Furniture News #366

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Sealy Activsleep – Sleep Well To Be Well

HEALING HANDS Heal’s CEO looks to the future

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UNITED MEDIA Mlily’s holistic marketing strategy

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SERVICE QUALITY VALUE 28/08/2019 15/08/2019 16:04 15:41

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“ As a nation, we’re becoming more switched on about the need to switch off” COMMENT


here’s a new baby in the household, and

nation, we’re becoming more switched on about

after weeks of tired eyes, sugar cravings

the need to switch off, and, says the NBF, we’re

and potential typos (don’t go looking),

buying more expensive beds, and more frequently.

sleep is pretty high on my agenda. While the realities of a working/parenting

Mlily is just one of the suppliers that’s heard the wake-up (or doze off) call. Throughout the

schedule are trying their hardest to derail me, I’m

pages of this month’s issue (and our annual Bed

very much awake to the necessity of getting good,

Buyer supplement alongside it) there are stories

regular shuteye – and I’m not alone. Right across

of product innovation, bespoke partnerships and

our anxious, time-starved and overworked nation,

creative marketing strategies, all of which are

we’re proving extremely receptive to any advice

helping retailers cut through the noise in this

about why sleep matters, and how to achieve it.

crowded marketplace.

Lucky for us, there’s a growing legion of sleep

And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got

experts, apps and self-help guides lending their

interviews with the likes of Heal’s CEO Hamish

voices to what the medical establishment has been

Mansbridge (p18), Pasquale Junior Natuzzi

telling us for some time – to live well, you need

(p128) and The Sofa & Chair Company’s Judith

to sleep well. And to sleep well, you should eat

Allison (p24), plus our post-show report from

well, exercise, and avoid caffeine, alcohol and blue

Manchester’s big event (p58), a look at Hydeline’s

light before bedtime (you can’t switch on your

new direction (p50) and much more – as it says

smartphone these days without being reminded

on the cover, our mission is to inform industry

why you should switch it off).

and build business, and hopefully there are more

Meanwhile, compelling research warns us of the consequences of not getting enough slumber. At one end, grumpiness and a hankering for junk

than enough to take away from this month’s publication(s). Like these businesses, we’re looking to the

food – at the other, the increased likelihood of

future with open eyes. Now, if you would just pass

a traffic accident, dementia, cancer and heart

the matchsticks …

failure. It’s a serious matter – and it creates incredibly lucrative opportunities for those positioned to meet demand, including the various bed and mattress suppliers competing for a share of the UK market. Mlily’s Chris Thomas describes what is happening as “a cultural shift” (p44), as more and more of us come to appreciate that good sleep results in better health, mood and productivity, and are willing to spend to make it happen. As a

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

28/08/2019 16:04

4 | Contents


Hamish Mansbridge, Heal’s (18))

Editor-in-chief Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED Sales and marketing director (Furniture News portfolio) Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Sales executive Caroline Littler 07861 231461 Production manager James Ash 01424 817430 Production assistant Mike Beales 01424 776106 Digital production assistant Nyall McCurrach 01424 776107 Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108



28 Events

Editorial director John Legg 01424 776104

36 Resources

Publisher Nigel Gearing


Accounts Wendy Williams 01424 817433

Ailsa Yin (China) +86 13113 115335 (wechat)

Partner Comment

18 Interviews

Proofreader Keith Fitz-Hugh

Overseas agents Casey Loo (Asia) +65 973 00123 (whatsapp)



58 Manchester Furniture Show Review Judith Allison, The Sofa & Chair Company (24)

74 Opinion 78

Beds & Bedroom

Magazine subscriptions (UK-£65, Europe-£85, RoW-£95) 01424 774982 Connect VIP packages (UK-£95, Europe-£110, RoW-£120) 01424 774982 Repro, print and distribution Stephens & George

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

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The Herman Miller Cup (120)

The Furniture Trade Directory The indispensible guide for UK suppliers and retailers, in print and online SECOND EDITION NOW AVAILABLE

28/08/2019 16:04

Contents | 5

At the Helm (50)



Milton, Westbridge Furniture Designs

FURNITURE CITY Manchester calling!

CUSTOMER CULTURE Kate Hardcastle’s top business tips

RISK & REWARD The rise and fall of furniture trends

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17/06/2019 16:44

Activsleep has proved Sealy’s ( most successful range in over a decade – find out why on p86


Out of Hours


Dining Room



Living Room





The Big Question


Trade Services


Out & About




Last Word

Manchester Furniture Show (58)

Salience’s Natalie Took tracks the ups and downs in the online sofa sector


Andrew Hamilton (124)

Use it or lose it – Gavin Boden speaks out in defence of the Manchester Furniture Show


Kate Hardcastle (96)

Simon Williams explains how the NBF is taking the 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)

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fight to the rogue traders

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Partner Comment | 7

Future vision “We have to reduce our use of valuable natural resources, transition from a throwaway culture, and simply make things last longer” The impact the human race is having on our world’s environment is

Through this initiative, we’re also hoping to demonstrate that

becoming increasingly apparent, with an increase in extreme weather

our role isn’t just to support those more established in the industry

and the proliferation of pollutants in the atmosphere, from chemicals

through our knowledge. We support everyone. The first phase of judging will be desktop-based, and will take

to plastics.

place in early 2020. Shortlisted entries will then go through to the

To reduce our impact on the environment, we have to reduce our use of valuable natural resources, transition from a throwaway

final round, with the winner being announced as part of Clerkenwell

culture, and simply make things last longer.

Design Week.

These factors are the impetus of our new design competition,

We’re very much looking forward to seeing what creativity our

which launches in September and culminates at Clerkenwell Design

industry’s new talent can surprise us with. If you know of emerging

Week 2020 (19th-21st May).

talent within your organisation, please encourage them to take a look at the design competition – it could not only benefit them as

The challenge of this design competition is to use imagination, knowledge of materials and design to deliver an idea for an item of

individuals, but also your organisation, as they may have a nugget of

contract furniture that is remanufactured or remanufacturable.

an idea which could impact your design or approach to design.

We’ve made the decision to keep the brief for the competition deliberately imprecise, with the aim of encouraging creativity and invention in reducing the impact of furniture on the world. However, entries must fall into one of the following categories: a new piece of furniture capable of being reused, remanufactured or repurposed; or an existing product/material (whether furniture or not) that can be reused, remanufactured or repurposed as a piece of furniture for its second life. We’ll be encouraging entrants to consider issues such as innovative materials, design for remanufacture, and the use of materials – whether in the design or manufacture of the product. As a bit of insight, judges will be looking at overall manufacturability, as there may be the opportunity to have the

Phil Reynolds is the COO of the Furniture

winning design manufactured (depending on the concept).

Industry Research Association (FIRA,, the UK’s largest

All in all, we’re hoping to inspire those new to the furniture

furniture association and a recognised

industry – including students and those with less than three years’

centre of technical excellence which

experience – to take up the challenge and submit an innovative and exciting concept. All this will be backed by a £5000 prize fund to help

provides knowledge-based, technical support to the global furniture

further careers – furthermore, Blum are also supporting it with a trip

supply chain. For further details on the design competition, go to

to their facilities in Austria.

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

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28/08/2019 16:04

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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26/06/2019 28/08/2019 16:27 16:05 17/06/19 14:03

12 | News

Government responds to fire regulation consultation The Government has issued a response to a

presented by furniture in the modern home

2016 consultation looking at modernising

environment would be an “outcome-

the UK’s furniture fire regulations, which

focused, criteria-based approach”.

suggests changing testing procedures and amending the regulations’ scope to ensure the UK’s high safety standards are maintained, while facilitating innovation. Land of Beds’ directors, Mike and Caroline Murray

Land of Beds recognised at family business awards Land of Beds was awarded the silver award in the retail category at this year’s National Family Business of The Year Awards, held at Wembley Stadium. The awards recognise best-in-class family businesses in sectors ranging from technology to manufacturing. The judges praised the third-generation family business for its sales and profit growth over the last few years, and its

The UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire)

The report suggests that a change may be some way off. “The Government will now develop a new approach to address the different sources and chemical risks posed by fire

(Safety) Regulations 1988 set fire resistance

to upholstered furniture and furnishings,”

requirements for cover materials and fillings

it reads. “It will focus on safety outcomes

used in domestic upholstered furniture.

such as reduced risk of ignition and reduced

The 2016 consultation aimed to ensure that

risk of fire spread, and will be underpinned

the legislative framework maintains fire

by a set of essential safety requirements

safety for consumers, reflects technological

which all upholstered furniture placed

advances in manufacturing practices,

on the market must meet. This approach

and facilitates a reduction in the use of

is consistent with that taken for other

hazardous flame-retardant chemicals.

consumer products.”

Taken together, the formal responses

The Department for Business, Energy

indicate broad support for the proposals

& Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says it will

relating to scope, traceability and labelling,

provide further details on how the proposals

and enforcement, yet there are mixed

relating to scope, traceability, labelling and

views on the proposals to revise the testing

enforcement will be implemented “in due

regime. The panel has suggested that a

course” – in the meantime, the existing

more effective way of addressing the risks

regulations will apply.

transition into a leading multichannel retailer. MD Mike Murray says: “I would like to dedicate this award to all our incredibly hard-working and dedicated team who consistently go above and beyond. They’re our extended family, and without them we wouldn’t be where we are today.” In July, staff from Land of Beds completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge – a 25-mile hike up three of the tallest peaks in Yorkshire – raising over £4000 for Platform for Life, a charity which offers free counselling for families going through difficult times.

Stressless opens first UK store

New Belgian textile fair to replace MoOD Following Easyfairs’ cancellation of the

from across the globe. Kris Vermoesen,

MoOD trade show, Fedustria, the Belgian

Fedustria’s textiles product manager, says:

federation of the textile, wood and furniture

“Decosit is the only European fair in the

industries, has launched a new trade show

fall, and comes just in time for the winter

for upholstery fabrics and interior textiles

collections and the furniture shows in the

– Decosit.

months of November, December, January

Decosit will take place in hall 10 of Brussels Expo on 10-11th September this

and February. “Gathering the major players from the

year, and represents a revival of the Decosit

furniture fabrics and interior textiles sector

brand, with a return to its former name and

in the heart of Europe allows optimising


networking opportunities and attracting

Decosit aims to attract textile producers

new customers.”

IFFS takes a year out to “restrategise” After relocating to Marina Bay Sands for

Chairman Ernie Koh comments: “We will

Norwegian recliner specialist Ekornes,

this year’s edition last March, International

take time off in 2020 to restrategise, review

purveyor of the Stressless brand, opened

Furniture Fair Singapore, along with Nook

the developments closely, rethink formulas

its first UK showroom in July. Situated

Asia (IFFS), will take a break in 2020.

and recharge to drive the next phase of

on Tottenham Court Road, London, the 3600ft2 store is set over two floors.

After 36 years, the organiser of the design-led exhibition has announced a

growth. “We also must revitalise our resources

hiatus to “rethink, review, revitalise and

and concepts by introducing new, exciting

back contemporary interior has been

break new ground as well as to create new

and relevant themes, to elevate IFFS to the

designed to evoke a calm and inspiring

business opportunities, jobs, and grow

next level.

environment, enabling shoppers to

the Singapore furniture and furnishings

browse multiple room layouts, try out

industry in the coming years”, stating that

refreshed with more immersive experiences,

the products at their leisure and easily

the break is “a strategic step in line with the

brand new ideas, and a mission to get people

visualise items in their own homes,”

overall transformation in the furniture and

to rethink furniture and furnishings as well

says Ekornes UK’s advertising and brand

furnishings industry which is taking place

as to make the industry even greater in the

manager, Anna-Marie Warren.


years to come.”

“The store’s natural flow and pared-

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“We look forward to coming back

28/08/2019 16:05

News | 13

Jysk founder passes away

Lars Larsen

After being diagnosed with liver cancer,

Time4Sleep expands storage capacity

the founder of Jysk, Lars Larsen passed

With support from Yorkshire Bank,

away peacefully in his home near Silkeborg,

retailer Time4Sleep has established

Denmark, at the age of 71.

a new 35,000ft2 warehouse in Wolverhampton, tripling its

“We have lost our father, husband and

stockholding capacity.

grandfather, and Denmark has lost a truly

Headquartered in Milnsbridge,

remarkable tradesman,” says Lars’ son Jacob Brunsborg, who took over the position of chairman of Lars Larsen Group in June.

19th UK store in Wakefield on 3rd August. Country manager for Jysk UK, David

Huddersfield, the new location has been selected because of its proximity to a

Ashton, comments: “It is a sad day for all at

key distribution partner, and will help

the celebration of Jysk’s 40th anniversary,

Jysk. The values and culture that he created

fill a warehousing gap in the area. It

and personally cut the ribbon to open the

more than 40 years ago is embedded within

will allow Time4Sleep to offer next-day

first Jysk store in Ireland, completing the

everything we do today.If you ever had the

delivery throughout the UK, while a

retailer’s presence in all major European

privilege to meet him you will know that he

team of four has been recruited to run


was warm, welcoming and incredibly down

the operation, expanding the business’

to earth. Quite a special man, and somebody

headcount to 16.

Earlier this year, Lars played a key role in

Jysk has announced an ambitious fiveyear UK growth plan that will see its store portfolio increase by almost 350% to some 52 stores by August 2024 – it opened its

for us all to really look up to.” Lars leaves behind his wife Kristine, their two children and four grandchildren.

Director Jonathan Warren says: “Our new warehouse is a fantastic opportunity to expand our company. Establishing a warehousing operation

Debenhams appoints new CEO

in the Midlands makes strategic sense and is a fundamental part of our growth strategy.”

Debenhams has appointed Stefaan

to take the business forward into the next

Vansteenkiste at its CEO. Stefaan joined

phase of its recovery. Stefaan has already

Debenhams in April as its chief restructuring

made a strong contribution since joining

officer, and has worked closely with the

Debenhams, and has the support of our

executive team on a new business plan to

investor consortium to drive forward our

SATRA opens new technical facility

deliver a turnaround for the retailer.

turnaround plan.”

SATRA Technology Centre has opened

An experienced turnaround expert

Stefaan adds: “The retail industry faces

a purpose-built technical facility

at professional services firm, Alvarez &

a challenging environment and everyone

that brings together laboratory

Marsal, Stefaan is an experienced CEO and

at Debenhams acknowledges that. But we

services operations with the design

retail operator, having worked with the

have a clear plan and Debenhams has a

and manufacture of test equipment

likes of lntertoys, Vion Food Group, Diam

great team of people who are committed

for improved testing in global supply

International and Bally Shoes, and, before

to delivering it. I am very excited about

chains, including in-house laboratories.

that, theme parks Six Flags and Taco Bell.

Debenhams’ strong prospects and with a

One significant difference will be a

restructured balance sheet there is a robust

more efficient feedback loop from the

Duddy has worked with Stefaan to ensure

platform from which to build a turnaround,

laboratory accreditation team in the

an orderly handover, and steps down from

based on Debenhams’ clear brand focus,

field to test equipment design personnel.

the board this month. Terry comments:

broad customer reach and differentiated

“We concluded that he is the right person

product offer.”

Debenhams’ group chairman Terry

John Hooker, SATRA’s chief executive, says: “The opening of Century House demonstrates SATRA’s continued

Apprenticeship standard at risk The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills

not meet its new guidelines. This means that

and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is appealing

the existing single standard with pathways

to UK furniture manufacturers to financially

must be replaced by separate standards for

support work needed to renew the level 2

each specialist occupation if Government-

Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship

funded skills training is to be maintained.

Standard. The current standard is the

FIESTA is proposing to rationalise the

mainstay of apprenticeship training for the

current standard by creating four new level

UK furnishing industry, with around 1000

2 furniture standards at a cost of £5000

apprentices having been trained through the

each, and is calling for manufacturers to

10 pathways since its launch in 2016.


The Institute for Apprenticeships and

close working of our engineering and quality services teams. As well as extending our current portfolio of 300 test machines, this large and modern facility will give us the opportunity to move further towards advanced manufacturing.”

Gary Baker, chairman of FIESTA, says:

Technical Education (IFATE), the controlling

“The occupations of fitted furniture

authority on apprenticeship standards,

installers, cabinetmakers, modern

has said that the current standard must be

upholsterers and wood machinists will be

reviewed before the end of 2019 as it does

impacted most without a replacement.”

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commitment to the development and

28/08/2019 16:05

14 | News

Furniture contributes to Laura Ashley losses

New website honours industry pioneer The Long Eaton Guild now boasts a new website to promote its biannual Long Point exhibitions, courtesy of digital creative

Total group sales at Laura Ashley for the year to 30th June 2019 were

agency, Orbital Vision. Orbital waived the fee for the project,

down £24.7m (to £232.5m) as LFL

instead requesting a donation to St

sales declined by 3.5%, resulting in a

Michael’s Hospice in East Sussex, in

loss (before taxation, and excluding

memory of former guild chairman, Matt

exceptional items) of £9.8m.

O’Flynn, the co-founder of Orbital, who

The retailer’s furniture category (which accounted for 28% of its

passed away from cancer there in March. The hospice has responded to the guild’s

Long Eaton Guild chairman Andrew Mitchell and Orbital’s MD, Rob Walker

business) saw sales fall by -10.1% YoY,

£500 donation with gratitude: “Thank you

with LFL sales down -9.0%. The retailer

so much for your overwhelmingly generous

on the kindness of people like you who give

states that this category – its most

donation given in memory of Mr Matt

so generously in order for others to benefit

expensive – was impacted by weak

O’Flynn. What an incredible gift, which will

from the support we offer.

consumer confidence, particularly at the

enable the hospice to continue to support

higher price points. Home accessories fell by -0.8%,

“On behalf of the team at St Michael’s

many more people. As you know, our

Hospice, thank you. Your generosity is

services are provided free, and we are reliant


with LFL sales up +1.1%, driven by lighting, seasonal gifting and bedlinen. Decorating was hardest hit, with LFL sales down -13.7%.. Chairman Andrew Khoo comments: “The primary causes for the YoY drop in profit have been the performance of home furnishing and that of our website following a re-platforming exercise which took place in November 2018. “We have focused on the reasons why home furnishings have underperformed and have taken necessary steps to mitigate this, including adding new contemporary product to our ranges. We have taken active steps to listen to our customers and now believe that we are

Emma reports strong UK revenues European bed-in-a-box brand Emma

strong H1 2019 results are further evidence

Mattress has reported its largest UK

that we’re on the right track and put Emma

revenues to date, drawing in £18m between

Mattress on course to solidify its position as

1st January and 30th June. Co-founder

the UK’s leading bed-in-box brand.”

Benjamin Quiroga-Rivera states: “Emma’s

Emma continues to grow in Europe. As of

+316% YoY growth is a testament to our

19th July 2019, the company had sold over

profitable and sustainable business model,

400,000 mattresses “on a profitable basis”

which focuses on product quality and clearly

via its worldwide online channels. In the

communicating product differentiation and

UK, Emma is expecting revenues of £45m


for 2019 – YoY growth of +173%. The brand

“We’re sceptical of adopting unsustainable

is also set to reveal a new partnership with

strategies and believe we have found the

a UK retailer which will increase its retail

right recipe for long-term success. Our

presence to over 200 stores.

on an appropriate recovery path.” At year-end, the UK portfolio comprised 155 stores, a net reduction of five on the previous year.

Casper goes in-store with John Lewis

eve narrows losses in H1 In a trading update for the six months

and the further benefits of eve’s rebuild

ended 30th June 2019, D2C mattress

strategy coming through.

supplier eve Sleep revealed reduced losses and new retailer partnerships. eve’s focus this year has been on

CEO James Sturrock comments: “I am pleased with the financial and strategic progress made in H1, against a backdrop

reducing EBITDA losses and improving

of substantial retail headwinds and

Online sleep brand Casper has

cash management, and the business says

the current competitive nature of the

announced its first brick-and-mortar

it has made good progress. Underlying

category. We have a strong new team in

retail partnership in the UK – with John

EBITDA losses were reduced by -50% YoY

place, and there are early signs that the

Lewis & Partners.

to £5.9m, driven by a refocus on fewer

rebuild strategy is driving meaningful

markets, greater marketing efficiency and a

improvements in our key metrics in both

strategy officer, Neil Parikh, says:

reduction in overheads. Net cash at the end

the UK&I and France. Our focus on reducing

“Partnering with John Lewis, one of

of the period was £12.5m.

losses, whilst creating a differentiated

Casper’s co-founder and chief

the most-loved retail brands in the

The group expects revenue growth to be

proposition as a sleep wellness brand, will

UK, offers customers the opportunity

weighted towards H2 – UK&I revenues for

underpin the business and lay the path to

to experience Casper and enables us to

H1 were broadly flat at -0.9% below last

long-term profitability.”

bring better sleep to even more people.”

year. Group underlying revenue decreased

In North America, the company has

eve Sleep also confirmed that it is in

by -8% YoY to £12.9m. H2 will see new

discussions regarding a potential merger by

opened more than 30 Casper Sleep

marketing campaigns, three new retail

way of the acquisition of rival brand Simba,

Shops, and has partnered with retailers

partnerships – with Argos, Dunelm and

which would consolidate its share in the

including Target and Hudson’s Bay.

