Profile | 33

given a leaflet to take away, outlining all the

“We had so many repeat customers that we wanted to make them feel like they’re part of a club”

ways they can stay in touch. Our customer base is young, so they are more inclined to use social media (we also have a WhatsApp group, so customers can ask questions there, too). But people also want a shopping experience. Yes, it’s simple to click a button and have your sofa delivered 12 weeks later. Or go to a retail park, be offered a cup of tea,

The rebrand was the turning point in expanding the business and attracting

choose your sofa and toddle off home. But

the right type of customer. We now have

we wanted to offer the customer something

a 95,000ft2 warehouse full of stock, a

more – we rebranded to Sofa Club because

distribution team, office admin staff and an

we wanted to make our offer feel inclusive.

ever-growing sales team.

Tom O’Neill and Louis Rose

wanted to make them feel like they’re part of a club – one that they would be proud to

We offer on-trend, value-for-money sofas. All our styles are available in two neutral

We had so many repeat customers that we

Logistically, it’s difficult to co-ordinate

be a member of.

colours, giving customers the ability to

moving in and out of 12 shopping centres

accessorise and put their own stamp on

every weekend. Working with delivery

We’ve committed to rolling the concept out


drivers and centre staff out of hours on a

across multiple UK locations. We currently

Sunday evening has its challenges!

have long-term pop-ups in Manchester

Our products are aimed at customers who like to be on trend and change the look of

Our newest, two-part, 12m-long,

Arndale, Bluewater (Kent), Lakeside (Essex),

their homes regularly – but they don’t want

purpose-built kiosk includes a bar.

Merry Hill (Birmingham) and Metrocentre

to pay through the nose for it, and want to

Here, customers are welcome to enjoy a

(Newcastle) on rolling 26-week contracts,

know they’re getting a good deal, as well as

complimentary glass of prosecco while they

and we plan to look at Scotland next year.

a quality product for their money (hence our

check out fabrics and colour swatches with

strapline, Get the look for less).

their designated host – no pushy salesmen

centres in the same area as our long-term


stands. This means that if someone sees

We’re increasing our range all the time.

The idea is to have two-week pop-ups in

us in their local Essex centre, for example,

We get ideas from furniture shows, what’s trending, and what our customers tell us

Because we’re on the mall, rather than in

but haven’t quite made their mind up, they

they want.

a shop, we attract a lot of impulse buyers –

know they can come back and visit us at

people who aren’t actually looking for a sofa

Lakeside another time – they don’t have to

We advertise on Facebook and Instagram,

right now, but see our models and our great

wait two months for us to return to their

and use social influencers to promote

pricing, and are hooked.

local centre.

our products. Our online presence is

Potential customers will also see

We’re a growing company, and although

phenomenal, with 86,000 Instagram

something on the website and contact us to

we’ve come a long way, there’s still so much

followers, 32,000 followers on Facebook and

ask when we’re going to have a pop-up in

more we can (and will) do. We want to

4500 on Twitter. On top of that, our website

a centre near them. If they find us online,

stay fresh and current – as a business, that

attracts approximately 50,000 visitors a

they’re given the option to sign up for

means we’re constantly evolving.


an e-newsletter, or to follow us on social

Sofa Club are first and foremost an online

media. If they see us in a centre, they’re

company, but a sofa is something you need to touch and sit on – things really started moving in the right direction after the rebrand, when we began working with Intu Shopping Centres. Our original business model was to book mall space for fortnightly promotions – pop up in a centre, show visitors the fabulous deals on offer, and either have them order our products there and then or call us once we’d left to find out when we were coming back. We knew how fortunate we were to be working with Intu, and this opened lots of doors for us. We also changed our business model to include long-term mall promotions, and built our first kiosk for Lakeside.

