#392 May 2022 www.furniturenews.net
BLOWN AWAY How Simba rewrote the sleep rulebook
Applauding the furniture sector’s fundraisers INNOVATION IN BEDDING READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 TRADE SERVICES
Style Our Home expands offline MattressNextDay’s action plan
In depth B2B eCommerce expertise Challenge us to deliver
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SO MANY IN OUR INDUSTRY CAN HOLD THEIR HEADS HIGH With living costs going through the roof and a persistently challenging market, it would be all too easy to overlook the needs of others. Yet despite enduring everything a pandemic has to throw at it, the UK continues to rank among the world’s most charitable nations, and the efforts so many Brits go to for those in need never ceases to amaze me. This month sees the conclusion of The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Step 2 It campaign, which launched in April last year with the lofty target of £250,000 to help those in our industry impacted by Covid-19. Businesses and individuals were asked to walk, run, cycle, swim or engage in a sponsored sporting activity to help raise funds, and the furniture industry didn’t disappoint (spoiler alert – the target was hit, and then some!). As the campaign drew to a close, a glitzy ball held at the Landmark London Hotel generated nearly £17,000 (see p28), while the livery company’s master, David Woodward, concluded a 100-mile hike at Furniture Makers’ Hall, raising a further £10,000 to the cause (see p8). But that campaign is just the tip of the iceberg. On p58, we reveal how some of our regular contributors ‘do their bit’ by working with local charities, running fundraisers, and more. Looking further afield, we’ve also been following some of the efforts our industry has undertaken to help raise money for those affected by the developments unfolding in Ukraine.
Various bed brands have lent their support to a call to source 1000 mattresses for displaced Ukrainians, while retailers and manufacturers at every level have created and delivered their own care packages in co-operation with official institutions and charities – take a look at our running summary at www.bit.ly/3K3VP0f. With the pandemic disrupting our traditional fundraising channels and prompting many to reassess which causes to support, the outlook for the charity sector is unclear – but it’s good to know that so many in our industry can hold their heads high. Getting back to this month’s issue, the highlights include interviews with Style Our Home’s Harp Kaur (p14) and MattressNextDay’s Martin Seeley (p18), a teaser for this month’s debut Spring Furniture & Bed Show (p23), and a special feature looking at the latest innovations in the bedding sector (p34), led by a discussion with industry experts around the fundamentals and directions of bed marketing. There’s also the return of our popular Readers’ Choice Awards (p10). After the huge success of last year’s edition, Furniture News is again asking every one of you to nominate your top suppliers from across the trade – so, unless you’re busily engaging in your own charitable activity right now, head over to www.bit.ly/fn-readers-choiceawards-2022 and get voting!
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#392 May 2022 www.furniturenews.net
10 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 14 INSIGHT
14 Kartar & Seibo / 18 MattressNextDay / 20 Maxdivani
How Simba rewrote the sleep rulebook
Applauding the furniture sector’s fundraisers INNOVATION IN BEDDING READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2022 TRADE SERVICES
Style Our Home expands ofﬂine
MattressNextDay’s action plan
38 SIMBA (COVER FEATURE)
23 Spring Furniture & Bed Show 26 Heimtextil Summer Special / 28 Step 2 It Ball
30 PRODUCTS 34 Innovation in bedding / 46 Trade services
Nicola Snell, founder, Press Loft
52 OPINION 52 Get with the programme / 54 Review rave 57 IAFP / 58 Feedback
Mike Fantis, VP and managing partner, DAC Group
Casey Loo, president, IAFP, and publisher, FurnitureAndFurnishing.com
APPRECIATING ONLINE VISUALS IN SITU IS FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
20 - 21 Sept 2022 | Telford
Bringing The Bed Industry Together Mattresses | Divans | Bedsteads | Headboards | Pillows | Futons | Sofabeds | Tickings | Fillings | Springs | Foam Machinery | Components
Supplier Innovation Zone
www.bedshow.co.uk @thebedfed | #BedShow2022
READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET
Hypnos has appointed Gary Mitchell (ex-Dormeo, Studio Moderna) to the newly created post of sustainable development manager
Whitemeadow volunteers raised £600 for The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Step 2 It campaign by taking part in a charity abseil
Emma – The Sleep Company has appointed Wolfgang Neuner as its CFO, and strengthened its UK and Ireland retail team with the introduction of new senior sales manager, Andrew Price (ex-Dyson, Apple, Hogo Boss and Links of London)
Maze has opened a new 90,000ft2 distribution centre in Peterlee. The outdoor furniture wholesaler’s third distribution hub has created 20 new jobs and coincides with a thorough rebrand
Oak Furnitureland has entered the garden furniture category with the launch of two onlineonly ranges
Cylindo has been acquired by another photorealistic rendering specialist, Chaos, which aims to build “the first end-to-end platform for visualisation and 3D commerce for the home and beyond”
FIRA International’s further 2022 open days will take place on: 18th May (morning); 13th July (morning); and 12th October (afternoon)
READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET
HEAL’S ACHIEVES RECORD RESULTS Heal’s has reported a record year, achieving gross sales of more than £50m (including concession sales). This represents a YoY increase of +27%, which was driven by the continued growth of the retailer’s online business. The company’s six stores were closed for prolonged periods due to the pandemic, but it says the effect of this was more than mitigated by the strength of its website and telesales channels. Online sales grew +51% and accounted for 60% of overall revenue. “There was an uplift in sales from the ‘home boom’ when customers were spending more time in their homes due to the Covid restrictions and, as a result, chose to invest more in home renovations and improvements,” states Heal’s, which did not utilise the Government furlough scheme. Profit before tax was £2.1m, driven by a combination of the strong multichannel sales performance and tight cost control. This compares to a loss of £2m in the previous year. Trading exceeded expectations during the retailer’s recent winter sale, with revenues +4% ahead of a “very strong” prior year, and included a record sales week for the company. Revenues were balanced between the stores and online, emphasising the importance of Heal’s multichannel
approach. The bestselling products were sofas and easy chairs, with a strong performance in dining tables and chairs. This marks a shift in customer needs from earlier in the pandemic, says Heal’s, when desks and storage were very much the focus. CEO Hamish Mansbridge says: “As well as seeing growth in demand for home interiors, it’s a real testament to the strength of our brand and the quality of our products that customers were buying in increasing numbers through our online channels, both during and after lockdowns. As a result of this, whilst remaining very conscious of economic, geopolitical and social uncertainties, we move forward with continuing confidence in our in-store and digital experiences.”
RETAILER SIGNALS 30-STORE EXPANSION AND NEW PRODUCT DIRECTIONS Bedding and linen retailer Julian Charles plans to open up to 30 stores and concessions across the country over the next 18 months, as it targets revenue growth following the success of its recent turnaround strategy. The retailer currently operates from 75 locations, and the expansion plans could see that number rise to over 100, with the business looking for additional concessions in allied retailers as well as standalone stores in market towns, where it believes there is a significant appetite for high-quality physical retail.
The business will also be rebranded from Julian Charles to Julian Charles Home as it seeks to expand into the wider homewares market. MD Simon Peck says: “Following an excellent 18 months for the business, and having already revamped our online offering and extended our product range, we are now moving into the growth stage of our strategy. This involves increasing the number of Julian Charles locations across the country and using the successes of the past year as a springboard for the next.”
PRICE RISES IMPACT BRITISH FURNITURE PRODUCTION Retailers are being urged by the industry’s national trade body to prepare for a surge in costs in Britishmade furniture. The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) says its members have faced, and continue to meet, significant price rises from suppliers. A wide range of materials used in furniture are rapidly increasing, including hardwoods such as birch, beech and oak, along with fabrics, foam, fibre, steel, MDF, plywood and OSB. BFM MD Sean Holt says: “This is a national and international issue. Our members are reporting a constant flow of increases, which are impossible to predict and difficult to absorb. “We’ve seen a pattern of material increases over the last two years, but the situation has escalated significantly in recent weeks. Compound price hikes
of up to +100% are not unusual, and this is on top of the energy cost increases affecting manufacturing, which need to be managed to operate and maintain production. Fuel and labour costs are other factors which are compounding the current situation. “Our members are committed to making their quality products in Britain and to address the challenges ahead, but they face economic factors that are beyond their control. “We appreciate that the situation will bring disappointment and inconvenience to retailers and their customers. In the meantime, we are planning to produce a regular update to support retailers, so they can see the challenges ahead. Hopefully this will go some way to help them plan accordingly and provide insight so they can inform their customers of the current situation too.”
READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET
LIVERY COMPANY MASTER COMPLETES CHARITY WALK David Woodward, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, has completed a 100+ mile hike of the Grand Union Canal and raised over £10,000 for the charity as part of the Step 2 It campaign. David set off from Gayton Junction, Northamptonshire on Friday 1st April and spent nine days walking the route, which links Birmingham to London. He was joined for the entirety of the challenge by his wife, Anne, daughter and son-inlaw, Lizzie and Chris Shaw, and past master Tony Smart MBE, who operated the support narrow boat. Throughout the week, friends and other members of the livery company joined David at different points along the journey. David’s walk culminated at Furniture Makers’ Hall in the City of London on 10th April. He was met by a welcome party that included honorary liveryman and former Sheriff of London Alderman, Professor Michael Mainelli, who presented David with an award of achievement, and commemorative paperweights to Anne, Lizzie, Chris and Tony for their support. David’s total travelling distance for the challenge was 110 miles – or 218,939 steps. The event was the
final fundraiser planned for the Step 2 It campaign, which has been running since May 2021 and finished at the end of last month. The total amount raised for the campaign will be announced this month, but the figure has already surpassed the charity’s £250,000 target. David says: “I am so proud of the team that made the canal walk the success it was. I was incredibly well supported by my family and friends who joined the walk on different days. Despite all manner of weather, we had fun and the camaraderie was second to none. Thank you to everyone who donated to the charity in support.”
THE FURNITURE AWARDS 2022 WINNERS REVEALED The winners of The Furniture Awards 2022 were announced ahead of last month’s January Furniture Show. This year’s competition, sponsored by Forte, attracted a wealth of entries from exhibitors keen to share their achievements. “It was truly heartening to read so many impressive and inspiring accounts from across the industry – particularly given the challenges many of them faced last year,” says the awards’ co-ordinator, Paul Farley, who chaired a judging panel consisting of: Malcolm Walker (FIRST MW); Deirdre Mc Gettrick (ufurnish.com); Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers); Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID); and Mike Murray (Land of Beds and AIS).
The winners they selected were: Sustainability Category – Signature Kauri (winner), Skovby (highly commended); Best of British Category – Shire Beds (winner), Buoyant Upholstery (highly commended); Design Innovation Category – Gallery Direct (winner), Scandinavian House (highly commended); and Global Player Category – Bluebone Imports (winner), and Wiemann (highly commended). The Furniture Awards were launched in 2015 by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the January Furniture Show, and are now an integral part of the exhibition. In addition to media coverage, each winner received a voucher for CGI services courtesy of creative digital agency Orbital Vision.