Homebase, to sell eve products online –

online mattress sector.

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News | 15

Natuzzi to restructure in response to tariffs Italian furniture brand Natuzzi has outlined

support from Invitalia, including funding for

the need for changes to its business model

innovation measures and workers’ training;

in response to the increase in US customs

and explore new commercial partnerships in

tariffs on goods produced in China.

different countries.

Broadly, the business plan includes:

Chairman and CEO Pasquale Natuzzi

ScS reports growth in line with expectations ScS has issued a trading update for the 52 weeks ended 27th July, ahead of

extending the company’s Natuzzi-branded

says: “In the business plan that we will be

announcing its preliminary results on

distribution and retail operations in key

presenting in September, we include a series

1st October. The group saw LFL order

geographical areas; revising the existing

of actions to extend our D2C operations

intake growth of +4.2%, with two-year

value chain and streamlining processes,

and the revision of our value chain. We are

LFL order intake growth of +5.2%, and

structures and operations; delivering greater

planning a series of initiatives, including the

expects to report full year results in line

value to customers; and reorganising the

sale of non-strategic assets, the revision of

with expectations.

company to meet the demands of evolving

our manufacturing configuration in Europe,


China and Brazil, reducing unnecessary

weeks ended 16th March 2019 was

capacity and pursuing alternative

+2.9%, and the full-year performance

manufacturing strategies.

is set to reflect the strong growth the

To achieve this, Natuzzi expects to implement the following initiatives: begin the process of selling non-strategic

“Alongside this, we’ve put in place

LFL order intake growth for the 33

group has achieved in the last 19 weeks.

assets to fuel retail development; reshape

further building blocks for future growth,”

This growth was partly assisted by

manufacturing operations; obtain financial

he concludes.

weaker comparatives in the prior year, as a result of the hot weather and FIFA

Junior employees complete training mission

FIRA hosts West Midlands flammability training

Eight junior employees in the furniture industry have completed The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Young Professional Industry Experience. The continuous professional development course was launched in 2014. This year’s

FIRA International has released details

participants were: Jess Bowyer, sourcing

of two new flammability courses which

and corporate social responsibility manager

will be taking place in Wednesbury,

at Ocee Design; Oliver Clegg, junior quality

West Midlands. The courses, which

assurance analyst at Camira Fabrics; Ryan Goddard, operations graduate at Herman

The students then presented their findings

Miller; Kieran Gunn, technical support at

to representatives of the host companies

Ercol; Emily Nickless, digital marketing

and other industry dignitaries at Furniture

manager at Parker Knoll; Hattie Speed, design

Makers’ Hall, where they identified five

engineer at Ercol; Josh Stancer, business

themes - Brexit, an ageing workforce,

development/trainee veneer specialist

sustainability, online retailing/changing

at Mundy Veneer; and Carl Sunderland,

consumer habits and employee engagement

development CAD technician at Parker Knoll.

– that were having an impact on the sector,

The group spent three weeks across June and July visiting 21 companies to learn about the furniture supply chain, including raw

World Cup.

and put forward solutions to the perceived threats. Dids Macdonald OBE, master of The

materials and components, manufacturing,

Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The

retailing, buying, pricing, marketing,

culmination of this unique three-week

merchandising, intellectual property,

intensive programme of zig-zagging around

consumer law, aftersales and customer

the UK was a wonderful celebration of



will be delivered by Phil Reynolds, technical development manager at FIRA International, are: An introduction to Domestic Furniture Fire Safety Training, taking place on 8th October from 10am-2pm; and An introduction to Non-domestic Furniture Fire Safety Training, on 9th October, also from 10am to 2pm. The curriculum for the domestic furniture course will explain the requirements of the Furniture & Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations (FFFSR), covering the supply of furniture and beds for domestic use. The course will be structured in a way to show why and how the regulations came about, a look at what is in and out of scope, and an explanation of

Savoir launches online store and new showrooms

the testing and labelling requirements.

Luxury bedmaker Savoir has unveiled a new

US planned in the near future. Alistair

the recent Government response to the

online store which introduces ecommerce

Hughes, Savoir’s owner and MD, says:

2016 consultation regarding the FFFSR.

to its recently rebranded website.

“Savoir is proudly British, but we’re also

Crucially, this course will also reference

The non-domestic course will explain

truly global, and it’s our goal to give

how the requirements of the Regulatory

operation coincides with the opening

customers the most comfortable and

Reform (Fire safety) Order affects the

of showrooms in Berlin, Singapore and

stylish beds imaginable, no matter where

supply of furniture and beds for office,

Qingdao, with additional presence in the

they are in the world.”

contract and hospitality use.

The expansion of Savoir’s ecommerce

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18 | Interview

Fitzrovia, a contemporary take on the Chesterfield

“There’s no prescriptive direction. Just as much free rein for our designers and buyers as possible”

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Interview | 19

Healing hands What does it take to thrive in today’s retail climate? Despite its 209-year history and world-class flagship, even Heal’s has struggled to turn a profit in recent years – but no longer. CEO Hamish Mansbridge tells Paul Farley about the new lines, digital directions and in-store theatre behind the iconic brand’s turnaround, plus the lines it will never cross … I meet Hamish at Fitzrovia’s Mortimer

Sixty years after his death, Ambrose

With a philosophy like that, there’s

House, just a short walk from the

Heal’s famous maxim, ‘If in doubt,

never a dull moment. Heal’s hasn’t made a

Tottenham Court Road store. Here, Heal’s

innovate’, continues to guide the brand’s

Chesterfield in years, Bloomsbury is quite

is unveiling its AW19 collections: Modern

direction. And his design principles, drawn

dissimilar to the established lines, and Rocca

Nostalgia (contrasting colour palettes, warm

from the Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and

is the first extendable ceramic-topped table

materials and bold patterns); and Deco

Modernism movements, are never far away.

the company’s ever done.

Moderne (Art Deco-inspired, curvy, richly

It may be over two centuries old, but Heal’s


is very much alive and kicking, and can

everything we do,” says Hamish. “But it’s

blend the traditional and the modern like

definitely more pronounced this season. For

no other.

one thing, I’d never plan to launch five new

Encompassing upholstery, cabinet, lighting and accessories, the new designs

“To some extent, we take risks with

sofas in one go!”

are at once sumptuous, refined, and daring.

“Everything comes down to product,”

Take the sofas – like Fitzrovia, a thoroughly

states Hamish. “Design is the absolute key

fresh take on the traditional Chesterfield,

attribute of everything we do – there has to

the portfolio align with the retailer’s

or Bloomsbury, a compact, 1930s-style

be that credibility to it. We’re not going to

wider strategy? “There’s no prescriptive

statement piece.

sell things that are boring.”

direction,” Hamish shrugs. “Just as much

So, how do the latest additions to

free rein for our designers and buyers as possible. They’re working from a blank piece of paper.” It’s a refreshingly democratic approach to product sourcing and development, and demonstrates immense faith in the team’s creative vision. And, risky or not, it appears to be paying off. After some years in the wilderness, the retailer’s finances have returned to good health – revenues were up +12% (to £29.7m) in 2017-18, and Hamish is confident that the future is bright. “It’s been a long time coming,” he says, “and it’s taken lots of little changes to achieve it. When I joined in September 2015, I was never going to completely change what Heal’s was doing – but they had fallen into some bad practices. I had to make Hamish Mansbridge

FN366_Pages.indd 19

people understand that it needed to be a proper business, not a vanity project, and

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20 | Interview

this meant doing things more commercially – yet remaining mindful of retaining the

Heal’s at 196 Tottenham Court Road

brand’s core values.” It was a time of significant (but necessary) transformation. Poorly performing product was removed. Better relationships with suppliers were forged, and various moves were made to reduce costs – most visibly, store closures. Today, Heal’s operates though six shops. The largest of these is its iconic flagship on Tottenham Court Road, which comprises 42,000ft2 of retail space over three floors. “It’s jolly expensive to operate, but we’d never be without it,” says Hamish. “We’re the road’s anchor tenant!” Alongside stores in Kingston upon Thames, Brighton and West Yorkshire (Redbrick Mill), Heal’s now operates through two smaller-format shops, in Birmingham’s Mailbox and Westfield London. The hope is that these will broaden

customers use the stores too – rudimentary

the brand less visible to its traditional

the brand’s reach, but Hamish admits that it

analysis shows relatively high incidence of

audience. Consequently, he plans to

is not yet clear how well they work, and that

people shopping in both directions – but it

somewhat redress this balance, possibly

Heal’s is unlikely to open any more in the

absolutely looks like the digital-first model

employing some of the brand’s classic ad

immediate future.

is the future.”

campaigns along the way.

Indeed, the brand’s future will hinge

This ethos has led Heal’s to increasingly

And why not? Few brands have such a

on its online channels, says Hamish, who

divert its marketing spend – one third,

rich history, and despite any uncertainties

has already described Heal’s as a “digitally

and now two – along digital channels.

the future holds, Heal’s is never remiss in

connected brand with showrooms”.

And although this remains his long-term

acknowledging its roots. This summer alone,

strategy, Hamish admits that backing away

it celebrated 100 years of Homes & Gardens

from traditional media has probably made

magazine (Heal’s advertised in the very first

“Online now accounts for 40% of our business,” he explains. “Of course, our

issue), while a lobby display marked 100 years of the Bauhaus design school. Such endurance resonates with today’s consumer, and an ethos of longevity permeates the retailer’s entire portfolio.

“ Heal’s has only had 14 leaders in its history. I feel a lot of pride … and responsibility”

The daring Ambrose Heal was also proud of his ability to deliver well-crafted products that would stand the test of time, a message that’s reflected in the business’ branding and lifetime guarantees. It’s also particularly relevant today, as the clamour around sustainable manufacture and recycling hits fever pitch – what better time for a brand that’s always made furniture to last? “Although our more mature customers want the quality they’ve always had, when I joined Heal’s it felt like we lived in a more throwaway society,” says Hamish. “Now it feels like that conscience is coming back again, particularly at the younger end of the spectrum. “A lot of our product is made in the UK and Europe, our plastic bags are biodegradable (even if people still ask for paper!), and the fact we know our furniture will be with our customers 10 or 20 years’ longer than most is great.

Bloomsbury, the signature piece from the new Deco Moderne collection

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“But sustainability is a double-edged sword. I’m always hearing people say that

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Interview | 21

their grandma has a lovely Heal’s cabinet

“And that’s part of the reason our stores

which they’ll inherit in the future, so they

are so important. They enable shoppers to

don’t need to buy one today. Perhaps we do

compare what we do with our competitors,

it too well!”

so they can see the quality for themselves.”

Hamish points to a rug at our feet

Yet even Heal’s, whose historic flagship


that’s made from recycled plastic bottles.

ranks among the world’s most inspiring

The retailers I most admire come in

“Traction on recycled product will grow,”

retail destinations, has to work hard to

many forms. The H&M Home concept

he says. “But it shouldn’t take green

drive footfall. “I’m always astonished when

on Regent Street is fantastic, and

credentials to sell our products – beauty

furniture stores don’t make the most of the

offers really nice pieces at astonishing

and design should lead, with sustainable

theatre and hospitality that should naturally

prices. It’ll be really interesting

elements underneath it all.”

accompany the product,” says Hamish.

to see how it goes. And The White

In that respect, he’s confident that Heal’s

“That’s why we take retail theatre

Company [where Hamish worked as

will always deliver. “I think we do design

so seriously. We’ve got to create an

FD from 2003-12] still does a great

and quality better than anyone else,” he

increasingly more experiential space to get

job. That’s how an owner-managed

states. “If people tell me they can buy

people coming in and buying.” He points to

company should work. Chrissie

something cheaper from somewhere else,

the success of the Heal’s Brunel apartment,

[Rucker, co-founder] involves herself

I tell them to go and buy it – we’re never

a new installation which simulates a modern

in everything important and lets her

going to compete on price.

living environment around its popular

people get on with the nitty-gritty, and they stick to their message and brand values so well. That said, in

The Heal’s Brunel apartment at Tottenham Court Road

general, I think the indies are more interesting than the chains at the moment. Internally, I’ve been most impressed by our ability to respond to disaster. In February, a fire took out our new warehouse near Chorley – and all the stock inside it. A new temporary warehouse space was up and running in just two days. It was extraordinary. It was a difficult time – the lead time on products like Brunel fell from ‘next week’ to ‘two months’, at worst. Our new warehouse, with the same team, in the same locale, opens this month. When we’re looking for inspiration, we visit shows – from Clerkenwell to Milan. It’s really important to see different trends and things coming to market, and to cement our existing partnerships. But in a show like Milan you can’t see everything, which makes it harder to pick the winners!

CAREER DIGEST 1992 Audit manager, PwC 1997 Finance, Thomson Reuters 2003 FD, The White Company 2012 Acting CEO, Snow+Rock 2013 COO, Snow+Rock 2015 CEO, Heal’s

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22 | Interview

“ I had to make people understand that it needed to be a proper business, not a vanity project”

Rocca table and Bronte chairs

Brunel collection, designed by Rob Scarlett.

standing Vitra (“one of my most treasured

history,” says Hamish. “I feel a lot of pride

“It’s interactive, and focused on a range

partnerships – and actually a hybrid model,

… and responsibility. It’s a tough sector.”

which, for many, is the stepping stone

rather than a concession”).

But Heal’s is a survivor. And you don’t survive without a little optimism.

into our brand,” explains Hamish. “The

If variety is the spice of life, the new

apartment brings everything together.”

AW19 collections are poised to bring even

“Here in London, it’s going to be great

Then there’s the sheer number of

greater diversity and character to Heal’s.

for us when Crossrail opens. More generally,

colourful concessions which call the

But you can guarantee it won’t stop there.

sorting out Brexit would make a big

Tottenham Court Road store home. These

It’s taken considerable effort and creativity

difference to people’s confidence, and we’d

range from newcomer Amura (“young and

to get this business back on track, and

see growth in many sectors. It depends on

fun”), through the eccentric Timothy Oulton

momentum must be maintained. By the time

who gets into power, but there’s a good

(“some customers think it’s a slightly odd

you read this, Heal’s will doubtless look a

chance the housing market could pick up.

juxtaposition, but they’re generally happy

little different, as more of that pioneering

to see something different – the brand

spirit comes to life.

absolutely owns that space”), to the long-

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“Heal’s has only had 14 leaders in its

“If they take the brakes off, I think there’s a big future ahead of us.”

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24 | Interview


Name: Judith Allison Position: Head of sales

Lap of luxury

Business: Luxury furniture manufacturer and seller, The Sofa and Chair Company, which operates through a large showroom in Park Royal, London

Three words that describe your business

that we could deliver the personal, luxury

Bespoke luxury furniture.

service that our customers required. Our primary focus was customer-centric back

Your origins

then, and this still remains today.

I was brought into the business 10 years ago to set up the retail side. Back then it

The last trade show you visited

was a very small furniture workshop on an

Salone del Mobile in Milan. Now the largest

industrial estate in Acton. When the founder

furniture trade show in the world, it’s a

mentioned to me in my interview that his

great opportunity to meet, develop and

plan was to create a luxury showroom on-

improve relationships with existing and

site, I was sceptical – particularly because of

new suppliers and to learn about forecasted

the location.

trends for colours, textures and trends

My background was in retail furniture,

within the luxury and premium furniture

having previously worked in the sofa

markets. These will ultimately excite and

industry for 15 years. The credit crunch in

inspire our customer base, and we are

2008/09 made me fully understand the

always seeking out new routes to market to

importance of providing a flexible, bespoke

attract new customers.

service to our clients. At first, customers

We have found that it is so important

were hesitant, but when they did make the

to debrief with the whole sales team after

journey, they were pleasantly surprised at

shows like Milan. There is a lot to take in,

what met them in Acton.

but so much of it is helpful for our team as

Our professional designers were awaiting

it will help guide future product design and

them at the door and were ready to listen.

potential future purchasing habits. I want

Most came to us because they simply

to inspire and educate the team, which will

couldn’t find what they wanted on the high

in turn make our customers confident that

street – we could design, manufacture and

they have chosen the right brand.

install, we were doing something most were not doing. The next step for us was identifying a

Judith Allison

FN366_Pages.indd 24

Your most praiseworthy supplier We like to support smaller independent

demand for a design consultancy service,

suppliers, and I consider fabric designer and

that we still provide today. Recruiting the

supplier Jason D’Souza one of the best. He

right people, with unparalleled skills, meant

has worked with us from the very beginning,

28/08/2019 16:05

Interview | 25

not only supplying us with new, innovative and trend-led collections of luxurious yet

King Chesterfield

practical fabrics, but also helping to train our new and experienced sales teams on how different compositions of cloth will perform. Jason understands the importance of informing our design consultants about the story behind his latest collection of fabrics, their USPs and how to manage the expectation of the customer with their chosen upholstery fabric. More recently, Jason collaborated with us by supplying fabrics for a new collection that we launched at our pop-up on the Kings Road in Chelsea back in March. Your best-performing product The Alexander sofa. This timeless piece has remained our bestselling upholstery product for the last three years. No matter what fabric it is upholstered in, it always retains

“ Our clients’ tastes are incredibly varied, but what is always certain is that they require a luxury that cannot be bought from a typical furniture company – that is why they come to us”

its beautifully classic aesthetic. Due to its success, we decided to design a

Your approach to staff training

The most significant change you’ve made

sibling range, the Preston, which is a short-

We invest in people that we can mould, that

in your business recently

armed version but still displays the same

will grow with us and that will be with us for

We have acquired new investment. This

exquisite detailing. We find our clients often

a long period of time. Our success depends

has helped us to achieve our true potential

pair the Preston chairs with the Alexander

on our employees working together to

of growth and to develop and push our

three-seater, which creates great visual

achieve common goals. We cannot do what

brand to a global market. It has enabled us


we do without the talent of our colleagues

to successfully refurbish and expand our

- new and experienced. In the process of

100,000ft2 showroom, which now boasts

Your personal favourite

expanding the business, we have valued

over 140 room sets, including collaborations

The Moore, a spectacular corner sofa which

those who have been part of the team for

with established luxury brands like

has quickly become top in our corner

over 10 years but that are still open-minded

Visionnaire, Smania and Eichholtz.

group category this year, demonstrating

and willing to learn new skills and share

the success of our product development

fresh ideas with new starters and graduates.

department. This piece was designed to meet

Our team is from all corners of the world

The tastes that best reflect your audience Our clients’ tastes are incredibly varied, but

the demand for a modern silhouette with a

and they all have the same passion to

what is always certain is that they require

contemporary wood finish, brushed metal

design, manufacture and deliver exquisite

a luxury that cannot be bought from a

legs, integrated tables and a sumptuous

products that make our customers want

typical furniture company – that is why

deep-cushioned seat. Its impressive size is a

to return to us or recommend friends and

they come to us. They know that we can

nod to open-plan living, which continues to

family. We are proud of what we do, but we

create the look and feel that they want in a

be ever more popular.

are always seeking to improve.

very quick turnaround time. Being able to produce bespoke furniture that meets each discerning client’s individual needs, with


a personal service, is the reason we attract and retain customers. The technology you’ve introduced most recently Gimbal, a handy tool to stabilise a mobile phone so that we can produce high-quality video content for our social media channels. The smallest investments can really make such a difference. Your number-one selling tip Always listen to your clients. If you don’t understand what they ultimately want, you will never be able to satisfy them.

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LIVE IN LUXURY. SLEEP IN STYLE. Celebrating 10 years of comfort and innovation

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SALUS LAUNCH AT THE BED SHOW 17 — 18 September 2019, Telford Stand No. J60 Come and see the new look Salus at this year’s Bed Show. We’ll be showcasing our new comfort options.