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Sofa Club’s Bluewater kiosk

25/07/2019 14:43



From the Essentials by Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@

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25/07/2019 22/07/2019 14:43 08:35

38 | The Big Question





new workflows and document management systems has enabled setting up a virtual office solution

TIO N Emma Leeke (Leekes)

Nick Garratt (BFM) Driving for paperless operation through


What do you think? From emerging trends to the latest business principles, Furniture News is setting out to gauge the trade’s feelings on a variety of industry-specific topics. This month, we’re asking …

Jessica Alexander

Configurability of products online –


presenting size options, rendering fabrics

Improvements in cloud-

etc online to better represent the extent of

based computing mean that

the range to those researching online

staff don’t all have to be office based in the future Rob Scarlett

Steve Adams

(Scarlett Design)


3D modelling. The tech is so

For an online business like

advanced that you have to be up to speed on it

Mike Murray (Land of Beds) Augmented reality (AR) will allow people to see what products will look like in their home before they make a purchase. This significant development will not only bring together the online and offline worlds – offering a virtual showroom experience – but will also help to significantly reduce return

MattressOnline, the continual

Which new technologies are having/are set to have the biggest impact on your business?

growth of shopping on your mobile is having a massive impact. Browsing, by its very nature, is more casual on mobiles, but it’s much harder to navigate and display product content. As a result, it’s harder to convert visitors to customers. This trend is only going one way, so as a business we invest a lot of time improving our mobile experience

rates, as people can check the product Gav Boden

will fit before they place an order

(GB Agencies) Social media demands, Dids Macdonald

online marketing and content

(ACID, The Furniture Makers’ Company) I (along with many others) am fascinated with AI and 3D technology, and from an IP perspective these are the hot topics

Keen to share your answer to the next big question? Follow @FurnitureNewsED on Twitter to have your say!

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Sorrento Cocobola

Central Furniture’s ( affordable,

of England. From modern contemporary designs to classic styles,

customer-led pieces can be found online at top retailers and in stores

Central Furniture offers a style to suit most tastes.

and retail outlets across the country. Central Furniture’s aim is to

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challenging market. The company’s ready-assembled products are delivered to its customers quickly and efficiently, and Central

Central Furniture designs and manufactures a wide range of quality bedroom and lounge furniture from its factory in the heart

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25/07/2019 22/07/2019 14:43 11:06

42 | Beds & Bedroom

With its timeless and elegant styling, the MN Bedroom collection from Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@ is full of thoughtful details destined

Berlin from award-winning German bedroom manufacturer

to make the range a stand-out addition to any store.

Wiemann ( has been designed to suit

With its soft grey paint finish, complemented by beautiful oak

consumers on a budget. Offering plenty of style and choice, Berlin

tops and curved legs or bun feet, the range is perfect for homes

is available in five carcass colours including pebble grey, white,

looking for bedroom furniture with lasting appeal. MN Bedroom is

light or dark rustic oak and Havana, combined with mirrors and

one of the first collections from Kettle Interiors to feature a slide

glass door fronts panelled in white, magnolia, black, pebble grey or

door wardrobe – perfect for rooms tight on space and with an

sahara to suit various decorating schemes.

optional internal unit – and comes with a beautiful sleigh bed with

There are four sizes of two-door sliding robes from 150 to 300cm and hinged doors ranging from a single 50cm width to a

upholstered headboard. Including two sizes of chests, as well as a practical bench and dressing table, MN Bedroom is available from UK stockists, with

three metre, six door set. Also included in the Berlin collection is a stylish bed and a

fast delivery through Kettle Interiors’ Wholesale, Stockist and

choice of bedside and storage chests with the option of top drawers

Container service packages.

in the co-ordinating glass finishes.

Experienced Agents required to sell a comprehensive range of mid-level sofas on a container basis out of China. It is essential that you have experience of selling into the wholesale / cash and carry markets and a good network of contacts. For more information contact Keeley Robinson via or call Keeley on 07787936189 UberHome_August19.indd 1

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A Life Changing Choice

Est 1986


Exquisite 1,000 pocketed springs COPPER INFUSED LATEX ENCAPSULATED

Copper is an excellent thermal conductor that rapidly transfers heat away from the body. Additionally, copper is anti microbial and is thought to promote health and wellness. Softheads Group Mulliners Works 154 Bordesley Green Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham . B8 1BY. FN365_Pages_2.indd Full page USE.indd 1 43

Tel: 0121 773 9969 Fax 0121 766 741

25/07/2019 16/07/2019 14:43 16:02

44 | Beds & Bedroom

JF403 bedside/lamp table

JUAL-PURPOSE DESIGNS As the adoption of personal technology in the home continues to rise, furniture designers are working hard to create modern living solutions which incorporate multipurpose features such as speakers and charging stations – take Jual Furnishings’ San Francisco Smart Range, which saw the supplier Highly Commended in The Furniture Awards at this year’s January Furniture Show. Furniture News spoke to Jual’s director, Julie Powell, about the range’s appeal … “We were delighted to receive the Highly