SOFA WORKSHOP IN ADMINISTRATION Sofa Workshop, a subsidiary of the Halo Group following its acquisition from DFS for £0.3m in August 2020, ceased trading at the end of March. The group has appointed PWC’s Tony Banfield, David Baxendale and Zelf Hussain to oversee the brand’s administration. Halo states: “Despite significant investment in product range, store environments and training, Sofa Workshop has made consistent losses, and its performance has remained significantly out of step with the rest of the group and its subsidiaries, which specialises in the design, production and distribution of luxury furniture. The Sofa Workshop business has been under review for the last six months, having been impacted by drastically rising
freight costs and the ongoing implications of Covid-19, including its impact on UK high streets. “Throughout Halo’s ownership of Sofa Workshop the company has been dedicated to supporting its staff, who were kept on throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and not placed on furlough. Staff salaries have been paid to the end of March 2022, and the group has committed to paying March commissions and pension contributions. “All outstanding Sofa Workshop deliveries will be made, and Timothy Oulton – a Halo-owned company – will honour Sofa Workshop’s guarantee of workmanship for sofas sold.” Halo’s initial acquisition comprised 20 UK stores and an online retail business.
IKEA UK has proposed the closure of its Tottenham store in Edmonton, North London. The decision comes as the retailer commits to investing more than £1b in London over the next three years
Shabby Store has relaunched under entrepreneur Daniel Prendergast’s (TheRugSeller.co.uk) ownership after it went into administration in February
Timothy Oulton has opened in Liverpool ONE. The 3200ft2 gallery on Peter’s Lane is the brand’s first standalone space in the north of England
Ralph Lauren Home has signed an exclusive global license agreement for fabrics and wallcoverings with its longstanding European licensee, London-based Designers Guild
eve Sleep reported its third consecutive year of revenue growth in the UK and Ireland, yet group EBITDA losses increased to £3m
Next brand full-price sales were up +12.8% Yo2Y in the 12 months to January 2022, and up +32.4% YoY. The retailer achieved a profit before tax of £823m (up +10% Yo2Y and +140% YoY). It ended the year with net debt of £600m, down -46% Yo2Y
Bensons for Beds is undergoing a rebrand, and has unveiled ‘your bed, your way’, a personalised sales approach which helps customers choose a mattress that matches their sleep needs, styled with a made-to-order bed
READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET
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VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
This month sees the return of the Furniture News Readers’ Choice Awards – giving you another opportunity to nominate and celebrate your preferred suppliers across a host of categories …
awards-2022 to vote quickly and easily through our online entry form * Fill out the form over the page, then photograph it or scan it and email the image to paul@gearingmediagroup. com (don’t forget to add your name and business to the bottom of the form) * Fill out the form over the page, then post it to: Furniture News Readers’ Choice Awards (FAO Paul Farley), Gearing Media Group, 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street, Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AG Voting closes at midnight on Friday 10th June – any submissions received past that date will not be counted, and we’ll only consider one set of nominations per reader. Please nominate one supplier in each category. Who’s the best in the business? Let us know what yout think, and good luck to the nation’s suppliers – we’ll reveal the winners in August’s issue.
THE DUST MAY HAVE SETTLED SOMEWHAT, BUT THE ENVIRONMENT CONTINUES TO CHALLENGE EVERY BUSINESS
Homeserve Furniture Repairs’ MD John Bowater and CEO James Lane thanked their staff, clients and the trade for their victory
The furniture industry continues to face one of the most challenging periods in its history. Confronted with ongoing supply chain difficulties, rising costs and evolving consumer demands, suppliers negotiating these choppy waters must do so thinking on their feet – while upholding the values, quality and services that marked them as a valuable business partner at the outset. Last year, Furniture News launched the Readers’ Choice Awards to discover which suppliers were deemed to have outperformed their peers during a turbulent year of lockdowns and reinvention. In 2022, the dust may have settled somewhat, but the environment continues to challenge every business – so again, Furniture News wants to find out which suppliers are valued most highly by our readership. The Readers’ Choice Awards seek to celebrate the suppliers that are leading the field, based on your nominations. You can cast your votes in a number of ways: * Visit www.bit.ly/fn-readers-choice-
Furniture Sales Solutions’ MD Adam Hankinson celebrates his 2021 win
READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS
11 Testing and technical manager Howard James with FIRA International’s proud team
LAST YEAR’S WINNERS Best buying group/association: AIS
Best international exhibition (physical or virtual): imm cologne
Best bed/mattress supplier: Sleepeezee
Best living room cabinet supplier: Gallery
Best bedroom cabinet supplier: Wiemann
Best occasional chair/recliner supplier: GFA
Best CGI visualisation/website provider: Chilli Pepper Designs
Best sales/marketing/display support provider: Furniture Sales Solutions
Best children’s/nursery furniture supplier: Steens Best software/technology provider: RetailSystem Best decorative accessories/soft furnishings/lighting supplier: Coach House Best testing services/certification provider: FIRA International Best dining chair/table/cabinet supplier: Coach House Best upholstery supplier: Whitemeadow Best fabric/component supplier: Leggett & Platt Best UK exhibition (physical or virtual): Best flatpack furniture supplier: Furniture To Go January Furniture Show Best fulfilment/transport provider: Rhenus Home Delivery (UK) Best newcomer: Chilli Pepper Designs Best furniture care/repair provider: Homeserve
Best UK manufacturer: The Millbrook Bed Co
Best garden/outdoor furniture supplier: Bluebone
Best for sustainable thinking: Hypnos
Best home office furniture supplier: Core Products
Best for innovation: Orbital Vision
READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS
BEST BUYING GROUP/ASSOCIATION:
BEST HOME OFFICE FURNITURE SUPPLIER:
BEST (COMPLETE) BED SUPPLIER:
BEST BEDROOM CABINET SUPPLIER:
BEST INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION:
BEST CGI VISUALISATION PROVIDER:
BEST LEATHER/LEATHER-LOOK UPHOLSTERY SUPPLIER:
BEST CHILDREN’S/NURSERY FURNITURE SUPPLIER:
BEST LIGHTING SUPPLIER:
BEST DECORATIVE ACCESSORIES SUPPLIER:
BEST LIVING ROOM CABINET SUPPLIER:
BEST DINING FURNITURE SUPPLIER:
BEST MATTRESS SUPPLIER:
BEST DISPLAY SUPPORT PROVIDER:
BEST COMPONENT SUPPLIER:
BEST OCCASIONAL CHAIR/RECLINER SUPPLIER:
BEST FABRIC SUPPLIER:
BEST RUG SUPPLIER:
BEST FABRIC UPHOLSTERY SUPPLIER:
BEST SALES/MARKETING SERVICES PROVIDER:
BEST FLATPACK FURNITURE SUPPLIER:
BEST SOFT FURNISHINGS SUPPLIER:
BEST FOR INNOVATION:
BEST SOFTWARE/TECHNOLOGY PROVIDER:
BEST FOR SUSTAINABLE THINKING:
BEST TESTING SERVICES/CERTIFICATION PROVIDER:
BEST FULFILMENT/TRANSPORT PROVIDER:
BEST UK EXHIBITION:
BEST FURNITURE CARE/REPAIR PROVIDER:
BEST UK MANUFACTURER:
BEST GARDEN/OUTDOOR FURNITURE SUPPLIER: ..................................................................................................... FOR EMAIL/POSTAL ENTRIES, ADD YOUR NAME AND BUSINESS NAME:
PEBBLE Collection Now Offering 9 Painted Colour Options across 4 of our ranges Pebble, Dorset, Lundy and Cobble
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01237 471872
GOING LIVE In 2007, Harp Kaur founded online retailer Style Our Home – which combines an extensive range of brands and products with personal customer service and expert tailored advice. This month, Harp is taking her operation physical, with the launch of Kartar & Seibo, an upmarket furniture showroom in Middleton, which benefits from an in-house upholstery atelier and interior furnishing consultation service, plus all those years of insight and experience … www.kartarandseibo.com
APPRECIATING ONLINE VISUALS IN SITU IS FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO
Outline your typical customer – what styles and prices are they looking for? Our original ecommerce platform, Style Our Home, represented a trendconscious consumer base seeking pieces to contribute to their interior evolution. However, as our portfolio
Harp’s team appraises the latest range from Portugal’s Wewood
Why ‘Kartar & Seibo’? Kartar & Seibo are my grandmas’ names. They inspired the business, as they were housewives who were very houseproud and always kept their family homes well presented and comfortable.
Kartar & Seibo, coming to The Coppice this month
Can you give us a short history of your brand? My inaugural ecommerce store, Style Our Home, was established in 2007, and initially specialised in home accessories. Identifying a gap in the market for an online furniture store, the venture progressed into an offering of competitively priced mid-range and premium home furnishing products. Supported by a knowledgeable, professional, personal customer service approach and a multi-navigational ecommerce website, Style Our Home evolved into a fully established online furniture store. During the past five years our bespoke and made-to-order services have flourished, showcasing brands including Vincent Sheppard and Steve Bristow, as well as wholly individualised bespoke pieces. Aligned with consumer expectation, the establishment of a niche, luxury showroom to complement the design-led experience was an essential enhancement and expansion for the company. Our new showroom, Kartar & Seibo, is located within a luxury lifestyle complex entitled The Coppice, near Sutton Coldfield – which is enveloped by a rich blanket of serene countryside, offering a truly unique and immersive experience. Exhibiting a portfolio of exclusive, highend brands, Kartar & Seibo caters to the increasing demand for bespoke homefurnishing solutions, and embraces the individuality of each client and their vision for their home.
has expanded and diversified, so too has our customer base. Diverging into premium and made-to-order products expanded our client portfolio, widening to project- and investment-oriented clients, parallel to the key demographic at Kartar & Seibo. How did the pandemic affect your online performance? The marked enforced consumer switch to online preferences negated the initial uncertainty, with adversity surpassed
KARTAR & SEIBO IS LOCATED WITHIN A LUXURY LIFESTYLE COMPLEX, OFFERING A TRULY IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
by resilience and opportunity. Collective support allowed the associated growth and continued expansion during unprecedented times. Did you struggle to maintain good levels of customer service? Historically, our customer service has been widely praised, receiving industry accolades and commendations. As the events of the pandemic elapsed and our team expanded, the addition of new team members introduced new experiences, skills and qualities that further fortified the excellence of our service. Our team comprises many years of business experience and industry knowledge, and this is attributable to the dedication of our team and their integrity towards our business.
BUILDING BUSINESS, INFORMING INDUSTRY 17 FRATO
THE CALIBRE OF BRANDS OFFERED IS UNPARALLELED Why choose to make the transition to physical retail? The necessity to appreciate online visuals in situ is fundamental to illustrate our product portfolio – particularly the uniqueness of our luxury collections. Creating a welcoming location for our customers to select and customise their finishes was an important requisite to the design-led physical transition. Seibo showroom. Aligned with an online catalogue and ecommerce presence, the showroom will act as the creative epicentre, where customers can receive a tailored service, personal to their specifications and requirements.