FN366_Pages.indd 27



All Salus mattresses come with a reassuring 10 year guarantee

All Breasley products are made exclusively in the UK

28/08/2019 09:52 16:05 14/08/2019

28 | Events


OUT ON THE TOWN Long Point returns for its autumn outing from 23rd-25th September. The biannual show, which takes advantage of the historic UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture, Long Eaton, is a valuable opportunity for buyers looking to catch up with some of the biggest brands in UK furniture …


ue to the large number of upholstery manufacturers with permanent showrooms

in the area, Long Point enables buyers to visit over 25 exhibitors in their own spaces, offering both inspiration and intimacy. Open from 9am-5pm each day across seven locations, the show is a valuable sourcing opportunity for buyers of upholstery and cabinet furniture, who will have the chance to explore the latest offer from the likes of Duresta, John Sankey, Siren, Westbridge, Staud, Carlton and Vintage – plus ercol, which is returning to the event. Award-winning bedroom manufacturer, Wiemann (www.

Harrington Mill, will present a display of its collections, ranging from entry-level to top-quality VIP and

been working hard on for the past six

creative agency Orbital Vision. The

semi-solid wood, from its permanent


site includes exhibitor profiles, with

The Long Eaton Guild, the organiser

showroom on the first floor of

of this longstanding industry fixture,

showroom. With Orbital’s assistance,

of Wiemann’s UK agent, Litmus

has invested in signage this year to

the guild is working to attract a new

Furniture, says: “The team and I

help visitors navigate the various

generation of buyers to this year’s

look forward to welcoming you to the

venues. The show has also benefited


showroom and show you what we’ve

from a new website, built by digital


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a Google Maps location for each

Harrington Mill. Simon Hewitt, MD

Monaco, Wiemann

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30 | Events


ALL ROADS LEAD TO STONELEIGH The Autumn Furniture Show will take place on the 1st and 2nd October at NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, near Kenilworth, set in Warwickshire countryside – and promises to offer valuable sourcing opportunities at this critical time of year …


reviously the venue for The Royal Show, the NAEC complex now offers three

large purpose-built exhibition halls, and the Autumn Furniture Show will utilise two of these, covering a total of 7000m2. With the much-valued support of its exhibitors, the show is now in its sixth year, and attracts a wide range of manufacturers, offering a variety of products including dining, upholstery, beds, bedroom furniture, home accessories and software systems.

Stoneleigh. Ample free car parking

All trade buyers from the furniture

will be available adjacent to the

sector are welcome – interested

major road (satnav code CV8 2LG)

halls, and visitors will also receive a

parties can register to visit on the

and rail links – Birmingham Airport

complimentary catalogue and a lunch.

show’s website, where they will also

The location is easily accessible via




find links to a selection of nearby


the nearest railway station, Warwick

9am-5pm on the Tuesday, and 9am-



Parkway, is just 6.5 miles from

4.30pm on the Wednesday.

is just 20 minutes away by car, while

The event will be open from




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32 | Events


HAVE YOU CONSIDERED SOURCING SERBIAN? Ranked among the best furniture shows in south-east Europe, Belgrade’s furniture fair offers visitors a comprehensive sourcing destination, comprising furniture, furnishings and manufacturing machinery. The 57th International Fair of Furniture, Equipment and Interior Decoration will take place between 5-10th November at Belgrade Fair, and promises to be a notch above what has gone before …


his year’s fair will put its exhibitors’ design achievements in the

foreground, in an attempt to demonstrate their capabilities in all aspects of modern design – and, in turn, open new markets. As well as taking new conceptual and organisational directions, the event will facilitate the attendance of customers from across the world, providing direct contact with domestic furniture manufacturers – many of which typically offer exclusive show discounts.

Meanwhile, the popular Design

a number of advantages, including

Talks will present eminent speakers

a high-quality raw material base,

producers and international brands,

from across Europe, as well as key

conserved natural resources, a large

the show aims to address demand

local players.

number of skilled workers and a

Presenting a mix of domestic

for every size, shape and function of

Running parallel to the event,

furniture, including bespoke designs

from 5-9th November, the 57th

delivery. As far as foreign investment

(from classic to luxury), in a variety of

International Fair of Machinery &

is concerned, Serbia is an attractive

colours and materials.

Tools for the Wood Industry will

prospect for many, with a large

feature the latest in production

proportion of its solid wood product

by a team of international experts,

materials and woodworking machines

output sold for export.

who will present the Golden Key

for the furniture industry. Here,

awards – while the Exhibition of

cutting-edge solutions, as well as

business arrangements before and

Young Design Engineers will give the

aesthetic, economical and practical

during the fair, a B2B business portal

region’s most successful designers

ones, will suggest new opportunities

has been set up which will enable

and artists a platform from which to

for arranging living and work spaces,

prospective visitors to register and

present their products, concepts and

and will show how the region’s wood

interact with the show’s exhibitors –

ideas in the fields of home furniture,

and design industries are developing.

just follow the link to find out more.

The best designs will be identified

lighting and accessories.

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Serbia’s timber industry boasts

geographical position that enables fast

To encourage more effective

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34 | Events


JANUARY SHOW ORGANISER PROMISES BEST EDITION YET Firmly established as the largest furniture and interiors event in the UK, the January Furniture Show saw over 500 UK and international exhibitors launch new models and product ranges at its last edition, as well as introducing additions to bestselling collections.


ccording to organiser Clarion, more than 22,000 visitors attended this year’s

show, including buyers from multiple department and independent stores, as well as contract and leisure buyers, interior design buyers and specifiers. The 2019 event was the biggest JFS yet, and introduced two new sectors – Beds at JFS and Light at JFS. Both expanded and complemented the extensive product offering, with post-show feedback indicating that visitors roundly approved of the new developments. January Furniture Show returns to the NEC in Birmingham from 19th22nd January 2020, and planning is well under way to continue the show’s upward march. These include adding more dedicated specialist furniture and interiors sectors but, as event director Cleere Scamell says, furniture will always be the beating heart of the show: “The clue is in the title –

January Furniture Show will always be

and turn up every year, build amazing

a furniture show.

stands and fill them with hundreds of

“The success of JFS proves that

the visiting buyers. We are looking

a top furniture show in the UK. Our

forward to a vibrant and lively JFS

furniture heritage - in design and


production – is well documented, and

Over 85% of next year’s edition

we want to provide the best platform

is already booked, states Clarion,

possible for both UK and international

with big-name returnees including

companies to show off their invention

Silentnight, Parker Knoll, ercol,

and skill in producing practical,

Duresta, Italia Living, Tetrad, Skovby,

desirable and saleable products.

Wiemann, Sits, Westbridge, Rom and

“The show’s success is testament to our exhibitors, who support JFS

FN366_Pages.indd 34

new products that enthral and entice

there is huge support and a need for

Gallery Direct.

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36 | Resources

It’s never easy to please Google – especially as the goalposts are constantly moving, writes Salience’s Natalie Took. Each year, the search engine’s algorithm updates cause significant changes, and 2019 has been no exception, with major shifts in the levels of visibility and ranking of brands in the online sofa industry. In this article, Natalie shares some of the findings of Salience’s recently updated Performance Insight Report for the sector …

The online sofa sector refuses to sit still What is online visibility?

four-place drop in ranking, and Natuzzi,

Before we look into the report’s insights,

which dropped six places due to a visibility

let’s take a moment to understand organic

decrease of -19%.

visibility, and its importance. Visibility is a metric taken from Search

Those that have seen increases, though, have seen impressive growth. Take M Sofas,

Metrics. This tool measures how visible

for example, who have seen their visibility

a website is across millions of keywords

increase by +213%, taking them from 23 in

tracked in its database. Assuming that

the rankings to 10.

a website and its competitors share the

The biggest increase, though, is Love

majority of the same keywords, then

Sofas, who have seen an incredible +873%

comparing visibility across peers can give an

visibility increase. Obviously, this has had a massive effect

idea of market position. This visibility directly affects a company’s

“It seems the algorithm updates have been particularly kind to the sofa industry”

on where they rank, jumping them from

In more detail, this means that a fast site, with logical internal links and wellorganised categories, that is built mobilefirst, is something Google looks for.

ranking on search engines. The better

a rank of 43 all the way to 15 – quite the

a company’s website ranks, the more

impressive climb. Close behind is Duresta,

make images readable, it is not there yet,

potential customers see them. When a

now ranking at 17 from 40 thanks to their

so the written word is important. Because

potential customer searches for a keyword

visibility increasing by +679%.

of this, if a site has low-quality, light

– let’s say, “red three-seat sofas” – it is

It seems the algorithm updates have been

Also, even though Google is trying to

content, it is unlikely to rank well. Authority

unlikely that they will scroll through pages

particularly kind to the sofa industry, with

and trust are becoming more and more

and pages of results, but instead, just click

only small movements down, and some big

important in this age of fake news and poor

on the first few. Therefore, companies

jumps up.


results for more keywords (and so have

Can the fallen bounce back?

needs high-quality, noteworthy sites linking

a low-rank score) are likely to see more

Of course they can! The only issue is, no-

to it.

organic traffic than their competitors.

one knows when the next algorithm update

whose websites sit at the top of search

To prove that a site is trustworthy, it

This shows that the company is a good

will be, or how it may affect websites. We

source of information. The website must

Peaks and troughs

can only work with what we know. Recently,

also show expertise by giving advice on

There have been some impressive

Google updates have had a focus on E-A-T

their products, while referencing other good

movements in the online sofa industry this

(Expertise, Authority and Trust). If a website


year – some good, some bad, with some

is able to prove to Google that it has these

brands climbing the rankings and others

three things, it is likely to do well in the

said than done, with algorithm updates


next update.

constantly moving everything around. No-

DFS still has a clear lead in visibility

Each brand will have its own unique

Keeping a good online presence is easier

one knows when the next update will hit, or

score, despite a -28% drop. On the other

issues – there is no one-size-fits-all cure.

what it will focus on, but it’s important to

hand, ScS has gained +30% visibility but is

However, focusing on three crucial online

focus on what we do know – which is that

still far behind its rival’s visibility score, in

ranking factors is likely to help in the future:

Google is currently looking for trustworthy

second place.

ensuring your site is mobile-first with fast

websites that have expertise. A good online

site speed; high-quality content; and good-

presence is important in this digital age,

so bad. The worst two are The Sofa King,

quality backlinks showing your brand’s

and, consequently, should be a focus of

with a -24% visibility decrease causing a


overall marketing.

In the top 20, the losses haven’t been

THE AUTHOR Natalie Took is the PR and outreach executive at search marketing service specialist Salience. Since 2009, Salience has worked with household names, challenger brands and start-ups across the retail, lead generation, finance and charity sectors. Contact Salience to find out where your business ranks and how to improve its position.

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38 | Resources

Gone are the days in which consumers would shy away from big-ticket furniture purchases online – just look at the success of upmarket pureplay, whose international sales recently rose +40%. Tech-savvy furniture retailers are driving this change in attitudes by adopting increasingly sophisticated solutions to bridge the physical/ digital divide and overcome the online shoppers’ anxieties, writes KPS’ Frank Lochbaum …

Selling big-ticket across every channel These efforts mean that consumers now

Livestream chat and product

expect digital experiences to be a key part of


their journey to purchase. Even if they don’t

In the quest to replicate the store

ultimately convert online, digital is a critical

environment, online forward-thinking

element during their primary discovery and

furniture retailers are attempting to recreate

Bed retailer Dreams has revolutionised its

research stages and then right through to

the showroom in the customer’s front room.

omnichannel capabilities, giving staff a 360°

Heal’s is among the pioneers in this

post-purchase validation.

view of its customers, enabling the company

department, thanks to its Livechat solution

to follow their buying journey all the way

big-ticket furniture items right across all

which connects online shoppers instantly

through regardless of which channels they

of your channels, you are missing prime

with its team of in-store advisers. Livechat

switch between.

opportunities to introduce new customers

enables store staff to send product

to your sales funnel, and nurture them to a

recommendations, photos and videos

that customers can start their buying


direct from their store. If a customer wants

journey in-store or online and switch

to complete their purchase in-store, the

channels multiple times before they

big-ticket furniture items right across your

company says staff can ensure it is ready

make a purchase. The solution makes

channels …

and waiting for them.

customers’ online wish-lists and baskets

In short, if you’re not selling your

Here are my top tips to help you sell

The furniture industry could also

The firm’s Dreams360 solution means

available to in-store staff. In-store staff

Get interactive with product visualisation

learn a lot from pioneering mobile phone

can also help create digital wish-lists and

One of the biggest roadblocks to selling

retailers, such as Three. The company

baskets if customers arrive in-store first.

big-ticket items on digital channels is that

has championed online chat as a major

Online shoppers can also book in-store

websites, apps and social media don’t offer

sales tool, giving store staff the chance

consultations while they browse online.

the same sensory cues as physical shopping.

to interact and sell to online customers

In other words, you can’t touch and feel

using video chat in which they can answer

opportunities to interact with customers

products before you buy. This creates a

customer questions and livestream product

and nurture them towards a sale. This

significant level of anxiety for consumers,


is particularly useful when converting

and it’s a major contributing factor to basket

Customers using Three’s live demo solution speak online to a sales assistant at

abandonment. Once, retailers could only offer high-

This seamless approach gives staff greater

customers who are considering big-ticket furniture purchases.

their local store whenever possible, who can These examples illustrate the level

quality images of products – but today’s

arrange an appointment at that location if

technology enables them to use virtual

the customer would like to see their phone

of customer-focused convenience and

reality (VR), 3D imaging, augmented reality

selection in person before completing a

functionality that bricks-and-mortar

(AR), and more. This means shoppers can


retailers will increasingly need to employ if they are to preserve and grow their market

interact with products online like never Merge online and o�ine

share. They also give a good indication

Consumers don’t shop online or o�ine

of how the speed and direction of the

the first to harness Apple’s ARkit and OS

any more, they’re largely channel agnostic

consumer’s digital journey is evolving.

system, enabling users to use their phone to

and expect to shop where and when they

see how 3D AR objects look in their home.

like. This means that furniture retailers

with legacy systems is what prevents

AR apps like Ikea’s Place, the home decor

need to tear down the Chinese walls that

retailers from being truly successful.

app Houzz and Wayfair enable the customer

traditionally divide on- and o�ine and

In order to innovate, furniture retailers

to re-position products and look at them

deliver a joined-up, slick, friction-free

must invest in process innovation, to

from different angles while automatically

customer experience across all their

implement new ways of keeping consumers’

scaling them to the real dimensions.


requirements in sight.

before. For example, Ikea’s Place app was among

Maintaining the status quo by staying

THE AUTHOR Frank Lochbaum is managing partner at KPS, one of Europe’s leading management consultancies for the retail sector, covering the entire range of omnichannel business and digital transformation.

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40 | Resources

In the fourth in Abel & Imray’s series on intellectual property (IP) protection, Simon Haslam explains how a business can avoid the pitfalls associated with the ownership of IP …

IP ownership and the importance of getting it right Why is it important?

during the course of their employment, in

stop you making and selling the cabinet

It is becoming increasingly important

which case the first owner will automatically

without their permission. Maybe you should

for many furniture businesses to be able

be that person’s employer. It is therefore

come to some sort of agreement with them?

to enforce their IP rights to stop third

vital that you identify who made what

parties from ripping off their ideas. Such

contribution to the IP.

IP rights include copyright, unregistered

Once the contributors have been

As a one-off, we jointly designed a new high-end kitchen unit with the assistance

and registered design rights, trade marks

identified, you need to assess the

of a local kitchen business we were in

and patents. As a brief reminder, copyright

relationship of each contributor with the

touch with. We’re a small company, but

protects drawings, paintings, company

person or company which wants to own the

one of our UK contacts is now interested

logos, website content and works of artistic

IP, and any agreement in place between the

in mass-producing the units for export

craftsmanship – such as iconic furniture

contributor and the person who wants to

to Europe, and wants to buy the relevant


own the IP.

rights off us. We are keen to sell the design

Unregistered and registered design

If the company does not own the IP,

of the kitchen unit on to them as it’s not

rights can protect the outward appearance

then additional agreements may need to be

part of our core business. However, the

of a product. Patents can protect technical

signed. It is vital that good records are kept

local kitchen business has now been taken

inventions, and registered and unregistered

as to who made what contribution and who

over by one of the big players and we’ve

trade marks protect branding.

owns each of those contributions.

been unable to get them to engage with us

If your company does not own its IP

It is advisable to have IP ownership

on the matter. What should I do?

then it cannot sell or license the IP, or stop

agreements in place before work starts.

Unless there is an agreement to the

others from unauthorised use of the IP. Your

Contractors, directors and consultants

contrary, both your company and the local

company may infringe the rights of third

may well not be employees and therefore

kitchen business (or possibly the business

parties who own the IP.

you cannot rely on the IP employment

that bought them out) will jointly own the

provisions. Appropriate agreements should

rights in the kitchen unit (unregistered

be put in place with those people.

design rights).

when least wanted. When you are trying

I’ve paid for a designer to design my logo

without permission from the co-owner of

to sell a business, a due diligence exercise

and website. Surely I own the rights?

the relevant rights.

will typically take place which will find out

If there’s no other agreement in place, any

who owns the IP. You will have to show who

rights (such as copyright and unregistered

attorney will be able to advise you on how

owns the IP when trying to assert IP against

design right) in the logo and the website

best to protect your IP outside the UK and

third parties. Unsurprisingly, IP ownership

will be owned by the designer (or their

what routes you might take to achieve that,

disputes often arise when IP becomes

employer, if the designer created the logo

and on how to ensure that IP ownership

valuable, and they are then often difficult to

and website content during the course

issues are dealt with properly before they


of their employment). You may have an

cause problems for your business.

When do ownership issues arise?

You cannot sell the rights in the unit

IP ownership issues often rear their heads

Several IP ownership scenarios are

implied licence to use the logo and website

Your patent attorney or trade mark

However, I can offer a few basic tips

discussed below which highlight some

by virtue of the commissioning of the design

for avoiding IP ownership problems: keep

possible pitfalls.

of the logo and website, but you would not

good records of how new designs or other

own the rights.

copyright-protectable works are created; ensure that any agreement on IP ownership

We developed a chair ages ago. Do we own the IP?

The company cleaner has developed a great

is in writing and, preferably, signed before

For any IP right, you first need to identify

looking cabinet in his spare time. We’re

any IP is generated; ensure that you have

all of the people who made some intellectual

looking to make it …

agreements with employees, contractors,

input to the IP (the designer(s), creator(s) of

Assuming that the cabinet was not

designers and directors, and anyone else

the copyright work, or the inventor(s)).

designed during the course of the cleaner’s

generating IP; and take advantage of the

employment, it is likely that the cleaner will

advice of your patent attorney or trade mark

own the rights in the cabinet. They could


Each of those people will be the first owner of the IP, unless the IP was generated

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). E

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44 | Profile

A whole new ball game

Mlily enjoys good match day visibility

Want a better life? Buy a better bed. Catalysed by the online disruptor brands, the mattress sector has been quick to tap into growing consumer demand for a good night’s sleep. According to Mlily’s vice-president of global marketing and PR, Chris Thomas, the message should be about performance, not just product – but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a dream line-up on your side, writes Paul Farley … Mlily entered the UK in 2015, and made its presence known by enlisting the help of its biggest football team, Manchester United. The company’s turnover has doubled each year since, says Chris, who has been instrumental in growing the brand’s reach. “Although we’re a B2B company, there’s a synergy between our marketing and our product that appeals directly to consumers,” says the marketeer, who relocated from the US to Manchester to help manage the

“While a mattress purchase used to be a throwaway decision for some, the marketing is encouraging people to think about what they’re buying”

both comfortable and robust – and good enough for the players’ own bedrooms. “If the Dream Series works this well for athletes,” asks Chris, “imagine how well it can perform for everyone else?” Culture club This universal appeal is the lynchpin of the brand’s D2C marketing strategy – an area that has enjoyed significant investment, says Chris, yet has delivered even greater returns.

operation. “My focus is on making the

Instead of focusing solely on one aspect of

brand appeal to both the consumer and the retailer. Luckily, we’ve got a great product

Mlily’s answer to the bed-in-a-box, which

our lifestyle – how good sleep can enhance

to start with – and that makes my job much

has performed steadily since its launch this

sporting prowess, for example – Chris’ team


January (keep an eye out for Aria’s new

looks at the bigger picture, and attempts to

commercial, shot at the Royal Academy of

convey how quality of sleep permeates every


aspect of our lives, from how we study, eat

The cornerstone of Mlily’s offer is its Harmony Collection, a hi-spec hybrid mattress range – “the best of both worlds”

Topping the league is Mlily’s Dream

and play, to how we think. We’re not all

– that hits a remarkably competitive price

Series. Delivered in partnership with

preoccupied with being match-fit, but we

point, and is encouraging a growing legion

Manchester United, Mlily’s premier

may care about being the best worker or

of independent retailers to make room on

mattress line is a game of two halves, says

parent we can be – and good sleep is crucial

their floors for a product with a difference.