Bluetooth speakers – with sound output,

spend, on average, 24 hours a week on

Commended award for a product that had

says Julie, rivalling that of many leading

our smartphones and tablets – so we

taken several months to develop,” says Julie,

brands. The desks also offer PC connection

have brought style and practicality to our

whose business specialises in sleek, curvy,

ports, and one model features LED lighting.

furniture to cater for the Millennial lifestyle

contemporary furniture. The San Francisco Smart Range comprises

Ash veneer finishes and solid ash legs give the stylish, practical range a modern,

of today. It’s extremely practical, and its sleek design means it will fit in any setting.” The judging panel for this year’s

lamp/bedside tables and a desk, and

clean appearance. “The market for this

incorporates smart technology such as

item is huge,” explains Julie. “Most people

edition of The Furniture Awards liked the

Qi wireless charging, two USB ports and

live on their phones these days – we

range’s Scandi-style curves and finish.

Part of the San Francisco Smart Range, in an ash veneer

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Beds & Bedroom | 45

They said: “Each piece was flexible and multifunctional, adding layers to basic tech-enabled functionality such as wireless charging.” Fully tested and certified to British Standards, the San Francisco Smart Range is among a number of similar products hitting the market right now, but boasts enough innovative, high-quality touches to lift it above its competitors, says Julie. “Whilst the concept of building a wireless charger into furniture is not new, by adding

“Whilst the concept of building a wireless charger into furniture is not new … we’ve given this range the edge over some of our competitors’ products” high-quality Bluetooth speakers, USB ports and lights, we’ve given this range the edge over some of our competitors’ products,” says Julie. “You can find other desks with wireless charging facilities, but they do not




have the full spec that ours offer.” As a result of feedback from the January Furniture Show, Jual has put an extra nightstand in production which discreetly hides the wireless charger, as well as adding a new finish to the collection. Jual may not have quite taken the top spot in The Furniture Awards 2019’s Bedroom Furniture Category, but Julie is more than satisfied with the extra attention the range has received thanks to the judges’ commendation. “The award put the product in the spotlight, which was great advertising for a new launch,” she concludes. “The San Francisco Smart Range is getting alot of The San Francisco Smart Range, catering for home office use in a walnut veneer


JF405 bedside/lamp table

Look forward to seeing you at the IRISH FURNITURE SHOW 24-27 August 2019

Keen_August19.indd 1

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46 | Out of Hours

Working in the furniture industry can be incredibly demanding, yet many members of the trade find the time to pursue noteworthy avenues alongside the day job. In Out of Hours, we discover what some of the industry’s more colourful characters get up to in their spare time …

The children’s book author “By the time I arrived back in Leeds, I had written the bones of a book” My name is Guy Turner and I’m an agent in

never going to reach really big figures,

gave me writing about him. Hopefully they’ll

the north of England working for GFW.

the way forward in my mind was to send

be looking after me by that point, rather

my books to the big publishing houses

than the other way around!

Out of hours, I write books for children,

in London – they have the contacts to

One day I might even give up being an

based on the adventures of a duck called

persuade people like Waterstones and

agent, which will give me more time to do

Tummyfull and his friends.

WHSmith to stock my books.

some more writing – who knows?

So, my first book was sent, and within I became involved in this by chance. At the age of 50, I was feeding the ducks at the

weeks most had replied “no thanks”. The second book suffered a similar fate,

I have learned that it’s important to keep going, in the belief that someone,

back of my house with my grandson, aged

as did the third. Morale was now running

somewhere, will eventually like what you do.

three. The largest of the ducks swam off, to

low, and as I dispatched my fourth book I

In the words of Richard Branson: “I’m not

which my grandson turned and said, “its

was not optimistic about the outcome!

one for giving up. Whatever happens, we’ll

tummy’s full, Grandad!” More than 22 years later, I was returning

Sat in a coffee bar in London, my

carry on until we succeed.”

phone buzzed and there was a message

from a holiday in Lanzarote when a lady

from a major publishing house: “We can

You might not know this, but I attended

sat next to me was asked the question,

confidently state that your work was found

my first Earls Court Furniture Show in

“anything from the trolley, madam?” The

to be a charming and genuinely moving

1968, selling for one of Reed Paper Group’s

lady replied “no thanks, my tummy’s full”.

read, that would be enjoyed by both children

subsidiaries, Designed For You.