Describe your showroom … For the discerning client, a habitat to repose! Designed with passion and influenced by a local interior design agency, Charlotte Conway Design, the showroom exhibits beautiful pieces of furniture, lighting and rugs. Customers are supported by a team of enthusiastic individuals, guiding our clients to select the perfect pieces for their home.
Can you share something you’ve learned about establishing a physical retail presence? Exhibiting time and patience with layout selections to achieve a favourable flow. Avoiding the inclination to select personal preferences – instead the recognition of current trends via inspirational social and exceptional interior designer sources. Give us an idea of the suppliers you’re working with … We will be showcasing products by exquisite and admirable brands such as FRATO, Laskasas, Liang & Eimil, Baker
How does it reflect or diverge from your online brand, and why? Whilst we have successfully maintained a diverse approach to retailing premium and made-to-order products online at Style Our Home, our approach to Kartar & Seibo will be wholly unique and immersive. The calibre of brands offered will be of an unparalleled ilk – many of which will be on display within the Kartar &
McGuire, CTO Lighting, Heathfield & Co, Vincent Sheppard, Ethimo, Porta Romana, Bella Figura, Romo wallpaper/ fabrics, Chase Erwin, GP & J Baker, Mulberry Home, Art et Floritude, Wewood, Stark Carpet and Fromental. We are also excited for the opportunity to represent Armac Martin – a luxury hardware company, creating beautiful brass fixtures and fittings. We will be showcasing their products, as well as their collaboration with interior designer, Sophie Paterson, on Claremont – a debut range of desirableluxury brass mirrors. Are you exploring new online technologies at all? The venture will be underpinned by our online catalogue and ecommerce store. Streamlining processes is paramount to online efficiency, including developing ‘headless architecture’ to minimise datasets. Visualising product placements and the interactive element of screen sharing, 360° representation and design rendering are all key requisites. What other plans do you have? The considerable consumer appeal for luxury goods will continue to be augmented with select client, ambassador and supplier partnerships focusing on longevity, offering products with uncompromising quality, whilst promoting on-trend collections. The customer demographics will support our core retail and marketing strategy with scope for additional project development and specialist outlet opportunities
TOMORROW THE WORLD Name: Martin Seeley Position: CEO, MattressNextDay Business: MattressNextDay has operated online for 18 years, and over that time has built up a strong inventory of more than 10,000 SKUs, from brands including Silentnight, Sleepeezee, Sealy and Relyon, plus new suppliers such as Hypnos and several bed-ina-box specialists. Website traffic has grown by approximately +20% YoY, and the average number of monthly visitors currently stands at 90,000, says Martin. The business is expanding rapidly, and a new warehouse and showroom, due to open late this year, is set to effectively double the size of the operation. www.mattressnextday.co.uk
VISITORS TO OUR SITE KNOW WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO GET
Why visit your website? We pride ourselves on having an easy-to-use, no-jargon website that is focused on giving people a fast way to get a great night’s sleep. In other words, visitors to our site know what they’re going to get – high-quality products, speedy delivery and great prices. MattressNextDay is also an ethically aware business, and we recently planted over 500 trees to offset carbon emissions. We plant a tree for every order placed. How did you enter this industry? It’s in the blood! My dad owned a bed shop in Clapham, South London, and I worked there in my early 20s and learned the trade. It was a great learning experience as my dad was an excellent salesperson – one of the best in the business. The passion for the industry was passed on to me, and I’ve never looked back. Who is your ecommerce hero? Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair. I know that some people find him arrogant and outspoken, but I think he argues his points well. I actually like his idea of removing aeroplane seats and creating standing areas to reduce ticket prices by -50% on short-haul flights. People get annoyed by the idea, but it will provide cheaper flights for people on a tight budget. Whether it’s practical and safe enough to ever be allowed is another matter, but he’s not afraid to think outside of the box, which is something I admire!
Describe a typical working day … I have a very disciplined routine and make sure that I stick to it every day. I wake up early and plan the day ahead. Once I’m at my desk, I make sure that I get any high-priority tasks taken care of first and deal with any pressing issues. I spend a lot of time talking to suppliers, setting up contracts, dealing with logistics and managing my employees. I love the fact that my working week is full and busy, as it gives me a strong sense of purpose. My overriding goal is to always aim to do slightly better than the day before – I think the technical term is ‘incremental gains’. I constantly strive to make progress towards my business goals, which has worked well for me so far! What part of your job would you prefer to avoid? To be honest, I’m a grafter, so I don’t mind doing almost any aspect of the job. I’ve done it all over the years! The one thing I try to avoid like the plague these days is unloading the mattresses. Since I’ve got older it nearly kills me, so I prefer to leave that to the young ‘uns! I still have to do it occasionally, but I think I’ve done more than my fair share of it whilst building the business up! What’s been your greatest challenge to date? That’s difficult to answer, as I really love facing a challenge and rising to it. Probably the biggest challenge in recent years has been dealing with supply chain issues, especially during the Covid
YOUR 2022 SUCCESS STRATEGY
I’M NOT AFRAID TO INVEST SERIOUS MONEY IN SEO AND PPC
5 ESSENTIAL WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR SALES AND PROFIT
pandemic. To overcome the challenge and continue to provide a top-tier service to our customers, we decided to open our warehouse seven days a week, around the clock, to make sure that there is always someone there to take a delivery.
• ADVERTISING – Most advertising does not work very well. If yours isn’t, stop wasting your money now. Don’t blame the media, blame the message. Re-design your advertising in a benefits-orientated-style. Call Greenwood for effective copywriting know-how.
How much do you invest in making your site more visible? I’m not afraid to invest serious money in SEO and PPC, as driving traffic to the website is the lifeblood of our business. Without visitors, we don’t get sales, it’s as simple as that. We spend roughly £70-80k per month on applying SEO strategies and running PPC ad campaigns.
• PRODUCTS – Be ruthless with your precious floor space. If a product or collection isn’t performing after being given a fair trial, then clear it and replace it with a faster selling line. Test and measure the selling potential of all your products in a Greenwood Sale.
What’s your take on how the relationship between online and physical retail might develop? I see the physical high street stores as being just as important as online retailers in the furniture industry, as they supply great products. High street retailers such as Dreams and Bensons provide a great real-life experience for customers, and I don’t think anyone would benefit if that went away. At MattressNextDay, we believe that we complement the high street stores by providing great mattresses at great prices, delivered quickly. We’re not like the dodgy eBay sellers knocking out cheap-as-chips but second-rate products all day long, nor do we want to be. Do you have any plans to grow the business? We are highly focused on business growth, and we achieve it YoY by providing a first-class service to our customers. We have exciting plans for later this year. In the last quarter of 2022 we are opening a new, purpose-built warehouse and glitzy showroom, which will double our current capacity. I can’t wait for the grand opening!
• SELLING SKILLS - Get good at selling. Most retailers don’t employ a proper retail sales process for big ticket goods. The most successful ones do. Invest time and money in quality sales know-how. Call Greenwood to arrange an effective sales training course for your team.
• COMPETITION – Check your competition to find out what they are offering. Avoid all-out price wars. Out-perform your competition on the most relevant beneficial points including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood to mystery shop your competitors. • PROMOTION – Promote your business effectively. Every good retailer from Aldi to Harrod’s does. Consider using a Greenwood Sales Promotion to increase sales, turn stock into cash and win future market share, while protecting your profit at the same time. Call Greenwood!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GREENWOOD SALES... Take a look at our website or call us now on 07771 700247, or, send an e mail enquiry, and we’ll gladly call you to discuss the exciting possibilities we can offer you, without obligation. We are now booking Greenwood Sales right across the UK and Ireland from summer 2022 to spring 2023 on a first come first served basis.
What advice would you offer an aspiring e-tailer? Apart from the obvious advice of working hard and striving to improve each day, I would give three pearls of wisdom from my own experience:
Book your sales event early to guarantee exclusivity for your business.
Why not find out more today? Call Bernard Eaton on 07771 700247
1. Keep it simple. Don’t take on too much to begin with, and build up gradually. If you try to grow too quickly, there’s a danger that you won’t be able to meet demand, which means you’ll let customers down. This is never a good thing for a retailer, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores. 2. Outdo Amazon! Any e-tailer that wants to be successful must think of a way that they can do things better than Amazon. For us, it was offering a guaranteed next-day delivery at no extra cost to the customer.
GREENWOOD RETAIL LTD
Britain’s Leading Experts in Retail Sales Promotion
3. Always make time for a cuppa!
TO THE MAX Espirit
After several years’ absence from the UK market, Italy’s Maxdivani is set to make its return – having undergone significant changes, and now in the capable hands of siblings Paola and Rocco Ferri, the third-generation of the family behind the business, who have lived and breathed the sofa trade all their lives and are confidently looking to take their already-established brand to new heights … www.maxdivani.it
WE ALWAYS PRIORITISE OUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS
With an eye on innovation, modern styles and customer demand, Paola and Rocco envision a bright future for Maxdivani in the UK. Conscious of the recent uncertainties around trade exhibitions, the pair have invested in a new trade showroom – at Luxury Designer Room Interiors in Brighouse, Yorkshire – and have appointed experienced agent Simon Orr to represent their UK interests. At its heart, Maxdivani is a manufacturer – its sofas are handcrafted in its own factory. “This means 100% Italian production, and totally bench-made models, which results in better quality control,” say Paola and Rocco. “Our ID labels tell us who made each product, and an entire order will be bench-made by the same person for added consistency.”