Chris. “It’s basically two mattresses in one

to achieving this.

“Hybrid is what we do best,” says Chris,

– a comfort layer above a more supportive

“and the Harmony Collection is our most successful line. Once people try it out, there’s no stopping it!” Alongside assorted gel and pocket-sprung models, pillows and toppers, there’s Aria,

FN366_Pages.indd 44

layer.” The engineering behind the Dream Series

“Love or hate the bed-in-a-box, you can’t deny that it’s affecting consumer culture,” says Chris. “There’s a reason

was informed by Manchester United’s own

online sales are through the roof – all the

sleep experts, who worked closely with

money these brands spend on advertising is

Mlily to help it create a mattress that is

making consumers appreciate sleep more.

28/08/2019 16:06

Profile | 45

And while a mattress purchase used to be a

yet digestible stream of content across

the employees up right now – as well as

throwaway decision for some, the marketing

Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter,

expanding our operations in other parts of

is encouraging people to think about what

driving traffic to its website (and, crucially,

the world.

they’re buying.”

its stockist finder page), all the while

According to Chris, there’s a cultural shift taking place across the board. From news

tracking and analysing growth. “In terms of enquiries, we’ve quadrupled

“That’s one of the benefits of being a global company – you can adapt, and deal with any problems. Generally, if something

articles and TV shows to the phenomenal

traffic since the campaign began,” says

adverse happens and we have to adjust

growth of sleep tracker apps, people are

Chris, explaining that by encouraging brand

prices, we’ll take the heat in the short term

hungry for advice about why a good night’s

recognition at every turn, Mlily is quietly

rather than see our stockist relationships

sleep matters, and how they can get it.

but effectively driving traffic to its stockists.

harmed. Yes, there’s always going to be a

“We could take a similar approach to the

gradual price increase due to inflation, but

of your life, but the common ground is

bed-in-a-box brands and spend a tonne on

there’s never been a sharp rise in our prices,

‘performance’ – for example, being more

pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – but we’d

and I don’t foresee one any time soon.”

energised as a parent, or more focused as a

be massively in the red if we did, and we’re

worker,” Chris explains.

in it for the long game.”

“Sleep ties in with so many other factors

Mlily is also quick to dispel any lingering notions that ‘Made in China’ means low

“At Mlily, we wanted to build a solid foundation of helpful, useful information

Win or lose

that gives something back to our customers.

Mlily’s long-term vision is evident. Its

If you have a great product, everything falls

partnership with Manchester United is a

into place – but it’s not just about product,

global one, reflecting the manufacturer’s

As a (relatively) new parent, Chris

there’s much more at play here. And that’s

immense capacity and reach – the brand’s

tends to put family before fixtures

why we’re taking a more holistic approach

parent company operates factories in China,

(“I get to two or three matches a

to our marketing.”

Thailand, Serbia, Spain and (shortly) the US,

season – and I’ll never miss United

and exports Mlily mattresses and pillows to

versus Liverpool”), but he has spent

and social media channels reveals a

the majority of the world’s key consumer

considerable time at the team’s Aon

cornucopia of messages, from the helpful


Training Complex, gleaning useful

A quick browse of the brand’s website

to the inspirational. Tips on how to improve

Such scale makes Mlily uniquely equipped

Sleep in-sight

insights into how these sporting champions wake up match-fit each day.

a running schedule. Interviews with

to weather fluctuations in national markets

psychologists. Meditation lessons. Healthy

and emerge unscathed, ensuring its

meal plans. Yoga for beginners.

relationships with stockists are preserved

example, I remember when their sleep

come what may.

scientists dispelled the notion that I

There’s also more focused campaigns such as #watchmerise, which, informed by

“We’re definitely feeling the effects of

“It’s fascinating,” he says. “For

could catch up on lost sleep by having a

brand ambassadors such as life coach Emma

Trump’s trade war,” says Chris, “but we do

lie-in on weekends. It’s actually much

Mumford, promotes the achievements of

have factories outside of China, which has

more important to be consistent and

women fuelled by a good night’s sleep.

lessened the impact of the new tariffs. To

stick to a schedule – even if that means

Working with lifestyle influencers

help mitigate their effects, we’re building

waking up at 6am every Saturday and

a factory in South Carolina and training

Sunday, and taking short naps now and

like Emma, Mlily curates a valuable

again. To compensate, the deeper phase

“We wanted to build a solid foundation of helpful, useful information that gives something back to our customers”

of your sleep cycle might just end up being longer. “Your body is an amazing thing, and it can work with you, or against you!”

North Rugao – one half of Mlily’s China factory

Chris Thomas with former England and Manchester United captain Bryan Robson OBE at the January Furniture Show

FN366_Pages.indd 45

28/08/2019 16:06

46 | Profile

Thomas’ tips When Mlily came to the UK in 2015, it was a virtual unknown. Chris’ team was tasked with growing the brand’s following from scratch, and today Mlily enjoys considerable online reach across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. “Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is tough for small businesses,” says Chris, “and you can’t afford to go all-out. It’s much smarter to find your niche. If businesses take time to get to



know their audience, they can be really

with how they use channels like z t i r osmart M

Facebook – it’s hugely flexible in terms of the type of content you can upload, and once you understand the analytics and marketing tools available, you can achieve great things. “Looking ahead, though, I think companies should be pumping more money into growing their Instagram presence. It will be just as big as [its owner] Facebook one day, mark my words. And all the skills you’ve picked up working with Facebook are transferable. “We live in a visual world – Instagram offers so many great assets (like Instagram Stories) which our trade overlooks, there are many more ways to market yourself.”

t c e l l Examples oC m o o r d e B n o t p m aH of Mlily’s advertising, which bring together B2B and B2C messaging quality. Would-be stockists are invited to visit the factories in Rugao, Jiangsu, to see for themselves how cutting-edge and efficient its mattress manufacturing can be.

brand visibility at every turn. He assures

“By selling a lifestyle me that Mlily will return to the January Krather CO T S Furniture K U Show next year with new products than just (“something that relates to the changes

a product, we’re we’re seeing online and on social media – “As soon as peopleE visit our D factory in O M SID L R OO L F but I don’t want to spoil the surprise!”), a China and see what’s going on there, the making Mlily a brand re-scaled portfolio and a familiar face from scale of what we’re doing, and the global T R OPPUS S O P everybody can the Red Devils’ past. shape of our business, becomes evident,” Ultimately, he’s confident that Mlily Chris explains. relate to” offers some of the best-value mattresses “Everything is vertically integrated money can buy – and that by focusing

– when we make a mattress, we make


everything that goes into it. It’s global

mattress manufacturers in the world,” says

the company’s marketing efforts on

manufacturing, and we’ve always

Chris, “so we do a fair amount of white

performance together with its quality

maintained a high standard. Mlily is publicly

label and OEM production – but here our

product, he is rewarding stockists with a

traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, so

principal mission is to give our independent

steady enquiry pipeline while giving back to

there’s a board we need to keep happy, too!”

retailers a unique selling point.”

UK consumer. N G I Sthe E D

Chris explains that the business is happy

“By selling a lifestyle rather than just

The devil’s in the detail

to support its stockists with marketing

a product, we’re making Mlily a brand

Despite its size and rapid growth, Mlily

resources, or to offer them advice on

everybody can relate to,” concludes Chris.

hasn’t taken its eye off the ball, and still

developing their own websites. He reiterates

“We’re trying to enrich people’s lives – and

maintains that smaller independent retailers

how Mlily’s partnership with Manchester

I sincerely believe that’s the best way to sell

are its priority in the UK.

United doesn’t just open doors with new


stockists, but provides a high level of

“We’re one of the largest memory foam

rah@selas : tcatnoC FN366_Pages.indd 46

28/08/2019 16:06

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Contact: Tel: 01902 459898

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48 | Profile


Gallery signals huge H2 roll-out Gallery Direct is set to launch its biggest ever autumn/winter collection – featuring over 600 new lines – at Autumn Fair this month. selection of fabrics – seven ranges, each

The collection includes over 125 furniture

From over-sized tassels to hand-

lines, over 220 soft furnishings, over 180

tied detailing and a variety of textures,

offering a choice of colours to give 58 new

wall decor products, over 55 lighting pieces

including metallic foiling, Gallery’s new soft

fabrics in total.

and over 25 made-to-order lines offered

furnishings collection has been designed

in 58 new fabric options. The new products

to fit into the Apartment Living and Luxe

collections, including Gallery’s innovative

include additions to Gallery’s popular Luxe

trends. The range features cushions, throws,

Seagreen range which features Seaqual-

trend, as well as a new Apartment Living

draught excluders and doorstops, as well

certified ticking, as well as fillings made

trend which features clean lines and strong

as rugs. There is also a wide range of new

from recycled plastic.


bedding across Gallery’s textile brands –

James Hudson, sales and business

Boheme, Kilburn & Scott, Lagom, Parisian

development director, comments: “We

Carbury and Forden ranges. Featuring metal

House, Parlane Collection and Simply Sleep.

are incredibly excited about our AW19

and oak veneers in two finishes – black and

The new wall decor offers an engaging

The new furniture collection includes the

There are also three new mattress

Collection. It’s our biggest ever and has

grey oak – both collections would fit into

selection of mirrors, from simple metallic

taken a tremendous amount of hard work

any modern interior. Another new collection

frames in unusual shapes,to mirrored

to pull together, but we are confident that

is Hadston, offering six pieces featuring

frames for the Luxe look, along with wall

it will be well received and successful, and

black metal frames combined with a choice

art, from abstract printed canvases to floral

we look forward to showing visitors at the

of antique gold, antique silver or antique

framed art.

Autumn Fair.”

copper tops.

Gallery’s lighting collection is also being

To be amongst the first to view this new

extended with a varied range, from table and

collection, visit Gallery on stand 19D10-E11

upholstery, including: the eye-catching

floor lamps to unusual pendants, featuring

at Autumn Fair, where the company will

Rivello chair which is available in Rusty

golds, mottled glass and interesting shapes

occupy its largest stand yet at the show.

Orange, Rose and Inky Blue; the Valenza

for the Luxe trend, and clean, sharp lines in

For those unable to visit, Gallery is also

sofa and matching tub chair in brown

satin and matt finishes for the Apartment

exhibiting a selection of its new products at

leather or gold velvet; and the Tesoro sofa

Living look.

the Autumn Furniture Show, taking place

There is also a selection of new

and tub chair which is offered in a choice

On the made-to-order side, there are new

from 1st-2nd October.

of black or cream leather and dark taupe or

bedsteads, headboards and ottomans, along

T 01795 439159

grey velvet.

with sofabeds. These are offered in a new

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Full pag GD Fur


Rivello Chair Stunning scalloped shaped occasional chair with cushioned seat pad and luxe inspired gold legs. Available in Rusty Orange, Rose and Inky Blue velvets.

 

HADSTON SIDE TABLE Available in Copper, Silver and Gold.

S TA N D 19D10-E11 | 01795 439159


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50 | Profile

Crossing the line Having steadily established an enviable presence in the UK over the past five years, seating specialist Hydeline wowed visitors to this year’s January shows with the launch of a new brand, At the Helm. What prompted this new direction, and what could it mean for existing customers? Paul Farley spoke to UK sales manager, Michael Sheedy ‌

Buckingham in velvet

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Profile | 51


Sporting the chic, assured look of a lifestyle interiors brand, smart new sofas, and promising ongoing diversification into a range of ancillary interiors products, At the Helm’s unveiling at imm cologne and the January Furniture Show stopped visitors in their tracks. The brand – a modern take on British

“It’s a global vision – I think that’s vital when you’re targeting the higher end of the market”

Prompted by the trade’s warm response to the new Chesterfields it launched at last year’s show – prompting comments from buyers such as “probably the best Chesterfield manufacturer in the Far East” – the factory turned its attention to developing more traditional shapes than usual, applying its expertise in design and

style – was the brainchild of Jonathon Tan,

comfort to (what would become) At the

whose family owns Hydeline. Assisted in its

Helm’s launch models.

delivery by Michael Sheedy and designer

With the addition of two models at AIS’

Ryan McNeish, Jonathon’s ambition was

members show in June, the portfolio now

twofold, explains Michael:

totals 10 distinct chairs. The brand also comprises a line of attractive pendant lights,

“Building on the company’s two decades

available by the container.

of experience in the US market, Hydeline

To help stockists present the new models

was established in the UK to offer its independents and groups a mid- to upper-

to best effect, the company has developed

end seating proposition. But its owners

an in-store gallery concept which features

always wanted to create a lifestyle brand in

the lighting and graphical elements featured

addition to their non-branded business, to

in At the Helm’s impressive exhibition

establish something even more concrete and

displays. A variety of custom-built gallery


options will be available to retail partners, at varying levels depending on the number

“It’s a global vision – I think that’s vital when you’re targeting the higher end of the

of models on display in-store. “We’re

market – but we’re very much committed

developing a complete lifestyle offering,”

to the UK in the first instance, as our

says Michael, “and we’re helping our

modern interpretation of British design demonstrates.”

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stockists give At the Helm the platform it deserves.”

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52 | Profile

The brand’s direction is the responsibility of Jonathon (who is behind the original


concepts) and Ryan (the “creative driver”). “It’s great that Ryan is working with us,” says Michael. “We were looking for somebody who had a proven track record in commercial design, who’d hit the ground running and give the brand its own distinctive direction – and we haven’t been disappointed. The model designs are still in their infancy, but we’ve firmly established the look and feel of the brand, and this will continue to develop over time. “We are firm believers in thinking outside the box – we want to offer a bold new direction in comfort and style, and our new designs for 2020 very much reflect this thinking. And we’re only just getting started!” By way of example, Michael points to the

“We are firm believers in thinking outside the box – we want to offer a bold new direction in comfort and style”

brand’s new photography (pictured), which sets the tone for a new era of upmarket

existing customers have been keen to get

operation and future-proofing it for the long

marketing and PoS materials –opulent,


term”, says Michael.

well-appointed settings that are aspirational

To date, the family-owned company has

“We’re aiming for growth from £20m

yet lived-in, proudly putting the new

followed an impressive trajectory. Michael

to £30m, then to £40m,” he says. It’s

models to the fore.

says that its UK turnover doubled in 2017,

an ambitious statement – but, with the

and again in 2018, and is on track to do so

business having such a well-defined route

again this year.

to market, who says it can’t achieve world

“Jonathon and Ryan stay on top of the trends, and will keep on moving At the Helm forward – but, having laid the groundwork,

As well as adding a new factory to


they’ll be looking to keep it fresh without

enable volume production (plus added

At the Helm will exhibit with Hydeline at

straying too far from the initial concept.”

seating comfort and greater efficiency),

imm cologne and the January Furniture

the company will shortly strengthen its

Show next year, giving visitors a chance to

both the NEC and Koelnmesse in January, At

management team through the appointment

inspect the latest lines from both.

the Helm has made good progress since, and

of an MD and the re-organisation of

T 01908 968228

Michael says that the majority of Hydeline’s

its management team, “scaling up the

Having enjoyed a “fantastic” reaction in

Camden in teal

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KM19 1



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54 | Profile

Wilde Java’s gallery in FW Homestores, Cardiff

Wilde Java galleries boost sales at FW Homestores When Wilde Java was asked by its stockist FW Homestores to install an eye-catching product gallery in its Cardiff shop, the established furniture and handicraft importer was happy to help … Wilde Java is one of the UK’s premier

“The investment and confidence that FW’s

products – especially when those products

importers of Asian handicrafts and exotic

management has shown in the display

are handmade and not mass produced.

furniture from Indonesia, India, China and

of Wilde Java products, and the resulting

This means they’re creating a unique and


increased sales, has yielded a fantastic result

individual and shopping environment for

for both parties.

their customers.

Offering unique, practical home

“We are pushing to emulate this success

accessories, which are all handmade, Wilde

“Working with FW on this project has

Java prides itself on providing products with

been a positive, uplifting experience. It’s a

in the future with other like-minded,

individuality, offering a departure from the

real pleasure to work with forward-thinking

forward-thinking retailers nationwide.”

mass-produced norm.

owners who are working hard to make their

T 01922 451444

business a success by investing in new

Employing recycled materials wherever possible, Wilde Java works closely with various artisan suppliers to design, develop and create new products which share the rustic, timeless qualities of their places of

Four-store independent FW Homestores sells to customers across the South-west and Wales

origin. When Wilde Java was asked by stockist FW Homestores to install a product gallery in its Cardiff shop on Penarth Road, the company designed and built a replica exhibition stand for the front of the building. The results were impressive, reports Wilde Java – sales of lighting and accessories were boosted, and, following on from the Cardiff gallery’s success, a further display was commissioned for FW’s Caerphilly branch, which, to date, has boosted sales to a similar degree. Wilde Java’s Phill Jones comments:

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Wilde Java Home Accessories

Asian handicrafts and exotic furniture from Indonesia, India, China and Thailand VISIT US AT THE AUTUMN FAIR - HALL 20 STAND H 47 Wilde Java, furniture and accessories • T 01922 451444 • Westpoint, Middlemore Lane West, Aldridge, Walsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom, WS1 8DT

WildeJavaSep19.indd FN366_Pages.indd 551

23/08/2019 28/08/2019 11:11 16:06

Central Furniture Manufacturing Ltd For a Full Colour Brochure please call 0121 766 8110

Newport Range Gloss grey

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Central Furniture Manufacturing Ltd For a Full Colour Brochure please call 0121 766 8110

Newport Range White

Mulliner Works, 154 Bordesley Green Road, Birmingham, B8 1BY Tel Fax Email Web

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12/08/2019 28/08/2019 12:21 16:06

58 | Manchester Furniture Show Review

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Manchester Furniture Show Preview | 59

Making more of

MANCHESTER The 2019 edition of the Manchester Furniture Show (MFS), which took place over three days in July at Manchester Central, saw retailers from the length and breadth of the UK explore the latest upholstery, cabinet, beds and accessory launches, leading to exhibitors reporting positive reactions and significant sales interest. Furniture News was present to report on the highlights of the summer’s big show … This year’s Manchester Furniture Show was always likely to prove a tough draw, but given the widely acknowledged background of

Manchester Furniture Show’s decades-long reputation. “We will be spreading the net wider than ever, reminding

difficult retail conditions, the majority of the event’s exhibitors

busy retailers about the incredible range of product on show and

arrived at the show with realistic expectations.

encouraging participation from even more key suppliers.

Despite a slight drop in footfall (organiser Clarion Events states

“This year the halls were packed with ingenuity and inspiration, as

that it was-2% down on 2018’s event), numerous exhibitors –

well as accessible products at every price point – all crucial factors in

including La-Z-Boy, Vida Living, UK Agency, Heartlands and ALF

making a real difference to the bottom line of the most creative and

– reported impressive buyer quality and a very satisfactory level of

forward-thinking retailers.

orders and leads. Before the event closed, over 50% of the exhibitors had already

“We are committed to getting that message out to the widest audience of buyers, and welcome them to this much-loved and

committed to take part in MFS 2020, with many citing the

impressive event. We will help them find those game-changing

importance of supporting their customers by showing at two large-

product lines and - in true MFS style - make sure they go home with

scale events during the year (the other typically being Manchester’s

a smile on their face as well! The famous atmosphere here is key to

big brother, the January Furniture Show).

what makes this event work, and we want to make sure that there is

Nevertheless, the challenging economic landscape has prompted Clarion to review its approach, and increase investment in its VIP

more of it! “We will be spending the coming months planning creative ways

buyer scheme for the 2020 event, broadening its reach across the UK

to ensure that the 2020 event will offer the very best that the UK

and Europe.

furniture industry has to offer. We will keep everyone informed about

Speaking about his plans for fresh investment, new features and a refined layout next year, event director Cleere Scamell comments: “We have big plans for 2020. “Although times are uncertain, to me now is the perfect time for us to invest significantly and build on the solid foundation of

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the exciting new developments, and look forward to welcoming everybody to MFS next year.” Read on to discover how the event’s stand-out new products performed …

28/08/2019 16:07

60 | Manchester Furniture Show Review

Alpha Designs (01902 492937, is a

partnership with a leading furniture designer, continue to fuel the

progressive UK manufacturer which strives to remain at the forefront

company’s growth in the marketplace.

of design and fabric – and its abilities are evident in its new Cerchio

Bolstering its existing successful portfolio, Alpha continues to

collection, a versatile curved range which comprises both corner

expand its breadth of styles through additions such as Cerchio, and

groups and sofas of various sizes. Cerchio was presented in vibrant

complements its new lines by offering total flexibility on fabrics

new fabrics at the Manchester Furniture Show, where it enjoyed a

across all models. An increasing number of retailers are finding Alpha’s combination

warm response from the show’s visitors. All of Alpha’s ranges, which have been designed and developed in

of quality product and can-do attitude an enticing proposition.