By the time I arrived back in Leeds, I had written the bones of a book! My first

and adults alike.” To date, the first book has sold several

Later in life I joined Silentnight as a sales training manager, before becoming sales

published book came out in 2017, and was

hundred copies through social media and

manager of Layezee. I then became an agent

about an overweight duck called Tummyfull.

three retail outlets. Another three books

with the likes of Lebus Upholstery, Philip

were then published, none of which were

Lait, Meredew and Julian Bowen.

It asks that I commit to a good deal of time for each story – the level of commitment

self-promoted. My latest book, The Vegetable Patch, was

Many of you will remember my wife Roma – together we did a double act as agents.

is pretty high. Once I’d started to write,

published in July, and its follow-up is under

Our two sons are both furniture agents,

I couldn’t stop, and produced another 15


selling for Romantica Beds and GFW.

stories about Tummyfull and his friends. Ten years down the line, I’d like to see

If you want to know more, my website is

I’m most proud of not giving up. Upon

Tummyfull the duck revived, and for him to, and you can

realising that sales in the local area were

give the same pleasure to our children as he

find me on Facebook.

Got an interesting hobby or accomplishment you’d like to share with our readers? Message the editor on

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25/07/2019 22/07/2019 14:43 15:59



Ayla Dune Chair in Moonlight Chenille

Ayla Horizon Lounger Amethyst Weave

Bazaar Group ( is making a significant

retailers, we are investing in the brand by increasing both capacity

investment in its manufacturing capability and retailer support for its

and workforce. We have invested in our customer service personnel

new instore brand Ayla.

and appointed a new business development manager for Ayla.”

As well doubling production staff numbers, the British furniture

Ayla offers a number of benefits for retailers, including a range

and furnishings maker is investing in a dedicated journey and

of delivery options due to its slick logistics operation and rapid

upholstery production unit.

turnaround of orders.

Ayla, which was launched at the January Furniture Show, has

The small footprint of the pieces allows them to be displayed

been specifically designed for modern living. With a rise in rented

alongside other furniture, and easily moved around for different

accommodation, urban living and homes with shrinking living

instore and window displays.

spaces, Ayla has been created for consumers seeking well-designed

Philippe adds: “Rather than replacing existing sales, Ayla can bring incremental sales. It brings a new consumer into stores – an

furniture with smaller footprints. Philippe Galland, head of sales and marketing, explains: “Following another year of growth and the reaction to Ayla from

audience which has been migrating online to find what they are looking for – without replacing those existing best sellers.”

With the launch of two new structured designs in 440 and 450cm widths, Louis de Poortere ( is taking the Haute Couture collection into extra-large territory, presenting flatweave carpets in unheralded widths with Haute Couture Design XL. In a 440cm width, Illusion is a minimalistic surface that uses spacedyed yarns for a fractured linear effect reminiscent of multi-coloured static interference. In 16 colours, the carpet delivers an elegant, modern look and with a 50% PET, 35% wool and 15% polyamide blend, it makes for an enduring flatweave carpet for homes and businesses. Featuring the Belgian manufacturer’s 100% recycled PET backing, Illusion delivers improved underfoot softness and better acoustic performance. Vibration’s 450cm width puts Louis de Poortere’s Haute Couture Design XL

elegant hues of ochre and rust, Vibration

sophisticated space-dyed effects, these two

is also equipped with a 100% recycled PET

new styles are ready to bring the unique look


of flatweave with minimal seams for easier and quicker installation.”

collection firmly in broadloom territory.