Maxdivani understands the need for robust after-sales services, and prioritises this to offer both customers and consumers peace of mind in their purchases. “We have a large variety of products, ranging from standard sofas to powered recliner models and chairs to match – in leather and fabric, and a mix of modern designs and comfort levels,” continue Paola and Rocco. “We’re highly specialised – our collection ranges from corrected top-grain leathers to full aniline, with a wide selection of colours, and that same depth of choice applies to our fabric offer too.” Maxdivani is heading to Milan’s Salone del Mobile in June to showcase its Italian finesse to visitors keen to see the latest available styles. “We always look at different ways to improve our products, by looking at new, innovative materials, new leathers and fabrics, and updated machinery,” state the siblings, “but we always prioritise our customers’ needs – and our simple lines, attention to detail, wide range and flexible combinations make our offer an extremely commercial one. Prepare to be impressed!” With service and quality at its core, and the passion and creativity of its new principals, Maxdivani is poised to bring an even stronger offer to the UK this year. For more information, contact Simon Orr on 07824 470799, or email email@example.com
WE ARE FORTE JUPITER collection
BFM LAUNCHES INDUSTRY NETWORKING EVENT AT ERCOL The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) is inviting you to the ﬁrst in their series of regional industry events. The topic of this event is The Workforce of Tomorrow. It will be an opportunity for the furniture community to hear from guest speakers with vast experience in developing and recruiting new talent. The event will also provide opportunities to network and share information, knowledge and best practice, to address one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. It also includes the opportunity to join a guided tour of the world renowned Ercol production facility. Thursday May 26, 2022 6pm to 9pm Ercol’s manufacturing headquarters in Princes Risborough Bookings can be made on the BFM’s website, www.bfm.org.uk/events
Open to BFM members (free) and non-members (£25.00)
NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE June’s Furniture News offers the perfect opportunity to promote your business to a sector-leading trade audience REVIEWS SPECIAL! June’s issue will feature our January Furniture Show and INDX Beds & Bedroom reviews – all the latest launches from the industry’s key trade events, including a closer look at The Furniture Awards 2022 Winners OUTDOOR FURNITURE The weather’s hotting up, but consumer demand for garden furnishings never cooled off! Join us to share your latest garden living solutions
Want to be part of the furniture trade’s favourite read? Contact Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
BOOK BY FRIDAY 13TH MAY
SPRING INTO ACTION The inaugural Spring Furniture & Bed Show will take place at Stoneleigh Park near Kenilworth, Warwickshire, on Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 18th May – and there’s plenty of reasons to put this date in the diary … www.springfurnitureshow.co.uk
A WARM WELCOME AWAITS ALL VISITORS
With over 60 stands over two dedicated halls, the exhibition promises a cross-section of well-known industry manufacturers, interspersed with interesting and varied products from a variety of other suppliers, covering sectors including cabinet, upholstery, bedroom, beds and accessories. This new trade show follows on from the successful 2021 Summer Furniture Show and the well-established Autumn Furniture Show, at the exhibition halls
situated within the NAEC complex at Stoneleigh Park. This countryside setting offers ample free parking, close proximity to Birmingham airport, rail links and motorways, and a complimentary lunch is available to all visitors – while hand-sanitising stations can be found in the halls. “A warm welcome awaits all visitors, who are encouraged to pre-register their attendance via the dedicated show website,” states the show’s organiser
2 2 0 2 y a 18th M
shire k c i w r a h, W t r o w l i n k, Ke r a P h g i nele o t S C E A N
● Over 60 exhibitors ● FREE parking ● FREE lunch ● NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
For a full list of exhibitors and to register please visit
THE MAGIC NUMBER www.heimtextil.messefrankfurt.com
Empowered Identity – bringing old Scandinavian textile crafts (klokkestrege) back as a contemporary artpiece for Heimtextil Trends, inspired by modifications of Asger Jorn (made by Christina Engsig, photo by SPOTT for Heimtextil)
AS THE WORLD LEADER IN TEXTILE TRADE FAIRS, WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE INDUSTRY
After a coronavirus-prompted break, numerous innovations await the global trade this summer, says organiser Messe Frankfurt – and the trade fairs, taking place in parallel, will cover the complete textile value chain, from fibres and processing to the end product. At the same time, the D2C Neonyt Lab (running from 24-26th June at Messe Frankfurt) and the public events of Frankfurt Fashion Week will take place in the city itself. With regard to safety measures, the events can take place without capacity and admission restrictions, and thus without proof of vaccination. As a framework for Messe Frankfurt’s overall global range of textile trade fairs, the overarching Texpertise Network offers information on textile trade fair brands through 58 events worldwide and, as a platform for networking and exchange, constantly focuses on the latest resources and climate-friendly developments in the industry. “The last two years have shown that as the world market leader for textile trade fairs, we have a great responsibility for the industry,” explains Messe Frankfurt’s Detlef Braun. “In this role, we have successfully accompanied the textile industry through the crisis. Through our worldwide events, we have not only been able to maintain orientation and global business relationships in the market in uncertain times – but also our top position.” Heimtextil will be held in June as
(photo by Pietro Sutera for Heimtextil)
Promising to catalyse the worldwide textile industry after a long break, Techtextil, Texprocess and the Heimtextil Summer Special will take place in Frankfurt am Main from 21st24th June …
a one-off Summer Special, with 800 exhibitors already announced and participation from 47 countries. Both the international high-volume business and the retail trade will be focus areas for the summer edition. This summer’s Heimtextil Trends theme, Next Horizons – located at the centre of the exhibition grounds in Hall 4.0 – has a clear focus on sustainability and resource conservation. The layout of the area is based on its Material Manifesto – only local resources, environmentally friendly or loaned materials will be used for the stand design. Visitors can expect inspiring stagings of colours, materials, curated exhibitor exhibits, lectures and DIY activities. The Heimtextil Conference Sleep & More in Hall 3.0 offers representatives of the bedding trade, environmentally conscious retailers and decisionmakers from the hotel industry a line-up of speakers who will share the latest findings in sleep research, tracking technology and sustainability in the hotel industry. Another highlight is the one-hour Green Tours, conducted with an independent consultant to selected exhibitors. In the Green Village in Hall 3.0, experts in sustainable textile certification will be exhibiting, while other exhibitors with sustainable products will boast stands marked with a leaf. The show trio of Techtextil, Texprocess and the Heimtextil Summer Special will take place from 21st-24th June 2022
LIVE IN FRANKFURT 21. – 24. 6. 2022 At the leading trade fair for home and contract textiles.
ER M M SU CIAL SPE
Parallel with: Techtextil & Texprocess All aspects of yarns, technical textiles, nonwovens, manufacturing + processing technologies
email@example.com, Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 84
TWO-STEP CHAMPIONS The Drawing Room and Marble Ballroom, the Landmark London, Marylebone / Friday 25th March www.furnituremakers.org.uk/step2it Photos by Brendan Bell Photography
The Furniture Makers’ Company marked the culmination of its 12-month fundraising campaign, Step 2 It, with the Step 2 It Ball, a black-tie event held at the five-star Landmark London. Guests were treated to a four-course dinner cooked by executive chef Gary Klaner, followed by entertainment from the Jazz Dynamos and a charity auction. The Step 2 It campaign, which encouraged members of the trade to raise funds by completing sports-based challenges, has been the charity’s largest-ever fundraiser – the ball itself raised nearly £17,000
BUILDING BUSINESS, INFORMING INDUSTRY 29
Nature meets industrial in the new Texas collection of bedroom and occasional furniture from Core Products. New for 2022, this collection offers a variety of individually styled pieces, all designed for easy assembly, and at Core Products’ renowned value-for-money prices. Available in a choice of antique waxed or grey-washed wax finishes, each piece is made from natural wood, combined with bar handles and real metal stove painted legs, which form an ideal contrast to the wood itself. Texas is available from stock for quick delivery to store or direct to the consumer.
Gallery was delighted to win The Furniture Awards’ Design Innovation category last month, with its Design Series Project enjoying a special mention in the judges’ comments. The series features two projects to date, Sofa in a Box and the new Packed-Flat, with more to come. Packed-Flat offers quality combined with inspired designs, without the price tag – a flat-packed value line with a designer feel. The collection, which allows easy delivery to any room in any property, offers an eclectic mix of furniture, using different colours, shapes and materials, to fit all spaces. The range pictured is Holbrook, which offers a selection of living furniture in a choice of colours.
CHALON Founded more than 40 years ago, the Chalon brand’s clients have included royalty and famous chefs, bakers and sport stars including Aldo Zilli, Miranda Gore Brown, and Tim Henman. Following recent approaches from interested parties, Chalon is eager to speak to those interested in acquiring the brand, intellectual property rights, design libraries and customer database. Creative director Ilana Saliuk comments: “We’re looking forward to the next chapter in Chalon’s history. It’s the right time enhance the brand’s reach through an exclusive retailer distribution network and a focused online marketing strategy, providing unprecedented access to our brand and products. “We are also open to discussions about our manufacturing facilities. We are keen that our small team of highly skilled people continue to produce their high-quality craftsmanship for any new owner, if required. The Chalon brand is synonymous with quality, aspiration and innovation.”
In preparation for the sale, Chalon has digitised its product catalogue to sell online, including the range of colours from Chalon’s unique paint palette. The brand has a strong heritage in the interiors market. Founded in 1978 by husband-and-wife team, Michael and Rose Chalon, the company began producing furniture designed
to emulate the classic elegance of 18th- and 19th-century English furniture. Its bold and open styling was complemented by a unique paint effect, developed to provide a distressed finish as if each piece had naturally aged in an English country house. To express an interest as a buyer, contact agent David Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think outside the box. You sell it, we deliver it, direct to your customers’ door.
01738 630 555 | email@example.com
WHERE THE HEART IS Based on the notion that the home is the ‘junction’ in everyday family life, the Home Junction brand was launched last year, and is looking to expand on the already-extensive offering revealed at last month’s January Furniture Show …
Olympus firepit set
delivered directly to the end customer via our two-person delivery partner, BJS, if you wish. “We try to keep everything we sell, if not in stock here in the UK, at least on an order cycle so we have stock coming in throughout the season for people to buy into. We’re also careful with where we sell – particularly with ensuring we don’t have accounts with stores too close to one another – and try our best to ensure other sales channels are not undercutting anyone. “Finally, because of our many years of sourcing and buying many different furniture products, our brand has contacts across the globe and so, if a customer wants to have their own whitelabel version of something we already manufacture, we’re able to source and deliver this for them. “Through continual investment in R&D and quality control, Home Junction ensure the products we offer are what the market wants – we’ll never simply just take an existing piece to pass off as our own.” Home Junction can be contacted on 0800 999 1401 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenley firepit set
Freya corner and rising table
Last month’s show saw Home Junction launch new rising firepit tables with corner sofas, modular sets with ceramic glass tops, reclining corner units with ice buckets, and much more, complementing the brand’s existing ranges of garden furniture, parasols, outdoor heaters and rugs. With an offer that also comprises velvet-upholstered benches, chairs and chaises – an indoor line which will be built up over the coming months – Home Junction aspires to make its mark in the UK retail and wholesale markets, buoyed by its attractive and affordable products. “As a business, Home Junction have a somewhat romantic attachment to the smaller bricks-and-mortar retail outlets,” states a brand spokesperson, “having been one ourselves in a previous life! “These businesses currently face a tough time on the high street, and perhaps have it harder than purely online businesses – so, as an online business, we try not to put any restrictions in place in terms of trading requirements with our customers. There’s no minimum order value to open an account, and you can have the order
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
SELLING SLEEP From new components to advanced material technologies, the bed industry is impressively dynamic – and nowhere is this energy more apparent than in its approach to consumer marketing. After all, few would dispute the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, so it pays to ensure the marketing messages hit home … (photo credit: 123RF.com/jackf)
Sleep is big business, with beds at its heart. Thanks in part to the bed supply chain’s efforts, consumers are becoming increasingly switched on to the physical and psychological benefits of a good night’s sleep, enticing them to spend more, and more frequently, on the products that enable it. Perhaps more than any other form of furniture, bed marketing has moved
eve Sleep’s Cheryl Calverley and Dreams’ Simon Moore
away from selling a product, and towards selling its benefits instead. Material and component quality still have their place, but usually it’s secondary to the headline – buy this, and you will sleep better, which will in turn give you a better quality of life. It’s a compelling message, made all the more persuasive by the passion and creative heft that’s so often behind it – from retailers, established brands,
manufacturers and, notably, the newer bed-in-a-box brands. But how is that messaging evolving, and why? We asked a mix of D2C and B2B bed specialists for their thoughts – this month’s panel comprises: Cheryl Calverley, CEO, eve Sleep; Stuart Nutbeen, MD, Mammoth Sit & Sleep; and Simon Moore, director of marketing, Dreams.
