Furniture News #394

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#394 July 2022 www.furniturenews.net

BACK TO NATURE

Hypnos goes greener with Origins Organic

FLYING THE FLAG

Britain’s top furnituremakers in the spotlight BEST OF BRITISH | LIVING DELIVERY FULFILMENT BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES

The benefits of Barkers’ online experience Out-of-the-box thinking from Simba


C OAC H HO US E www.coachhouse.com /

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EDITOR’S COMMENT 3 EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Farley 01424 776101 paul@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

SALES SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR (FURNITURE NEWS PORTFOLIO) Sam Horscroft 07764 650655 sam@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD OVERSEAS AGENT Casey Loo (Asia) +65 973 00123 (WhatsApp) casey@apsmediagroup.com

PRODUCTION PRODUCTION MANAGER James Ash james@gearingmediagroup.com DIGITAL MANAGER Nyall McCurrach nyall@gearingmediagroup.com COPY ADMINISTRATOR Steve Merrick 01424 776108 production@gearingmediagroup.com

ACCOUNTS GENERAL MANAGER Wendy Williams 01424 817433 wendy@gearingmediagroup.com

CHAIRMAN

Nigel Gearing

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THIS MONTH WE’RE BACKING BRITISH, IN A FEATURE DEDICATED TO OUR NATION’S MANUFACTURERS AND THOSE THAT SUPPLY THEM Supervising the shopfloor? A timely getaway? Or scones, songs and bunting? However you spent the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, you won’t have escaped the sense of patriotism it awakened across the nation. It’s been a while since we had anything like this to celebrate, and the extended weekend created some memorable opportunities. It was also a timely reminder of the significance of national industry, and of homegrown talent, which can be found in abundance in our sector. Manufacturing in the UK “makes sustainable sense” (Simba’s Steve Reid, p16). It offers “speed of development and flexibility” (TCM Living’s Jonathan Fearn, p32) and the “personal touch” (Westbridge’s Nichola Bell, p33), and results in “trusted, high-quality products” (Hypnos’ James Keen, p14). Like all domestic industries, Britain’s furnituremakers face stiff competition from overseas – but in many areas they’re more than holding their own. And while the pandemic may not have completely levelled the playing field, it has thrown the many benefits described above into stark relief. This month, Furniture News is backing British, in a special feature dedicated to our nation’s craftspeople

and manufacturers, and those that supply them (p30). Highlights include an exclusive look at the evolution of national treasure Tetrad (p34), thoughts on the challenges facing the sector from some of its pre-eminent sofamakers (p32), and the reveal of cover star Hypnos’ latest planet-friendly bed collection (p44). There’s national pride running right through this issue, which also features a showcase of Britain’s creative prowess courtesy of this year’s Design Guild Mark winners (p64), and interviews with top British brands, from heritage heroes to modern marvels. Elsewhere, you’ll find news of this summer’s key exhibitions as the Far East markets reopen for business, and a look at the players leading the industry’s fulfilment charge (p76) – plus opinion columns covering everything from how to get the best from store staff (p86) and the applications of wayfinding technology (p90), to a compelling case for why it’s never too early to start planning for Christmas (p88) … While it pays to look ahead (next month, for example, we’ll reveal the winners of this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards), right now hopefully you can find the time to pop the kettle on, sit back and enjoy our triumphant celebration of the best of British (scones optional).

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

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CONTENTS

#394 July 2022 www.furniturenews.net

BACK TO NATURE

Hypnos goes greener with Origins Organic

7

NEWS

10 INSIGHT 10 Barkers Furniture / 12 Zinus / 14 Hypnos / 16 Simba Sleep

20 EVENTS FLYING THE FLAG

Britain’s top furnituremakers in the spotlight BEST OF BRITISH | LIVING DELIVERY FULFILMENT BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES

The benefits of Barkers’ online experience Out-of-the-box thinking from Simba

FN394_Pages.indd 1

22/06/2022 12:45

14, 44 HYPNOS (COVER FEATURE)

20 Home & Gift / 22 IFEX / 24 INDX Furniture/Beds & Bedroom 26 VIFA EXPO / 28 Spring Furniture & Bed Show

30 BEST OF BRITISH 60 PRODUCTS 60 Homage to Nature / 64 Design Guild Mark / 68 Bedroom 70 Living / 76 Delivery fulfilment / 82 Trade services

CONTRIBUTORS 76

David Wells, CEO, Logistics UK

86 OPINION 86 Team management / 88 Why images matter 90 Wayfinding / 92 Chargebacks / 94 Online’s top sofa sellers 97 The Furniture Makers’ Company / 98 Feedback

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88

Nicola Snell, founder, Press Loft

90

Joe Fernandes, founder and CEO, BuzzStreets

THERE IS NO ROOM FOR SETTLING IN THE SLEEP BUSINESS


C OAC H HO US E www.coachhouse.com /

coachhouseuk


NEWS

READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET

Savoir Beds has appointed Nicholas Alexandre (exMaker&Son) as MD. Coowner Alistair Hughes will continue to contribute to long-term strategy

The Government plans to strengthen regulation of interest-free buy now, pay later (BNPL) credit agreements. It says lenders will be required to ensure loans are affordable, and rules will be amended to ensure advertisements are not misleading

The All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group (APPFIG) has appointed Mark Eastwood, Conservative MP for Dewsbury, as chair. He takes over from Mike Wood, Conservative MP for Dudley South

Actona Group has acquired Polish furniture manufacturer SITS, further consolidating the Danish group’s place in the European upholstery sector following its acquistion of Theca six months ago

The National Bed Federation has created a new membership category for companies whose beds, mattresses and related products are made by NBF members and which sell B2B to UK and Irish retailers

Lenleys Home (Maidstone) has completed the first phase of a major refurbishment. Further works are planned for the autumn, including a new look for the store’s entrance

The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) attracted over 40 people to its first regional networking event, held at Ercol’s Princes Risborough HQ READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET

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MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP AT BENSONS Bensons for Beds has made several leadership changes, after CEO Mark Jackson announced his departure after leading the company for three years, which saw him steer Bensons through a refinancing and restructuring deal in 2020 to emerge as a standalone company, backed by Alteri Investors. The retailer’s chief commercial and digital officer Nick Collard (pictured) has taken over as CEO. Nick joined in July 2021 to lead commercial change at the business after holding board roles at Holland & Barrett International, DFS Furniture and Morrisons, as well as senior roles at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Taking the role of CFO will be Gordon Brown – replacing existing CFO John Sidebotham, who has decided to step down after completing the restructuring.Gordon joined the business in October 2020 as finance director, having held senior positions in Asda, Jack Wills and Pets at Home. Ed Preston joins the board to lead the commercial team in the role of chief commercial and digital officer, having held senior positions at Holland and Barrett, TalkTalk and Vodafone. Frankie Haynes, who joined in May as retail director, has been appointed to the Bensons board as chief customer officer. Maxine Blackwell, who has been with Bensons for 12 years, continues on the board as chief people

officer, and Mandy Winser, who joined in November 2021, continues in her COO role. Nick Collard says: “I’m honoured to be asked to lead one of the best-known brands in Britain and take it through the next stage in its transformation. Bensons for Beds has undergone major changes over the past two years and successfully navigated difficult conditions arising from the pandemic and lockdown. We have invested across all aspects of the business, including our stores, distribution, manufacturing and revamping our website, but there is still much work to do, and our focus is now on giving customers the best standards of service possible.”

CHARITY CAMPAIGN EXCEEDS AMBITIOUS TARGET Furnishing industry businesses from around the UK helped raise a staggering £270,000 for The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Step 2 It campaign, which ran from May 2021 to April 2022, and encouraged companies and individuals to organise sports-based challenges and events in aid of the charity. Throughout the year, hundreds of people got involved, helping the charity beat its £250,000 target. Step 2 It was also heavily supported by several trade sponsors. David Woodward, The Furniture Makers’ Company’s immediate past master, says: “Step 2 It clearly resonated with the industry, as the support we received was phenomenal. Every month there

seemed to be a new supporter-led event going on, whether it be a staff abseil, 24-hour ping pong tournament, fun run, hike, long-distance cycle, danceathon, charity ball, canal walk … we had the lot. Thank you so much to everyone who organised or took part in a fundraiser, or if you sponsored someone who was challenging themselves.” Members of the livery company are now gearing up for a 300-mile charity bike ride from Hertfordshire to Lancashire this autumn in a bid to raise £50,000 for the charity. Seven people have signed up for the charity bike ride so far, which is being organised by new master Tony Attard OBE DL, and will take place from 12-16th September.

NBF TESTING REVEALS FLAWS IN NON-MEMBER PRODUCTS The National Bed Federation (NBF) says its latest round of due diligence finished product testing continues to highlight the benefits of the association’s audited code of practice, with several major flammability and trade descriptions issues identified in non-member products – but none in products bought from members. During 2021, a total of 21 mattresses, headboards, and mattress toppers were purchased – 11 from members and 10 from non-members. The products were tested, opened and examined. The investigations carried out on the NBF member products showed that there were no major concerns regarding appropriate levels of due

diligence testing being conducted for flammability, and no major issues in relation to trade descriptions, states the federation. Some areas for improvement were identified, discussed and resolved directly with the NBF members concerned. Conversely, the results for the non-NBF member products showed several major failures in both flammability testing results and trade description issues, with some advertised fillings not being present in certain products at all, states the NBF. All results have been shared with the retailers of the non-NBF member company products so they can use this information to conduct their own investigations.


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NEWS

READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET

CHAIR SUCCESSION AT ERCOL Ercol has announced that Edward Tadros (pictured right) is to step down from the position of chairman of Ercol Furniture, with effect from 1st July. Taking over from Edward as chairman will be his son, Henry Tadros (pictured left). Ercol Furniture was founded in 1920 by Edward’s grandfather and Henry’s great-grandfather, Lucian R Ercolani. Edward joined in 1973, starting in the design department and in the factory. Over the years he worked across all areas of the business, including as production director and MD. He has been ercol’s chairman since 1993. Henry joined ercol in 2010 and, like his father, began in the factory before working across all departments, as well as founding L.Ercolani, ercol’s luxury brand. “It is with great enthusiasm that I announce that I have asked my son Henry to succeed me as chairman of Ercol Furniture,” says Edward. “I say enthusiasm, because I am very optimistic about the future of the company. “Henry has been steeped in the ethos of ercol since an early age and has been fully engaged working for us for the last 12 years, from the shop floor outwards. The team with Henry is extremely good and motivated. For some time we have been

Highgrove Beds has achieved the UKAS-accredited ISO 9001 standard for Quality Management Systems. The certificate of compliance follows more than 12 months of implementation, with a wide range of new processes and procedures formalised throughout the organisation managing this transition, and ercol now has a board of directors led by David Finch as MD, working with operations director Ian Peers, creative director Rachel Galbraith, and sales and marketing director Arno Koch, all experienced and committed.” Edward remains on the board, and will continue to work alongside Henry and the team. Henry comments: ”It is a great honour to be taking up the role as chairman at ercol from my father. What more can be said, other than he has been an ever-present icon of the company and industry for almost half a century, and will leave an impressive legacy to follow. 102 years after he founded the company as a young Italian immigrant, my greatgrandfather, Lucian, would be very proud of where we now find ourselves and what we have achieved.”

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENT ACQUIRED BY ESTABLISHED FAMILY RETAILER Retailer Gillies of Broughty Ferry has acquired Grampian Furnishers. Based in a purpose-built 30,000ft2 store in Elgin, Grampian was founded by the Clark family in 1975, and has now been bought by one of Scotland’s oldest furniture and furnishings businesses, which dates back to 1895. Gillies says trading will continue as normal at Grampian, with all employees remaining with the company. Gillies, founded by James Gillies in Dundee, recently celebrated its 125th year, and currently trades from retail stores in Aberdeen, Broughty Ferry (Dundee), Inverness, Perth, and two clearance outlets in Dingwall and Montrose. Ownership

remains with the fourth- and fifth-generation family members, and this acquisition will take employee numbers close to 200. Ian Philp, MD of Gillies, says: “The state-of-the art showroom, highly regarded reputation and location of Grampian Furnishers was very appealing to the board of Gillies, and will allow us to expand the reach of our exciting range of home furnishings throughout the area of Moray and beyond.” Royce Clark, MD and former owner of Grampian Furnishers, says: “It has been without question the most difficult decision of my life, but our longestablished family business being taken over by the Philp family and the Gillies brand is a perfect fit.”

ONE IN FIVE RETAIL WORKERS PLANS TO QUIT, SAYS INDUSTRY CHARITY A report by the Retail Trust has found that one in five (21%) British retail workers and nearly a third (31%) of people working for the UK’s biggest retailers are planning to quit the sector. The survey of more than 1500 retail staff found that most of those intending to leave blame concerns around their finances, rising levels of abuse from customers, and deteriorating mental health coming out of the pandemic. More than eight out of 10 (83%) said they have experienced a decline in their mental health in the last year, with retail workers aged between aged 16-29, those working in distribution and warehouses, and employees of larger retailers found to be struggling the most.

The trust also interviewed leaders of 20 household name retailers for its report, and worked with employee engagement platform WorkL to assess the wellbeing of a further 4500 workers. Despite the declining levels of mental health across the workforce, half of the retail leaders the Retail Trust spoke to said they believed the wellbeing of employees had improved over the last year, and nearly a third said they believed it had stayed the same. The Retail Trust has now partnered with Microsoft, WorkL and business and technology firm BJSS to create the first retail wellbeing and happiness index.