“We’re really delighted to be breaking

This stylish flatweave design again uses

into the big (width) time with these new

Achieving Class 32 General Commercial

space-dyed yarns to wonderful effect, giving

carpets and the Haute Couture Design XL

Use, The Haute Couture Design XL collection

the carpet a worn look, lifted with the subtle

collection,” explains Alan Russell, sales

is made for commercial and residential

iridescence of its 72% wool, 14% cotton and

director UK, Louis de Poortere. “Suitable

projects looking for unique flatweave

14% polyester blend. In 16 colours, including

for both homes and businesses, and in


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All Celebrity ZipSPEED ranges have been reengineered to include Mammoth Medical Grade™ Foam Seating Technology as standard. Zero VAT rated for those eligible. Terms and conditions apply. *Fabric models only. Includes fixed chairs and settees

Tel: +44(0) 1623 440626

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52 | Living Room

Steve Bristow Furniture (01626 330337,, is an established family-run business that has invested in the design, development and manufacture of a new

Manufacturing in the UK allows the firm to meet urgent order requests, reducing lead times compared to overseas suppliers. In addition, the business has the capability and experience of

and unique range of quartz furniture products that debuted at this

manufacturing and supplying bespoke products to meet any private

year’s January Furniture Show.

or contract specification in the UK and internationally.

The premium quartz furniture has been designed using proprietary

Steve Bristow Furniture has a reputation for high quality

technology, allowing the material to be bent and shaped, to create

workmanship coupled with professional and personal customer

stylish pieces that can be married with glass or solid quartz tops.

service, being recognised for business excellence by the non-political

One of the key attributes of quartz is that it is a highly durable – and

2018 Parliamentary Review. The company aim is to offer customers

therefore functional – natural material which offers a new, stylish

timeless, high quality furniture to enhance all interior styles from the

and lower cost alternative to Italian marble.

home to the boardroom.

From the finest materials to final creation…

…every detail is handled with care 016 26 330337 info @s t evebris t owfur ni tur e w w w . s t evebris t o wfur ni tur e

SteveBristowAugust19.indd 1

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Ontario The Ontario is an iconic two door sideboard, crafted using an Acacia wood frame and Acacia wood veneer doors using the end grain from the log to give the rustic natural effect. Finished with brushed brass feet and handles.

Shop our full collection online | 01795 439159

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Event: Big Shots’ 25th anniversary Location: Holland and Holland, Northwood, Middlesex Date: Wednesday 12th June, 2019 Lowdown: Nearly 200 people came out in support of the 25th anniversary edition of Big Shots, The Furniture Makers’ Company’s clay pigeon shoot, raising more than £34,000 for the charity. The fundraiser, which is supported by Furniture Village, saw 44 teams compete before sitting down to a threecourse meal, with more money raised through a raffle, auction and wine pull. The event’s silver anniversary celebrations were complemented by a talk from former Bath and England rugby player Victor Ubogu. The full results of the competition were: Top Gun (Male) – Nick Seaton (Clareno); Top Gun (Female) – Lizzie Shaw (Celtheath); Top Gun (Novice) – Rynier Van Der Merwe (Ki); Top Team – Haskins Hot Shots (JH Haskins & Son); Top Novice Team – Scared Hitless (Knoll International); Runner Up Team – Son of a Gun (Peroda Furniture); Bottom Team – The Blum Bandits (Blum); Four Man Flurry – Breasley Bandits (Breasley).

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Crowds queuing to buy during a Greenwood sales promotion

Sales promotion company Greenwood Retail (01565 650101, states that its clients can testify that, depending on the nature of the event and other variable factors, its high-impact sales promotion strategies can generate 25-100% of a retailer’s annual turnover, maintaining a high margin, over just 17 days’ trading. “Greenwood’s retail clients are enjoying record-breaking sales success despite weather, sport, Brexit and the associated downturn in big-ticket spending,” says MD Bernard Eaton.

Buying or selling? Find your market in

Greenwood specialises in organising high-profile retail sales events on behalf of quality retailers – including a significant number of AIS members – across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. “With 1000 sales events under our belt since 2002, Greenwood has far more experience of planning and organising retail sales

The Furniture Trade Directory

in this marketplace than any other sales company in the world,” Bernard continues. “This means that no other company in the world is better qualified to help British and Irish retailers get the best out of their next big sales event.” Greenwood can usually outline sales projections and costs from a brief discussion, either in person or over the phone.

Online trade-specific search engine and printed directory bringing buyers and sellers together

The Furniture Trade Directory SECOND EDITION

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• PRODUCTS – Be ruthless with your precious floor space. of Your Annual Sales

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Will your January 2017 sales be the best month’s total • SELLING SKILLS - Get good at this selling. you’re going to see year? Most retailers

don’t bother with a proper sales process or sales training. The Wouldones you like see sales of and two,money four, sixinorquality even eight successful do! toInvest time sales timesGreenwood what is normally your best know-how. Call to arrange an month? effective sales “Our 3rd Greenwood Sale has been another training course.