It is all about the accents this year, says

distinctive vegan hunting trophies, and

hit of colour to showrooms, and to the all-

Elaine Anderson, sales manager at Bluebone

classic reclaimed boatwood shelving, which

important Instagram photos!

(, www.bluebone.

have all been sure things for repeat sales., which enjoyed the opportunities this

“We also brought the Bluebone

“We always enjoy the summer Manchester show – it’s our home city, and

Arboretum to Manchester. It’s a selection of

a great time for us to catch up with our

faux botanicals ranging from 2m olive trees

customers and preview some new launches

of our takeaway impulse buys this year,”

to small sprigs of eucalyptus, and including

for autumn. This year we launched two

says Elaine. “In January we launched over

various sizes of cacti and palms, a leafy

beautiful pieces of wall art handmade from

100 new small pieces, and in Manchester

monstera, bird of paradise and a weeping

reclaimed boatwood and textiles, and a fun

we showcased the best of the bunch.

willow. The plants have proved hugely

set of tables with printed botanical tops.

Particularly worthy of mention were

popular with retailers, interior designers

our Natural Teak Root occasional tables,

and influencers alike – they bring an instant

year’s show presented. “We’ve seen a steady rise in the sales

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“Summer may be gone for this year, but the tropical vibe lives on!”

28/08/2019 16:07


AUTUMN 2019 The new edition Stylebook 2 contains our complete 2019 collection. It includes an extensive chair gallery, new faux botanicals and a huge range of furniture and home decor. We have a distinctive ‘soft industrial luxe’ identity which reaches right across our varied collection.

wholesale quality furniture To discover more about our Autumn Winter 2019 collections, how to become a stockist, or create a partner gallery, contact our sales team

BlueboneSep19.indd 611 FN366_Pages.indd

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62 | Manchester Furniture Show Review

MANCHESTER FUELS MOMENTUM AT WESTBRIDGE Show regular Westbridge always makes the most of the opportunities Manchester presents. Whether that involves catching up with stockists or revealing new products, the sofa manufacturer sees the event as the perfect platform for summer sourcing, reports sales director, Nichola Bell …


“Westbridge love the Manchester Furniture

“Next there’s Camden. By popular

year, without ‘the girls’ – they did a good

Show – not only because of the iconic

demand, this gorgeous little group is now

job of attracting buyers to the show, and I

venue, getting to sample the city’s dining

available in over 100 fabrics. This stylish

know they have very interesting plans for

choices each evening and invariably

range is perfect for quirky spaces, reception

the event next year.

enjoying the sunshine, but because we get to

areas and smaller rooms – it’s the ideal

see a great selection of our customers at the

marriage of comfort and style.

half-year point,” says Nichola, who explains

“Finally, we launched Della. With hints of

“Theresa and Laraine [former show directors] – we missed you, but hopefully you had your feet up somewhere exotic!” So, what is next for Westbridge? “Of

that the business took a break from its usual

Scandi style, the Della corner chaise offers

large stand location this year to show off its

clean lines, good proportions and a neat

course, it’s all eyes on the January Furniture

new lines in a separate suite off the main


Show,” says Nichola. “There’s quite literally


Westbridge also presented its Jude

never time to stand still. It’s all about the

corner – launched in soft pastel shades

new. We are working very hard on new

Would we like it? I can answer yes to all

at last year’s Manchester show – in its

ideas, new innovations, new designs, new

those questions! Second only to the January

sophisticated new Vegas fabric, giving it a

fabrics and new incentives.

Furniture Show, Manchester is the best

markedly different identity.

“Would it work? Would people find us?

opportunity we have to bring new designs

“We had fun at the show,” states Nichola.

“With what could be a very challenging time ahead of us – courtesy of Mr Johnson and colleagues – we at Westbridge are

to our customers, and also show new fabrics

“It’s always great to spend decent time with

that we weren’t able to reveal in January.”

our customers in a relaxed atmosphere. The

simply going for it. Bring on 2020!”

organisers, Clarion, were flying solo this

This year was no exception, seeing Westbridge introduce three new models – Oakley, Camden and Della. “Oakley brings superb comfort with a


high-back, lumber-supporting, familyfriendly sofa group,” says Nichola. “It is a very understandable shape, and appeals to customers wanting head support, a firmer seat and a choice of contemporary covers. Oakley will hit the floors in September, allowing plenty of time for pre-Christmas orders.

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64 | Manchester Furniture Show Review





Buoyant ( enjoyed an “excellent” Manchester Furniture Show. New fabrics were launched on popular Sherborne Upholstery ( has

existing models, keeping the ranges on-trend and relevant, and the

enjoyed a good reaction to its latest introductions. The popular

manufacturer states that these were “very well received”.

Virginia recliner/suite range has now been made available in the full

Buoyant has seen increased demand for compact, design-

range of nearly 30 full-hide leathers, including a new colour, slate.

led furniture – and its Malo, which was new at the show,

The model suits both traditional and contemporary settings, and is

seemed to tick all the right boxes with customers. Malo features

offered in two sizes throughout.

contemporary, Scandi-style legs, button back detailing and a

Meanwhile, the Albany riser/recliner range has been extended

reversible chaise, and its small footprint makes it suitable for

into a full suite with the addition of a manual or powered recliner,

modern living.

a fixed chair and a two-seater settee, all in the standard size. These

“The success of this new model was made all the sweeter

models provide a high degree of comfort with soft, three-pillow

when Buoyant was awarded Best Stand by the BFM,” adds a

backs and pillow-style arms.




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Ari from the new pedestal chair collection

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Comfort without limits La-Z-Boy UK’s brand new pedestal chair collection includes Ari - a power recliner with magnetic remote control. Ari features a rechargeable battery for simple reclining comfort anywhere in the home.

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68 | Manchester Furniture Show Review




New Trend Concepts ( enjoyed a warm

for over 20 years, and supplies top retailers throughout Europe. The

response at this year’s Manchester Furniture Show, where it unveiled

company’s extensive range of high-quality leather furniture – as

several impressive additions to its upholstery portfolio.

well as corner groups and sofabeds– are delivered within six-to-

New Trend Concepts has created handcrafted leather sofas in Italy

eight weeks.

Units 3 & 4 Holland Park, Factory Road, Sandycroft CH5 2QJ T: 01244 814673 E: FlintshireFurnitureSep19.indd 1

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12/08/2019 16:26

28/08/2019 16:59

Full pag Sherbor

Virginia Fixed Chair and 3-Seater Recliner

Virginia 2-Seater

Albany 2-Seater and Recliner

The recently-introduced Virginia range is, by popular demand, also now available in leather. Offered in two sizes throughout, this wonderfully comfortable design suits both traditional and contemporary settings. The three-pillow-back Albany has proven to be so successful as a riser recliner that we have now extended this range into a full suite. So why not try the additional fixed chair, recliner and fixed 2-seater available now? Virginia Standard Riser


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

Sherborne Upholstery Limited Telephone: 01274 882633 (including Product Customiser to view all Fabrics and Leathers) FN366_Pages.indd 69 Full page USE.indd 1 Sherborne Cabinet Advert Aug 2019.indd 1

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60 | Manchester Furniture Show Review

SIT, SLEEP, AND SWEET DREAMS In a return to Manchester following several years’ absence, Sweet Dreams enjoyed a profitable show and significant interest in its new upholstery ranges …

The British-made Pixton, the show’s top-selling launch

The star of the British-made models

a large three-seater power recliner and

These British-made models feature differing

launched at the show was Pixton, a compact

elegant chaise with matching recliner

actions and, says Sweet Dreams, have really

suite with chaise. It comes in a range of new

chair, turned visitors’ heads, reports the

hit the sweet spot as far as consumers are

fabrics that, says Sweet Dreams, seemed


concerned, the quality and value they offer

to please retailers as much as the versatile

In the sofabed category, the Dusk chaise,

proving a great combination for sofabeds

together with Twilight, Faith and Dawn,

that do the business in the living room as

Then there was Blenheim, an attractive

have proved bestsellers since their launch

well as offering comfortable overnighting.

3-2-1 with go-anywhere looks, and thirdly,

in January, and they brought buyers to the

All of Sweet Dreams’ upholstery and

Knole, which comes in two versions – a

stand again at Manchester – in particular

sofabeds are guaranteed compliant – the

scatterback and a standard sofa.

Twilight, which features a sprung mattress

company’s new product testing centre at

that pulls down from the top, and Dusk,

Scholefield Mill ensuring peace of mind

with its easy action.

products from the manufacturer, which is


A range of British-made accent chairs launched in January also engaged the

Sunset, launched at the show and with

buyers. Meanwhile, a prototype recliner from overseas saw a good reaction. Turin, in

T 01282 830033

two-seater model, also attracted interest.

Prototype power recliner, Turin

FN366_Pages.indd 70

also a member of SATRA.

a similar action to Dusk but in a standard

New British-made sofabed with sprung mattress, Sunset

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72 | Manchester Furniture Show Review

Britannia Mirrors (020 8804 0392, has been established for 30 years, and in that time has developed a reputation for supplying quality products and providing a high level of customer service. From its factory in North London, the family-run company produces large and small runs of products to suit every requirement, o�ering one of the industry’s most comprehensive ranges of quality framed and unframed mirrors. Its portfolio comprises everything from traditional and decorative gilt- and silver-framed mirrors, over mantels, oval mirrors, shaped mirrors, minimalist, contemporary and modern designer mirrors and solid wood mirrors, to free-standing floor, tabletop and bathroom mirrors – and this diverse product

Sofa Source (07469 176366, 07799 062747) enjoyed a good

range continues to grow to meet emerging trends, improving on

Manchester Furniture Show, and in the weeks since has seen

established products, and meeting changing customer demand.

growing interest from stockists in the UK and Ireland in its new range of bespoke, English-made Chesterfield suites, which feature high-quality Harrington fabrics.


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08/08/2019 10:27

29/08/2019 09:14


Manufacturers and Wholesalers of Quality Framed Mirrors

Britannia Mirrors Ltd Unit 5, 87 Lockfield Avenue, Enfield, Middlesex EN3 7PY Tel: 020 8804 0392 Email:

BritanniaMirrorsSep19.indd 1 FN366_Pages.indd 73

12/08/2019 28/08/2019 16:20 16:07

74 Opinion

Gavin Boden

Use them or lose them


n the UK we have two main furniture trade shows – the January Furniture Show, situated across five halls of the Birmingham

GB Agencies

exhibitors being there so they are visible to the big retailers. But the industry cannot survive on multiples alone – independents

NEC, and the Manchester Furniture Show, at Manchester

are its bread and butter, and, in my opinion, traditional independent

Central (formerly the G-Mex) in the centre of Greater Manchester.

retailers are more important to the survival of the industry than the

Both are equally important to the industry, enabling retailers,

big boys.

however big or small, to come along free of charge and take a look at all the latest trends the UK’s furniture industry have to offer. Although I didn’t exhibit at the latter this year, I did pay both

I know it looks like I’m swaying towards the Manchester show as my favourite exhibition – but there are strong reasons why, and I

shows a visit. While doing so (and since) I’ve spoken to some big

wouldn’t think that many retailers or suppliers would disagree with

names in the industry about them and how important they are to the


industry, and a lot of suppliers are thinking the same thing – that if retailers don’t start supporting them, we risk losing them.

The very first organisers of The Furniture Show sat down with the NEC and were told that the only time they could hold a show of that size would be January. They put up a bit of a fight, but, at the end of

Timing: The NEC event takes place in January, one of the busiest

the day, the NEC wouldn’t move – and that is the only reason the

trading months of the year for retailers, and the worst month for

largest furniture show in the UK takes place in January.

extreme weather conditions including snow, rain, ice and all kinds

Everyone in the industry knows that it doesn’t make sense, but

of public transport issues. If you order at the January show you can

that’s the way it is. I still love the buzz which is created at the NEC

expect delivery to be made any time from April to July.

(even though it’s a cold one), and it’s amazing to amble round and

The Manchester show, on the other hand, takes place in July, which normally has superb weather conditions. If you order at this

see all the amazing designs on show. The Manchester show, on the other hand, is only three days

show, you would expect delivery to be made in the weeks leading up

long. It’s easier for retailers to go round and find everything, it’s

to the busiest trading periods of the year.

in the centre of Manchester so the networking and social side is amazing, and it’s in July, a month that promises great weather and

Duration: Because the January show occupies five halls of the NEC,

great travelling conditions. It’s also easier for retailers to get away

it really requires retailers to be there for at least three of the four

from their businesses a this time, and the orders they place will be

days – but I feel that, even in three days, you wouldn’t be able to get

delivered at a better time of the year.

around and see all the wonders it has to offer. Even though it’s a lot smaller, the Manchester show would still

The last two years of evolution within the industry have been very important for retailers, and the next two will be even more so. So,

require two of the three days to see it properly. Based in Manchester

what can they do? Because business has been tough, retailers need to

Central’s main hall (and a couple of smaller halls around it), it has

raise their game, and actually make sure they visit these exhibitions

some pretty big exhibitors (even though it’s a smaller show).

to get the most up-to-date, on-trend furniture on their shopfloors.

Networking: The networking possibilities for both shows are

shows has been disappointing (and that’s putting it lightly). Retailers

endless, and although the January show has a higher attendance,

are staying away – and we all know why. Retailers want to spend

retailers have to find accommodation scattered around the West

all the time they can in their stores, to maximise conversation rates

Midlands area, whereas because the summer event is in the centre

and make sure they don’t spend any more money than is absolutely

of Manchester, all the hotels, restaurants and clubs (are they even


But that isn’t what is happening. The attendance of the last two

a thing now?!) are all within a mile’s radius of the centre, so the networking is amazing. I find that on the evenings of the Manchester show, you can’t go

Because business has been tough, retailers aren’t visiting the shows in the numbers they used to, and it’s such a shame. In my opinion, there are too many shows throughout the year – and

anywhere without being seen – it creates an amazing atmosphere

retailers will be far too busy to visit every one of them – but the two

around the exhibition.

main shows, in Birmingham and the NEC, have to be visited. If the footfall gets any worse they may disappear, and retailers won’t have

Multiples: Because the January exhibition is a much bigger show and incorporates flooring and interiors products, it attracts a lot more

one place where they can go to see all of their suppliers. Suppliers spend thousands exhibiting at these shows – on

visitors from outside the furniture sector. But I will say that both

floorspace, staff, logistics, hotels and other expenses. All they

exhibitions attract the big buyers – Furniture Village, John Lewis,

want is for them to be supported – please don’t let these platforms

Costco, DFS, Argos and ScS among them – so it is always worth


In the UK we have two main furniture trade shows – but if retailers don’t start supporting them, we risk losing them Got a view you’d like to share with the trade? Get in touch with the editor at

FN366_Pages.indd 74

28/08/2019 16:07


sofa source direct ltd quality



THE CORBY 3+2 $499 F.O.B.

THE OSLO 3+2 $375 F.O.B.

THE PRESTON 3+2 $525 F.O.B.

Please call David or Nigel for all UK and Ireland enquiries David: 07469 176366 SofaSourceSep19.indd FN366_Pages.indd 75 1

Nigel: 07799 062747 28/08/2019 13:30 16:07

76 Opinion

Simon Williams

Buyer beware


marketing manager, the National Bed Federation (NBF)

n last month’s issue of Furniture News, the NBF’s executive

stock from a bed shop. The consumer is told by the very convincing

director Jessica Alexander talked about trust, and focused on

salesman that the mattress in question should be about £800, but

how the internet appears to enable rogue traders to operate with

that they’ll accept £150-200. It even has a label on it showing RRPs

ease – and little concern about being caught. “Truth and honesty are largely ignored and widely flouted,” she commented. Looking specifically at the market for beds and mattresses in the UK, it is clear that it’s not just the internet where unscrupulous manufacturers and sellers operate – although online is their main channel, allowing them a greater degree of anonymity. The NBF receives many reports from consumers who have been

to prove how much it’s worth! If the consumer was thinking about buying a new mattress in the near future anyway – bingo! It’s a bargain that is just too good to be missed. The reality is that they end up with a mattress that, inside its cover, bears very little resemblance to the claims on the label. The NBF reports all its findings to the relevant authorities, but,

duped into buying a mattress from ‘a man in a van’. And they know

due to a chronic lack of funding, little or no action is taken. Also,

that it’s only the tip of the iceberg – most people are either too

trying to establish exactly which mattress manufacturers are

embarrassed to report that they’ve been scammed, or are blissfully

supplying these van scam merchants isn’t easy. By working with its members to improve standards through

unaware. The usual scenario is a consumer being approached outside their

its Code of Practice and reputable bed retailers to promote why

house – or even in a local shop – by someone offering them a

consumers should look for NBF-approved brands, let’s hope rogue

mattress that is part of a cancelled showhouse order, or bankrupt

traders are put to bed once and for all.

The NBF reports all its findings to the relevant authorities, but, due to a chronic lack of funding, little or no action is taken Got a view you’d like to share with the trade? Get in touch with the editor at

Become a NBF Retail Supporter and together we can put rogue traders to bed.

Email: for further information 1/2 page landscape.indd 1 24237•NBF Trade Ads Furniture News 1/2 Page.indd 1

FN366_Pages.indd 76




The NBF is fighting back – investigating dubious products and businesses and reporting our findings to trading standards.

TO STOCK UD Available for B RO bed retailers sourcing at least 50% EP N SA FE • S EEP SOU of their beds L from NBF members SL

Rogue traders continue to steal business from legitimate bed manufacturers and retailers. They dupe people into buying products that are simply not what they claim to be.

FREE point of sale pack S ED

Let’s Put Rogue Traders to Bed

PACK INCLUDES: Window vinyl, in-store vinyls, pyramid display boards, USB stick with new videos and downloadable artwork 12/06/2019 24/04/2018 10:18 13:59

28/08/2019 16:07

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78 | Beds & Bedroom

Perfectly British Strand

With increased investment in marketing, Sleepeezee ( is creating compelling ranges, with eyeWith its gentle curves, the Sienna bed from MA Living (01924 457333, offers style and comfort. A vintage-

catching PoS to support the in-store models. Its new Perfectly British collection has received a warm response

inspired modernist bed frame, Sienna is handcrafted by an expert

from retailers and the press. Committed to supporting the planet’s

team at MA Living’s factory in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, which

welfare, the collection is handmade using components exclusively

employs methods passed down from family member to family

sourced from sustainable suppliers within the UK, helping to reduce

member since 1985.

the company’s carbon footprint and further strengthening its

“We use the finest production techniques to ensure nothing

carbon-neutral credentials – from the pocket springs and natural

leaves our workshop or showroom that isn’t in pristine condition,”

fillings to the soft-woven, chemical-free damask cover, everything

says a spokesperson. “Tailoring our furniture to individual

is made in the UK, and complemented by a fun PoS package with a

requirements, we pride ourselves on the fact that we offer an

Monopoly theme.

easily-customised range of fabrics, accessories and headboards

As well as a commitment to the planet, family values are at the

to ensure the finished bed perfectly complements the customer’s

heart of everything Sleepeezee does, and for each Perfectly British

home and its unique style.”

mattress sold, a donation will be made to Crisis, a charity which

MA Living belongs to both the NBF and the BFM, guaranteeing the safety and legal compliance of its long-lasting beds and

tackles homelessness. In other news, Sleepeezee recently won two Which? Best Buy

accessories. Interested parties can see the company’s newest

awards – for its new Hybrid 2000 model and the Beautyrest

models on stand D50 at this year’s Bed Show.