The Very Group’s Home revenue was down -20.5% as of the end of Q3 (2nd April), following a record year, as customers “continued to shift away from one-off spend on large home items towards a more typical basket, which prioritised clothing and sportswear”

The National Bed Federation has launched an industrywide Pledge for Our Planet, asking companies in the bed industry to take steps in unison that will address global environmental damage. The pledge was launched at the association’s annual forum in May, with 15 member companies signed up and a further six making their commitment subsequently

Sleepeezee has selected Romney Marsh Wools as its new supplier of premium, locally sourced wool

Snug’s latest live shopping event, which was in-person and livestreamed, featured noughties pop groups Blue, Five, and Blazin’ Squad, and generated 100,000 user impressions for the sofa-in-a-box brand across social media on the night

READ MORE ONLINE AT FURNITURENEWS.NET



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INSIGHT

SITE MANAGER www.barkersfurniture.com

WE SPENT AROUND £30,000 ON WEBSITES, BUT THEY DIDN’T WORK THE WAY WE NEEDED THEM TO – SO I LEARNED TO CODE

The three words that best describe our business are friendly, quality, and service.

Neil Barker

Long-established retailer Barkers Furniture operates two stores in Hillsborough, Sheffield – one dedicated to bedroom and flooring products, the other selling upholstery, dining and occasional furniture – all while running a growing website development business, explains director Neil Barker …

The last trade show I visited was Minerva’s Spring Furniture & Bed Show. Our most praiseworthy supplier is Cormar carpets – they’re superb. Everything about their business is brilliant. Their order processing is slick, the product selection is fantastic, the marketing is brilliant and the delivery is second to none. Our best-performing product line is probably Wiemann, it does very well for us – particularly a range we call Karnack. All the products in this range do brilliantly. Its something we’ve run for the last 15 years, and has stood the test of time. Weimann are excellent at updating products and colours in this range, so it never seems to date. It’s a really trustworthy product range that’s priced well for our market. My personal favourite is Kaymed’s Mighty Bed. I admire how the company innovated with this product. Taking a foam they had used for other applications, and adapting it for extrafirm beds, was a brilliant idea. Rockhard beds are such a big niche, and this product serves that market well.

Our approach to staff training is to allow as much autonomy as possible. I truly believe that experience is the best way to learn. Plus, I believe it creates higher job satisfaction and is testament to why we have such a long-serving team here at Barkers. The vast experience of our staff then rubs off on any new recruits and quickly acclimatises them to the business and the industry. The most significant change we’ve made in the business recently is starting to branch out into garden furniture. Since the pandemic we noticed people started to enjoy their outdoor space more and more, also our data insight showed that there was a huge increase in garden furniture interest. So, naturally we decided to offer a full garden seating and dining range, and filled out a floor of one of our shops with these products. The taste that best reflects our audience is mid-market. Our customers want good quality products, but don’t want to pay the world for them. Generally, we have a 35-year-old+ audience. We see that many have tried budget furniture in the past – say, when they first moved into their own homes – but now want quality furniture that lasts.


INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 11 The technology we’ve introduced most recently is Facebook Marketplace, and it has proved to be a useful channel to get our products in front of more local customers. Aside from that, we are always implementing new digital improvements in our business. From the late 90s until 2010 we spent around £30,000 on four different websites, but still found that these websites didn’t work the way we needed them to for furniture, so I took it upon myself to learn to code. After building a website for Barkers, many retailers then became interested in me building websites for them. This has since developed into its own company, Abacus Solutions, where we offer a range of services including website development, website management and digital marketing. We currently have over 40 independent retailers with us now. Our expertise and experience in digital have allowed us to roll out any improvements for Barkers in the same way we do for the retailers we have with us at Abacus, and have helped us adapt to the changing macro environment. My number one selling tip is do what you say you’re going to do. It’s really that simple


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INSIGHT

EASY LIVING Name: Anders Kloster Position: President, Zinus EU Business: In 1979, Zinus’ founder, Youn Jae Lee, started making tents in South Korea. Eventually, he moved Zinus into the home, and has provided mattresses and furniture for more than 25 million customers in over 15 countries. Zinus prides itself on offering products that are “easy to afford, assemble and enjoy”. Zinus entered the EU in 2020, and has doubled in turnover each year since, to become a $35m business. www.zinus.co.uk

Why visit your website? In addition to our products, we’re working to constantly update our room inspiration so customers can envision how they can create a beautiful home with Zinus products. We also create and curate blogs – we develop sleep guides, home decor guides and much more to help our customers through their sleep or home design journey. How did you enter this industry? I worked for many years in the toy industry, and soon after entered the children’s furniture industry. I’m happy to have the opportunity to work with the complete furniture industry in my current role. Who is your ecommerce hero? Ecommerce is so multi-faceted, covering so many industries, so I tend follow a handful of experts within various fields.

THROUGH LISTENING TO AND UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMER, YOU CAN SUCCEED

Describe a typical working day … I like to have a healthy balance between meeting with my team and external business partners, and time to do individual tasks (such as prep time, going through emails, browsing various ecommerce sites within furniture to get ideas and inspiration, etc). What part of your job would you prefer to avoid? With so much going on in and around our business, I like to avoid any unproductive sessions with no clear output. With the industry moving so quickly, we have to be very action orientated in everything we do. What has been your greatest challenge to date? Prioritisation has been a big challenge, as Zinus has the opportunity to become the best-loved ecommerce furniture brand in Europe – just as we have developed in other markets. It’s a challenge to have a clear single focus, whether it be categories, customer, or market expansion, as we want to do everything – but need to continue to prioritise to do things right.

How much do you invest in making your site more visible? We are currently investing in SEO to ensure we maximise our organic traffic, and will soon be investing in search engine marketing (SEM) to target highvolume keywords around the bedroom and mattress industry. Additionally, we have investments in social media, using creative and breakthrough media to educate consumers about our products and brands, and bring them to our website – which is non-transactional, as we focus on driving traffic to our business partners’ websites. How might the relationship between online and physical retail develop? It is becoming more omnichannel. I don’t think there will only be one or the other. Ecommerce is taking a big share of the market now, as people are much more comfortable purchasing products online. At the same time, there is still value in seeing products in person. I believe more and more online-only brands will participate in physical retail, whether it be selling in some physical locations or showcasing their products. Do you have any growth plans? We’re in a rapid growth phase and want to continue to expand our product assortment to fit changing consumer needs. We want to expand our bedroom styles, going into living room furniture is on our roadmap, and we’re also looking to make our products available in more retailers across Europe. What advice would you offer an aspiring e-tailer? It always comes down to the customer. With ecommerce, there’s so much opportunity to hear from your customers, whether it be through ratings and reviews or comments on your social channels. It is important to take customer reviews seriously and continuously improve the products. At Zinus, we obsess about creating a seamless customer journey, from inspiration to consideration, purchase, delivery and after-purchase service. It is through listening to and understanding your customer that you can succeed


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YOUR 2022 SUCCESS STRATEGY

5 ESSENTIAL WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR SALES AND PROFIT • ADVERTISING – Most advertising does not work very well. If yours isn’t, stop wasting your money now. Don’t blame the media, blame the message. Re-design your advertising in a benefits-orientated-style. Call Greenwood for effective copywriting know-how.

• 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.

• 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.

NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE

• 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.

The votes have been tallied, and we’re all set to celebrate the winners of our Readers’ Choice Awards 2022 in August’s issue, plus:

• 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!

A look at the advances and bestsellers in Rolled Mattresses

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GREENWOOD SALES …

A special focus on the Training & Education opportunities available to our industry

Take a look at our website or call me now on 07771

Our regular look at the latest in Bedroom, Dining, Living and Trade Services

Want to be part of the furniture trade’s favourite read? Contact Sam Horscroft on 07764 650655 or email sam@gearingmediagroup.com

BOOK BY FRIDAY 15TH JULY

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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 autumn 2022 to summer 2023 on a first come first served basis. Book your sales event early to guarantee exclusivity for your business.

Why not find out more today? Call Bernard Eaton on 07771 700247

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INSIGHT COVER STORY

FORCE FOR CHANGE Investment in people and processes is helping Royal Warrant holder Hypnos meet growing demand for ecoconscious beds, says CEO James Keen … www.hypnosbeds.com/uk

What’s keeping you busy this week? Our end-of-year board meeting, where we discussed our plans for the year ahead. This included a focus on the next phase in our evolving sustainability strategy, as well as innovative new products we’re developing. These meetings are a highlight for me – seeing the hard work and talent in the team who are propelling this family-run company forward, and the passion they have for Hypnos, is incredibly fulfilling. Can you outline the recent changes to Hypnos’ management line-up? We recently broadened our sustainability team with the appointment of Gary Mitchell in the newly created role of sustainable development manager. We’ve appointed Stephen Faulkner as our new retail operations director, as well as strengthening our production management team and introducing a range of new skilled recruits. How did INDX Beds & Bedroom go for Hypnos? What feedback did you receive? At this year’s show we presented three new ranges, including our Origins Organic Collection which is certified organic and endorsed by the Eden Project [read more about these developments on p44]. We received extremely positive feedback from retailers who value the different comfort and support levels we offer, as well as the sustainability credentials behind these handcrafted products.

James Keen

What are Hypnos’ plans going into H2 and beyond? Sustainability remains a key focus for us, as we accelerate the transparency of certified materials within our mattresses and throughout our supply chain. We are passionate about sourcing fibres that are good for the environment, support communities, and promote high animal welfare standards – we want

to offer our customers the ultimate in comfort with integrity. Given the challenges facing British bed production, how prepared are you to negotiate what lies ahead? There are industry-wide issues, with delivery costs high and product sourcing difficult at times. We’ve worked incredibly hard to create a supply chain which works with and supports British farmers and British suppliers – we’re confident this will keep us on track. We’re continually investing in new product development, as our dedicated team create innovative, ethical products which meet global trends and the demands of our customers, while always offering the highest levels of quality and comfort. What makes British beds (and yours in particular) the best around? Buying British means consumers get a trusted, high-quality product – a Hypnos bed comes supported by our Royal Warrant, marking our products as the best quality and the very best in British design. This mark of honour, held by Hypnos for over 80 years, is something I’m incredibly proud of. We use the highest-quality, certified, sustainable materials, handcrafted by our own master craftsmen and women – each Hypnos range offers a selection of comfort and support levels, so there’s something to suit every customer. Finally, are you able to share any developments we can expect to see in the future? We have exciting developments in the works with our sustainability partner, The Eden Project. Their ethos lines up with our own, but our partnership is about more than creating sustainable products – we’re working together to facilitate change within our own local communities – environmentally, socially and economically

WE HAVE EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WORKS WITH THE EDEN PROJECT


Refined by nature. Wise by tradition.

Sleep made naturally

A sleep experience that focuses on celebrating the beauty of true organic and the prestige of heritage. Exclusive to Origins Organic studios and stockists.

hypnosbeds.com Carbon Neutral

Inspired by Nature

100% Recyclable

Made with Organic. Certified by Soil Association Certification DK31026.


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INSIGHT

SIMBA UNCOVERED With sales up significantly on prepandemic comparatives, Simba Sleep continues to make good headway in a competitive marketplace. Here, co-founder and CEO Steve Reid takes stock of the latest developments, from intelligent bedding to sustainable certification … www.simbasleep.com

Steve Reid

THERE IS NO ROOM FOR SETTLING IN THE SLEEP BUSINESS

What’s keeping you busy right now? There is a lot of buzz in the business right now. The last couple of years, during the pandemic, have been really productive for Simba, both in terms of product launches and our culture. We’ve refined all of our working practices, and introduced flexible working for everyone and a new ‘work from anywhere’ policy. During that time we’ve also managed to complete a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the carbon footprint of all products in the UK, France, Canada and China, and now have 100% traceability and auditing of our most immediate, Tier 1 supply chain. Product-wise, there’s also lots simmering – the development pipeline is really strong this year. More on that later though! Have there been any key developments in Simba’s directions this year? On top of our B Corp submission, we have recently launched into Spain after cementing solid footings in the UK, France, Canada and China. It’s not so much a development in direction as such, but we have spent a lot of time in Q2 galvanising our mission to improve the health of every Simba user, and what that looks like. So, I’m working closely with our teams to drive this forward in all areas of the business. How are Simba’s sales panning out so far this year? As has been widely referenced, the rise in living costs has sparked a correction in consumer confidence across retail as a whole. People are (rightly) weighing up bigger-ticket purchases – but we are fortunate at Simba that we have been really resilient to that downturn. Against pre-pandemic normalised trading, sales are significantly up – near tripledigit percent – and we’re continuing to trade with healthy profitability in the UK. That’s not to say it’s not a challenging market … but we believe we are navigating it very well compared to some. Our positions internationally have also given us the confidence to branch out further. The consumer appetite for accessories remains strong. We’ve

been tracking inflation for the past 18 months, and with that in mind, we consciously pressed ahead with two key developments in this space and broadened our essentials offering. Can you outline the latest product developments? Just this week we’ve gone live with our new Hybrid 3-in-1 duvet – a flexible, four-season design, with our climate control technology Stratos. Designed from recycled PET bottles, it’s brimming with something called Simba Renew, a deluxe, featherlight filling that is 100% Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certified – a voluntary product standard for tracking and verifying the contents of recycled materials We are also debuting a new versatile and sustainable Hybrid Firm Pillow which includes a layer of our patented Aerocoil springs, which you can configure in five different ways to suit your sleep style and preferred level of support. In keeping with Simba’s ambitious sustainability strategy to be net zero by 2030, both products are made with innovative recycled and natural materials from verified sources. When we spoke last year, you mentioned Simba’s “robust operating model” – can you give me an example of how you’re weathering the current downturn better than others might be? We continue to provide categorychallenging products that actually deliver a better night’s sleep. A huge part of our business is recommendation – 90% of customers have referred friends or family. There is no room for settling in the sleep business. In order to have the greatest impact on and improve people’s health, you have to strive to engineer products that solve the 21st century problems that disrupt sleep. We are always optimising our marketing channels and creatives, and thinking ‘what next’. We’ve also just launched an entryprice mattress – the Simba Hybrid Essential – to give people even more options.


INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS

17

Simba Hybrid

We’re celebrating British-made product in this month’s issue. Is domestic production a strong selling point for Simba, or simply the sensible thing to do? It’s both. Manufacturing in the country of distribution makes sustainable sense. We are blessed in the UK with some (if not the majority) of the most experienced mattress and sleep tech manufacturers in the world. Our springs are made in Leeds by expert craftspeople, which is only a fairly short hop (in terms of a global supply chain) to our brilliant extended team at our mattress factory in Ashton-under-Lyne. For our UK consumers it’s a selling point of trust and reassurance. The same rings true in France, China and Canada though, which is why we also manufacture locally in each territory. How close are you to achieving your goal of becoming B Corp certified? We made the submission at the end of February 2022 with a score of 95.4. To

give you context, a company requires a score of over 80 to be eligible to submit, so we’re very proud of where we’re at so far. We are living and breathing the B Corp values day in day out whilst we await certification. Timings wise … it can take up to 12 months from submission at the moment. We’ve now completed the evaluation stage and have entered the verification queue. Once they greenlight this, we will be audited on our submission and then hopefully onto certification. Can you comment on the broader evolution of the bed-in-a-box movement in general? Where does Simba sit in this marketplace right now? Like anything, there is a fervour with something new and novel, and bed-in-abox offerings absolutely rode that wave in 2016/17. I think we knew very early on that once an unboxing is done, there has to be more meat to the bones to keep

A BOX IS JUST A PLANET-FRIENDLY FORM OF DELIVERY FOR US NOW, NOT AN IDENTIFICATION OF WHO WE ARE AS A BRAND OR BUSINESS

people interested, because any craze ultimately has a lifespan. We’ve always seen ourselves as so much more than a bed in a box – a box is just a planetfriendly form of delivery for us now, not an identification of who we are as a brand or business. Six years on, we believe we have successfully navigated many choppy waters because we are offering products that are genuinely different, with proprietary technology, and we are as passionate as ever about our business and mission. Operationally, the business has matured significantly over the years too, thanks to some brilliant hires. Simba’s purpose has always been clear – we’re here to engineer the perfect night’s sleep, for everyone. From the moment we founded the business and set about reinventing the mattress, we felt our mission could and should be so much more than selling the most comfortable (and innovative) mattresses – we knew we wanted to offer the world a greater service by democratising access to good-quality sleep. Each year we learn and build. And there’s still so much more that we have planned to bring to the sector, which I look forward to sharing in the near future. Most of all, it’s our passion to make a difference that keeps the business moving forwards and at what we believe is the front of the field in many areas of the industry


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20

EVENTS

HARROGATE’S HOME IMPROVEMENT Home & Gift 2022 will be opening in Harrogate from the 17-20th July, and this year will see the launch of the brand-new Furniture Collection … www.homeandgift.co.uk

Hall Q and the King’s Suite at Harrogate Convention Centre will feature the latest home and furniture pieces from some of the UK’s top brands, and Furniture Collection buyers will also be able to enjoy the rest of the buying festival and shop for giftware, fashion, gift food and more across the show’s marquees and halls. Following on from the success of the Manchester Furniture Show co-location at Home & Gift last year, organiser Clarion says it wanted to offer buyers a further selection of furniture and home

accessory brands – including the likes of Bronte By Moon, Kettle Interiors, Shankar, Smart Trading, Zinc Home, Deluxe Home Art, AWS and IFD, Gallery Direct, T A Interiors and more. Meanwhile, the Home & Gift sectors will include Design-Led Gifts, Food Emporium, Gift, Home & Interiors, Jewellery and Fashion. The buyer crossover makes the festival unique, offering brands the opportunity to connect with buyers of all sizes, from small retailers to large department stores and online giants. James Ellis from Ancient Mariner, an exhibitor from last year’s Manchester Furniture Show, had a highly successful event, and states: “The buyer crossover suited our giftware ranges perfectly.” Some of the retail industry’s key buyers have already confirmed their attendance this year – including John Lewis, Next, Soho House, Dobbies Garden Centre, Garsons, Roys of Wroxham and English Heritage. Interested parties can register for a ticket on the Home & Gift website, while anyone interested in being part of Furniture Collection should contact James Howard on james.howard@ clarionevents.com


17—20 July 2022 | Harrogate

Furniture Collection The Summer Buying Festival Register now homeandgift.co.uk


22

EVENTS

INSPIRING INDONESIA After two years of waiting, IFEX, Indonesia’s biggest export furniture and craft exhibition, finally returns to Jakarta next month … www.ifexindonesia.com

The seventh edition of IFEX Indonesia promises to showcase a wealth of the country’s signature furniture, craft, design and art, inspired by its abundant natural resources. As a business networking platform, it will bring buyers together within pleasant, safe surroundings, carefully managed to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

While international visitors must still show results of a negative antigen test, be fully vaccinated and in possession of a valid certificate to prove it (please check procedures before travel), the Republic of Indonesia’s government has lifted all requirements for visitors to quarantine upon arrival (find details of the latest VoA travel guidelines at www.bit.ly/ListofCountry). “This is the perfect time to do business with Indonesia’s signature products,” states organisers DYANDRA and HIMKI. “We present the perfect combination of uniqueness, innovation and technology – in short, high-quality furniture – at IFEX Indonesia. It’s local product at an international standard. “The IFEX 2022 August edition will be the perfect time and place to do business,” they conclude. IFEX 2022 will take place at Jakarta International Expo from 18th-21st August. Secure a visitor ID by preregistering on the IFEX website


50,000sqm

Total Area

350

+

Exhibiting Companies

12,000+

REGISTER NOW!

www.ifexindonesia.com

Worldwide Buyers Gathered on IFEX 2019


24

EVENTS

FAIR PAIR INCOMING Brought to market by leading UK buying group Associated Independent Stores (AIS), the INDX Home brand has confirmed the dates for its next furniture and beds and bedroom trade shows, which are both set to return to Cranmore Park Conference and Exhibition Centre in Solihull this autumn. www.indxshows.co.uk

INDX Furniture is first in the calendar, and will be taking place from 30th August to 1st September, with INDX Beds & Bedroom closely following on 13-14th September. The first day of both shows is reserved exclusively for AIS members, with the general trade welcome to attend the remaining dates. While INDX Furniture will bring together leading names across sectors including upholstery, cabinet (living, dining and bedroom), lighting, accessories and garden, INDX Beds & Bedroom will present beds, bedroom cabinets and sofabeds from some of the biggest names in the industry.

Showcasing an exhibitor selection curated by experts with a wealth of experience in the retail sector, each show will provide a business-focused opportunity for retailers to connect with top suppliers, discover the latest market innovations, and attend on-site trend presentations and speaker sessions. All INDX shows are free to attend with free on-site parking, and visitors also enjoy complimentary barista refreshments throughout the venue. Exhibitor bookings are being taken, and online visitor registration is now open for both shows, and can be completed via the INDX website


Curated by buyers for buyers

30 AUG - 1 SEPT 2022* Register now: indxshows.co.uk 30 Aug open to AIS member only

*

For exhibitor enquiries visit indxshows.co.uk or email info@indxshows.co.uk Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF. An AIS trade show.


26

EVENTS

VIETNAM WELCOMES THE WORLD With the pandemic reportedly largely under control in the Far East, the Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (VIFA EXPO), the country’s biggest trade event for export-facing furniture and wooden product, is back in Ho Chi Minh City from 31st August to 3rd September this year … www.vifafair.com

Having enjoyed outstanding growth in recent years, Vietnam is now the world’s second-largest furniture exporter, doing business with more than 120 countries – the principal markets being the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Japan. With free trade agreements with the EU, ASEAN, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru, which helps reduce tariffs on furniture imports – it is little wonder Vietnam is focused on becoming ‘the furniture factory for the world’. In 2021, Vietnam’s furniture export turnover reached US$14.8b (up +19,7% YoY). In March, Vietnam’s PM approved the ‘Project on sustainable, efficient development of the wood processing industry in 2021-2030 period’, which aims to bolster Vietnam’s wood processing sector, build a reputable brand for Vietnamese wood products at home and

abroad, and turn Vietnam into one of the world’s leading wood producers – export turnover of timber and forest products is projected to reach US$20b by 2025, and US$25b by 2030. Against this backdrop, VIFA EXPO welcomes international buyers back to Vietnam. This edition’s slogan is ‘Discover the fascination of Vietnamese Furniture & Handicraft’ – exhibitors will showcase brand-new product, from wooden furniture to indoor and outdoor furniture, home decor, handicraft, gifts and souvenirs, hardware and fittings, timber and woodworking machinery. Buyers will meet in person to discuss and start business partnerships with leading Vietnamese and international furniture manufacturers. The exhibitors will also be ready to take buyers to their factories in Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An Provinces (one-to-three hours’ travel from the show). VIFA EXPO 2022 will take place at Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center (SECC) across more than 15,000m2, bringing together more than 170 Vietnamese and international enterprises on more than 1000 stands. There will be talks, workshops and seminars – including a seminar hosted by Canadian Wood Vietnam and HAWA Corp, entitled Canadian Wood – Exceptional Design Flexibility, taking place on 1st September. Alongside the physical exhibition, the organiser will set up business-matching sessions to help buyers who cannot visit in person. Vietnam has fully reopened its borders, so there is no requirement for quarantine, a medical declaration or Covid-19 test for vaccinated entrants. VISA exemption has been resumed for UK citizens. However, upon arrival, visitors will need to present proof of valid medical/travel insurance covering Covid-19 treatment (with a minimum liability of US$10,000). Next year, two editions of VIFA EXPO will be held – in March (8-11th) and August


Re is gis no tr w ati op on en ● Over 60 exhibitors ● FREE parking ● FREE lunch ● NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

We are excited to announce some of the first confirmed exhibitors are: Carlton Furniture, Alpha Designs, Bluebone, Ancient Mariner, HTL, Sherborne, Valuemark, Celebrity, Relyon, Wiemann, Alstons, Welcome, Smart Occasional, Highgrove Please visit our website for latest updated exhibitor list www.theautumnfurnitureshow.co.uk


28

EVENTS

FIRST IMPRESSIONS The Spring Furniture & Bed Show dinner / Chesford Grange Hotel, Kenilworth / Tuesday 17th May www.springfurnitureshow.co.uk

A champagne reception preceded an evening of merriment for the visitors and exhibitors at the Minerva Furniture Group’s inaugural Spring Furniture & Bed Show, which took place over 17-18th May at NAEC Stoneleigh. Buying group members and non-members alike enjoyed a dinner, plus entertainment from comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner (who also visited the show), and live music from No Angel. The event’s Best Dressed Stand Award went to Emma Sleep


29


30

BEST OF BRITISH

MADE IN BRITAIN Striving to meet the myriad changes in supply and demand brought about by the pandemic, Britain’s furniture manufacturers, and those that supply them, are making a real difference. This month, Furniture News presents a snapshot of the homegrown businesses that are making waves – at home, and further afield …

Florence, by Tetrad


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BEST OF BRITISH

BOTH SIDES OF THE COIN The TCM Living (TCML) Group comprises some of the UK’s most influential sofa brands, and two of them – Ashley Manor and Alstons – are made at home. CEO Jonathan Fearn speaks up in defence of a rich (and valuable) manufacturing sector … www.tcmliving.co.uk

Are you seeing any new design or selling trends? We are seeing a move towards more neutral tones and natural materials/ fabrics – bouclés and natural woods over velvets and studs. Current design trends are for casual living rather than the more glamourous styles of recent years. How are you managing lead time pressures, and what are you doing to future-proof staffing and skills? We’ve always had a training scheme at our factory at Alstons, but in January 2022 we also opened an academy at our Dudley manufacturing facility, and are in the process of setting up our third training venue at our manufacturing site in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Retaining the upholstery trade and skill is something we are passionate about, and we feel the career that can be offered in our industry is both underpublicised and undervalued.

Have you developed any new strategies for material/cost management? Across all our businesses we are constantly looking for ways to innovate and to manage our costs better, without compromising on quality or value to our customers. As a group we are investing heavily in our IT infrastructure, which will enable us to improve our information systems as well as creating efficiencies. What elevates British-made upholstery above the imports? Across the TCML Group we have both import and UK manufacturing businesses. We believe that they all have a place in our industry and serve different customer needs. However, UK manufacturing, along with supporting local employment, offers speed of development and flexibility. The short lead times we can work to are much harder to achieve in the import businesses, given the impact of the global shipping crisis.