CONSUMERS ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY SWITCHED ON TO THE PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
WHAT’S YOUR KEY CONSUMER MARKETING MESSAGE? Cheryl Calverley: Our brand is all about the wonderful benefits of being well slept. So, the core brand positioning focuses on helping customers understand that eve is a brand that will help you sleep better, and our lead creative, the ‘sloth’, brings to life how amazing you’ll feel after a night on an eve mattress (you’ll literally ‘wake up dancing’). Underneath that we have specific strands of messaging. We have some work that helps you ‘switch off’ at night – one of the biggest threats to good sleep – with a sponsorship of late nights on Channel 4 at its lead. We then have more direct communication around our product, highlighting particularly the fact that we’re so confident you’ll love it that we offer you a one-year at-home trial – you can return it at any point in the first year and we will give you a full refund. Obviously at a more detailed level, once people get into the buying journey we highlight the fact that our mattresses are the best in the UK, according to
Which?, and the specific details that go into making them brilliant – from the active heat removal to the unique contour zones that keep you perfectly comfortable at night. This strategy is then specific to each product range, from pillows and duvets to bedframes and sleepover products. Stuart Nutbeen: At its heart, Mammoth is a health and wellbeing brand focused on helping consumers to develop better sleep habits to make better choices. For us, it’s not just about selling a mattress – it’s about helping to deepen people’s understanding of why better sleep, and Mammoth, will ultimately increase their quality of life. It’s also about our unique credentials, with our heritage in healthcare, award wins for innovation, and our exclusive partnership with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. We know that consumers want credentials they can trust – that’s why Mammoth has built such a strong reputation with the public, elite
athletes and over 60,000 healthcare professionals. Simon Moore: One in five people in the UK don’t get enough sleep, meaning that millions miss out on the benefits it brings to both their physical health and overall wellbeing. As the UK’s leading bed retailer, all of us at Dreams are passionate about sleep and passionate about beds. We have a long history of being the nation’s leading bed expert, and we are proud of that. Not only do we make, sell and deliver a wide range of quality products that cater to all budgets and needs, but our in-store experts also work with every single customer to identify the bed that best suits their needs, via their own knowledge and aided by our unique Sleep Match Technology. All of this ensures that we stay the UK’s leading speciality bed retailer, are the first choice for one in three shoppers, and have a Trustpilot rating of 4.7.
IS YOUR STRATEGY BASED ON ANY PARTICULAR RESEARCH OR FEEDBACK? Cheryl Calverley: Of course! Fundamentally we know that customers buy products for their benefits. And the benefit of great sleep products is that you wake up ready to rise and shine. We know that the more likely a customer is to agree with the statement ‘eve is a brand that cares how well I sleep’, the more likely they are to buy our products. This same approach is taken throughout the messaging funnel, from testing different messages on trial periods, all the way through to the most important and motivating factors when buying a mattress. Stuart Nutbeen: Our brand strategy has served us well over the last decade, but the market has evolved so much so that brands such as Mammoth, with our key
consumer marketing message of health and wellbeing, are more relevant than ever. A recent McKinsey study on the Future of Wellness revealed that better sleep is one of the six core categories of consumer interest in this decade. Battling the stress and anxiety of world events and the modern lifestyle is something that has become a primary focus for both individuals and organisations. A recent Positively 2021 survey (from our partners at Hearst Group) shows that 83% of people are more aware now of the importance of good health than they were before the pandemic. We expect this trend to continue as people prioritise their health and wellbeing, from implementing a good work/life balance to introducing an exercise
routine – sleep plays an incredibly important role in this. Not surprisingly, our official partners at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have also reported increased cases of back, neck and shoulder pain brought on by remote working and lockdowns. Simon Moore: Our whole strategy is based on data and insight around how people think about their bed, sleep and the whole experience when choosing a bed. Listening to customers’ feedback is also an important part of our strategy. We introduced our customer feedback tool, Pillow Talk, in 2014, and this continues to inform our product development in real terms.
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
WHAT ADVERTISING CHANNELS AND FORMATS DO YOU EMPLOY, AND WHY? Cheryl Calverley: We have a very simple strategy as a brand – we find doing a few things well is usually more effective than trying to tackle lots of channels (not least because we are a small team!). We use above-the-line advertising (primarily TV) to build awareness of our brand, and more importantly that essential consideration and familiarity – people understanding what it is we do, and why they should believe it. Most recently we teamed up with Channel 4 for a sponsorship of late nights on Channel 4 to deliver this overarching brand message, which is supported with harder-working product messaging on daytime TV. We use social media, but we try not to use it for aggressive selling – we find social media is most effective when it’s engaging and fun, and helps people again build warmth and familiarity with the brand. And finally, we (obviously!) use Google Search, to ensure that, at that moment people are in the market for a sleep product, they can discover us. Stuart Nutbeen: A multichannel
approach is essential for our business today, as we know that people like to receive and consume content in different ways. At Mammoth, we utilise a combination of both print and digital activities, but it all stems from unique, quality content built on valuable information – not meaningless marketing that has no depth. Content is king, and must add value to the recipient. In tandem with our consumer communication activity, trade communication plays a critical role in our ongoing marketing strategy. This is something that is very important to us as a business, as we understand that a strong relationship with well-informed Mammoth retailers is critical to all of our success. We want to support them with both our valuable content, our assets and also our marketing support and expertise wherever possible. Simon Moore: We employ a multichannel approach, leveraging TV, radio, OOH, YouTube, BVoD and belowthe-line marketing. We have seen great success from our partnerships with Team GB and
ParalympicsGB. We are also the Official Sleep Partner of the Special Olympics GB, which means Dreams is the first British brand to partner with all three multi-sport event associations in the UK. A number of elements have contributed to the success of this campaign, across all channels: we supplied 600 mattress toppers, blankets and pillows for athletes at the Tokyo Olympic village to create a home away from home; we launched the Dream Team product range, built to provide Olympic-standard sleep, which now accounts for 37% of our mattress sales volume; and we produced a brand-new TV campaign, ‘Because sleep matters’. The latter really resonated and led to a quarter of UK adults and a third of bed buyers associating Dreams with Team GB/Paralympics GB. We’re really proud that its success has been recognised through five industry award wins for these partnerships, including the European Sponsorship Association’s Grand Prix Sponsorship of the Year and the UK Sponsorship Awards’ Sport Sponsorship – Teams.
HAS YOUR APPROACH CHANGED OVER TIME? HOW DO YOU SEE BED MARKETING EVOLVING? Cheryl Calverley: I’m not sure I see ‘bed marketing’ as different to marketing strategy for any other high-research, high-ticket item. We’ve spent a lot of time evolving our model, particularly around the ‘middle of the funnel’ – as a low-involvement category, and with a strategic desire to work in a wider number of more high-frequency categories, we see a much stronger impact from building familiarity and consideration than just pure brand awareness. This means that over time our content strategy in particular will become a more significant part of the mix.
Stuart Nutbeen: The industry has certainly evolved over the last decade, with the reliance on digital marketing continuing to play a more important role. With the benefits of us having powerful digital metrics and analytics at our fingertips, we can form and flex our approach to continue to support our retailers and their customers. Whilst undoubtedly our investment and use of modern digital platforms will continue to move forward and develop, we are confident that it is also important to a balanced, holistic approach across all marketing communications and platforms. Having
a clear strategy in place that we all understand and sign up to certainly helps ensure we reach the right people, with the right message, across the right channels. Simon Moore: We’ve continued to adapt our marketing approach over time in line with what customers need and what messages we know work. We can’t say too much about our next marketing moves as we have some exciting things in the pipeline, but our approach has always, and will always be focused on our beds and our customers.
BUILDING BUSINESS, INFORMING INDUSTRY 37
HOW DO YOU CONVEY YOUR MESSAGING THROUGH YOUR B2B/RETAIL PARTNERS? (photo credit: iStock.com/diane39)
Cheryl Calverley: Generally speaking, our retail partners are digital first, so working with them to manage messaging is relatively easy – we supply guides and assets that they then work with. Where we have bigger partnerships that will move omnichannel – for example, our recent relationship with DFS, or Olivier Desforges in France – we spend lots of time with the partner, understanding how their customer need can be best met with our brand promise. Stuart Nutbeen: Over the last decade, to support our direct relationships we’ve built one of the best sales teams, in which every member has strong relationships with Mammoth retailers and customers. In parallel with our digital toolkits, we believe it is critical that we continue to build and retain our face-to-face relationships, especially post-pandemic, and this is vital in ensuring that we as a business remain
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT DISPLAYING MESSAGING TO RETAILERS – WE DRIVE TO ENSURE WE COMMUNICATE AND COLLABORATE WITH THEM in tune and aligned with our trusted Mammoth stockists. In line with our strategy, we are regularly refreshing and updating our content and assets, and always looking ahead to trends within the industry. From our unique scientific research and sleep guidelines to elite athlete case studies and great product images, we make sure that our retailers can utilise our content to make their job easier. We also work hard to raise awareness through the trade media channels that
retailers trust, and communicate via regular email updates. It’s not just about displaying messaging to retailers – we drive to ensure we communicate and collaborate with them. We fundamentally do not develop our propositions independently of our customers. We absolutely value all feedback and have a great track record of developing propositions for the market with this approach – the relationship between our brands and our retail partners is vital to our success
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
AHEAD OF THE BEDS Innovation is central to Simba’s approach to all its business operations. At the bed brand, innovation is an attitude, a way of thinking, which sees the team constantly question whether things can be done better, driven by an engineering mindset to solve the sleep problems that affect the greatest number of sleepers through a minimal number of products … www.simbasleep.com
The Simba Hybrid Pro mattress
SIMBA DOESN’T JUST TALK INNOVATION – IT LIVES AND BREATHES IT
Innovation in product design has led Simba’s approach since day one, months before it even sold its first product, states the brand. Simba used a problem-solving, data-first approach when designing its innovative Hybrid mattress. Having analysed the body shapes of over 10 million sleepers, Simba developed over 70 prototypes in order to use statistical mapping to create a product that was suitable for as many sleepers as possible. “The perfect recipe needs the perfect ingredient, and the team at Simba finally arrived at the innovation that lies at the heart of our Hybrid mattresses – the Aerocoil micro spring,” states a brand spokesperson. Aerocoil is a piece of patented Simba engineering with two special features: one, a coiled shape that compresses inwards, which allows it to absorb rather than transfer energy; and two, its titanium and carbon steel composition, which gives it strength. This design is embedded in a tiny spring that is just 2.5cm tall and has a super-fine gauge of a mere 0.8mm.