Boutique Lexington – further strengthening its product offering.

Salus (with Viscoool) with a plush teal base and Stighton headboard

Salus Oakmere headboard

Breasley (01629 823680, is set to unveil an extensive upgrade and rebrand of its luxury Salus collection as the bed brand marks its 10th anniversary at the NBF Bed Show. The new-look Salus, the most stylish and comfortable yet, will be unveiled on stand J60 at the Telford exhibition, and Breasley is anticipating a warm response to the evolution. Breasley, known for its innovative approach and often being at the

two new, top-of-the-range mattresses also include natural fibres. Originally created for independents, Salus combines high-end comfort with a more accessible pricing structure, ensuring it remains a favourite with UK retailers. Breasley’s head of marketing, Clare Taylor, says: “Salus has been a trusted brand within the higher-end mattress market for several years now. The 10-year anniversary seemed an appropriate time to

cutting-edge of new ideas and techniques, introduced Salus in 2009.

refresh its look and offer further improvements to our customers in

Now the premium bed collection is being improved to make full use

terms of comfort and specification. More will be revealed at the Bed

of the bedmaker’s unique Viscoool technology – a pressure-relieving,


breathable memory foam made from sustainable and natural soybean oil. The upgraded collection’s eight models all feature Viscoool, and

FN366_Pages.indd 78

Breasley will also be exhibiting Uno, the UK’s first rolled-andboxed mattress collection, as well as the Brook + Wilde Elite beds, which are exclusively produced by Breasley.

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80 | Beds & Bedroom

Harrison Spinks – where tradition meets innovation Fifth-generation luxury bedmaker Harrison Spinks was established in 1840 but is today focusing on the future more than ever, while still maintaining its family-run roots. In this article, MD Simon Spinks gives an insight into Harrison Spinks, its recent innovation and what’s next for the business – including another world first …

Simon Spinks, MD, Harrison Spinks

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Beds & Bedroom | 81

“This year has been a real turning point for us,” says Simon. “We’ve just made the pledge to go foam- and glue-free, which is a significant milestone for both Harrison Spinks and the industry. “For the last 10 years our core business objective has been trying to change the way the world sleeps. We’ve been relentless in looking for more sustainable ways of working so we can look after our planet for future generations. It is for this reason we have made the commitment to not develop any new mattresses containing foam or glue, and to eliminate foam from any existing product by 2020. “Because of the dangers of foam and the negative effect it has on the environment, we use sustainable fillings and grow nearly 800 tonnes of natural fibre fillings for our mattresses each year. By farming our own

Harrison Spinks has been recognised with three Queen’s Awards – pictured are three generations of the Spinks family, Simon (MD), Peter (chairman) and Daniel (buyer)

materials and manufacturing our own components we have been able to save more

rural TV presenter Adam Henson – our

name – starting with rebranding Harrison

than 1300 tonnes of CO2 every year.

Adam Henson by Harrison Spinks collection.

across to Harrison Spinks.

“But our foam- and glue-free

At the heart of every Adam Henson mattress

“We have a host of exciting new

commitment isn’t the only turning point.

is carefully selected and rare-breed wool

products up our sleeves including a new

We have just launched a world first in the

from the fleeces of sheep reared on Adam’s

Harrison Spinks pillowtop collection for

furniture and bedding industry – a 100%

and other local Cotswold farms. Naturally

our independents, and a collection of

recyclable, glue-free pocket-spring system,

soft, springy and absorbent, this lustrous

contemporary bedframe designs that don’t


wool works in harmony with our ultra-

use foam.

“Cortec uses Harrison Spinks’ unique patented eco-spring design and technology. By developing the finest high-tensile wire

responsive Cortec springs to deliver the best night’s sleep.

“Our hard work has been recognised with three Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in

“Our Cortec springs form the supportive

Innovation, Sustainable Development and

ever to be used in a core unit, and sonic-

core of every mattress in the Adam Henson

International Trade, which are testament

welding each spring pocket rather than

range. Cradling the body and reacting to

to the dedication and creativity of our team.

using glue, Cortec delivers a new dawn for

individual movements, they work together

We’ve always been about innovation and

comfort technology.

with layers of HD and Microlution springs

quality, and are proud to have brought

to reduce pressure points and roll together,

a number of firsts to the bed industry –

significantly improving sleep quality.

however, this is just the start for Harrison

“The individually pocketed springs are extremely durable, providing ultimate support, and are distributed at a high density to create more points of contact,

“As we progress on our journey, we will be making more of the Harrison Spinks

Spinks, with so much more to come.”

providing greater body contouring accuracy for superior comfort. Cortec will form part of the Harrison Spinks mattress offering in the UK and, as it is a foam replacement component, has many other uses within furniture in the UK and furniture and bedding worldwide. “But this is just the beginning. At the AIS, NBF and Minerva shows, we’ll be unveiling another industry-leading innovation, Synergy – a brand new, contemporary, foam-free mattress collection from Harrison Spinks which uses our Cortec fully sustainable eco-spring system and micro springs. “The result is quite simply an amazingly comfortable mattress which is perfect for a healthy night’s sleep (being foam and chemical free) and fully recyclable, so we are all doing our bit to protect the environment. “We’ll also be unveiling an incredibly exciting heritage brand partnership with

FN366_Pages.indd 81

Harrison Spinks has partnered with TV presenter Adam Henson to develop a new high-end mattress brand

28/08/2019 16:07

82 | Beds & Bedroom


Gallery promises quality with conscience Gallery Direct’s new Seagreen mattress collection combines the supplier’s trademark comfort and quality with an engaging story of upcycled sea plastic … James continues: “As well as helping

Every year, around 8-12 million tons of plastic goes into our oceans, polluting them

the environment, we are confident that

and posing a serious risk to marine life.

Seagreen will be a real commercial success. Clients who attended our at-home event

To overcome this, everyone needs to play their part, states Gallery, which has

earlier this year and purchased Seagreen are

developed the innovative Seagreen mattress

placing repeat orders and receiving excellent

collection, which transforms ocean waste

feedback from shoppers. “Public awareness of the problem of

into comfortable, high-quality mattresses. more, the polyester fillings selected for the

ocean plastics has risen recently, increasing

business development director, says: “With

Seagreen mattresses are also manufactured

the demand for greener products that

thousands of marine creatures killed each

from recycled plastic – predominantly

are kinder to the planet. For many retail

year by plastic pollution in the oceans, we

bottles, but also other recyclable plastic

customers, sustainability and consideration

wanted to do our bit to help. Our Seagreen


of environmental issues are key factors

James Hudson, Gallery’s sales and

collection features a certified Seaqual

For every kilo of polyester in the

in the decision-making process when

ticking, as well as fillings made from

mattresses, the equivalent of 20 500ml

buying products. Seagreen offers a mattress

recycled plastics.”

recycled plastic bottles have been used.

collection that meets these needs at

A double Seagreen 1000 model contains

affordable prices.

Seaqual is an initiative which was developed to challenge plastic pollution

the equivalent of over 150 recycled 500ml

and to clean the oceans from marine litter.

bottles, while the 1400 and 2000 models

mattresses – which are handmade in the

Seaqual-registered products – like the

each contain the equivalent of over 180

UK – combined with the use of upcycled

ticking on Gallery’s Seagreen mattresses

recycled 500ml bottles in a double.

plastics, helps give a good night’s sleep and

– contain marine plastic, captured

But the use of upcycled marine plastics

“The quality and comfort of the

a clean conscience!”

from the sea, and upcycled to produce

is not Seagreen’s only selling point. By

environmentally friendly textiles that

using revolutionary technology, Gallery has

contribute to preserving natural resources

created mattresses that are 100% natural

19D10-E11, or on stand B50 at the Bed Show.

while reducing ocean waste.

anti-allergen, and that optimise sleep

T 01795 439159

comfort, wicking away moisture.

To help reduce marine plastics even

FN366_Pages.indd 82

To find out more about Seagreen, visit Gallery at the Autumn Fair on stand

28/08/2019 16:07

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MILAN BEDSTEAD Deep headboard with unique fabric edging and deep side panels. ďƒ&#x;

NFB BED SHOW Visit us at the NBF Bed Show 2019 to view our brand new collection of sleep solutions including mattresses, divans, headboards, ottomans and sofabeds. | 01795 439159

FN366_Pages.indd Full page USE.indd 1 GD Furniture News - 83 1308 - Bed Show.indd 1

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84 | Beds & Bedroom

C gnignahC efiL A


Launched earlier this year, the striking GAO Collection from Essentials by Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@ has enjoyed “phenomenal” success and is now among the supplier’s most popular collections. Bringing versatile style, much of the range’s success is down to

4G Aircool

its value-engineered construction, which offers impressive value. With 21 items for dining and occasional and 12 for the bedroom, the GAO Collection features rounded corners with bevel detailing to the

Memory Foam Warehouse (

tops and tapered legs, as well as brushed metal handles.

was founded in 2001 to offer a range of high-quality, affordable

Crafted in proportions ideal for today’s homes, this natural

mattresses for the whole family.

oak finish collection underlines that style does not have to be

Memory Foam Warehouse stocks over 100 products from brands

expensive – its price position makes the GAO Collection suitable for

including Essentials, CoolMax Classic, Classic Pedic, 4G Aircool, Zen

promotions, window displays and in-store incentives.

and Komfi. The edit caters for carefree children in need a restful

For all first-time orders of the GAO Collection, Kettle Interiors

night’s sleep, value solutions for students moving away from home

has put together some special display packages for both bedroom

for the first time, busy parents looking for restorative solutions

and dining collections. Offering a saving of -39% for bedroom and

to balance out a busy day, cool and rejuvenating options for

-35% for dining, these display packages are a straightforward way

sports enthusiasts, comfort and support for wellness seekers, and

to establish the GAO Collection in store.

soothing medical mattresses perfect for the over 60s.



nilliF oobmaSoftheads B laru taN Group, which consists of Siesta Beds (0121 773 9969,, Mayfair Beds and Mulliners Beds, will be rbaf hcuot ft oS lecneT present on stand F10 this year’s NBF Bed Show, where it will display deaftcross-section uT dnaofHits 10 ranges – including The Mulliners Collection,

000,3 oobmaB

The Mulliners Collection of handmade beds, meanwhile, presents a hand side-stitched range that is upholstered with cashmere, silk, mohair, wool and bamboo. The collection comprises: Arcadia, with 8000 pocket springs; Oriana, with 6000; Azura, with 5000; and

sgnirpS detekcoP

Superior edge-to-edge encapsulated collection, and Supreme

Aurora, with 3000. All these models are available with sprung edge,

Comfort collection, to mention just a few.

firm edge sprung centre, and firm top bases. The range embraces

fine materials along with the level of spring count and craftsmanship

There will also be improvements to the feel and appearance of

At the Bed Show, the new contract range will be rolled out.


377 1210 :lThe eT company’s ongoing emphasis on its encapsulated range is reflected in the extension of its copper-infused latex model, which

667 1210 x F willa off er a higher spring count using the superior edge-to-edge

pocket support from the wider encapsulated range. As well as being anti-microbial, copper is an excellent thermal conductor, and rapidly transfers heat away from the body – and these properties augment the superior comfort and support that latex provides.

skroW srenilluM Although theR group offered a selection of r high-hazard ,dao nhasealways erG ye lsed oB 451 products, up to now it has not been offered as a bespoke collection. ,na e erG toyvalue, elsservice edr oB These new lines, along with commitment and quick delivery, are ensuring the brand goes from strength to strength. . mahgnimriB Any retailers unable to visit the Bed Show or the group’s showroom that wish to see the products can book a show van visit with their .YB1 8B local area agent. expected from a premier range.

some of the company’s more traditional models, which remain

ku.oc.sdebatseis@selas liamE FN366_Pages.indd 84

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Full pag


A Life Changing Choice

Est 1986

Bamboo 3,000 Pocketed Springs

Mulliners Works 154 Bordesley Green Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham . B8 1BY.

Natural Bamboo Fillings Tencel Soft touch fabric Hand Tufted

Tel: 0121 773 9969 Fax 0121 766 741

Email FN366_Pages.indd Full page USE.indd 85 1

28/08/2019 16/08/2019 16:07 09:44

86 | Beds & Bedroom

Find TV personality and wellbeing expert AJ Odudu on Sealy’s World of Wellness website

SLEEP HEALTHY WITH ACTIVSLEEP, SAYS SEALY Living a healthy lifestyle is no longer just about diet and exercise, says Sealy UK – a new breed of consumer is increasingly making the link between getting good quality sleep and living a healthy lifestyle, and Sealy believes that its Activsleep range is perfectly placed to offer the solution …

Launched last year, Activsleep has been Sealy’s most successful range in over a decade. The collection has helped Sealy

Yoga teacher and creator of Mind Body Bowl, Annie Clarke, is another of the influencers behind Activsleep

fibres which hold the Allergy UK seal of approval, and are exclusive to Sealy. These include Purotex, which releases friendly

reach a younger customer base, which, in

bacteria into the fabric of the mattress to

line with an increased awareness of the

clean up allergens and reduce humidity,

benefits of looking after body and mind,

and Tencel, which prevents overheating,

is starting to take the idea of good-quality

helping to create a cool and clean sleeping

sleep more seriously.


The range has seen Sealy build upon its key philosophy – that the quality of sleep is

An extensive range

every bit as important as the quantity.

With nine models in the range, the Activsleep collection offers a variety of

Innovative sleep technology

spring systems and comfort ratings to

Recent data suggests that nearly a quarter

ensure users get the correct support,

of people are now monitoring their sleep

whatever their preferences. From Geltex

patterns as part of their health and fitness

models which offer the triple benefits

goals. Sealy has addressed this desire for

of pressure relief, body support and

tech by incorporating the latest innovations

breathability, to extra-firm mattresses

in sleep technology into the range, to help

which use a PostureTech Zero Deflection

users get the best night’s sleep possible.

system to minimise motion disruption and

The entire collection includes Sealy Smart Fibres – a package of unique and innovative

FN366_Pages.indd 86

partner disturbance, the range offers a diverse collection of models.

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Beds & Bedroom | 87

Proudly handmade in Cumbria

Sealy’s World of Wellness

up with some of the best-known wellness

Sealy is renowned for the high quality

Being healthy no longer means just taking

and health influencers in the country, to

of its products, and the Activsleep range

care of one’s diet or exercise habits –

better understand the link between good

is no exception, benefiting from Sealy’s

younger consumers are now looking to

sleep and a healthy, happy lifestyle. Telling

commitment to quality.

invest in getting the best sleep possible, as

their individual stories through Sealy’s

the growth in the sleep technology market

new World of Wellness online portal are TV


personality and wellbeing expert, AJ Odudu,

Handmade in its factory in Cumbria, the Sealy Activsleep range uses innovative sleep technology and the latest fillings to

According to Sealy UK, by making a strong

top fitness trainer and Instagram sensation

offer best-in-class support and comfort to

case for the link between healthy sleep

Stefanie Williams, and yoga teacher and

customers, helping them achieve their most

and living the healthiest and best lifestyle

creator of Mind Body Bowl, Annie Clarke –

satisfying sleep yet.

possible Activsleep holds a strong position

with more to be announced over the year.

The Activsleep collection includes a range of comfort types – from firm orthopaedic mattresses to cosy pillowtops …

in the market when it comes to attracting these younger and savvier customers. To celebrate the range, Sealy is teaming

For more information about the Activsleep range, visit Sealy’s website.

Activ Geltex Pocket Euro Top 2800 Designed for those who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, the Activ Geltex Pocket Euro Top 2800 features Geltex, an innovative combination of elastic gel and air-permeable foam, designed for maximum comfort. Geltex also achieves the highest ratings in the three essential components of a great night’s rest – pressure relief, body support and breathability. Combining 1400 pocket springs with 1400 mini pockets, the superior spring unit promotes a supportive and revitalising sleep.

Activ Geltex Pocket Euro Top 2800

Activ Memory Pocket 1800 This sumptuous memory foam mattress offers a high degree of comfort. Featuring 1000 pocket springs with 800 mini pockets, the Activ Memory Pocket 1800 combines a layer of memory foam with Sealy’s unique springs for a balance of comfort and support. Adaptive technology prevents the overheating which can commonly be associated with memory foam, while helping to create a cool, dry sleeping environment. Activ Ortho Extra Firm This extra-firm mattress provides support across the entire sleeping surface and features Sealy’s PostureTech Zero Deflection

Activ Memory Pocket 1800

construction, which combats motion disruption and helps the user wake up revitalised and refreshed.

Activ Memory Pocket 1800

FN366_Pages.indd 87

Activ Ortho Extra Firm

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88 | Beds & Bedroom

Steens for Kids



Softline for Kids

Alba for Kids


AWARD-WINNING CHILDREN’S BEDROOM FROM STEENS With recent industry feedback, Steens Group has been recognised as a leading designer, producer and supplier of children’s furniture to UK retailers – and the Danish flatpack furniture giant promises more to come …

Steens launched many new products in the past year – principally at

this award in 2018 was recognition enough for all the hard work and

imm cologne last January, where its Alba, Memphis and Softline Kids

skill employed by the Steens team, so to receive the award again in

ranges were introduced to a global customer base as well as potential

2019 is true testament of our market-leading position in children’s


furniture supply. We are thankful and appreciative of this recognition

The latest additions to its lauded Steens for Kids ranges were also warmly received, and these, along with the new launches, are all

and will continue to develop our market-leading position.” In parallel with the development of new ranges for general

available for stock or direct home delivery in the UK. These durable

sale, there has also been a good deal of activity around customers’

ranges are designed to work with the user as they grow, offering

own-label ranges, and Steens forecasts that this direction will grow

a degree of longevity which is lacking in many competing lines –

significantly in the future.

attracting accolades from across the industry.

T 01489 778890

Steens Group’s UK MD Alan Cozens comments: “To have received

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90 | Beds & Bedroom


The Moritz collection by Harmony

of finishes, along with a number of useful

Furnishings (01902 459898,

options which allow customers to make the is one of

best use of the space they have available.

six premium bedroom collections stocked in the company’s central UK warehouse. Each versatile piece allows customers

According to Harmony Furnishings, a particular favourite of retailers and their customers are the new corner wardrobes,

Harmony’s new corner wardrobes are proving popular Harmony’s founder Jason Stone confirms

to style their own unique bedroom suite.

with a deceptively large internal space and

that work is ongoing to create additional

The matt white and light oak frames can

the ability to be fixed to the two-, three- or

options and colour combinations, which will

be fitted with light oak, gloss white, gloss

four-door wardrobes on either side, thus

be launched at the 2020 January Furniture

grey and mirrored fronts to create an array

creating a fitted bedroom look.


Protect-A-Bed’s Platinum Club members benefit from attractive display bays and more


guarantees, new




art display bays,



Bed (02087

customer services

310020, sales@

and claims


resolution, and a is working

next-day delivery

hard to help bed

service where

retailers grow

required.” Protect-A-Bed’s

profits against a difficult trading

national sales

backdrop –

manager, Paul Lake, elaborates:

principally through training

Cloud mattress protector

reward system, the Protect-A-Bed Platinum

of customers has declined, focus on each


customer who walks through the shop

Simon Zamet, Protect-A-Bed’s CEO,

door has never been more important. We

says: “The Platinum Club has been designed

know we can help any store reach a 50%

to build, recognise and reward success

attachment rate, or higher.

with unique promotional and discount

“Protect-A-Bed’s ability to upskill your

opportunities, sponsored incentives, tailored

team and increase your sales revenue by

PoS solutions and membership rewards.

maximising every sales opportunity has

“Protect-A-Bed have developed a

FN366_Pages.indd 90

“In a year in which the volume

and a bespoke

been well documented. We can manage

world-class programme honed over years

every step of the process for you and build a

of experience, built on a singular focus.

reward scheme through the Protect-A-Bed

This includes a unique sales training and

Platinum Club. There is nothing to be lost

motivational programme, our best-in-class

and everything to be gained. Why would you

mattress protection collection and bundled

not act now?”