Jonathan Fearn

How do you convey the strength of ‘British made’ to stockists and consumers? We realise that, across our manufacturing plants, quality, and consistency of quality, is essential for our customers. At TCM Living, we have a commitment to the British furniture industry and the furniture trade as a whole and, by investing in our people and skills long term, we look to support the manufacture of British-made goods for the future

THE CAREER THAT CAN BE OFFERED IN OUR INDUSTRY IS BOTH UNDERPUBLICISED AND UNDERVALUED


33

FLEXING FOR THE FUTURE From its four production sites in North Wales, Westbridge (part of the Belfield Group) makes in excess of 10,000 pieces of upholstery each week – and is constantly exploring new ways of working, explains sales director (independent retailers) Nichola Bell … www.westbridgefurniture.com

Muse

Nichola Bell

ALTHOUGH WE CANNOT CONTROL PRICES, WE CAN CONTROL WHAT AND HOW WE MAKE

Are you seeing any new design or selling trends? For some time now, we’ve seen the obvious (and necessary) increase in ‘eco’ sofas, which give the consumer the choice to purchase more sustainable and environmentally friendly furniture. It starts with ‘responsible manufacturing’, and comes in various degrees of sustainability. We’ve also seen a slight move away from true velvets and a gentle nudge to cheniles and other soft-textured fabrics. It’s great to see that colour is still a strong trend. In a world of everincreasing price rises, I feel customers are looking for more added value, and an extra story to the product – whether it be sustainability, ‘clever’ fabrics, or storage ideas. How are you managing lead time pressures, and what are you doing to future-proof staffing and skills? Having the benefit of three manufacturing sites in North Wales gives us the advantage of managing our lead times very well. The biggest issue has been supply constraints, which has meant a lot of ‘juggling’ of the order book – our operations team have had the toughest of jobs recently. We have a very loyal workforce, but still suffer from the skills shortage across our industry. We, like many manufacturers, have an extensive apprenticeship programme and

incentives running to attract our future stars. We’ve found that flexible working, forced upon us by Covid restrictions, have actually had a very beneficial effect on our workforce and productivity. Have you developed any new strategies for material/cost management? We’ve taken a holistic approach to managing the constant surge of recent price increases. Our procurement team are constantly challenging increases and sourcing new supply, but also working with our innovation team to look at alternative ways to make product that challenges current methods (and therefore certain raw materials). It may be that although we cannot control prices, we can control what and how we make – but it’s a constant battle. What elevates British-made upholstery above the imports? British upholstery has certainly come into its own these last couple of years, and now more than ever I feel the ‘Buy British’ message should be even more important. We can offer short lead times (six weeks), and a MTO offering with a huge amount of choice that’s not restricted by container options, as well as the on-hand personal touch to rectify any issues as quickly and painlessly as possible. Surely that alone is worth shouting about? We have some fantastic upholstery manufacturers in the UK, and we need to ensure the longevity of our industry. How do you convey the strength of ‘British made’ to stockists and consumers? As a member of both the BFM and The Furniture Makers’ Company, I am personally very passionate about the importance of British manufacturing, and I feel we could work better with stockists to help them ‘push’ the British-made aspect to consumers. Let’s not be ashamed of shouting about what’s British on the showroom floor – if we did more of it, perhaps the consumers would become more engaged in asking where their furniture comes from


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BEST OF BRITISH

TYPICALLY TETRAD

www.tetrad.co.uk

Monique

WE STEER AWAY FROM THE LATEST INDUSTRY TRENDS IN FAVOUR OF CREATING OUR OWN UNIQUE HANDWRITING

Tetrad truly came out fighting this year, unveiling its new collections at an at-home show in February before going to to wow visitors at the NEC in April, where its lavish display won the premium hall’s Best Stand award. “It was fantastic to get back to meeting face-to-face with our customers and present the new designs,” Chris enthuses. “It’s so important to us for people to be able to touch and feel the quality of the materials and the comfort in what we create – and the reaction was excellent. We’ve already committed to exhibiting there again next year.” The last two years have seen significant change in the business, which restructed and streamlined its senior management team following the departure of long-time brand figurehead Janus Cooper. Tetrad is now ably headed up by Chris – who has been with the business for over 20 years, and was its design director from 2011 until he took on the added responsibility of sales during the transition – and Stuart Masson, who joined Tetrad in 2017 as operations director, and was appointed MD earlier this year. Tetrad has come to be best known for its Harris Tweed collection, which launched nine years ago and is now well established in the UK and abroad. The collaboration between Tetrad and Harris Tweed brings together two of Britain’s

Bowmore

Like many in the sector, the recent years have been a rollercoaster ride for upholstery supremo Tetrad, as it worked through the challenges of the pandemic to emerge in a strong position on the other side. Here, sales director Chris Fletcher gives Furniture News an exclusive look at the advances the Preston-based heritage brand has made, and the unique qualities that set it apart …

most recognisable brands, resulting in natural synergies in terms of the products’ quality and hand-crafted nature. “The classic, elegant sofa shapes combine perfectly with the iconic and easily identifiable fabric to create a timeless combination,” explains Chris. Over many years, the Tetrad brand itself has become synonymous with quality and comfort, thanks to its ability to create innovative and eclectic new collections using some of the world’s finest materials. The Constable collection, launched in 2018, is good example of this approach, marrying the colours and textures of heavy Italian velvets with a unique mix of decorative hand-woven scatter cushions. That year also saw the launch of the Spink & Edgar collection, which features glamorous and opulent selections of velvets and the finest prints from GP&J Baker on a range of boutique-style, art deco-inspired shapes, incorporating award-winning spring technology from the experts at Harrison Spinks. “The range has gone from strength to strength,” says Chris, “and we expect to see a further triple-digit percentage increase in sales this year.” In 2019, Tetrad developed and launched a truly unique fabric proposition called the Bagru collection, which was inspired by the character of antique printed rugs. The ultraheavyweight cotton is hand woven, hand printed and then hand washed to create


INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS

Jacaranda chair in Bagru fabric

Constable

a distinctive and individual look, with the sort of authenticity that only the likes of Tetrad can offer. This year, Tetrad has already made waves in the loose cover sector, with the introduction of a fully machinewashable cotton velvet. Clearly, this heritage brand’s natural place is in the vanguard. “Creatively, we try to steer away from the latest industry trends and colour fads, in favour of creating our own unique style and handwriting, which, when paired with the skills and craftmanship developed by over 50 years of trade, offer something special and ‘typically Tetrad’,” explains Chris, before going on to describe the evolving infrastructure behind this creative process. Since the business became part of the Belfield Group in 2017, Tetrad’s Preston site has enjoyed considerable investment, with the implementation of a new ERP system and the latest automated machinery in both the woodmill and cutting operations. “Being part of the group [which also comprises Westbridge, Clinchplain, and Belfield’s home and leisure divisions] also allows us to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of the wider team to ensure that the Tetrad proposal is always market leading,” says Chris. Yet, he adds, despite these economies of scale, Tetrad very much remains a unique proposition: “Whilst both Tetrad and Westbridge manufacture upholstered items under the Belfield umbrella, the factory operations are in fact quite different. At Tetrad, we specialise in lower volume, individual, traditional, complex designs,

35

mixing leathers and fabrics – and we even offer a service which enables customers to select their own fabrics, which we then tailor to their selected shape.” One of the biggest challenges Tetrad and its peers now face is maintaining the traditional skills required to produce sofas at such a high level. To ensure a level of continuity, Tetrad runs a perpetual apprenticeship scheme to impart the skills and craft required to manufacture products in this way, right across its range of operations. “It fills us with immense pride as our new recruits progress, and ultimately qualify,” says Chris.

The brand is looking ahead in more ways than one. There is a real buzz of excitement around the business right now as it prepares to launch its new website, which has been in the works for 12 months. “The new site, which goes live this month, uses the very latest technology to display fully functioning 3D rendered models of all our shapes and fabrics,” Chris explains. “Because we offer such versatility in the way that you can mix and match our fabrics and leathers, this will be an invaluable tool to help the retailers and their customers visualise the finished item in the cover that they have selected. “In addition to that, we have also included Augmented Reality (AR) functionality, which will enable the customer to superimpose their bespoke sofas and chairs into their own rooms. “We’re confident that this special blend of innovation, tradition and technology will see our business continue to flourish for many years to come,” Chris concludes. Members of the trade keen to discover the latest developments will have an opportunity to do so later this year, when Tetrad sets out its stall at the autumn Long Point show in September, before returning to the Brussels Furniture Fair in November to reconnect with many of its European customers for the first time since 2020



www.tetrad.co.uk


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BEST OF BRITISH

SUPER SLEEP SOLUTIONS Household name Silentnight is the UK’s most trusted sleep brand, backed by 75 years of sleep expertise and recognised as a Superbrand for over 16 consecutive years …

Eco Comfort Breathe

www.silentnight.co.uk

Thanks to a breadth of research, Silentnight knows that people – and sleep – come in many forms, and that too many people are compromising on their sleep. Silentnight believes everyone, everywhere, should get the best out of bedtime and therefore its mission is to provide a range of sleep solutions for a nation of ‘unique sleepers’. “That’s why we’ve developed a strong core product offering, underpinned by a wealth of sleep expertise and accolades, including Which? Best Buys, delivering best-inclass sleep solutions for all types of sleepers,” states the manufacturer. Silentnight offers total sleep solutions, from beds, headboards and mattresses to bedding and bedroom accessories, with all beds, headboards and mattresses handmade in its UK factory and rigorously tested to the highest standards in the company’s unique, in-house, SATRA-approved testing lab. “We continue to invest in research into sleeping habits, sleep technology and sustainable solutions, enabling us to develop our sustainable product offering, advance scientific innovations

woven into our products, and introduce sleep technology, such as our new sleepunique tool – with the fundamental goal to change how the nation sleeps for the better,” states Silentnight. “Silentnight leads the market in offering award-winning, sustainable sleep solutions. We are proud to be the first and only sleep brand to commit to The Climate Pledge, setting a target to be net zero carbon by 2040. To follow, we will also become the first sleep brand in the world to commit to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), helping to minimise the impact of rising temperatures by committing to reducing carbon emissions annually.” Silentight is a Carbon Neutral+ organisation, meaning it offsets more carbon than it produces in its manufacturing process – the bedmaker says it has reduced our carbon emissions by -49% in the past four years alone. Additionally, the group is a key member of the NBF circular economy committee, and helps drive industry change through the federation’s Pledge for our Planet, eco-conscious Bed Industry Awards and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) development


for the ‘lift’ you need to take on tomorrow Our lift by Silentnight range of mattresses are proven by science to improve the quality of your sleep, so you can rest, recover and take on tomorrow. Featuring our intense™ sleep surface, scientifically proven to help your body relax for deeper, undisturbed sleep.

Discover our lift range today For more information, contact us: enquires@silentnight.co.uk

01282 851111

the UK’s most trusted sleep brand silentnight.co.uk


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BEST OF BRITISH

CRAFT WITH CONSCIENCE Kensington

Based in the heart of the UK, The Hampton Bed Company has been part of the mattress sector for over 30 years (it hit this milestone in 2020) – yet its longstanding passion for traditional craftsmanship and values do not get in the way of speed of service …

Belgravia pillowtop

Westminster

www.voguebeds.co.uk/hampton-bedcompany

All the key components of the Hampton collection are sourced in the UK, and the manufacturer says it ensures that only the best mattresses leave its workshop. “We have improved the whole Hampton collection by adding a pocket pillowtop option to all models, which is reflected in a new Hampton brochure,” states the brand’s maker. “And, with the success of our Helix Pocket Spring, we’ve introduced this intelligent pocket spring to the Kensington 3000, Westminster 5000, and the Belgravia 9000 (this model previously had 7000 springs), further enhancing these three models with the ultimate sleeping experience.

“We believe a good night’s sleep is the key to wellbeing and happiness. This is why we are dedicated to creating quality mattresses and bases which offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort. “Our bespoke, handmade collection incorporates Active Support Technology – a revolutionary individual pocket spring system which ensures the very best spring technology is used in every mattress. This has been enhanced further with the aforementioned introduction of our unique Helix Pocket Spring system to the Kensington, Westminster and Belgravia models. For us, it’s not just about what we create – it’s how we create. We believe in applying traditional values and using responsibly sourced natural materials.” Marking a widespread return to traditional, proven values and materials, The Hampton Bed Company manufactures attractive pocket-sprung beds with comfort, luxury and style at their core. “A perfect night’s sleep for everyone – while adhering to our environmental conscience – is our ultimate aim,” states the bedmaker. “In all, 90% of the materials that go into the makeup of a Hampton mattress are sourced from the UK. Not only does the bespoke range follow in the tradition of fine bedmaking values, but it also adheres to today’s carbon footprint ethos”


Vogue Bedframe Collection A NEW collection of stunning British Made bedframes

Amy Bedframe

01455 841 257 | sales@voguebeds.co.uk

www.voguebeds.co.uk

Vogue Beds was established in 1990. We manufacture all types

Kingsfield House, Arthur Street, Barwell, Leicestershire, LE9 8GZ

of mattresses from our central manufacturing premises based

in Leicestershire. The Vogue Beds Group incorporates, Repose Beds, Helix Beds, Hampton Bed Company, The Swift (Vacuumed Packed) Mattress Company and Vogue Contract Beds along with Therapy Mattresses and our NEW range of Vegan Mattresses and these mattresses combined with the bedframes are a perfect sleep solution. Vogue Upholstery would like to introduce the new Vogue Bed Frame range. Hand made in our factory in the heart of England these UK made frames have been designed in house with 2 collections – The Classic Collection features two distinct models; the Premium Collection features four models, with a choice of 25 fabrics. These six NEW bedframes highlight fashionable designs with an emphasis on current market trends, especially with the launch of the 25 NEW fabrics which will enhance and liven up any bedroom.