So, instead of traditional, bulky barrel springs or sticky memory foam under the sleeper’s body, a Simba mattress has up to 6000 of these ingenious micro springs nestling unnoticed near the top of the mattress, with the resulting benefit of ultra-responsive, comfortable and “unrivalled” support – without the bounce factor that passes movement onto a sleeping partner. Says Simba: “Small is most definitely beautiful!” The Simba Sleep engineers also designed Simbatex foam, which has an open-cell structure, resulting in 30 x the breathability of standard memory foam, states the brand: “Add to that an infusion of natural graphite with its excellent heat-conducting properties, and you get a cooler, breezier sort of foam that’s an absolute gift for great sleep.” These two core innovations have spawned other new products and techniques. Take Simba’s pillows, for example – the Hybrid features an inner pillow of Simbatex foam Nanocubes, which provides the correct head and neck support and adjustable height. It is
COVER STORY 39
Layer upon layer of optimised fillings helps make each Simba mattress a popular choice for consumers
surrounded by a sleeve of Simba Renew, a soft cushioning filler, that Simba’s team is proud to have designed using 100% recycled PET plastic bottles. Challenging the norm is how Simba came up with Stratos, the temperatureregulating finish on its duvets, pillows and bedding. Stratos works like a sort of thermostat, sensing the sleeper’s body heat and reacting to help cool them down. Equally, this was how Simba approached the bed sector – its new, patented Simba Flex slat systems provide uniquely responsive support and focused pressure relief for the shoulders and lower back, and, thanks to Simba’s Easy-Fit technology, tool-free assembly takes just 10 minutes. Innovation is not just something Simba embraces to create its groundbreaking products – the brand employs innovation to be fair, responsible and sustainable around all its business practices (Simba recently submitted an application for B Corp status for its global business). Innovation is also central to Simba’s business mindset, with many people close to the business left in disbelief at the resource and time spent using data to make decisions and operate the daily processes there. “Everything you can think of is tracked and monitored against detailed KPIs,” says Simba.
“This is a brand with huge marketing budgets that are scrutinised down to the penny to optimise performance and to ensure that data-led innovation is present in how the team markets and communicates its impressive product range and benefits to the consumer. “The team at Simba use an innovation mindset to split our time – aiming 50% focused on now, and 50% focused on
what the future of sleep will look and feel like, and how we can stay a leader in innovation. “Simba is a brand that doesn’t just talk innovation – it lives and breathes it across its entire team, driven by a belief that engineering innovative sleep technology can make the world a better place to be for each unique Simba sleeper”
Simba says each mattress is “engineered for sleep”
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
ELITE SLEEP Elite sports physiotherapist Phil Hayward understands the value of quality sleep in optimising both physical and mental health. In an interview with Mammoth, Phil offers his insights into the benefits of investing in the sleep environment and understanding what’s required from a premium sleep surface … www.mammothcomfort.com
FOR ATHLETES, OR THOSE WHO ‘RUN HOT’ AT NIGHT, GETTING THE TEMPERATURE DOWN IS CRITICAL
With over 15 years’ experience in professional sports settings, from Premier League football to Major League Soccer, Phil recognises the importance of a comfortable, cool, supportive and pressure-relieving sleep surface. Having seen first-hand how a “Mammoth night’s sleep” can have a positive impact on those in his care, Phil has become an advocate for the brand in recent years. As a chartered physio, can you outline some of the benefits of sleep that support the work you do with patients and clients? The benefits of good sleep are now well documented and understood in terms of energy levels, managing mood and maintaining mental health, cognitive function, moderating appetite, optimising productivity and accelerating physical recovery. Given that people spend roughly a third of their life in bed, and the dramatic difference that quality sleep can make to physical and mental health, I think it is vital that people realise the value in making an investment in their sleep environment … and that begins with the mattress and pillows they sleep on. Why is the sleep surface so important for recovery? Whether you are training for the Olympics or trying to stay mobile through your senior years, it is critical
that the sleep surface does a number of things: provides support for even weight distribution, from head to toe; enables the body to find a neutral spine position without ‘locking in’ – something that actually contributes to increased muscle stiffness in the morning; aids circulation by avoiding pressure build up anywhere in the body (this allows oxygen, nutrients and critical hormones to reach their destination through the night to maximise recovery); and helps to enhance sleep quality, which we know is vital to supporting not only cognitive function but also managing stress levels. From experience, what mattress would you recommend? It’s very important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all mattress, and that individuals have their own requirements based on height, weight, physiology and basic personal preference. I’ve long been an advocate for Mammoth because their Comfort collection gives sleepers the opportunity to enjoy the very best scientifically tested sleep materials and technologies across a collection that offers different tensions and feels. Thanks to the brand’s unrivalled health credentials – which include a heritage in healthcare, Innovations awards for work in pressure relief and temperature regulation, rigorous product testing and an official partnership with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – Mammoth’s Medical Grade foam mattress range represents the gold standard for rest and recovery. Importantly, it’s the pressure relief and cooling properties of Mammoth’s Medical Grade foam that I like. For athletes, or those who ‘run hot’ at night, in particular, getting the temperature down is critical to helping people to fall asleep more easily and also stay hydrated through the night. Over nearly a decade I’ve seen firsthand how Mammoth’s mattresses have benefitted the many players and backroom staff I have introduced them to – I personally value my health too much to sleep on anything else
Allow us to reintroduce ourselves
For over a decade Mammoth have been driving industry standards in sleep and comfort through advanced healthcare technologies and extensive testing. Backed by unrivalled credentials that consumers can trust, we go further than any other brand to help people lead healthy, happy lives.
Scientifically shown to improve sleep* where participants:
Fell asleep 29% quicker
Experienced a 7% increase in sleep efficiency
Reported a 21% more enjoyable sleep
Born out of healthcare Grounded in sleep science Patented technologies Innovations in Health Award Winners Backed by health professionals Loved by the sporting elite
Independent testing* resulted in
47% Greater Pressure Relief
*See mammothcomfort.com for details.
Ready to add a healthy choice to your shop floor, contact us today on email@example.com
69% Faster Cooling
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
INTEGRATED INNOVATION ActivEdge and Caliber Edge in place
With its gaze fixed squarely on the future, Leggett & Platt Springs UK has expanded its componentmanufacturing capacity, and will introduce new options in comfort layers and its ActivEdge product line this year – all while continuing to offer an extensive line-up of highquality innersprings and value-adding innovation …
NanoCoil can be utilised for mattress toppers, comfort layers and filling-layer applications
NanoCoil micro-coil comfort layers enhance air circulation
NanoCoil NanoCoil micro-coil comfort layers are versatile and responsive, enhancing the sleep surface by increasing coil counts and delivering consistency and comfort life that is built to last. These layers enhance air circulation by creating a channel for air to flow in and out of the mattress, enabling the body to reach its desired temperature for achieving deep, restorative sleep. Available in a number of specifications, NanoCoil can be utilised for mattress toppers, comfort layers and filling-layer applications. ActivEdge Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge spring perimeter solutions extend comfort life, reduce or eliminate roll-off, and
deliver a sleep surface that is consistent all the way to the edge. Its pocketed innersprings move independently to support the individual contours of the body, and are heat-treated and tested for performance, quality and durability. ActivEdge products can compress, fold, and roll-pack, making them ideal for use in shippable mattress programmes. Caliber Edge Caliber Edge is part of Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge line of innerspring products, which form a steel coil perimeter around select pocket systems to deliver consistent support across the entire sleep surface. Caliber Edge offers longer and more resilient edge-to-edge comfort life with improved perimeter firmness and reduced feeling of rolloff. It decreases mattress build time and eliminates the need for foam borders, cutting costs, saving time, and increasing recyclability. Leggett & Platt Springs UK L&P Springs UK’s facilities form a state-of-the-art, vertically integrated business that serves as the primary locally based supplier of high-quality innerspring and micro-coil comfort layer solutions to the region. Its “global, yet local” strategy drives the business to meet the demands and challenges of an ever-changing and evolving landscape, in order to help its customers succeed
! ou ng di n ort y Ad io pp e - t su lu va y to Va no read n I nd
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Leggett & Platt is a proud, capable, and responsible UK-based bedding industry manufacturer.
Innovation, capacity, flexibility. Leggett & Platt Springs UK's commitment to installing the latest manufacturing technology allows us to boost capacity, increase product range and specification, and improve already high levels of pre- and post-sales service. Our ownership of Spühl, an industry-leading machinery manufacturer, strategically positions us to react to customer requirements and provide the flexibility required to adjust capacity in line with their needs.
© 2022 Leggett & Platt Incorporated
Learn more at BeddingComponents-intl.com
PRODUCTS INNOVATION IN BEDDING
ADJUST YOUR SET Emma Motion
Now firmly established as one of the biggest sleep brands in the UK and Ireland, with high levels of advertising support, growing brand awareness and a portfolio of award-winning products tailored specifically for the retail market, Emma is looking to consolidate its position with the launch of the “next generation” of adjustable mattresses and bases … www.emma-sleep.co.uk
Emma Diamond Hybrid
“Emma Motion marks the beginning of the era of intelligent sleep technology,” states the fast-growing sleep brand. “It is the first sleep system that becomes active for your rest while your relaxation begins – completely automatically, with unparalleled sensitivity, precision and finesse.” According to Emma, its latest innovation represents “a quantum leap” for people’s rest, regardless of
whether they are a stomach, side or back sleeper, and how often they switch between these lying positions – as Motion’s active sleep adjustment is designed to independently ensure that the sleeper always lies as comfortably and ergonomically correct as possible. “The enormous advantage over conventional bed systems is that you can also use the active support completely individually,” Emma continues. “Via numerous smart functions, preferences can be fully realised, sleeping habits and vital parameters can be displayed, and additional regeneration effects can be achieved during the day. This brings a noticeable increase in quality of life, every day.” Emma offers stockists an enviable package, including: a 100-night, no-quibble consumer trial, with free shipping and returns; a 10-year guarantee; and there is no need to hold stock, as all deliveries are undertaken within five days by Emma, direct to the customer. In addition, Emma says it invests more in TV advertising than any other mattress brand in the UK and Ireland – building on the kudos of boasting three Which? Best Buys (for the Emma Smart Hybrid, Helix Hybrid and Diamond Hybrid). “Emma Motion isn’t rolled or cheap,” concludes a brand spokesperson, “it’s the next generation of technically driven sleep”
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
THE JOYS OF SPRING Springtime represents the perfect opportunity to refresh your business, says signage specialist Graffiti Design … www.graffitidesign.co.uk
Signage specialist Graffiti Design has worked with a range of retail and hospitality clients
IS THE STRATEGY YOU USED TO CONNECT WITH YESTERDAY’S CUSTOMERS GOING TO CONNECT WITH TODAY’S? OR TOMORROW’S?