As our great clients knowasvery (andGreenwood’s will tell you), the success well well as being above sales are notthree exceptional forina aGreenwood 1000thresults Sale! That’s great results row COMPETITION Check competition to find out what Sale. for They are–standard. You could enjoy recordus over five yearsyour which proves how such reliable breaking sales results too –model with high margin their marketing is. Iwars. would not they are offering. Avoid all-out price Bemaintained. sure to out-do

hire Greenwood again.” your competitionhesitate on thetomost relevant beneficial USP’s Adam Tomlin, M.D. Jones and Tomlin Ltd. including choice, quality, and Call Greenwood Horsham,value Chichester and service. Worthing. to mystery shop your competitors.

TAKE YOUR FAIRFORTUNE SHARE DISCOVER THE THE your MARKET… • PROMOTION –OF Promote business effectively. Every THAT LIES HIDDEN INusing a good retailer Don’t from just Tesco to slow Harrod’s does. Consider accept trade. Stop waiting for to walk in BRAND… through the door.sales, It won’t. ‘Greenwood’business sales promotion to increase turn stock into YOUR something today,share, to bringwhile in crowds of eager your profit cash and winDofuture market protecting customers, who will gladly queue up to buy at the same time. Call Greenwood! your goods – even during Brexit!

Why not callDON’T me today MISS on 01565OUT 650101 for a free, confidential, no-obligation business consultation? I can Getsales your sales going. Call outline projections andGreenwood, costs over the theUK phone.

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Company,for to 2017 help you Limited bookings andrealise 2018the areoptimum now being taken potential of your next big sales event. Take aon look at our website or call us now on 01625 521010, a first come first served basis. The best launch dates Why not find out more? alwaysand go first. or, send an e mail enquiry, we’ll gladly call you to Ring us today on 01565 650101

discuss the exciting possibilities we can offer you, find out more without obligation. To find out to more without obligation, or to book a sale, without obligation. can usually outline projections call now onWe 01565 650101, or send an e mail and I’ll and costs over the telephone. gladly call you.

We are now booking events right across the UK and Ireland for BOOKING NOW FOR LATE 2019 the rest of 2013 on aand first intocome 2020 first served basis. Book yourCALL sales BERNARD event early to guarantee exclusivity OR DONALD NOW for –your 01565business. 650101


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58 | Trade Services

Upholstery technology specialist Lectra ( took the opportunity to cement its position as an Industry 4.0 pioneer at its in-house event in Bordeaux-Cestas, France, last month, where it unveiled two fresh solutions – Furniture on Demand by Lectra and Versalis 2019. Over 50 guests and industry experts from 12 countries convened at Lectra’s International Advanced Technology and Conference Center (IATC) to examine how rapidly the furniture industry is changing, and discover how they might meet evolving demand by embracing greater customisation and productivity capabilities. The opening keynote, a joint presentation by Milan’s CSIL and Lectra, detailed how customisation, the experience economy, sustainability and evolution in retail are driving furniture companies to reinvent themselves and their processes. Over one-and-a-half days of demonstrations, presentations, workshops and customer testimonials, industry experts revealed how accelerating digital transformation and implementing Industry 4.0 principles might enable furniture manufacturers to meet customer expectations through the delivery of original products, designed

integration between Versalis and a company’s ERP system to enable

and manufactured in an optimised way, sold at the right price and

the direct transfer of work orders for cutting. Users also have

delivered as quickly as possible.

greater access to production data, and employs AR technology at

Furniture on Demand is composed of two packages – Made to Order and Made to Customize – and o�ers an end-to-end solution,

the hide digitisation and o�oading stages to improve comfort and performance, minimises waste and avoid sorting mistakes.

from order processing to cutting, for small series and customised

“The furniture industry is at the dawn of an era rich in

order production. Arriving one year after Made to Order, Made to

opportunity,” says Céline Choussy, Lectra’s chief marketing

Customize brings even greater automation and intelligence.

and communications o�cer. “Industry 4.0 opens up a range of

Meanwhile, for manufacturers of leather-upholstered furniture,

possibilities for value creation and transformation. When change is

Versalis 2019, Lectra’s latest digital leather cutting solution,

so profound, having the right partnerships is key. Lectra’s newest

significantly improves productivity, nesting e�ciency, and operator

solutions a�rm our deep commitment to supporting our customers

ergonomics, resulting in increased throughput. New APIs tighten

on their Industry 4.0 journey.”