Charlotte Bedframe

AMY BED FRAME

CHARLOTTE BED FRAME

FIONA BED FRAME

JESSICA BED FRAME

GRACE BED FRAME

JULIA BED FRAME

VOGUE UPHOLSTERY WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE THE NEW VOGUE BED FRAME RANGE Hand made in our factory in the heart of England these UK made frames have been designed in house with 2 collections – The Classic Collection features two distinct models; the Premium Collection features four models, with a choice of 25 fabrics. These six NEW bedframes highlight fashionable designs with an emphasis on current market trends, especially with the launch of the 25 NEW fabrics which will enhance and liven up any bedroom.

Vogue Beds was established in 1990. We manufacture all types of mattresses from our central manufacturing premises based in Leicestershire. The Vogue Beds Group incorporates, Repose Beds, Helix Beds, Hampton Bed Company, The Swift (Vacuumed Packed) Mattress Company and Vogue Contract Beds along with Therapy Mattresses and our NEW range of Vegan Mattresses and these mattresses combined with the bedframes are a perfect sleep solution.


42

BEST OF BRITISH

UNDER ONE ROOF Gallery Direct’s extensive catalogue includes a selection of lines that are handmade in the UK. At its unique factory in Westbury, Gallery carefully crafts mattresses, beds and upholstery, all on one site …

Sofa in a Box model 1

www.gallerydirect.co.uk

But the Gallery team’s work does not stop at the manufacturing. Everything is carried out in-house, from the design and development right through to the end products, photography and even delivery, ensuring Gallery has full control throughout, to ensure it achieves the desired results. Chris Box, group manufacturing director, comments: “We pride ourselves on offering high-quality handmade products, which are crafted using a combination of traditional skills and modern machinery. Our manufacturing site, with its highly skilled workforce, is possibly the only one in the country that makes beds, mattresses and upholstery, all in the same place.” The manufacturing team at Westbury has a unique set of experience and expertise, which is utilised throughout

the process. In the development stages, the careful selection of filling combinations is key for mattresses, while for upholstery the cushion fillings and fabric choices are important. When it comes to the actual manufacturing, each piece is traditionally built, one by one, using a range of skilful techniques including hand side-stitching and tufting on mattresses, and deep-buttoning on upholstery. The majority of the products produced in Westbury are made to order, with production lead times of just 4-6 weeks. For the upholstery lines, there is a choice of 75 fabrics, all of which can be treated to CRIB 5 standard if required. Mattresses can be white labelled with customers’ own brand, to create their own collection. The latest addition to Gallery’s Madeto-Order range is the House Collection, which offers an easy-to-shop range of sofas and armchairs in three styles at good value-for-money prices. Choose from mid-century style with Model 1, the sleek and stylish Model 2, or the elegant and sophisticated Model 3. Each is available as a three-seater, two-seater and armchair, and all are available in Gallery’s full range of 75 fabric options, ensuring there is something to suit all interiors. Gallery’s innovative Sofa in a Box products are also handmade at its factory in Westbury. However, these are sold from stock for quick delivery. The collection includes the model 1 sofa, which offers traditional style with its deep button tufting, roll-top arms and carved wooden feet. As well as five fabric choices, it is offered upholstered in exclusive half-grain waxed natural leather with a choice of leather back cushions or scatterback, featuring four luxurious co-ordinating fabric cushions and one reversible cushion which has leather on one side and fabric on the other. To find out more about Gallery’s catalogue of products, including the range that is handmade in the UK, take a look at its website, contact its sales team, or visit the company on stands M30-31 and M17 at the Harrogate Home & Gift Fair, taking from 17-20th July


A CE LE BRATION O F BRITISH MANUFACTURIN G

Nestled in the Wiltshire Countr yside We’re proud to say that our Made to Order Collection is exclusively made in the UK by our skilled team with years of experience at our manufacturing centre of excellence, based in Westbury. Uniquely, our upholstery and mattresses are made under one roof the traditional way, using generations of skills and expertise.

NEW Our House Collection Model 2 Three Seater, shown in Bailey Cardamon

View our full collection

Scan the QR

of over 6,000 products at

code for more

www.gallerydirect.co.uk


44

BEST OF BRITISH

HYPNOS WORKS IN HARMONY WITH NATURE With its new Origins Organic Collection, Hypnos is responding to powerful global consumer trends for transparent, ethical and sustainable products, which prompted a rethink of its approach to the luxury mattress market … www.hypnosbeds.com

THE WHOLE MATTRESS IS CERTIFIED, NOT JUST AN INDIVIDUAL COMPONENT

A growing number of consumers recognise that buying organic is a much better choice for animals, soil and the environment, states the bedmaker – but also that such products are pure and chemical-free, and better for health and wellbeing. A recent report by the Soil Association Certification, the official body which certifies organic products, has revealed that the total UK organic market has seen its 10th consecutive year of growth, increasing by +5.2% in 2021 – but sleep, wellbeing and fashion are driving a +39%1 increase in demand for organic textiles. “Developing these organic mattresses, sourcing organic fibres and gaining certification has been a rewarding journey for Hypnos, and the result is a beautiful and meticulously designed collection,” explains Richard Naylor, Hypnos’ Sustainable Development Director. “Firstly, to produce organic fibres takes time and attention to detail. In fact, farmers have to be organic for two

years before they can claim organic status, so it truly is a test of their passion and knowledge.” Richard goes on to note that organic farming is beneficial to the living environment, producing lower carbon emissions, while healthier soils sequest more carbon. He says that if all Europe’s farmland adopted organic methods, agricultural emissions could drop by -40-50% by 2050.2,3 “Pesticides and fertilisers contaminate soil and the water table,” Richard continues. “Instead, organic farmers carefully plan to develop good soil that’s hardy to climate change and erosion, using crop rotation, nitrogen capture via plants and, periodically, animals to fertilise the land. Native wildlife reduces pests thanks to healthy hedgerows and wildflower field margins. As a result, organic farms have on average +50% more plants, birds and insects than non-organic farms4. This comes at a time where over 40% of our insect species are declining and a third are in danger5.”


ADVERTORIAL 45 Organic standards ensure animals enjoy the very highest welfare in the UK, says Richard, with smaller flock sizes, and an organic, GM-free diet, with plenty of fresh air and space to roam. The standards encourage good health through humane, less stressful farming practices, and reducing dependence on preventative antibiotics. With consumers and retailers becoming more aware of ‘greenwashing’, the importance of transparent certification cannot be underestimated, states Hypnos. Far from being a marketing gimmick, certification by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the Soil Association means that a product has been legally certified as organic, meeting strict standards as set out under EU law. “We have worked with Soil Association Certification for over a year to certify this luxury collection so consumers can be assured that what they are buying is legitimate,” Richard explains. “Sourcing GOTS-approved growers and setting up a completely certified organic supply chain has been a challenge. Every element is scrutinised and audited at every stage so there is no risk of contamination with non-organic materials at any point – from the collection, washing and preparing of the fibres, to having a dedicated approach to making the organic mattresses at Hypnos’ workshops.” The Origins Organic Collection has been carefully curated to create a sustainable sleep experience which celebrates the beauty of organic and the prestige of Hypnos’ heritage, says the bedmaker. Traceable materials are expertly combined with traditional skills and craftmanship to create supremely comfortable luxury mattresses, with an optional deep-filled comfort layer

cleverly secured by leather lace ties. As a proud British brand, Hypnos has pioneered initiatives to fairly support British farmers and industries. The Origins Organic Collection has been no exception, utilising GOTS-certified organic wool and lambswool from British farmers, sourced through The Woolkeepers. The fine organic wool and cotton sleep surface is patented and woven in British mills, and is naturally fire resistant. The collection also features British-made pocket springs, wool tufts and leather detailing, crafted and tooled in England. Where the British climate precludes it or certified suppliers are low, Hypnos has sourced organic cotton, hemp, flax and peace silk, as raw materials to be processed in the UK. The natural latex layers are certified by the FSC to comply with the organic guidelines. Endorsed by the Eden Project, Hypnos’ sustainability partner, a charitable donation from the sale of each mattress will be made to the Eden Project to help combat climate change

and provide care within communities. “This organic collection celebrates the relationship with the natural world, to offer a truly ethical, sustainable product, with the realisation of pure luxury,” Richard concludes. The Hypnos Origins Organic Collection will be available from selected retailers – contact sleep@hypnosbeds.com for details. https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/ market-research-and-data/organic-marketreport/

1

https://www.iddri.org/en/publications-andevents/study/agroecological-europe-2050multifunctional-agriculture-healthy-eating

2

https://www.soilassociation.org/ media/18564/iddri-agroecology-and-carbonneutrality-what-are-the-issues.pdf

3

https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/ doi/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01005.x

4

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ article/abs/pii/S0006320718313636

5


46

BEST OF BRITISH

LEADING EDGE Leggett & Platt Springs UK has expanded its componentmanufacturing capacity, and will introduce new options in comfort layers and ActivEdge products during the year – all while continuing to offer an extensive line-up of highquality innersprings and value-adding innovation …

A snapshot of L&P Springs UK’s facility

NanoCoil coiling technology

NanoCoil layers can be applied to the Quantum Edge spring perimeter solution

www.leggettplatt.madeinyorkshire.com

“We recognise that, in the UK’s manufacturing industry, it’s all about innovation and automation – producing revolutionary products as quickly and efficiently as possible to satisfy the end-consumer,” states L&P Springs UK’s MD, Mike Holmes. “These industry and end-user needs drive our investment in technology, capacity, flexibility, and range. Within our state-of-the-art facilities, focused automation, labour requirement solutions, added-value processes and sustainable solutions are focal points, as we continue to produce top-of-theline components that provide value and advantage for our customers. “Our customers’ needs are our own. It is our mission to consistently meet industry demands for the success of everyone involved and the satisfaction of consumers.” L&P Springs UK’s facilities form a vertically integrated business that serves as the primary locally based supplier of high-quality innerspring and micro-coil comfort layer solutions to the region. The company’s ‘global, yet local’ strategy drives it to meet the demands and challenges of an ever-changing and evolving landscape to help its customers succeed. Within its facilities, L&P Springs UK possesses the capabilities and expertise to produce a variety of industry-leading components, including: semi-finished bedding components that pair well with current standards or proprietary product lines; foam-encased innerspring systems that reduce cost and increase efficiency with roll-packed, productionready designs; comfort layers (NanoCoil, Softech and proprietary/ specialised foam technology from Peterson Chemical Technology) which

feature enhanced airflow and cooling properties; and bed-in-a-box/rolled mattress development, manufacturing and fulfilment. NanoCoil, for example, is a lowprofile innerspring comfort layer that is versatile and responsive, enhancing sleep surfaces by increasing coil counts and delivering consistency and durable comfort. “NanoCoil is one of Leggett & Platt’s most versatile and innovative products,” says UK sales manager David Nuttall. “It can be used in a number of ways, from filling layers and mattress toppers to pairing with ActivEdge spring perimeter solutions for enhanced edge comfort. With its dynamic response to natural body movements, it’s easy to see why it is so popular among our customers and end-consumers.” Then there are Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge spring perimeter solutions, which extend comfort life, reduce or eliminate roll-off, and deliver a sleep surface that is consistent all the way to the edge. ActivEdge is available in three spring perimeter solutions – Quantum Edge Elite, Quantum Edge and Caliber Edge. “Leggett & Platt’s ActivEdge line of spring perimeter solutions have changed the way we view the edge of the mattress,” David continues. “It improves performance consistency across the entire mattress, allowing our customers to get the edge over their competition.” Mike Holmes concludes: “At L&P Springs UK, we have the capabilities and technologies to deliver a superior portfolio of products and services. Our machinery and processes are unmatched – allowing us to provide high-quality, sustainable products for our valued customers”


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Leggett & Platt is a proud, capable, and responsible UK-based bedding industry manufacturer.

Investment, Flexibility, Support. 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 continued investment in the UK bedding industry, our industry-leading technology, and our team strategically position us to react to customer requirements and provide the flexibility required to ensure support in line with their needs.

© 2022 Leggett & Platt Incorporated

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Learn more at BeddingComponents-intl.com

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48

BEST OF BRITISH

MAKE THE CALL Oakleigh

One Call Furniture has been a leading name in British-made, assembled bedroom furniture for almost 20 years.