“Spring is here! And if you forget about the occasional flurries, the weather hasn’t been all that bad for the start of the season,” says Graffiti Design. “It’s a great time of year, isn’t it? The daffodils are out. The first butterflies are fluttering past the window. There are signs that it’s time to put the ‘big coat’ back in the cupboard. “That’s what spring is really all about – change. Whether it’s swapping cosy woollens for lighter garments, getting a haircut, or rearranging the dining room, spring is a chance to shake things up. “But it’s not just yourself and your home that can benefit from a refresh. Your business can, too. “While we’re all in this mindset of change and rejuvenation, it’s a good time to pause, sit down, and think about your business goals – more specifically, to consider whether your organisation’s current message and appearance align with those objectives. If not, it could be time for a strategic refresh. “Remember that the business landscape is constantly evolving. And right now, it’s shifting faster than ever.
Today’s customers want different things. They have different needs, and different preferences for how they’re going to meet them. Is the strategy you used to connect with yesterday’s customers going to connect with today’s? Or tomorrow’s? Businesses need to move with their audience. “There are lots of benefits to doing so, such as: connecting with new audiences and demographics; strengthening relationships with existing customers; setting yourself apart from your competitors; reflecting your new goals and ambitions for the year ahead; and maintaining the relevance of your business in a fast-moving environment. “If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘We can’t handle a full-on rebrand right now!’, don’t worry! Large-scale rebrands can definitely be effective, but they’re not essential. You probably don’t redecorate your entire home every spring. You just give it a bit of a clean and freshen up. And that’s enough. “A good starting point for a smallerscale business refresh is signage. That’s because it’s flexible. Maybe you want to keep your existing message and style, but communicate that message in a more powerful or more meaningful way. Or perhaps you want to adapt your message completely. Either way, you can achieve what you need to achieve by giving your existing signage a spring makeover. “Signage may be just one part of an overall branding strategy. But it’s also the first thing many customers notice. Your signage is what forms your customers’ first impressions. “So, if you’re looking to make a big impact, starting with signage – your most recognisable element – makes sense. “During this year’s spring clean, be sure to throw out any part of your branding that’s no longer working for you. Replace it with something that’s going to drive you towards success in 2022, and beyond. “If the right ‘something’ for you is signage, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us here at Graffiti Design to find out more about how we can help you reinvent and refresh your presence”
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
SHOWCASING SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS
An artist’s impression of how the finished garden collaboration will look
This imaginative creation aims to be “the ultimate demonstration of building with engineered wood panel products”. It will also showcase the company’s innovation and sustainable ethos – from its sustainably managed forests through to its commitment to creating products that contribute to healthier buildings. Over the years, MEDITE SMARTPLY has continuously developed innovative, versatile and sustainable products for the industry, which are suitable for a wide range of applications – including bespoke interior fit-outs, refurbishments, cabinetry and furniture. The centrepiece of the garden, which is inspired by natural vertical rock strata, will be created out of MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME (MTX), a remarkable, lightweight panel guaranteed up to 50 years above ground and 25 years in-ground. It is especially beneficial in environments where humidity and varying weather are usually concerns. The structure will demonstrate MTX throughout its life cycle, showing the versatility of wood panels. Further products such as SMARTPLY STRONGDECK will feature in the garden. This high-performance engineered wood, tongue-and-groove OSB/4 panel is suitable for the most
Garden designer Sarah Eberle
MEDITE SMARTPLY is partnering with multi award-winning garden designer Sarah Eberle at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The garden, MEDITE SMARTPLY Building the Future, is a celebration of the brand’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and wellness …
demanding structural applications, such as flooring and heavy-duty shelving. Additionally, the garden will be secured with SMARTPLY SITEPROTECT PLUS, a pre-primed structural OSB/3 site hoarding panel ideal for securing sites or promoting brand messages to the wider public. Chris King, MD – commercial at MEDITE SMARTPLY, says: “Fighting the climate emergency is possible, and the construction industry can make a big contribution – starting now. At MEDITE SMARTPLY, we are committed to manufacturing products that contribute to healthier environments, helping towards the Government’s net-zero carbon 2030 and 2050 goals. “Our involvement at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show not only demonstrates this commitment, but also showcases how it can be done without limiting the creativity or inspiration for world-class designers.” The RHS Chelsea Flower Show will take place on 24-28th May. To find out more about MEDITE SMARTPLY or its products, visit its website
Join us at The RHS Ch elsea Flower Sho w 24-28 May 2022
MEDITE makes it real
at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
MEDITE SMARTPLY has set its sights on the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to showcase its innovative product range and commitment to sustainable building. As a responsible manufacturer of timber construction panels, the company is committed to creating products that contribute to healthier buildings.
The innovative construction panel, MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME (MTX), has revolutionised the construction and landscaping industry. This groundbreaking product is guaranteed outdoors for 50 years and underground for 25 years, contributing towards sustainable construction. Its design capabilities are limited only by your imagination.
Join the MEDITE MDF community online to receive the latest updates. Visit meditemakesitreal.com for more information. Dreamers welcome!
PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES
“For me, it’s vital that our business is ensuring a healthy environment for our grandchildren and the generations to come. We worked tirelessly, testing alternative products until we formulated the same high-performance protection we are known for, whilst utilising an environmentally friendly production process and end-user formula. Our retailers and their customers expect the best, and that involves quality products and ethical solutions to make our lives easier and protect our environment for a brighter future.” Staingard also launched premium fabric and leather care kits at last month’s event, and will exhibit next at the Spring Furniture & Bed Show, taking place at NAEC Stoneleigh from 17-18th this month.
Staingard launched what it describes as the UK’s first environmentally friendly fabric protector, Staingard Eco, at last month’s January Furniture Show. Using a new process that moves away from the standard fluorocarbon technology, Staingard Eco resolves two key issues – the harmful production process and the subsequent end-of-life environmental persistence of the treated item. The new sprayon application is also safe and easy to use, with no detrimental effect on the appearance and handling of the treated item. Staingard’s MD Paul Aiston says: ”The protection of household items such as carpets and furniture, combined with the need to protect our precious environment, has led to Staingard’s latest innovation.
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Future prooﬁng your home and the environment
Staingard Eco, the first environmentally friendly stain protecting application that shields the home - from beds, carpets to upholstery, keeping the home protected for multi-generation family living. Exclusively designed by Staingard in our commitment to helping the planet for the generations to come. Go to staingard.co.uk or call 01244 888 658 to learn more on how together we can make a difference.
GET WITH THE PROGRAMME Bridgerton’s back! But, if you’re not a fan of Netflix’s salacious show, why should you care? This month, Press Loft’s founder Nicola Snell explains how furniture businesses can benefit by getting ahead of TV’s biggest influencers …
BEING AWARE OF THESE CULTURAL SHIFTS AND INFLUENCES IS ESSENTIAL FOR NAILING YOUR PR STRATEGY
By NICOLA SNELL www.pressloft.com
Last month, Bridgerton returned to Netflix for its second season. You may be wondering why that matters to you – but as a furniture brand or retailer, it could be the difference between growing your brand’s recognition and reach in 2022, and not. Season one of the show didn’t just break global viewing records when it aired – it also had a cultural impact and influence on which styles customers were hunting for when looking for their next purchase. Alongside the show, Google searches for Regency-era styles grew by an astonishing +9500%. The French Bedroom Company also reported a +25% increase in styles that fit the ‘Bridgerton look’, including four-poster beds and ornate gold furniture. Similar trends were already being seen after season two barely hit the screens. These trends don’t just relate to Bridgerton, with Peaky Blinders affecting sales of leather sofas and The Crown being partly responsible for the resurgence of velvet finishings on furniture. Even Squid Game was praised across interiors and architecture for its aesthetic design, becoming an inspiration and influence for many. Beyond just sales, being aware of these cultural shifts and influences is essential for nailing your PR strategy too. As new series and films are met with excitement from viewers, journalists for consumer-facing titles are likely to run stories and guides for how their readers can achieve the ‘look’ for themselves. Similarly, aware of the high traffic and engagement the trends are getting online, influencers and content creators are expected to highlight relevant
products and brands too. Of course, trends can appear out of nowhere and require a more reactive approach – but that doesn’t mean you can’t pre-plan for some. A quick Google search for ‘film releases this year’ or ‘series premiers 2022’ will bring up hundreds of lists and calendars – you can also find some free templates on Press Loft (we also have insight into which products more than 23,000 journalists are searching for). From here, identify the ones you think your designs could organically fit within and start brainstorming how you could best share the product information and images with journalists and influencers. Don’t forget that long-lead print press will start working on a feature as early as three months before it goes to print, so be sure to share your assets with them as early as possible. Whilst they’re a great place to start, to really get your brand and products front and centre, don’t just rely on alreadyloved, highly anticipated releases – as we all know that, these days, surprise hits often emerge. When reviewing your sales and search analytics, be sure to research what could be influencing sudden changes – as The French Bedroom Company did – and be at the forefront by pitching the story with stats to the press. In an industry like furniture, where designers and manufacturers can’t (and shouldn’t) be designing products continually, being aware of the hooks that will help you place your products in press articles is one of the most effective ways to get continual press coverage. It’s not about creating products to specifically meet a trend, but instead linking it cleverly
IT’S NOT ABOUT CREATING PRODUCTS TO MEET A TREND, BUT LINKING IT CLEVERLY
CGI – THE FUTURE OF FURNITURE EXHIBITIONS Do you still rely on exhibitions and traditional expensive photoshoots to sell your furniture? There’s a better way to get the shots you need – and you don’t even need to exhibit or pick up a camera.
At Chilli Pepper Designs we create detailed, scalable digital 3D furniture models, which can be placed in a scene of your choice, anywhere, and used in any way. This showroom is a CGI virtual model that we generated to prove it. That means unparalleled flexibility, huge cost savings, and you can take your products to market in a fraction of the time you would usually associate with a traditional photoshoot or exhibition. In today’s world, with lock downs, shows being cancelled, supply chain issues, shipping headaches, sampling difficulties all amounting to delayed product, and therefore lack of imagery to sell from, theres never been a better time to embrace CGI.
Get in touch – CGI is the future of furniture photography whatever the occasion…
CGI FURNITURE SPECIALISTS WWW.CHILLIPEPPERDESIGNS.CO.UK
BEST CGI VISUALISATION/ WEBSITE PROVIDER BEST NEWCOMER
REVIEW RAVE Online reviews are key to building trust in the consumer community, and few stand to gain from engaging with them more than independent furniture retailers, writes Mike Fantis, VP and managing partner at DAC Group …
FURNITURE RETAIL SHOULD BE THE POSTER BOY FOR BRAND-TO-LOCAL STRATEGIES
By MIKE FANTIS www.dacgroup.com
Customer purchase journeys now begin mostly online, yet when it comes to buying furniture, shoppers often end up in-store. It’s easy to see why – many still want to see and touch the physical product before they commit to such a big-ticket purchase. After all, it is much easier to judge the size and quality of a new table, or test out how comfortable a new sofa or mattress is, in person. In a customer journey starting online and ending in-store, local reviews play a hugely important role. It’s something many bricks-and-mortar retailers often overlook in the brand-to-local-sales funnel, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Furniture retailers with both a physical and digital presence have a good opportunity to use online reviews to engage with potential customers. By taking a few simple steps and understanding how and why customers use reviews, furniture retailers can build trust in the community. Google likes reviews Consumers tend to trust the opinions of their peers, and are often encouraged by what other shoppers say about their experiences. This concept, known as ‘social proof’, is well established in marketing. Google understands it, and so too does its search algorithm – positive reviews help businesses rank more highly in the organic search results, which can be hugely beneficial when linked to location-based searches. Google reviews remain largely untarnished by some of the fake review scandals that have afflicted online marketplaces – this means customer trust remains high. So, encouraging customers to leave a positive store review on Google post-purchase can greatly boost your search presence. Equally, prompt and consistent responses to negative reviews can mitigate possible reputational damage by demonstrating transparency. In some instances, responding and dealing with the review can lead the user to edit it – turning a negative into a positive – whereas an unanswered one is more likely to influence a customer to go elsewhere instead.