With the introduction of Encore Foam,

Gold award, and, like all Encore cushions, it

in foam, fibre and feather cushion interiors.

buyers have a new cushion filling choice on

is easy to maintain.

“We feel we have completed the holy trinity

top of Fibreline’s (01535 606846,

Fibreline believes Encore Foam to

of upgrade cushion fillings,” says MD existing Fibre

be the ultimate foam cushion. It is

Richard Prudhoe. “Now manufacturers have

and Feather options.

constructed from 100% foam and achieves

a great choice.”

Fibreline’s latest breakthrough in foam

its remarkable properties through a

According to Richard, demand for Encore

cushions is called Encore Foam. The

combination of foams and a clever interior

cushions continues to grow, as more and

manufacturer claims it has a sit just like a


more retailers are seeing the advantages and

fibre cushion, o�ering a snug, sink-in feel. Encore Foam recently won the coveted FIRA

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With the launch of Encore Foam, Fibreline feels confident it can now o�er the very best

demanding cushions containing Encore for their ranges.

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buyers waiting

end of line seconds returns

ex-display old stock prototypes

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60 | Trade Services

VIRTUAL INTERIOR VISUALISATION Creative agency, Orbital Vision, which specialises in 3D visualisation for the interiors industry, looks back at how far technology has come since the space race, and how it has changed the way we view technology in business today ...

It may have been 50 years since man

the moon landing. When it comes to the

and you can see Orbital’s recreation of Neil

walked on the moon, so why haven’t we

possibilities of recreating Armstrong and

Armstrong and Apollo 11 in the background.

returned since 1969? Technology now is

Aldrin’s first steps out of Apollo 11, we can

No detail has been missed. At Orbital, there

unrecognisable when compared to what was

say for certain that the technology to make

is an expert for every aspect of visualisation.

available in the 1960s, when JFK pledged

such a scene believable just wasn’t available

From CGI to graphic design to branding,

to win the space race. Before the time of

in 1969. In 2019 however, you can believe

it’s a creative powerhouse, and there is a

accessible computers, wireless phones,

that Orbital Vision has the skills to recreate

possibility that, without the moon landing

the internet, we were able to send two

a moon landing that would be unquestioned

50 years ago, humanity wouldn’t have the

astronauts into outer space to successfully

globally. In fact, we’ve had a go at just that

capacity to be where it is today. Not only

explore an unearthly planet.

on the front cover this month and depicted

because of revolutionary inventions like the

the journey in the images here.

microchip, but humanity’s belief in what is

It is no surprise that the fakery conspiracy theories have been circling ever since, without another human even nearing the

Look closely at the front cover image

possible. The Apollo 11 mission brought together

same feat, with all the new equipment we

400,000 engineers, technicians and

now have.

scientists who, before the calling of the

The real success of the moon landing was

space race, had mainstream occupations,

not conquering our moon but developing

and had never dreamed of helping America

the new inventions that drove its success.

launch into space.

There were remarkable discoveries in civil,

The success of the lunar mission

electrical, aeronautical and engineering

allowed nations to see the possibilities of

science that really pushed technology into

technologies being invented that we hadn’t

the industry it is today, and things are only

even imagined yet. At Orbital, this runs

developing even more quickly in 2019.

alongside our ethos. Virtually, anything is

With 5G just around the corner, and

possible, once the mind is opened to the

advances in AR and VR about to change the

opportunities. In today’s world, we have

face of business and retail forever, it all

reached a time where fakery is the norm,

started with the desperate deadline to get

when it comes to visuals, in print, online

man on the moon.

and on screen. Not everything is as it seems.

Then comes the infamous theory of faking

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62 | Designer

“I like to start with a walk through Hampstead Heath or a wander around the British Museum. I then find myself a comfortable spot and start sketching�

Tom Schneider

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Designer | 63

Ahead of the curve What began as a small artisan workshop in London grew to become a global supplier of some of the most interesting and exciting furniture designs in the industry, writes Jane Smith, as she explores the creative mind of Tom Schneider, the creator of retail ranges such as Swirl, Ellipse and Estelle …

Let’s start with where you grew up – did it

closely with my team to create new methods

spinning with lots of ideas, and I just let my

influence your design aesthetic at all?

that can achieve the seemingly impossible.

pencil wander, doing many quick sketches. Some jump out at me to be developed more.