Arundel

Sonata

www.onecall.furniture

After a multi-million-pound investment in plant and machinery in 2015, the Barking-based business has gone from strength to strength, enjoying increased investment each year in machinery, enabling much of the product to be manufactured completely in house. Given this momentum, it is little surprise One Call Furniture further extended its offer this year, launching a new collection of lounge products at the postponed January Furniture Show in April. Sales director Paul James says: “In an ever-changing market, it made complete sense to respond to our

customers’ needs and introduce lounge furniture to our cabinet offer. “We have been working on designs for a couple of years, and with the recent challenges of importing goods, weak pound and expensive warehouse costs faced by our customers and the furniture industry in general, more and more of our customers were asking us for British-made, sensibly priced, innovatively designed lounge cabinet. “We answered that call from our customers with a complete range of new lounge products, made using mostly UK-sourced materials. Orders at the NEC show were up on previous years, with our lounge offer being very well received by independent retailers, buying groups, and the national groups and mail order sector. With our speedy lead times and delivery coverage across the UK, we have seen more and more retailers trust us with supplying their cabinet offer.” With the importing challenges mentioned above, it appears One Call Furniture has another strong year ahead. Its impressive bedroom cabinet offer continues to grow, and is now complemented by stylish lounge ranges – while quick and flexible delivery further strengthens the case for buying British. One Call Furniture is proud to be a British manufacturer, and currently employs over 100 staff from its local community


0208 5174756

www.onecall.furniture

sales@1cfl.com


50

BEST OF BRITISH

AMBITIOUS AUTOMATION Machinery specialist MattressTek has come to play a vital role in many UK bedmaking operations. Here, directors Shaun Peel and Michael Birtwistle discuss how British manufacturing has become synonymous with quality, why automation is the way forward, and how the company has made itself a force for growth … www.mattresstek.co.uk

MattressTek’s Hot Glue Bridge

AUTOMATING THE PRODUCTION PROCESS HELPS TO DEAL WITH THE LABOUR LAG THE INDUSTRY IS FACING

With over 40 years of combined design and engineering experience, mattress machinery manufacturer MattressTek has maintained its positioning as a provider of quality, robust and reliable production lines for the bed industry and beyond. Innovation and problem-solving are at its core, and this has led to investment in a number of areas – a refreshed website, product updates, workforce expansion and system enhancements are just some of the most recent developments, in addition to the growth of MattressTek’s export operations. “We have firmly cemented ourselves as one of the leaders in the making of machines for the mattress industry, with our range proving popular with clients and big brands in the UK, US, Mexico, Europe and Australia,” says technical director Shaun Peel. “British manufacturing means quality, robustness, reliability and innovation. As our machines are designed and built from our site in Lancashire, we can vigorously test and adapt them, where needed, to ensure the most efficient running of our customers’ production lines, and maximisation of the amount of products made. We’re always keen to explore where we can reduce downtime and prevent bottlenecks in the early stages of our assessment of their lines, streamlining production and saving time by speeding up the process. “There are a whole host of machines needed to help manufacturers make their products – positioning, stuffing, stitching, sewing, unbaling, gluing, turning, flipping, inspecting and packing. Automation is literally the way forward. “Our machines meet those needs, and allow seamless addition into any

existing production lines – many being built bespoke to specific requirements, meaning there is minimal disruption for installation, which is also done by our expert fitters. Automating the production process also helps to deal with the labour lag the industry is facing.” MattressTek’s newest machines include its Stacker and Stuffer, as well as 90/180° turning and flipping inspection and straight-line belt-androller-driven conveyors. Machines such as the Hot Glue Bridge (pictured), which applies glue and layers of mattress filling components before they are pressed together by the Tamping machine, are also proving popular. Fellow director Michael Birtwistle says: “We have developed and refined our machines with regard to the design, hardware and programmable technology, allowing us to adapt them to fit into limited space at factories, as well as incorporating sensors to flag up when material runs out, or threads break, for example.” Backed by its reputation for quality and the fulfilment of repairs, MattressTek’s development has also included the expansion of its team in various areas including fabrication, fitters, installation and electrical, as well as supporting the design and build teams. This has coincided with other internal investments, too, says Michael: “We’ve been able to attract local skilled workers, tripling our workforce over the last two years. Adding to this growth, we’ve invested in internal processes and systems to make it a safe, efficient and enjoyable place to work. “We’ve also invested in a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) system to streamline, track and plan production and resourcing, which will support the sustained global export of our range. We have aligned our marketing to showcase the full product range and our development, taking on a full-time member of the team.” Over the past 12 months, MattressTek has refined its online presence and expanding its physical footprint, building a store for fabrication and build, and more. MattressTek’s growth has been rapid, and shows little sign of slowing


Proud to be British British made | Exported globally

T PRODUC TION A M R O F IN LE AVAILAB EW IN OUR N ONLINE GUE CATALO

View our full range at MattressTek.co.uk Serving turers manufac across all s industrie

Bespoke tions specifica available

Contact a member of our team to discuss your Machinery requirements on 01282 479922 or email sales@mattresstek.co.uk


52

BEST OF BRITISH

STAR TURN Homeserve Furniture Repairs’ new head office building at Waterfront Business Park

Homeserve Furniture Repairs continues to go from strength to strength, and is fast becoming the nation’s go-to furniture repair specialist … www.homeserverepairs.co.uk

Homeserve Furniture Repairs’ training academy

HOMESERVE FURNITURE REPAIRS NOW OFFERS A COMPREHENSIVE AND FULLY UP-TODATE TRAINING ACADEMY

CEO James Lane, the driving force behind Homeserve Furniture Repairs (established in 2004), has built the company into Britain’s largest upholstery, bed, mattress and cabinet furniture repair specialist. The champagne was flowing last month when, to add to its accolades, Homeserve Furniture Repairs won Business of the Year at the Express & Star Business Awards, a major West Midlands event, and James himself won Business Person of the Year. “I started Homeserve Furniture Repairs 18 years ago on my own – just a £5k loan from the bank to get me started,” says James. “Like all businesses, I’ve had some challenges along the way – and still continue to now, along with learning every day. However, I absolutely love what we do and the people I work with. I have an absolutely awesome team – the

passion, commitment and togetherness is just brilliant. “We now have over 250 people in the Homeserve Furniture Repairs family. I still have a vision to continue our growth, and am always reinvesting in the business, so to get recognised not only for our business, but me personally, is just amazing. “A new move to bigger premises, incorporating brand-new training facilities, means Homeserve Furniture Repairs now offers a comprehensive and fully up-to-date training academy – and we have a fantastic team of technical managers with extensive knowledge on all aspects of the furniture repair service, to provide training for our new recruits.” For more information on Homeserve Furniture Repairs, and to discover why the business is on a winning streak, visit its website


NATIONWIDE FURNITURE REPAIR & RESTORATION SPECIALISTS

THE UK’S MOST COMPETITIVE PRICING! Contact us today for more details... info@homeserverepairs.co.uk

Over

FABRIC & LEATHER UPHOLSTERY CABINETS & WOODEN FURNITURE BEDS & MATTRESSES ELECTRIC & MOTION FURNITURE

170 30,000

TECHNICIANS THROUGHOUT THE UK & IRELAND

VISITING OVER

CUSTOMERS EACH MONTH

Full UK & Ireland Coverage

Key Points Illustrated with Images & Video

Online Portal with Real-time Reporting

Technician Tracking and SMS ETA Updates for Customers

Independent Comprehensive Reporting 17 Point Mattress Inspection Procedure

Our aim is to resolve on the first

Comprehensive van stock to maximise first call resolution • Selection of our van stock • Stock spray paints for cabinet ranges • Full wood restoration kit • Leather pigment colour range • Springs • Timber rails & castor blocks • Foam & Fibre • T-nuts & Sundries

visit in the customer’s home

Full Description & Liability Assessment Report

ISO 27001

E: info@homeserverepairs.co.uk T: 01384 473000 W: www.homeserverepairs.co.uk


54

BEST OF BRITISH Signature 8000

SHIRE BEDS www.shirebeds.co.uk

Shire Beds has much to celebrate this year. Having made beds for 25 years, it is enjoying its silver jubilee – as well as winning Bed Product of the Year at the NBF’s 2021 Bed Industry Awards, then the Best of British category in The Furniture awards at this year’s January Furniture Show.

Signature 6000

Shire Beds has always prided itself on producing excellent-value mattresses, and has introduced its Signature range, which offers high-quality, hand-crafted, hand-stitched, natural, high-end mattresses, with a lead time of weeks, not months. “Shire customers benefit from enhanced margins and superb quality,” states the award-winning bedmaker. “Our beds offer an incredibly luxurious night’s sleep throughout this Platinum Jubilee year, and will continue to provide luxury for years to come.”

Sandringham

SIESTA BEDS

ZoneX

Siesta Beds launched two new collections this spring, at the Northpoint Show, its own open week, and the SWFMARF show – and says both have been received well. The ZoneX with zoned latex offers a tighter zoning in the area where more support is required, says Siesta, offering “unique comfort and support, with a luxury that can only be found with latex”. These models are encapsulated and offered in 1400, 1800 and 2800 varieties.

The Hybrid Essential, meanwhile, is a traditional pocketsprung collection with butterfly springs for additional edge support, and gel, memory foam and kinetic foam layers for rigidity. These are offered in 1000, 2000 and 3000 pocket spring versions. Both ranges have additional handles at the foot end, along with a grey airflow border. To find out more, call Siesta Beds on 0121 773 9969 or email sales@siestabeds.co.uk.


WINNER

Best of British

T

A

THE FURNITURE

AWARDS 2022


56

BEST OF BRITISH

GLOBAL PRESENCE, HOMEGROWN Bartelli

La-Z-Boy may be traditionally associated with American comfort and luxury, but the iconic recliner brand is fast expanding its British-made collections aimed at a UK audience …

Lawton

Jones

www.la-z-boy.co.uk

La-Z-Boy’s Made in Britain range has been designed for the UK market, and is manufactured at its newly acquired factory in Lancashire. Additional British-made collections were unveiled at last summer’s Manchester Furniture Show, and have proved so popular that the company’s UK arm has been busy launching more homegrown products. The latest collections include Jones, a suite which offers the traditional comfort associated with La-Z-Boy but with a simple and compact design which will work well in most British homes. Available in both two- and three-seater sofas as well as an armchair, Jones has deep-fill cushions and high backs for a relaxing sit.

Customers can choose between a power recliner, manual latch recliner or a static sofa. Each product comes in a range of fabric finishes and colourways with accent cushions in either matching or contrasting fabrics. There is also the option of completing the suite with a storage or standard footstool. Another strong new addition to the Made in Britain range is the Lawton sofa, which has a stylish look that is ideal for modern homes. With a contemporary silhouette, statement curved arms and slim wooden legs, the Lawton does not look like a traditional recliner, but is the ideal solution for customers who want the world-famous comfort of a La-Z-Boy recliner but with a clean, fresh image. A concealed power recline function gives the Lawton broad appeal, combining both visual style and comfortable support. Trevor Hailes, La-Z-Boy’s international merchandising director, says: “We are so proud of our new product ranges, all made in Britain to support British manufacturing and with the goal of reducing lead times for our customers in the UK. We have worked hard to diversify the range so we can welcome new customers who have perhaps not considered buying a La-ZBoy chair or sofa before.” All the La-Z-Boy products which are manufactured in the UK sport the registered Made in Britain mark


SIESTA BEDS COMFORT & QUALITY ASSURED

A Life Changing Choice

Est 1986

New Hybrid Essential Available in Copper Latex 1,000 2,000 and 3,000 Encapsulated Pocketed Pocketed Springs.

Bamboo 3,000 Pocketed Springs

Natural Bamboo Fillings Tencel Soft touch fabric Hand Tufted

Mulliners Works 154 Bordesley Green Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham . B8 1BY. Email sales@siestabeds.co.uk

Tel: 0121 773 9969 Fax 0121 766 7413


When your customers buy a La-Z-Boy sofa, they’re not just buying a sofa, they’re investing in: • A place to relax and unwind • The heart of their home • Time with their family and friends • Comfort and wellbeing


Lawton

www.la-z-boy.co.uk Proud members of the Made in Britain Association.


60

PRODUCTS

JARRAD BELTON’S

HOMAGE TO NATURE Jarrad describes himself as “an enthusiastic, passionate worker of wood”. Working from a small workshop in West Sussex, he creates unique statement pieces using sustainable, locally sourced timber – from large dining tables to sculptural vases. Crafted from hundreds of steam-bent walnut strips and three hand-turned, steam-bent legs in stained oak, Homage to Nature demonstrates Jarrad’s appreciation of natural beauty … www.jarradbelton.wixsite.com/jarradbelton

“The tabletop emulates the cross section of a tree trunk. After many months of prototyping I found that to get a perfect match of colour throughout each ‘growth ring’ of the tree I would have to come up with a unique way of converting the timber. I decided the best way to achieve a colour match without any joint lines was to create two sections from one glue-up”

“Running down the middle of the tabletop is an opening that leads to a hole in the very centre. This detail highlights the human’s interaction with trees, and offers a view of the leg system underneath. Looking straight down on the piece shows the alignment and intricacy of the ‘root system’”

“The intricate legs, or ‘root system’, was just as time consuming to create as the tabletop. I’d turned the oak legs on a lathe and then steam-bent them in a jig to create a subtle flowing form. I decided to stain the oak black for a couple of reasons. Firstly, roots are underground and therefore in darkness – yet I wanted to have them on full display, whilst not taking away from the detail of the top – staining them creates a contrast between the top and bottom”

Training: Jarrad studied carpentry and joinery at Chichester College, before working as an apprentice carpenter helping make green oak barns, staircases and building conversions. Jarrad then transitioned to working in a sawmill, before going back to college to study Furniture Making and Design at Chichester College. He then worked part time as a furnituremaker for a year before deciding to become self employed and focus on it fully. “I have worked with a few designer/makers in this time – most notably Philip Walker, a sculpture artist creating unique forms inspired by nature, and Aidan McEvoy, a master furnituremaker and designer,” he says.


Sleep comes easy when you buy beds made by an approved NBF member

Our vision for the bed industry in 2022 and beyond is clear – we want to make it right. How? By setting standards and driving ethics, transparency and responsibility. By championing excellence in bed-making and selling. By supporting sustainability through the NBF Pledge for the Planet and an ecodesign framework for mattresses. And by educating consumers on how to improve their sleep.

To find out more and for a list of NBF Approved members visit BEDFED.ORG.UK

In other words, we’ll keep on making sure our members do the right thing.

Because when we do, everyone sleeps better at night.