Reviews and the sales funnel When someone reads a review of a particular store, they are demonstrating intent, and are likely to be researching and weighing up what you have to offer against other options. And reputation is hugely significant at a local level. Reviews can also help retailers improve their operations and communications. They can identify specific pain points, giving insights into where you can take remedial action to improve the customer experience. Reviews can even uncover ‘hidden’ benefits and unintended selling points. In addition, reviews can help you understand the needs of particular local audiences to guide stock control. They can also indicate how best to speak to customers and which tone of voice they will best respond to. This is something larger brands operating across multiple markets often overlook, but for retailers at a local level it can help build better relationships with their communities. A window to your store Furniture is a major outlay, so there is always a risk of buyer’s remorse. When furniture shopping, consumers seek reassurance from experts as well as peers before making a decision. By engaging with online reviews, retailers can show the expertise that awaits a shopper in-store. It also reassures potential customers that you are willing to address any issues that may come up pre, during or post purchase. Given its context, furniture retail should be the poster boy for brand-tolocal strategies, and it’s a way for the incumbents to differentiate against online competitors through their physical footprint. The fact so few do it well is a missed opportunity – especially since it doesn’t need a high degree of technical knowledge. In fact, reviews are a gift for traditional retailers to engage with customers at the awareness and consideration stage. A reviews strategy simply needs a little time set aside each day to monitor, respond and engage. These efforts will soon be rewarded as search rankings improve – along with footfall
SATRA supporting you Membership provides businesses with a range of beneﬁts such as bespoke technical support and advice through our technical team, helping businesses to understand current legislation, inﬂuence new standards and develop product speciﬁcations.
F by ind vi ou sit t m in o g re fu a rn bo ish u in t m gs em .s b at e ra rsh .c ip om
SATRA Technology has launched a new furniture and ﬂoor coverings membership package, speciﬁcally tailored to meet the needs of these industries.
Also included are testing discounts, 20% of the annual subscription value returned in the form of vouchers and access to SATRA’s new online Furniture & Floor Covering Hub, a go-to repository for the latest industry news, technical information on standards and regulatory requirements, as well as industry focussed features such as polls.
www.satra.com firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000
2021 #385 October ews.net
The centre of knowledge for the furniture industry HOT PROPERTY
#388 January 2022 www.furniturenews.net
D2C DIRECTIONS | BEDROOM HOME OFFICE SERVICES LIVING | TRADE
The D2C dilemma hybrid cons of going The pros and boxes clever Simba’s CEO need a holiday Why salespeople 30/09/2021
VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
Join At The Helm’s bold adventure
A man’s world?
Evaluating gender equality in the furniture industry JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW INDX FURNITURE | BEDROOM LIVING | DINING | TRADE SERVICES
Find out how membership can benefit you
Behind the rise and rise of Qualita Forecasting the product trends of 2022
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The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) comprises 17 of the world’s leading industry trade publications. As the IAFP’s UK representative, Furniture News can offer exporters and importers market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels.
2021 #383 August news.net
PICTURE PERFECT Sit pretty with
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Channel hopping routes to market OKA takes new shipping crisis Notes on the lockdown trading out of
The ethics of
COMPANY ANNOUNCEMENT AWS has been ordered, to publish on its website homepage and in Furniture News, a fair summary of the Judgment handed down by Recorder Douglas Campbell Q.C in the case of ASR Interiors Limited (“ASR”) -v- AWS Trading Limited (“AWS”). In the above case the court found that AWS have infringed three registered designs owned by ASR Interiors Limited. ASR’s registered design numbers 6050903 has been infringed by AWS’ Rose Chair, ASR’s registered design number 6050906 by AWS’ Roma Wings and ASR’s registered design number 605128 by AWS’ Two door three drawer Roma Sideboard. AWS has been ordered to withdraw from sale its infringing products and pay ASR damages to be assessed. AWS has been restrained by an injunction from making, offering, putting on the market, importing, exporting or using products which produces the same overall impression as ASR’s registered designs without ASR’s consent. AWS was further found to have fabricated two documents it had put forward to defend the claims and its key witness was disbelieved. The court held that the fabrication of the documents to support a false defence was an abuse of the courts process. As a consequence of the manner in which AWS has behaved the IPEC costs-capping regime was disapplied and AWS has been ordered to pay indemnity costs to be summarily assessed. AWS has also been ordered to make a payment on account of costs in the sum of £25,000 by 4:00pm on 17 March 2022 and prior to the summary assessment. A full copy of the Judgment is available at: https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/IPEC/2022/372.html&query=(ASR)+AND=(v)+AND+(AWS).cgi
MEANWHILE, IN ASIA … Since the start of the pandemic, international travel has been diffifult, and few outside of Asia have had the opportunity to visit the region, writes Casey Loo, president of the International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP), publisher of FurnitureAndFurnishing. com and the founder of the International Furniture Leadership Awards, who offers a snapshot of the developments there since …
IN CHINA, INTERNATIONALORIENTED FAIRS SIMPLY SWITCHED THEIR FOCUS TO THE ENORMOUS DOMESTIC MARKET
By CASEY LOO www.furnitureandfurnishing.com
An integral part of the furniture trade ecosystem, furniture exhibitions are sorely missed in Asia. With the exception of China, it’s been more than two years since any major furniture trade fair was held in the region. China, the world’s second largest economy, boasting a population of 1.4 billion, is itself a huge market. A zero-tolerance policy towards Covid-19, coupled with swift identification and isolation of cases, has allowed the country to carry on much of its activities during the last two years – including the hosting of trade exhibitions. Closed borders and a lack of foreign exhibitors and visitors? No problem. International-oriented fairs simply switched their focus to the enormous domestic market, with considerable success. Take the previous edition of CIFF Guangzhou. Despite border closures, its 2021 event spanned 750,000m2 of floor area, with close to 4000 exhibitors. The show welcomed 357,809 professional visitors! Unfortunately, the 2022 event was recently postponed owing to a single case of Omicron discovered at a beauty product fair held at the same venue a week prior to CIFF’s dates. New dates have yet to be announced. With the lack of trade shows, our magazine did its part to help international buyers with their Asian sourcing efforts. During the last 18 months, we provided free online business-matching services to link buyers with new vendors (especially factories in Southeast Asia). We also worked on projects commissioned by top event organisers to connect their exhibitors with buyers worldwide. The responses for our premium one-buyer-to-one-seller sessions were overwhelming. This service will carry on, and anyone interested is welcomed to
register, at www.furnitureandfurnishing. com/source. With the current dominance of the Omicron variant, many countries across Asia have finally decided to go into the endemic phase and open up in spite of an elevated number of infections. This has led fair organisers in Southeast Asia to confidently set new dates. As it stands, the following have been announced: Malaysia International Furniture Fair (MIFF), 6-9th July; Indonesia International Furniture Expo (IFEX), 18th-21st August; Vietnam International Furniture Fair (VIFA EXPO), 31st August to 3rd September; and China International Furniture Fair Shanghai (CIFF Shanghai), 5-8th September. Retail is another matter. According to the majority of leading retailers we’ve spoken to throughout the region, furniture sales were much depressed during the initial months of Covid-19, but business spiked as soon as stores reopened, owing to pent-up demand. Ecommerce picked up sharply and further boomed when work-from-home (WFH) was adopted in many Asian countries. The Asian region has grown in affluence and looks set to continue on this path in the foreseeable future. A strong manufacturer and exporter of furniture products to the world markets, the region’s ever-growing middle class has fueled increasing demand for quality products, including imports. Whilst the pandemic has caused havoc and anxiety, the furniture business has turn out alright. We are now returning to normalcy and looking forward to travelling abroad as well as welcoming and meeting customers and friends in person at the few shows to be held across the region very soon. Welcome back!
THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Paul Wray (Modern Outlook Furniture) I support the British Heart Foundation and am sponsoring a company in the UK who help this charity Steve Adams (Mattress Online) We are corporate sponsors of both the Sleep Charity and Zarach. We also make ad-hoc charity donations to local and national causes throughout the year Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins) As a community business, we support local charities and usually choose a new cause to support each year. Personally, I’ve cycled John O’ Groats to Lands End for charity, and also Washington to New Zealand in four days. I was due to kayak 137 miles in six days along the Thames this year, but had to postpone it – we’re due to set off on July 24th to raise funds for MIND, the British Lung Foundation and Parkinsons UK. Dids Macdonald OBE (ACID) I started One Step at a Time for The Furniture Makers’ Company to raise awareness about our charity – the current master has taken this forward with Step 2 It, and is doing amazingly Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers) I’m on the local Cash for Kids board, and this is the main charity the business supports (we prefer to support local charities discreetly) Rob Walker (Orbital Vision) We buy our milk for the office from a local farm which we sponsor
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR CHARITY?
John Conroy (Morrisofa Europe) I’m a member of The Furniture Makers’ Company, and support the Newcastle West End foodbank where I can Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers) Toons regularly contributes to small local charities, including the foodbank. I feel it’s important to give something back to the community you trade in. I am the treasurer for the Royal British Legion in our area, and over the years I have raised over £30,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support through various sponsored events Mike Murray (Land of Beds) Each year we ask our staff to nominate two charities they’d like us to fundraise for throughout the year. These charities usually have a local or personal impact on our staff or their families
#392 May 2022 www.furniturenews.net
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Mike Whitman (Iconography) I’m heavily involved in running an annual event that raises money through raffles, an auction and games over a long weekend in August. Last year, despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, we were able to raise £10,000, which was split between MIND and the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture) I’ve been involved with various charities over my 25 years in the business, but as a business, we support a range of charities each year, and encourage our team members to get involved by supporting them with materials, prizes and donations Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds) Since 1993 I’ve produced and directed a Gang Show in my home town of Hastings. This annual event brings together over 120 local members of the Scout association aged 6-18 who perform in in front of audiences in excess of 2000. The show provides life experiences for all involved, builds confidence, and creates friendships and great memories to take through life Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers) Our charitable works continue to be community based, with events in our coffee shop plus sponsoring a tiny local radio station during the pandemic. I’m a member of the local Rotary Club, while individual team members continue to do their part – MD Mike Devey recently completed a 26-mile trek that raised over £1000 for the Alzheimer’s Society
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