I grew up in Hampstead in north London,

Often, I’ll have an idea while doing

which has a beautiful and huge park. I think

The Swirl is by far one of the most iconic

this is what inspired my love of nature, and

ranges from your repertoire. What inspired

something else, and will have to quickly

therefore did have some influence on my

this collection, and what did you set out to

find some paper to sketch to before I forget.

design aesthetic.

achieve when you came up with this idea?

I’ve even woken up with ideas that I want to

The Swirl was simply inspired by the letter


Was there a point in your early life when

‘S’. It’s a beautiful and simple shape, but

you thought you’d love to design and create

it is incredibly hard to produce as a piece

What do you want a Tom Schneider

your own collection of furniture some day?

of furniture. Originally, it was just a coffee

customer to feel when they have one of

It started with my love of making things – I

table 20 years ago, but, due to popular

your pieces in their home?

used to ask for tools for birthdays as early

demand, the collection has grown.

It’s extremely important to me that our customers are happy with every aspect of

as eight years old so that I could be more I’d love to know more about the new

their purchase. I want the piece to bring

Estelle range – it’s the epitome of the

them a little bit of joy every time they look

Your brand is known for using distinct

curved look that’s synonymous with your

at it. I love hearing from people that have

shapes and curves, not normally seen

brand. How did this range come about?

bought my furniture many years ago and are

in furniture. Where do you find your

It’s inspired by the beauty and symmetry of

still enjoying it.

inspiration for these unconventional

a slim waist. I wanted the furniture to feel


weightless and elegant.


I love to think differently. For instance, you

It’s one of the most difficult and

would normally associate a table with four

challenging pieces to make, and requires

legs, but I think, why not start the design

completely different methods to all our

with a shape from nature? You can take the

other furniture, but I just love the result.

In fact, I have a customer at the moment who bought several pieces from us 18 years ago and now wants some additional bespoke items. How has the industry changed since you launched this company 22 years ago?

curve of a tree or the shape left in the sand by a snake as inspiration for furniture design

What does a day in the life of Tom

Thankfully, the UK has moved on from

– as I did with the Serpent dining table.

Schneider look like? Is your mind

predominantly reproduction furniture to a

constantly busy with ideas for the future,

much more modern, forward-facing look

Can you describe the process of coming

or are you very much focused on one

and feel.

up with an idea and making it a reality?

project at a time?

What steps do you go through, or do you

I only wish I could spend all my time

Lastly, what’s the best advice you could

need to consider in terms of planning and

designing. When I do get the chance to

give to someone wanting to start out in


work on new designs and ranges, I like to

this industry today?

It is so important to get the shape and

start with a walk through Hampstead Heath

I’d say be true to your own vision and be

flow of the curves just right. I then love

or a wander around the British Museum.

ready for a lot of hard work.

the challenge of turning that design into

I then find myself a comfortable spot and

a practical piece of furniture, and I work

start sketching. By that point, my mind is

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News Soft seating specialist Bazaar Group reports growth and investment

News UK furnituremakers optimistic despite reduced production output, says BFM

News Sainsbury’s total Q1 sales down despite market share growth




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Furniture News is just one of the industry titles published by Gearing Media Group. Those involved in the contract furnishings market should take a look at Hospitality Interiors magazine (, while anyone seeking furniture manufacturing machinery or supplies should refer to Furniture Production (


er 2017

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Bed Buyer supplement (including Bed Show preview) | Manchester Furniture Show review Interview with Heal’s CEO Hamish Mansbridge | Sleepeezee in profile | Vispring at Harrods Autumn exhibition previews | Living, Dining, Beds & Bedroom and Furnisher

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Profile for Gearing Media Group Ltd

Furniture News #365  

We’re talking technology this month – cover star Orbital explains how CG imagery is taking off in the industry, we hear which solutions are...

Furniture News #365  

We’re talking technology this month – cover star Orbital explains how CG imagery is taking off in the industry, we hear which solutions are...