62

PRODUCTS

DESTINATION DECOR

Lathams boasts a 1400-strong collection of decorative materials

www.lathamtimber.co.uk/decors

The campaign promises to take interested parties on a journey through its 1400-strong collection of decorative materials, helping foster creativity, spark imagination and perhaps inspire their next furniture range. Specifically, it will present the opportunity to explore its expansive range. From timelessly stylish, industry-leading brands including EGGER, HIMACS, Kronospan and Abet Laminati, to boutique brands such as Transformad, Xylocleaf, Studio Collection, Dekodor and Decospan, James Lathan promises something to meet almost any brief, whether a unique commission or mass production. Diving further into its portfolio of high-performance decors will reveal the massive variety of textures, colours, shades and tones available. In addition, attributes such as anti-bacterial, anti-

Lathams’ new Digital Showroom features a powerful selection tool

With a mind-boggling array of decorative panel choices available, it can sometimes be hard to know where to look – however, James Latham has set out to help furniture specifiers and designers do just that, with its Summer Décors campaign …

microbial, flame retardance, impact resistance, even thermo-healing properties can be found, spread throughout the ranges. And that is not all. James Latham will highlight how its service offer provides much more than initially meets the eye. For example, if structural materials are also needed, the supplier can help, as it stocks a wide variety of MDF, plywood, exclusive hybrid solutions, attractive hardwoods and modified, engineered and profiled timbers. Complemented with an “unrivalled” distribution service, harnessing the power of its UK-wide, 14-depot-strong logistics network to offer JIT delivery, Lathams ensures customers have the products they need, when they need them. Speedy delivery across its entire range, as well as a substantial reserve of stock, also means the supplier can meet large-volume, multiple-material orders at short notice. Finally, Lathams promises to show prospective customers how easy it is to find just what they are looking for, with its new Digital Showroom. The company’s latest innovation, it features a powerful selection tool enabling users to see the company’s entire decor range, rendered in high-resolution 3D. Samples can be ordered straight to the door, and video consultancies can be booked with showroom staff. “It’s taking the product selection experience to the next level,” states Lathams. In short, Lathams’ Summer Décors campaign reveals the extensive design potential of its unique catalogue to meet the needs of the UK’s vibrant furniture and joinery community


Lathams’ amazing range of decorative surfaces brings the perfect finish to every project, every time.

ABET LAMINATI

As one of the UK’s largest independent distributors of panels and decorative surfaces, our huge stockholding of decors features matching laminates, melamines, veneers and edging from top brands like EGGER, Kronospan, FINSA and Abet Laminati, as well as exclusive collections from boutique European manufacturers such as XyloCleaf, Dekodur, Transformad, Decospan and more. These stunning surfaces are readily available together with an extensive range of core materials; familiar favourites as well as revolutionary products including Garnica Ultralight and the groundbreaking, sustainable Honext board.

EGGER

DEKODUR

Get products quickly via our nationwide distribution network, plus help and support from our team of experts who can guide you through the latest products, trends and regulations. Lathams truly offer a complete decor solution: great products, great service and expert advice.

Visit our new digital showroom to explore our decors in high resolution 3D, order product samples and get advice on your project.

lathamdigitalshowroom.co.uk

latham digital showroom

For more info: info@lathams.co.uk D E C O S PA N

TRANSFORMAD

XYLOCLEAF

HUGE STOCK RANGE

14 UK&I DEPOTS

SAMPLING SERVICE

DIGITAL SHOWROOM


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PRODUCTS

NATIONAL TREASURES Innovation of materials and creativity remains at the forefront of British design – a view evidenced by the 23 winning products in this year’s Design Guild Mark awards … www.furnituremakers.org.uk

The Design Guild Mark is awarded by The Furniture Makers’ Company to drive excellence and raise the profile of British design and innovation. It recognises the highest standards in the design of furnishings in volume production across three categories – Furniture, 2D Design, and Lighting Design – and is open to designers working in Britain, or British designers working abroad. Each category has its own jury of design experts, who assess the submissions against a series of criteria, including how appropriate the materials are, originality, and problem-solving qualities. Rodney McMahon, chairman of the Design Guild Mark, says: “The judging days are busy and intense, but it is always fascinating to learn how designers have developed their ideas and to witness their pride and excitement. “The judges’ knowledge and questions are endlessly thought provoking and it is a design masterclass for me, and to be able to do it in person this year was a real privilege.” This year’s judges were: Joanna Biggs, GA Design; Elliott Koehler; JPA Design; furniture designer Lucy Kurrein; Tom Pearce, Farrah & Pearce; Campbell Thompson, The Conran Shop; Linzi Coppick, Forme UK; Daniel Hopwood, Studio Hopwood; Clare Johnston, the Royal College of Art; designer Natasha Marshall; Emma Sewell, Wallace Sewell; Peter Thwaites, Rapture and Wright; Simon Alderson, twentytwentyone; Tim Rundle, Tim Rundle Studio; and John Tree, Jasper Morrison. Elliott Koehler comments: “Resuming the in-person event this year was such a rewarding experience for all. Products are meant to be touched and evaluated in a physical space.

“There were some standout designs that were innovative combinations of craft and manufacturing excellence, as well as formats which have grown in our post-pandemic world. Always an inspiring day, and a delight to see the benchmark of the award bestowed on the very best products of the year.” This year’s Furniture category winners were: Your Move, by Jon Christie for Flip the Script Furniture; Kaya, by Morgan Studio for Morgan; Smalto Low Table, by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Knoll; Fourfold, by Barry Jenkins for Ocee International; Buddy, by Chris Fowler for Bisley; Sepal, and Saranac, both by Mark Gabbertas for Gloster Furniture; Heritage, by Dylan Freeth for Ercol; Eva, by Phidias Leonida for Nurus; Ports, by Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson for Bene; the Davenport Bureau, by David Irwin for Another Country; the Bowater Collection – Cable Shop Stool (kit), by Jan Hendzel for Jan Hendzel Studio; and the Somerset Four Poster, and Tetbury, both by Garry Smith for The Cornish Bed Company. In the Textiles, Wall Coverings, Surfaces, Carpets and Floor Coverings category, the winners were: All Tomorrow’s Futures textured linen blend, by Charlotte Raffo and Alexis Snell for The Monkey Puzzle Tree; Quest, by Jane Marks-Yewdall for Camira; Swell, by Jones & Partners for The Collective Agency; and the Northward Bound Carpet Tiles, by the Milliken Design Team for Milliken Industrials. Finally, in the Lighting category, the winners were: Hotaru, by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Ozeki Lantern Company; the Joseph Collection, by Michael Young for EOQ; Melina, by Yasuyuki Sakurai & Risa Sano for Hand & Eye Studio; Full Stop, by Derek Treadwell for Innermost; and Evedal, by Aaron Probyn for IKEA

THERE WERE INNOVATIVE COMBINATIONS OF CRAFT AND MANUFACTURING EXCELLENCE, PLUS FORMATS WHICH HAVE GROWN IN OUR POST-PANDEMIC WORLD


Heritage

our Move

Sepal

Saranac

65


The Tetbury

The Davenport Bureau

Bowater Collection – Cable Shop Stool (kit)

The Somerset Four Poster

PRODUCTS 66


INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 67

Melina

Evedal

All Tomorrow’s Futures

Joseph Collection


68

PRODUCTS BEDROOM

HUGEL

www.hugelbeds.com Adjustable beds are hugely popular in the US, Europe and Asia, with thousands of people enjoying the health and lifestyle benefits they provide – so now is the time to change the way adjustable beds are approached in the UK, states Hugel: “The adjustable divan beds currently on offer in UK showrooms hold limited appeal, and are seen as more of a forced buy than a desirable lifestyle choice.” With a mission to bring its beds’ benefits to all, Hugel is taking a refreshing approach, embracing innovative comfort technology and ontrend design, while staying true to the principles of British bedmaking. “A Hugel bed can be truly transformative to quality of sleep, health, and wellbeing,” states Hugel, whose NASA-developed Zero Gravity position aims to simulate weightlessness for deep, restorative sleep and muscle/joint tension relief. “Hit the massage buttons for a

soothing wind-down after a busy day, and snorers can leave their partners in peace thanks to Anti-Snore, a preset position that gently elevates the head to open the airways and reduce snoring. All these benefits can be enjoyed alongside classic quality

British styling and a choice of deep, traditional sprung mattresses, as well as high-tech foam and hybrid models.” Next-day trade delivery comes as standard on select models, with made-to-order beds delivered on a respectable 4-6-week lead time.



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PRODUCTS LIVING

FRESH FULFILMENT FROM FORTE Forte, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of RTA furniture, was founded in Poland 30 years ago – and, thanks to a new delivery partnership, the supplier is now able to take its offer closer to more UK retailers than ever. Furniture News asked Forte’s national sales manager for the UK, Victoria Ross, to outline the new opportunities …

Bohol

www.forte.com.pl

Buy big, or buy carefully? Despite the economies of scale, many retailers are unwilling (or unable) to justify the outlay and commitment that come with making bulk purchases in this trading environment. With rising fuel and transport costs (and a desire to stablilise prices) prompting Forte to introduce a £10,000 MOV for customers buying directly from its factory, the supplier looked for ways to streamline its offer for stockists wishing to make smaller purchases – turning to established wholesaler (and long-term Forte customer) Daily Deals for a solution.

“Following extensive discussions, it was agreed that Daily Deals were the ideal partner to help us bring our offer closer to more retailers who may not want to buy in volume directly from Poland,” says Victoria. “Daily Deals will hold plenty of stock of our most popular lines, and will be able to supply customers without strict MOVs – giving retailers a larger (and more flexible) selection of furniture to offer their customers.” Forte has agreed a transparent pricing policy with Daily Deals – goods will cost a flat +20% more than they would if purchased direct, and retailers will make their own transport arrangements with the wholesaler. Stockists will be given access to a tailored trade-only portal, where they will be able to see all available products in stock for rapid delivery. The product range can then be extended, adds Victoria, because Daily Deals is open to wholesaling any Forte product or programme a retailer wants. Daily Deals operates through an extensive courier/delivery network, and is able to deliver directly to stores or to the end-consumer – from volume wholesale to drop-ship supply, solutions are available to suit most customer requirements. “Ultimately, their flexibility in the way they deliver was what made the partnership so attractive for us and our customers,” explains Victoria. Daily Deals’ Andrew Parker adds: “We’ve been working with Forte for some time, and are excited to be able to offer more of their extensive product range to UK retailers.” Customers are advised to contact Andrew or Gary at Daily Deals for further information on the various supply routes available to independent retailers, by contacting sales@ dailydealoffers.co.uk or calling 01257 202122. Alternatively, they can email Victoria, at uksales@forte.com.pl


Curated by buyers for buyers

13-14 SEPT 2022* Register now: indxshows.co.uk *

13 Sept open to AIS member only

For exhibitor enquiries visit indxshows.co.uk or email info@indxshows.co.uk Cranmore Park Conference and Event Centre, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, B90 4LF. An AIS trade show.


72

PRODUCTS LIVING

IFD

www.ifduk.com

IFD has released 16 new Indian ranges this year, made from solid mango, acacia and sheesham. This came about because of feedback from customers wanting something different from the usual oak and painted furniture that is prevalent throughout the trade, says the supplier: “Home interiors are changing – fewer people are buying whole ranges in just one style, so we feel the time is right to offer stunning individual items that can be used in a mix-and-match way, providing a more individual look to the end’customers’ homes. “With the recent addition to our team of Helen Bonser, who has a background in visual marketing and has worked on TV shows with Alex Polizzi revamping stores across the UK, we’re also now providing a showroom service where we will set up our display in retailers’ own stores, helping them realise maximum impact and return without all the hassle of doing it themselves.”

Harvard

CORE PRODUCTS www.coreproducts.co.uk

Dunkeld

Core unveiled an extensive display of products from across its ranges at this year’s January Furniture Show in April, including tasteful new additions to its living portfolio. “Casual living is undoubtedly popular,” states the supplier, which offers a varied selection of living room furniture and an extensive home office collection. “Each piece is designed to be stylish, easy to clean, and to optimise storage capabilities with minimum space.”

Core’s Highland Home collection, for example, answers the need for traditionally constructed cabinet furniture which is practical in design and easy to assemble. Bold ideas, combined with vibrant paint finishes, wood, glass and stone, give a completely fresh look to the collection’s bedroom, living and dining products. “Demand for flat-packed furniture delivered for retailers direct to their customers’ homes boomed during lockdown, and is now coming even more into its own, as it offers cashstrapped consumers more furniture for their money,” the supplier continues, “so we were delighted to meet retailers looking to diversify their product offering to include more valuepriced product.”