28/08/2019 16:08

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92 | Beds & Bedroom

Millbrook Beds (0845 293 7262, will unveil four new ranges at the Bed Show (stand B30) this month. Nine months of research, development and innovative thought has culminated in four new natural handmade mattresses – the Grandeur, Majestic, Ortho and Pillow-top collections. New technology and investment in machinery, combined with the company’s handmade approach, has enabled Millbrook to develop a range with a more sumptuous feel, offering models with higher spring counts – up to 14000 pocket springs – and greater sustainability credentials. Consultation with retail partners, as well as listening to comments and recommendations from the sales team, have been important contributors to the range’s innovations.

Riveria in plum with Adelphi headboard

The mattress collection is now chemicalfree, offering a 100% natural sleeping surface – no chemicals have been used in the cotton covers or in any of the natural

environmentally responsible processes.In

and refining our range, because innovation

fillings, which include Hampshire wool,

addition, Millbrook currently repurposes

never sleeps! We now have a product with

English spun cotton and cashgora.

nine million plastic bottles a year for use in

enhanced performance which will provide

Super-soft, breathable Tencel is used

its mattress borders and headboards.

an amazing sleep experience.

for the sleep surface of the new Pillow-

Operations director Ross Thurston

“We expect this new range to change

top mattress. This fabric is produced

comments: “We have been burning the

the perception of Millbrook Beds’ product

from sustainably sourced wood using

midnight oil for nine months, developing





Modern Living: Natural Touch High Spring Count Hand Side-Stitched Mattresses Visit our showroom to view the Modern Living Collection one of the NBF Show’s most successful launches! · · · · ·

Spring counts from 1,000 – 12,500 Same week collection Next week UK delivery Natural fillings Available as Natural Touch or unbranded or call 01484 427 373 Deluxe Beds, Beacon Street, Birkby, Huddersfield, HD2 2RS, UK

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malivinguk 01924 457 333 • •

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94 | Beds & Bedroom

Boston, part of the Sopor range (CG imagery)

UPLIFTING NEW OFFERS FROM KAYFLEX Family-run business Kayflex UK, which describes itself as “small enough to care, yet large enough to cope”, manufactures mattresses, divan bases and specialist rolled mattresses in the UK – and plans to launch a new foam at this year’s Bed Show … On stand K40 at this year’s NBF Bed Show, Kayflex will launch

Kayflex also offers a brand entitled Sopor – Latin for an

Stressless Foam, a unique foam which the company says is similar to

abnormally deep sleep, or a stupor – which is available only to brick-

memory foam, but without the element of overheating. It also says

and-mortar accounts, in order to protect retailers’ margins.

that Stressless Foam is very soft, and offers a feeling “like floating on air”. Within the Stressless Foam Collection, Kayflex plans to launch four new models – Ozone, Supreme, Silk, and Medi-Care. These will be supplied rolled and boxed – an impressive feat when one considers

To help promote its portfolio, Kayflex is investing in CGI imagery (see the Boston bedroom set, pictured). “We believe this is definitely the way forward, and we are really happy with the results,” says a spokesperson. For further information, contact sales director Greg Bachelor.

that these models are pocket-sprung. Each Collection has a different

T 07973 731762

look and spring count, covering every option for the end user.

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Visit us a NBF Be t the d Show


Premium Roll Up Matresses

UK manufacturer of mattresses and divan bases also specialising in roll up mattresses

“Small enough to care - large enough to cope” 01924 453331 | | |

FN366_Pages.indd KayflexSep19.indd 195

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96 | 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 funk singer “There are so many lessons from performance and being in a band which translate to business life” My name is Kate Hardcastle MBE, and I’m

It has not always been the kindest

caucasian Vandella for Martha Reeves –

a TV presenter otherwise known as The

industry – a lot of success is based on

that’s one of the stories I’m most looking

Customer Whisperer, a business adviser to

who you know rather than your ability,

forward to telling my grandchildren about.

UK and international businesses.

and auditions ending in rejection were a

Martha was the sound of Detroit and the

bitter pill to swallow at an early age. But

queen of Motown. Her music – Jimmy Mack,

Out of hours, I revert back to my original

every time I take to the stage for a keynote

Dancing In the Streets, Nowhere To Run, etc

career plan as a singer. I work with a number

now (I perform business seminars all over

– was played constantly by my mum on her

of function bands across the UK, signing at

the world, alongside the likes of former

vinyl records.

high-profile events and boutique festivals.

presidents of the USA and sports stars such

My career as a singer has afforded me the

as Michael Jordan) I am so grateful for

such a legend was more than nerve-racking.

opportunity to perform as the back-up

having an ability to deal with stage fright

Ms Reeves is a very experienced performer

vocalist to household names, and take to the

and having mastered the art of performance

and knows exactly how she likes her music

stage in huge sporting stadiums and appear

and reading an audience.

to sound. The band was incredibly excited

So, to be in a hotel room auditioning for

– so much so that at rehearsals we would

on TV. However, it is something I have kept very separately from my professional career,

It asks that I commit to pretty regular

nearly creep to the point of speeding up!

after a quite significant piece of advice from

practice sessions and gigs for my current

Thankfully, our brilliant drummer, and Ms

someone in the furniture industry!

function band, For Funk Sake.

Reeves’ own personal tambourine (which

Yet at one point, singing occupied every

she conducts the band with) kept us on track.

I became involved in this because I was a

moment of my life. A band I was in during

class geek and loved to study – something

my later teens and early 20s was hungry

that created a challenging school life for me

(literally) and ambitious - we had a great

with the likes of Candi Staton, Jaki Graham,

as I was bullied because of it (something

musical director, Matt, and a desire to get

Andrew Roachford, Alexander O’Neal, M

I discussed in later life on a Radio 4 series

our music actually on point. We would

People, etc. Some brilliant, some almost

called Fear of Failure, with Kate Silverton).

rehearse to the point of exhaustion and have

unbelievable – but most of them for after

days of double gigs.

the watershed!

I would attend any extra lunchtime or after-school class just to avoid the loitering

I have so many stories about working

The energy was fantastic, and whilst I

bullies. One of those classes was the school

wouldn’t change my career today, I am

Ten years down the line, I see myself

‘rock’ band – less Jack Black, more The

grateful for being involved with a band that

doing much the same thing. We’re looking

Commitments – and, with a grandfather

were so tenacious and taught me so much.

to do some more recording work with the brilliant band I’m in now – For Funk Sake

who was a passionate singer encouraging me, I auditioned for the band.

FN366_Pages.indd 96

I’m most proud of being the first-ever

is a beautiful mix of soul, funk and disco,

28/08/2019 16:08

Out of Hours | 97

and although it is mainly covers, we love to

You might not know this, but Martha

completely true – often the artist doesn’t

stamp our identity on them by giving songs

Reeves enjoys a cold pint of Guinness when

even want them, and the contents get

a bit of the For Funk Sake treatment.

she comes off stage – but that’s one of the

shared amongst the band!

Just being able to perform professionally

mildest riders I’ve seen. If you want to know more, listen to some

over 20 years after starting down this track,

Riders are the items a celebrity will

and being able to do it with some of my very

request for delivery to the dressing room

of our tracks at (@

best friends, is a joy.

before and after a gig, and they really are

ForFunkSakeBand). Make sure you find te

quite spectacular at times – but many

right act – we already have a band that likes

believe they are an urban legend. No, they’re

to pay ‘homage’ to us!

I have learned that there are so many lessons from performance and being in a band which translate to business life. The most important lesson, which I learnt at an early age, was having to ‘read a room’ Starting out in the northern working

“ At one point, singing occupied every moment of my life”

men’s clubs, and in backing bands to amazing celebrities such as Bob Monkhouse, you have to know exactly what the audience needs. You have to convey that you have their enjoyment at heart, and tell a story with each song. If I am the lead singer on a gig, I will change the set and what we do to reflect what’s needed to ensure we have young and old on the dancefloor all night. It’s given me a brilliant insight into people.

Kate (second from left) singing backing for Martha Reeves

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

09/08/2019 12:05

28/08/2019 16:08

98 | Dining Room

Character oak tables are proving popular

Olde but goodie Ye Olde Traditional Furniture Company (YOTFC) offers a good choice of products at competitive prices – and this simple premise is helping the supplier’s independent customers secure sales despite increasingly fierce promotional activity across the market, says MD David Harrison …

“Henry Ford once said you can have any

partners to ensure it stays abreast of the

by the launch of a new website, which has

colour as long as it’s black,” says David,

freshest product developments.

already elicited positive reactions from

“but we offer almost any colour under the

“After 50 years in the industry, I’m

rainbow. Our customers are able to choose

never surprised to see old modern styles

from a fantastic range of finishes.”

re-introduced,” says David, who explains

customers, while helping to grow sales across a wider range of products. Easily accessible and navigable, the new

that YOTFC has seen its character oak tables

website is a more suitable reflection of

polishing and upholstery services are a

– part of a characterful range of bedroom

YOTFC’s burgeoning product range, says

real asset when striving to ensure that the

and dining room cabinet, developed to make

David: “The criteria I laid out was that the

company’s retail stockists stay on-trend and

the best use of limited living space – achieve

information must be clear, concise and

ahead of demand, thanks to the wide range

noteworthy success, despite their niche


of modern textiles and paint, wax, stain and


He explains that YOTFC’s in-house

lacquer finishes on offer.

All YOTFC’s products arrive in the UK

“Most importantly, the website had to reflect our abiding aim – product quality.

as ITW frames, and customers have the

And I’m happy to report that our new ‘shop

selection of chairs, which range in style

opportunity to see the various options. “In

window’ gives our customers a clearer

from old traditional favourites to newer

turn, they can offer their customers virtually

picture of our strengths than ever.”

modern concepts, and YOTFC maintains

unlimited choice,” says David.

T 01604 890956

These finishes can be applied to a huge

ongoing discussions with its factory

Buying from YOTFC has been simplified

YOTFC’s upholstery services are a “real asset”, says David Harrison

In-house polishing services help YOTFC stay ahead of the curve

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Ye Olde Traditional Furniture Company

Welcome to - our new website now online

YOTFC produce Solid Oak, Beech & Pine Chairs,Tables, Stools, Cabinets and Components. We offer on site, comprehensive bespoke polishing and upholstery services. All products are also available ITW. Deliveries are made by our own dedicated vehicles, customer collection or by pallet/carriers where “Just in Time� is the order of the day.

tel: 01604 890 956 | email: | 3 Roe Farm, Whiston Road, Cogenhoe, Northampton, NN7 1NL FN366_Pages.indd YeOldeSep19.indd 199

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100 | Dining Room

Oak Bergen in a taupe weave

Oak Stockholm in a taupe weave

Oak Calder in light grey

Peter Woodman, founder of Woodman

established manufacturers and suppliers

and pine chairs, stools and tables – working

Chairs (01884 841789, sales@

who have been in the business for many

with both retailers and contractors. Able, states: “The

years, and who know their customers,

to offer sound, practical, advice, plus keen

continued uncertainties and relative

actually hold stocks (so they don’t have

pricing and good lead times (either from

weakness in the marketplace, generally -

too), and can continue to offer choice with

stock or bespoke), for a mix of traditional,

probably at least in part the consequence of

innovation and flexibility, for enquiries both

time-served and innovative designs, the

Brexit, so likely to persist for a while yet –

big and small.”

company invites enquiries, says Peter:

don’t do any of us any favours. “So, in challenging times, it’s very helpful and comforting, then, to know there are

Woodman Chairs prides itself on its

“If you want reliable supply, choice, and

industry experience and knowledge of the

a friendly, competent, service, contact us

solid wood furniture business - oak, beech



110 - Slat Side (& High Back) Chair

111 - Spindle Side (& High Back) Chair

112 - Fiddle Side (& High Back) Chair

114 - Slat Low Carver

115 - Spindle Low Carver

116 - Fiddle Low Carver


M&P Chairs 340.indd 1

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07802 648383 07469 819520

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102 | Living Room



With fresh investment in technology and

has enabled the business to create

preferences,” says Wayne. “The flexibility

development, Celebrity Motion Furniture

premium-quality reclining and riser/recliner

of our on-site production processes and

( is moving

models that offer both comfort and style.

skillset of our employees means we can now

forward to meet industry and market

With this year’s introductions of

offer a much wider range of products – and

Aquaclean fabric, adjustable headrests and

we’re also able to offer bespoke or adapted

Mammoth Medical Foam, the increased

models at ease to volume buyers in both the

the importance of keeping up with trends

sales Celebrity is seeing indicates that the

retail furniture industry and the mobility

while remaining focused on the needs of

company is moving in the right direction.


demands. MD Wayne Hollis fully understands

Celebrity’s customers. Having worked for

“We understand that comfort is key for

“I’m keen to keep Celebrity advancing

Celebrity for over 30 years, his extensive

our customers, so it’s important to offer

as a market leader in quality, British-

knowledge of motion furniture production

alternative designs to meet individual

manufactured motion furniture.”

Central Park Green from Louis de Poortere’s Fahrenheit line, in-store at Hatfields

With designs such as Griff, Cracks, Jacob’s Ladder and the new

The NT Collection from Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@

Fahrenheit, Mad Men continues to be Louis de Poortere’s delivers a striking, on-trend Scandi

( bestselling rug collection.

look in a natural oak finish.

Introduced earlier this year, Fahrenheit continues to build on

Designed for today’s homes, the collection comes in 31 items for

the collection’s New York-inspired theme in a design that evokes

dining and 16 pieces for the bedroom, each of which is supplied

the swirls and marks left by ice skaters at the city’s Wollman Rink.

with a choice of wood or metal knob handle to bring a touch of

Woven in a blend of high-gloss polyester and cotton chenille, the

individuality. With a choice of seven cupboards, cabinets and

abstract design comes in five colourways, including one of today’s

sideboards and five sizes of bedroom chests, NT offers great depth

hottest colours, green.

and variety.

The collection’s abstract designs and unexpected colours are

As part of the Kettle Interiors collection, NT is made to deliver a

bringing energy to store roomsets and window displays – such

blend of lasting quality and value, bringing retailers solid-feeling

as those at Hatfields Home Furnishers, explains the retailer’s

oak furniture in fully proportioned sizes.

marketing manager, Megan Ranson: “Each season we update our

For all first-time orders of the NT Collection, Kettle Interiors

roomsets to give customers ideas and inspiration for their home.

has put together some special display packages for both bedroom

Rugs play a major part in most of these schemes, and Louis De

and dining collections. Offering a saving of -36% for bedroom and

Poortere is often our go-to supplier. The brand’s eye-catching

dining, these display packages will enable even more retailers to

designs and colourways always deliver a fresh look to our sets.”

bring the style and substance of the NT Collection to their stores.

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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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104 | Furnisher

Through this innovative method of

Turkish textile giant Boyteks (info@boyteks. com, has developed a

adhering micro-sized particles onto

new pet-friendly mattress ticking which has

the fibres’ surface, food sources can

been designed to reduce allergic reactions.

be transformed into probiotic bacteria,

Boyteks’ Pet Friendly mattress ticking

supporting natural allergen control (of

features microcapsule technology,

allergens including dog and cat hair), in a

comprising minute containers that protect

manner which is both harmless to health

their content from evaporation, oxidation

and environmentally friendly. The new ticking benefits from a range

and contamination until a release – of probiotic spores, in this case – is triggered

of marketing support materials including

by friction.

posters, videos, banners and labels.

Abbeylands Furniture is celebrating 40 years in business this year.

the company invites existing and potential customers to join the

Established in 1979, its Scatter Box ( brand is one

team on its stand to enjoy a glass of prosecco or coffee, handmade

of Ireland’s leading names in designer furnishings, supplying many

chocolates, and to receive an exclusive free bag. Customers from

renowned retailers throughout Ireland and the UK.

the January Furniture Show may remember the company’s digitally

The company manufactures and supplies cushions handmade in

printed bags, featuring Irish hand-painted designs. The new bags

exclusive European fabric mills, and is known for its digitally printed

feature the best of this season’s colours and trends, from floral to

cushions, which are produced from the company’s own original


hand-painted designs.

Abbeylands’ MD Caroline Horgan says: “We can’t wait to show

Alongside this, the company stocks a range of velvet upholstery

you our exciting new autumn/winter 2019 collection and to meet

furniture, original hand-painted art, home accents, curtains, bedding

our existing and potential new clients. Come and join us in a little

and throws.

celebration at Autumn Fair.”

Scatter Box first exhibited at the NEC in 2006, and will return to exhibit at Autumn Fair this month. To celebrate 40 years in business,

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Explore the new Scatter Box collections at the company’s new location, stand H20-J21.

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106 | Furnisher

A multicoloured Mosaic 22844

GOT DESIGN COVERED? THINK AGAIN Think Rugs designs, imports and distributes a vast selection of handmade contemporary-, modern- and traditional-designed rugs in both wool and acrylic from India and China. In addition, the company offers a large and varied collection of machine-made polypropylene ranges from Europe. Think Rugs prides itself on providing

funky MT04 rug, alongside new product

an efficient and friendly service to each

ranges such as Aurora and Atlas.

customer, and understands that they need

The new ranges include: Craft, which

a quick, easy and reliable service – so the

incorporates metallic, abstract and marble

business endeavours to ensure that those

trends to create a unique deluxe style;

customers always receive the best possible

Aurora, an ultra-high-quality, machine-

service, as well as an impressive product

made range created from a demure, on-


trend colour palette; and Mosaic, a bright

This month marks the release of Think

and fun addition, styled on mosaic tiles. On

Rugs’ 2020 brochure. Reflecting an ever-

top of this, Think Rugs is also launching

expanding product range, this brochure will

new colour options and designs in its most

contain the company’s biggest selection yet,

popular ranges – Matrix, Royal Nomadic

introducing and launching more than 100

and Sunrise.

new products across 15 ranges, all of which

Vancouver 18488 in grey, blue and yellow

The new ranges are due to be launched on

are available in a huge selection of sizes. In

stand M23 in hall M at The Flooring Show

all, this year will see the launch of 12 unique

in Harrogate, taking place from 15-17th

product ranges, plus plenty of new additions


to Think Rugs’ most successful established

collections. Think Rugs has been working hard to bring its customers an engaging array of products focused on textures, contemporary designs and on-trend colours – taking on, for example, traditional oriental styles with distressed overlay, versatile geometric prints, authentic vintage and abstract designs. Following the success of millennial pinks and ultraviolet Pantone colours in 2018/19, the company has incorporated these rosy, demure blush tones into some of its most popular longstanding designs – like the

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Craft 19788 in grey and ochre

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108 | The Big Question







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 …

Nick Garratt (BFM)

Jessica Alexander (NBF, AKA PR) Creating the Circular Economy Committee

Roy Beagent

and all that entails in terms of engagement

(Minerva Furniture Group)

Restructuring to set up a platform for growth

Marketing stands at Manchester,

on sustainability and circularity

January Furniture Show and the Bed Emma Leeke (Leekes)

Show have been very successful in

Mike Murray (Land of Beds)

recruiting new members. We have

The biggest investment we’ve made in

subsequently increased our

The appointment of a director of

staffing levels

omnichannel marketing to ensure we embrace this approach

the past 12 months is in our logistics infrastructure – linking our website to our stores to provide a seamless overview of stock and delivery options that are available to the customer. Our intention is always to

Dids Macdonald

get the product to the end consumer at a

(ACID, The Furniture Makers’ Company)

time that’s convenient to them, in the most

In my role as master I have spearheaded a campaign called One Step at a Time (OSAAT) which the Furniture Makers launched in May. OSAAT is about reminding individuals and businesses that for more than a century The Furniture Makers’ Company has cared for the people who work, or have worked, in the industry, and we want companies to sign up to become One Step Champions – who’ll be given the tools and information they need in order

What’s the most significant change you’ve made in your business in the last 12 months?

economic and efficient way possible. Land of Beds’ in-house software development team are, therefore, working on a bespoke package that provides great customer service, delivers significant cost savings and reduces overheads for the business

Rob Scarlett (Scarlett Design) Increased staff to push productivity

to understand what our welfare support can achieve and – vitally – to spread that

Royce Clarke (Grampian Furnishers)

message to colleagues, employees and

Building a new business premises in

industry peers. With my ACID CEO hat on,

uncertain times!

we have introduced a new, streamlined and deliverable Intellectual Property Strategy Review, which is available to all our corporate members free of charge

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

FN366_Pages.indd 108

Steve Adams (MattressOnline) We’ve just completed an MBO, and

RPS Global (@RealRPSGlobal)

the process forced us to look deeper

Seeing investment return to focus on

into our business, analysing every

people, who make all the difference in retail.

cost, opportunity and threat. Think of

We’ve won the business of a major UK retail

it as a spring clean for your business!

furniture group and are implementing

It has provided MattressOnline with

an 18-month tailored Retail People

the opportunity to build on our strong

Performance programme to increase

foundations, and the culture changes

store KPIs

are already beginning to filter through into our output

28/08/2019 16:08




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

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110 | Trade Services

aerfom FR

flofom FR

Latexco (, one of the world’s leading

latter products especially) are under increasing pressure due to the

manufacturers of latex foam components, PU foams and pocket

health risks associated with these types of compounds.

springs for the bedding industry, has won this year’s interzum award for two of its high-quality unique PU foams. Fire-retardant polyurethane foams have been around for decades.

Consequently, Latexco has developed fire-retardant versions of the hyper-soft flofom and viscoelastic aerfom range, which meet the British Standard Crib 5 criteria and do not contain any halogen or

The currently-used technologies to make PU fire retardant are,

melamine components, but maintain the specific characteristics of

for the major part, based on the use of melamine combined with

speciality foams. In this way, fire-retardant polyurethane foams can

halogen-containing components, says Latexco – but these (and the

be produced safely for generations to come.

Cookes employed Iconography’s expertise to update its ecommerce capabilities

In 2015, two-store family-run furniture retailer Cookes, located in Birmingham and Christchurch, enlisted the services of ecommerce

The look of Cookes’ showroom is now reflected in its website

which is specifically tailored to furniture retailers. “Our latest Iconography eCommerce website has a vast array of

specialist Iconography (01460 258530, to

features – we are thrilled with the outcome,” says a spokesperson for

develop a bespoke, enterprise-level ecommerce website – a dramatic


departure from the company’s old, under-performing Magento site. Early this year, Cookes decided to refresh its brand colour palette to reflect its attractive store interiors (pictured). This gave

“We decided to renew our website with Iconography as we’ve built a strong relationship with them.” Iconography awaits enquiries from any business looking to migrate

Iconography the opportunity to launch the Cookes website on the

its website to an enterprise-level ecommerce platform with an

latest version of Iconography eCommerce, a feature-rich platform

agency that specialises in furniture retailers.

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We are the Digital Artisans Crafting high performing eCommerce websites for our clients since 1997.

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112 | Trade Services

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GOING, GOING, GONE! Wednesbury-based Interior Auctions specialises in furniture and upholstery, and offers services including repairs and collections as well as regular sales … Conveniently based in the heart of the West

healthy complement of services besides,

Midlands, Interior Auctions was established

including furniture care and repair,

in 2010, but is run by a team that boasts

alongside careful brand protection and

over 15 years’ experience in the furniture

fixed-price listings.

industry. Dealing in returns, end-of-line and

Outside of the showroom, Interior Auctions offers nationwide collection (even

surplus stock, the company operates across

from the customer’s address) and DHD

over 17,000ft2 of display space – enabling

– both services that are rarely offered by

it to present its wide range of heavily

traditonal auction houses.

discounted stock in the best possible light.

Interior Auctions is open seven days a

Thanks to its unique strengths, Interior

week, and urges any trader keen to hear

Auctions promises to achieve better prices

about its latest lines to get in touch.

for its clients than are possible through

T 01215 057645

traditional auction houses, and offers a

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Full pag

Visit us during the Bed Show 2019 Stand G1

Fire retardant comfort L

Latexco offers fire retardant versions of its hyper-soft flofom


and its viscoelastic aerfom. Thanks to the usage of expandable


graphite, a fire retardant mineral, all Latexco’s foams are free


of halogens or brominated fire retardants.


Latexco’s fire retardant foams meet the British Standard Crib 5 criteria. |

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114 | Trade Services

Encore Foam cushion

“We feel we have completed the holy trinity of upgrade cushion filling”

Rising demand for Encore cushions Advanced technology has catalysed the advancement of Fibreline’s Encore cushions, resulting in a broader portfolio for buyers that comprises a choice of fibre, feather and foam cushions.

Fibreline’s latest breakthrough in foam

different foams and a clever interior profile.

advantages. It retains the casual look, and

cushions is called Encore Foam – a high-

Like all Encore cushions, it is easy to

because of its foam core its resistance

quality cushion produced using technology


to sagging and easier maintenance gives

that has never been used before by a foam

With the launch of Encore Foam, Fibreline

converter, which has a sit just like a fibre

feels confident it now offers the best in

cushion, offering a sink-in, snug feel.

foam, fibre and feather cushion interiors.

retailers confidence in the performance of fibre and feather and now foam cushions. Demand for Encore cushions continues to

“We feel we have completed the holy trinity

grow, as more and more retailers appreciate

recently earned an industry seal of approval,

of upgrade cushion fillings,” says MD

the advantages of this technology and

FIRA’s Gold certification – to be the

Richard Prudhoe.

demand cushions containing Encore for

Fibreline believes Encore Foam – which

ultimate foam cushion. It is constructed from 100% foam and achieves its impressive properties through a combination of

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“Now manufacturers have a great choice.” The Encore cushion range has many

their ranges.

T 01535 606846

28/08/2019 16:08

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

If a product or collection is not pulling its weight after being given a fair chance to shine, then clear it and replace it with a better performing line. Test and measure the selling potential 115 of all your products in a Greenwood Sale.

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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

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don’t bother with a proper sales process or sales training. The Wouldones you like toInvest see of two,money four, sixinor even eight ...just yousales said it and would be! We had successful do!like time quality sales timesGreenwood what is normally best month? and queues and inyour the end took a sales know-how. crowds Call to arrange anwe effective good half a years sales over the three weeks. training course. As our Your clients know very (andHe willfitted tell you), the event guy waswell perfect. in

J DeWalleg Ltd is a British manufacturing above sales are not exceptional for a Greenwood wellresults and we’re missing him already. It’s company with a history of innovation and COMPETITION – Check your competition to find out what Sale. They are standard. You could enjoy such recordPatents for the products it designs and makes been great and I can highly recommend in the UK. Its roots as a family company go breaking sales Avoid results all-out too – with high margin they are offering. wars. Bemaintained. sure to out-do Greenwoodprice Retail.” back over 66 years and our ethos continues to competition onMark theOxenbury, most The relevant USP’s Oak Loft,beneficial Exeter be quality, craftsmanship and pride in what your we make and sell. including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood


With continued investment and the in- to mystery shop your competitors. house CAD designing of its own production machinery and products, J DeWalleg Ltd strives to maintain its lead as a UK PROMOTION – Promote Don’t just accept slow trade.effectively. Every your business manufacturer supplying globally direct to the waiting for business to walk Tesco to Harrod’s does. Consider using a Bedding and Upholstery industry. good retailer fromStop


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1 Wilmslow SK9 12/06/2019 12:08House,1 Grove Way, Wilmslow, Cheshire, GreenwoodRetailSep19.indd 15/08/2019 15:29 5AG 28/08/2019 16:08

116 | Trade Services

NO WIN, NO FEE AT MFA Wouldn’t it be great if you could try a service, but not spend a penny if it doesn’t quite deliver the right result? The next week you get to try the service again, until the right outcome is achieved – and only then will a fee be incurred. It sounds like a fanciful idea compared to how most modern businesses operate, but this approach is a reality at Midland Furniture Auctions (MFA) … For well over 10 years, MFA’s vendors have

so well over the hundreds of auctions we’ve

message is to get in touch and let’s see what

enjoyed a hassle-free no-sale, no-fee-to-


we can do – and if we can’t sell it, we’ve

pay rule. The auction house’s team is so

“Sometimes suppliers may give up on

got your fee covered. As always, we hope to

confident it can clear unwanted furniture

some damaged stock, because they think it

welcome new vendors to the next auction.”

stock that it insists zero payment is taken if

is unsellable. But we have facilities to repair

T 01773 832555

it does not sell.

a lot of issues to make a sale viable. So my

The company believes in putting its money where its mouth is, to prove the service is second-to-none and gets results. MFA is always looking for new vendor stock to add to its huge range of sofas, beds, chairs, tables, rugs, mattresses and accessories, and believes it can easily sell any end-of-line, seconds, returns, prototypes or excess furniture – because the buyers are present in force every Wednesday, eager to bid for them. Dean Carpenter, senior auctioneer at MFA, says: “Too many companies still expect to be paid for disappointing results, but we don’t run our business like that. We’ve always done things differently and we believe only positive results deserve reward. This approach delights our customers and keeps us on our toes to achieve great sales figures every week. We’ve never changed our no-sale, no-fee policy, because it’s worked

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whaam.. it goes! visit end of line - seconds - returns - ex-display - old stock - prototypes

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118 | Trade Services

Over the past 10 years, component supplier J DeWalleg ( has seen many changes to both the bedding and upholstery industries – including the return of consumer demand for high-quality, UK-manufactured product. Armed with this insight, J DeWalleg has continued to invest in UK manufacturing, offering impressive products to both the bedding and upholstery trades. With a customer base comprising some of the UK’s largest manufacturers, the supplier believes that its reputation speaks for itself. As a joint patent holder for the components and core of the innovative Autotufter machine, J DeWalleg has further expanded its product range and capabilities, working closely with machinery supplier MPT Group. ScS has adopted Paragon’s ( fleXipod electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) software to support its two-man home delivery operation, which handles around 1000 customer appointments each day. By gaining real-time visibility and control of delivery processes, ScS has been able to achieve a more standardised on-site service and faster problem resolution. “The delivery experience can make or break a retailer by quickly losing the goodwill of customers, so we have invested considerable time and resource into this area of the business,” says Kelvin Bowes, ScS’ regional distribution manager (northern). “By working with industry specialists such as Paragon, we are able to maintain the service excellence that underpins our successful brand.


“fleXipod has already made a significant contribution by


enabling us to provide a consistent on-site customer experience, J DeWalleg’s headquarters in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

dynamically speed up our issue-resolution procedures and gain increased visibility of our two-man operation.”





World of Opportunity

Engage a Centre of knowledge for the furniture industry


K The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) is an association comprising the leading industry trade publications in 18 countries. Established in 1997, the IAFP aims to improve communications between international markets and create new business opportunities.

Guides, Research, Standards Exclusive to members

1/4 page vertical.indd 1 FN366_Pages.indd 118

Furniture News is the IAFP’s representative in the UK, and can offer readers and advertisers target market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels. Contact us on 0044 (0)1424 776101 or visit the IAFP website to find out more.

08/08/2019 IAFP_FNQP.indd 16:22 1

27/02/2019 14:53 28/08/2019 16:09

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Park Lane - Trade Ad A4 2018.pdf












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Event: The 2019 Herman Miller Cup five-a-side football tournament Location: The Lucozade Powerleague Football Centre, Coventry Date: Sunday 30th June, 2019 Lowdown: Fourteen teams took part in this year’s industry charity football tournament, organised by The Furniture Makers’ Company. Now in its seventh year, the event raised a record £4500 for the charity, and saw the Axminster Tools & Machinery team emerge victorious, following a tense final with Hypnos Beds that ended in a penalty shootout. Dids Macdonald OBE, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The Herman Miller Cup was fabulous, with more than 100 keen footballers taking part, and what an amazing final between Axminster and Hypnos. However, where were all the women players? Next year, I hope!”

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Event: The Manchester Furniture Show exhibitor drinks party Location: Manchester Central’s foyer and adjoining terrace Date: Sunday 14th July, 2019 Lowdown: After their first day of trading, the exhibitors at the summer’s principal furniture trade event took to the venue’s terrace to enjoy a few well-earned drinks courtesy of the organiser. Before the show closed the following Tuesday, over 50% of the exhibitors had already committed to take part in the 2020 edition, which is set to see fresh investment, new features and a refined layout.

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124 | Designer


Sointula, Andrew Hamilton Furniture, product and interior designer Andrew aims to create commercial collections that enhance the spaces they occupy, rather than distracting from them. His ash Sointula range consists of a chair, desk and lamp, and seeks to deliver high-end, hand-crafted character at an affordable price point. “The concept for the range was inspired by a small utopian-visionary community from the last century, to which the range owes its name. My imagination

“The range was developed

was captured by the recurring theme of people boldly

with volume production in

establishing new worlds with great optimism”

mind. I wanted the minimal aesthetic to reflect the overall idea of distilling archetypes to essential and refined forms with

“I wanted to create a range

carefully balanced details

that could populate a

and proportions. There is

utopian vision of my own

a subtle material richness

– in which we live without

to all the objects in the

much of the unnecessary

range that draws on the

noise that distracts our eye

techniques of craftsmanship

from the essential beauty

and uses them appropriately

and function that’s available

for volume production by

to all. This attitude seems

adapting them for use with

more important than ever,

digital production methods”

and the population of that ideal world with physical objects and architecture that represents aesthetic and societal values is an integral and symbolic part of an

“In general, I apply a reductive approach, and aim to instil beauty

optimistic vision”

in functional objects in as few moves as possible. I like to think of it as good judgement applied through careful intervention. The result should feel familiar yet exciting, and not forced or attention-seeking”

“In most of my work, refined and considered proportions and careful visual balance between components are highlighted as the defining aesthetic” Training: Andrew trained as a joiner and

He also works with curator and sculptor Judith

cabinetmaker (Wigan and Leigh College) in 2009-

Winter, supporting her ongoing research with the

11 while working in industry. A spell in industry

Bauhaus Foundation in Dessau, Germany.

followed, with work in various companies/small furniture workshops and self-employment, before

Achievements: Andrew’s graduation work won

he enrolled to study Three Dimensional Design

a number of awards at the university and the

(now Product Design & Craft) at Manchester

New Designers exhibition, including: the Neville

School of Art in 2015-18 . Andrew graduated with

Johnson award; the Manchester Craft And Design

first-class honours.

Centre’s Spotted award; and a shortlist place for

Andrew now operates his own studio and

the Argos/Sainsbury’s Home award at the show.

workshop in Manchester, where he develops

In June he won Mixology’s Young Designer Of The

prototypes and makes one-off pieces along with

Year Award 2019.

the occasional interior spatial design (including residential and commercial spaces when required).

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A WORLD OF INSPIRATION‌ Welcome to Light & Living. We know better than anyone else how you can create atmosphere with light and home accessories. Our goal is to constantly surprise our customers with new themes in decorative lighting, (small) furniture and home decoration.

Visit our inspirational new website

We have a strong marketing and styling team that pull together the very best concepts with lots of care and attention to detail. Our purchasing department carefully select the products and combine these products with different styles of living. The broad collection of Light & Living now inspires professional resellers in more than eighty countries. Be surprised by the inspiring world of Light & Living!


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to the furniture industry FEATURING

Hotel, restaurant and bar design FOR

Designers, architects, specifiers, operators


Milton, Westbridge Furniture Designs

FURNITURE CITY Manchester calling!

CUSTOMER CULTURE Kate Hardcastle’s top business tips

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The rise and fall of furniture trends

17/06/2019 16:44


Domestic furniture, furnishings and services FOR

Retailers, designers, suppliers

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07/06/2019 14:27


Machinery and components FOR

Manufacturers, joiners, cabinetmakers

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Always a brilliant choice

Delivering specialist publications and marketing solutions since 1984 BUILDING BUSINESS 28/08/2019 08:28 16:09 17/07/2019


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Each monthly issue offers market news, insight and new products. Subscribe today to ensure you never miss an issue – and get your copy of

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128 | Last Word

Pasquale Junior Natuzzi Creative director and stylist, Natuzzi Founded in 1959 by Pasquale Natuzzi, leather upholstery pioneer Natuzzi is Italy’s largest furniture brand and one of the furniture industry’s biggest players, with an extensive manufacturing footprint and a global retail network. Pasquale Junior is the son of the company’s founder, and brings a fresh outlook to this global brand.

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Last Word | 129

How did you enter the trade?


I was already taking my first steps in the company at the age of four. I spent my summers with my father in the style centre

2010 Founded fashion start-up The Secret Society

advertising department, nurturing my


Natuzzi’s dedication to keep its environmental impact to a minimum, energy consumption, reflects the brand’s

Studied asset and wealth management at major

long-established and serious commitment

international banking groups in New York

to sustainability, and its strong connection with nature.

Who was your inspiration? My work is my greatest passion, and I owe


that to my father, who has instilled in me

Marketing program manager and brand

the idea of seeing the company as my third

ambassador, Natuzzi Group

Which company do you look up to? Ikea, for its dynamism and excellence in understanding the needs of today’s

‘big sister’ (I have two fantastic big sisters, as well as a little one). The best thing my father has taught me is: “Pursue your

mindset of modern-day consumers.

in terms of both choice of materials and

or the prototyping room, as well as in the interest in the creative side of the business.

must align itself with the eco-conscious

2016 Communication director and deputy creative

passion and respect the people who help you

director, Natuzzi Group

consumers, together with its vision of sustainability. Also Restoration Hardware, for its visionary path into retail and lifestyle.

achieve your success.” 2017 What was your career high point?

Chief marketing and communications officer,

The collaborations with world-renowned

Natuzzi Group

What would you most like to change about yourself? Sometimes I wish I didn’t overthink things

starchitects and designers like Marcel Wanders and Ross Lovegrove. And the


Natuzzi Augmented store, our new

Creative director and stylist, Natuzzi Group

so much, and dealt with them in a more relaxed way.

store concept featuring mixed reality What do you enjoy most about working in

technologies, created in collaboration with Microsoft. We have designed an innovative customer journey that can make the shopping experience truly engaging and exciting. … and low point? I would say that my lowest point was at the beginning of my career. I was frustrated with the very unclear options I had as part

“The furniture world must align itself with the eco-conscious mindset of modernday consumers”

the trade? The dynamism and the continuous stimulus. The situations I deal with on a daily basis are constant challenges. Can you leave us with an industry anecdote? Last May I participated in a panel discussion at the Consulate General of Italy in New York with five other representatives from

of my growth path into the company. It was a period of uncertainty.

If you had to start over, which career would

the design world, where I talked about our

you pursue?

vision regarding sustainable design.

… and the turning point?

Architect. I think it gives you a new

Two years ago, when I started being in

perspective on how you can use your

distinguished guest, Gaetano Pesce, one of

charge of marketing and communications.

creativity for something practical and

the greatest designers of the last century. At

For the first time, I had my own team, with

concrete. I believe it would be a good

the end of our speeches on how to make a

budgets and activities to carry out on a

education for me, since my inclination

positive impact in the world, he expressed

global level. From that moment I started to

is towards product and creativity within

his opinion on the uselessness of being

show my value, achieving important goals.

interior spaces.

too keen on sustainability – in his view,

Among the audience there was a

the biggest concern should be the lack of

Describe a typical working day

What date on the business calendar do you

I wake up at 6am. I work out for one-and-

most look forward to?

a-half hours and then I head to the office.

The last day prior to my summer holiday.

awareness among today’s consumers. It surprised me that a talented designer like him was minimising such an important topic.

I start with my meetings, catch up with my

Moreover, I found it quite curious that

executive team to plan the activities for the

What is the most important issue affecting

day or the week and discuss deadlines. Then

your business right now?

he was attacking me over a key topic such

I have more meetings and go through my

Environmental issues are a growing concern

as sustainability, and in such a formal

to-do list.

among the industry, and the furniture world


Rome or Milan?

Tattoos or piercings?

Snakes or sharks?

Milan. It is one of the most dynamic

Tattoos – I’ve lost count of how many

Sharks. They are one of my biggest fears,

European cities, and very inspirational

I have

but at the same time I’m fascinated by them

for creatives

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28/08/2019 16:09



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Issue 74


r 2017 Products #290 / Insta llations Timber / Upda & Pane tes ls / Sand Software ing & Finis / Dust & Wood hing waste Manageme www.furn nt iture

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 (


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| Novemb


Flat Panel FP290_


by BA Com



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Autumn Fair and IFHS reviews | The potential of 3D visualisation technology Willis & Gambier returns | Beds & Bedroom, Dining, Living, Furnisher and Trade Services

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MERCEDES SPRINTMAX  3 Years unlimited mileage, chassis and body construction warranty  3 Years 24/7 Mercedes Mobilo Van Mobile Workshop Cover  Ultra lightweight, fully bonded advanced body construction  Increased residual values  Save time, faster loading and unloading  MOVE MORE FOR LESS


Up to 1300KG Up to 23m3 Move More For Less

Work Smarter Not Harder

For further information Telephone 01673 863300 Visit

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