IFD 16 New Ranges 42 Ranges in stock Reclaimed Timber 4 Price levels

MEET THE SALES TEAM

Direct Containers Weekly Delivery UK Warehouse

STUART MCDONNELL

JUST SIX OF OUR AMAZING DISPLAY DEALS We've put together these fantastic packages at a discounted price on every range to get your new showroom displays up and running. Are you bored with your showroom? give us a call today to see how we can help you transform your sales space into a move inviting and engaging environment that will keep your customers coming back for more

EAST, SOUTH EAST, SOUTH CENTRAL & SOUTH WEST STUART.MCDONNELL@HOTMAIL.COM 07958 517015 HELEN BONSER MIDLANDS & WALES HELENBONSER@IFDUK.COM 07515 571671

GRAHAM DICKINSON NORTH & NORTH EAST GREHAMD@AOL.COM 07734 853473

With a vast amount of experience between them including TV work and major brand merchandising our team is always on hand to help or provide advise. Give them a call or drop them an email to book your visit or show van. Or call us if you'd like to come and see our new Showroom in Kidderminster

IFD Unit 1 Cursley Distribution Park Curslow Lane Shenstone Kidderminster DY10 4DX Tel 0121 544 2744 Email Sales@ifduk.com

WWW.IFDUK.COM

Scan here for the latest Brochure


74

PRODUCTS LIVING

ISLAND IN THE SUN Kenley corner sofa with firepit table

Island Spring’s Home Junction brand continues to go from strength to strength, introducing engaging living and dining models that promise to enliven garden and outdoor spaces across the nation …

Olympus modular corner sofa with rising firepit table

A protective glass windshield surrounds the firepit

www.homejunction.co.uk

Home Junction’s new firepit tables are taking centre stage this summer – and for good reason, states a brand spokesperson: “Whilst everyone would love to lounge in their gardens during the long summer nights, sipping something chilled and gazing at the stars, the reality is the UK weather rarely plays along with these dreams, and denies us the warm evenings. “Instead, we needed to bring out our blankets to keep warm … until now!” Home Junction’s Olympus and Kenley firepit tables, available now, promise to ward off those chills. The firepit is centred in the middle of the ceramic

glass table, and a small gas bottle is hidden inside the table’s base. For safety, a protective glass windshield is placed around the firepit, so the rest of the table can be used to place drinks, dinner or that ever-sopopular grazing platter. The flames are adjustable, in case those nearby get too hot or cold. Home Junction is offering a selection of rattan garden sets that come with a firepit table, and all are in stock now for immediate delivery. Home Junction can be contacted on 0800 999 1401 or via email on wholesale@homejunction. co.uk


Our Olympus & Kenley Firepit Tables are In Stock Now for Immediate Delivery

1299

Collected £

DHD £1399

Olympus | Modular Corner Sofa

with Rising Firepit Table and 2 Stools in Grey Rattan Our Olympus Sofa Set is made from our Wide Grey Rattan and fits up to 9 people comfortably. Featuring a Firepit to offer that cosy warmth and glow, the Rising Table easily transforms from Coffee to Dining to suit your every need! You can change the configuration of the sofa from left to right whenever you get bored and let you imagination go wild!

Features • Modular Corner Sofa • Rising Table with Stainless Steel Firepit • Aluminium Frame • Ceramic Glass Table Top • 10cm Deep Shower Proof Cushions • Durable 20mm Wide Premium PE Rattan • Immediate Delivery

Please note: Gas bottle not included

Kenley | Corner Sofa

899*

with Firepit Dining Table, Bench and Stool in Grey Rattan Seating up to 9 people, this set features a Ceramic Glass Table Top with a Firepit Centre piece! It is finished in our Wide Grey Rattan and is configured with the short side on the left.

Collected £

DHD £999*

Features • Corner Sofa Left Hand Facing • Dining Table with Stainless Steel Firepit • Aluminium Frame • Ceramic Glass Table Top

This set offers great value for money, as some assembly is required.

• Durable 20mm Wide Premium PE Rattan • Immediate Delivery

Please note: Gas bottle not included

Direct Home Delivery Call us today 0800 999 1401

• 10cm Deep Shower Proof Cushions

No minimum order quantity

wholesale@homejunction.co.uk

All prices excl VAT, available while stocks last. Contact us for full T&C’s. Collection warehouse in Bilston - WV14.

homejunction.co.uk


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PRODUCTS DELIVERY FULFILMENT

WHEELS IN MOTION

SOLUTIONS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED FOR PROBLEM AFTER PROBLEM, WITH MINIMAL DISRUPTION

By DAVID WELLS www.logistics.org.uk

(photo credit: 123RF.com/nightman1965)

Disruption to global supply chains, which began at the start of the pandemic and had a significant knockon effect on businesses around the globe, looks set to continue throughout 2022 – yet the way the logistics industry has reacted should offer cause for hope, says Logistics UK’s CEO, David Wells …

The past two years have been a period like no other for our supply chain, with disruptions forcing constant changes in the ways goods move both domestically and internationally. It is testament to the dedication of staff right across the supply chain that solutions have been provided for problem after problem, with minimal disruption – from the displacement of shipping containers to a lack of HGV drivers to move goods – and our highly interconnected supply chain has remined largely intact. At the same time, our members have been facing significant increases in fuel and freight costs. Diesel prices rose by +22% in the year to 31st December 2021, while freight rates have also increased as demand returns following the pandemic, accompanied by wage inflation. With average fuel prices reaching the highest level on record, and rising inflation, there has been an unsustainable burden on logistics businesses, which operate traditionally on very narrow margins of around 1%. However, there are some signs for optimism that the industry is starting to recover. The Government’s decision to cut fuel duty in the March 2022 Spring Statement by 5p/l will result in an average saving of over £2000 per year per 44-tonne truck. However, with other operational costs rising sharply thanks to rising inflation, and the cost at the pumps still rising, this cost saving

could be lost to operators in the short to medium term. In addition, following an acute shortage of skilled drivers, increased test availability for vocational drivers, as identified by DfT, is beginning to relieve the worst of the problem and ensure that a lack of drivers is no barrier to business growth and recovery. The data shows that the number of people undertaking practical HGV tests has grown by +53.5% in Q4 2021 compared with Q4 2019, and the industry is committed to providing more access to training and testing for all those keen to join the profession and to retain existing staff. The signs of recovery are there, as our latest annual Logistics Report (available at www.logistics.org.uk/ logisticsreport) indicates – but there is still much work to be done, and ongoing economic pressures could easily stall any significant growth forecast. It is clear that, following the impacts of Covid-19, supply chains will need to change the way they work. Costeffective and efficient shipping is no longer guaranteed under the previous working model, and the industry’s reliance on JIT management systems will need to shift to using greater storage capacity. However, having seen how far we have come in just two years, I am confident that the logistics sector is set to lead the economic recovery in the months ahead


IS YOUR CUSTOMER LEFT WITH THEIR OLD DUSTY MATTRESS WHEN YOU DELIVER THEIR SHINY NEW ONE? LET RHENUS HOME DELIVERY COMPLETE THE DELIVERY FOR YOU, AND WE’LL TAKE AWAY THE CUSTOMERS OLD MATTRESS AT THE SAME TIME!

100% OF THE OLD MATTRESS RECYCLED 100% CERTIFIED RECYCLING 100% NO LANDFILL 100% GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT 100% IMPROVES CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

CONTACT US Rhenus Home Delivery UK. Unit 7 New Cheshire Business Park, Wincham Lane, CW9 6GG, Northwich Phone +44 (0) 7745 540524. Email: alan.whitley@uk.rhenus.com www.rhenus-home-delivery.co.uk


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PRODUCTS DELIVERY FULFILMENT

DELIVERY WITH A DIFFERENCE BJS has been delivering all sorts of things for all sorts of people for over a decade, and while its fleet of vehicles has grown over the years, its impressive customer service foundations remain the same … www.bjshomedelivery.com

“The reputation of BJS is one of our most valued assets,” explains MD Harinder Singh. “Over the years, we have worked hard to build our reputation upon a culture of trust, developing strong, long-term relationships with both our retail clients and within the BJS team too, all underpinned with a powerful commitment to our primary value – integrity. As we strive to deliver excellence, our values remain at the heart of our approach.” Each delivery team trains in a lifesized training academy – a unique way to hone home delivery skills – so when it comes to crossing thresholds for real, they are confident at tight corners and awkward spaces. This is why they

have a less than 0.5% damage rate, and consistently high client feedback scores upwards of 97%. Making it look so easy takes a lot of hard work from these teams. BJS sees its drivers as the heroes – they may not wear capes, but they are the face of both BJS and the brands they deliver for, and they do it with pride. A back-office team may not be handling the deliveries, but are also crucial to the customer experience. Though BJS is a large operation, the company still understands the importance of the personal touch, and retains that with a team of highly trained office staff members who it says are proactive, reactive and always reliable. As well as all the people and personalities that bring BJS to life, the business has invested heavily in IT, building “a high-performing engineering team where tech meets tenacity to ensure excellence in deliveries, every time”. BJS is always keen to build more relationships – anyone seeking to take their home deliveries to the next level can call 01922 645650 or email sales@ bjshomedelivery.com to find out more


for every corner of the home to every corner of the country

First class home delivery for all of your furniture products, on all of our own vans from Land’s End to John o’ Groats

bjshomedelivery.com


80

PRODUCTS DELIVERY FULFILMENT New Maxi Movers, now in service at Grays Transport

MAXI MOVER www.maximover.co.uk

Grays Transport provides specialist furniture distribution services to customers across the UK, and first purchased two Maxi Movers in 2021. Having realised the benefits of increased payload and volume that the Maxi Movers bought to the business, Grays placed a further order for three of the vehicle manufacturer’s verylatest, ultra-lightweight Maxi Mover

FreightLOADER PRO low loader vans, which were handed over to it last month. Maxi Movers enable delivery buinesses to maximise payload and volume, so they can deliver their loads for less. Professionals in the furniture delivery industry can call Maxi Mover on 01673 863300 – the manufacturer can help optimise fleets by building vehicles that perfectly match a business’ needs.

Think outside the box. You sell it, we deliver it, direct to your customers’ door.

01738 630 555 | sales@coreproducts.co.uk

www.coreproducts.co.uk


Home Care with Go to staingard.co.uk or call 01244 888 658 to learn more about how Staingard’s comprehensive furniture care products can enhance your consumer experience and your margins.

LEATHER CARE & REPAIR

FURNITURE CARE & REPAIR

www.staingard.co.uk

Sleep well, live well Mattressgard mattress and pillow protectors are perfect for all the family. Display instore our complete bed care range for total customer peace of mind.


82

PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES

JAMES LATHAM www.lathamtimber.co.uk

Transformad’s ultra-stylish new surfacing ranges, Tmatt and Crystal, have joined James Latham’s expansive collection of decors and finishes. Responding to an increasingly popular design preference for visually striking, sensuous, tactile and hard-wearing surfaces, Tmatt is a silky textured surface with an ultra-matt finish, while Crystal is notable for its high-gloss, highly durable finish. Manufactured using high-quality MDF core and the latest in surfacing technology, both are resistant to scratching, abrasion, moisture and heavy impact, and are designed for use in demanding interior environments and on furniture. Paul Morson, group melamine product manager at James Latham, says: “Transformad is one of the world’s most forward-thinking materials

manufacturers, and these surfaces directly respond to a number of new design trends coming to the fore – particularly the desire to balance looks with longevity, and strength with sustainability. We have a reputation for bringing the very latest premium, and innovative, architectural products onto the market. When we first saw Tmatt and Crystal, we instantly knew

we wanted to be the first to offer UK specifiers unfettered access to these high-performance surfaces.” Furthermore, these two unique products, exclusive to Lathams in the UK, form part of the distributor’s wider Summer 2022 Decors Campaign, which will showcase its extensive stock range of over 1400 brands, styles, textures and colours.

SATRA TECHNOLOGY www.satra.com

Seating- and chair-testing data can help improve design and manufacturing techniques, as well as provide evidence of due diligence. The need to demonstrate adequate safety and appropriate ‘fitness for purpose’ has become increasingly important, with many buyers of domestic, contract and office products insisting on seeing evidence of product testing and performance – states SATRA, which offers high-capacity 24/7 chair fatigue testing. For leather and textile upholstery, SATRA is experienced in the evaluation of colour fastness, flexing, abrasion and soiling resistance. For more information on SATRA’s chair-testing services, or any of its other furniture-testing services, email furniture@satra.com.


Has your old retail system seen better days?

It’s time to upgrade to a new, unified commerce & digital operations platform

by Visit iconography.co.uk/omnis


84

PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES Sci-Net has worked with Tapi since 2015

SCI-NET

www.sci-net.co.uk Sci-Net’s ERP Retail is a complete end-to-end solution for aspiring bigticket furniture and flooring retailers. Built within the popular mid-market ERP system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, the system has been designed and created from the ground up, with, and for this sector. The system covers everything from master product and SKU structure, right through to the showroom floor tablet sales app, which has been designed for speed, accuracy, upsell and insurance

opportunities – as well as the integrated finance application and payment handling functions. For example, if a customer changes their mind, efficient order rewrite capabilities offer ease, speed and traceability throughout), ERP Retail handles the entire process. Users can take advantage of complete stock management, costings and traceability, as well as back-to-back supplier ordering and total supply chain management – ERP Retail enables users to keep the customer

informed throughout the purchase journey, with automated SMS and email communications. This is backed up by full barcoded warehouse management, customer delivery and ongoing customer service management. It can also monitor sales performance, predict sales trends, and analyse store, channel, salesperson and product performance – right down YOUR BUSINESS tosmarter individual SKUs. “It’s the last ERP faster system you will ever have to invest in,” states Sci-Net Business Solutions.

Sci-Net Ltd ERP House, Duns Tew Grange Duns Tew Road, Chipping Norton Oxon OX7 7DQ

ERP>Retail has achieved Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CFMD) status

www.sci-net.co.uk

Complete stock management, costings & traceability

ERP>Retail is a certified Microsoft Dynamics industry add-on developed to Microsoft’s own stringent standards. Giving a seamless user experience and best of breed industry specific solution. With ongoing upgrades so your system never becomes out of date. This is the last ERP System you will ever have to buy!

Sci-Net Ltd A solution to run your ERP House, entire furniture & flooring Duns Tew Grangeretail business Duns Tew Road, From your master Product and SKU structure through to the showroom Chipping Norton floor tablet sales app designed for Oxon OX7 7DQ speed, accuracy, upsell & insurance opportunities and onto the integrated finance application & payment handling. If a customer changes their mind, no problem, efficient order re-write capabilities giving ease, speed & traceability throughout.

www.sci-net.co.uk

Selling from stock as well as back-to-back supplier ordering and the complete supply chain management, ERP>Retail can benefit your business. Keeping your customer informed throughout the whole journey with automated SMS and e-mail communications.

YOUR BUSINESS smarter faster THE UK’S LEADING BIG TICKET ERP>RETAIL SOLUTION

THE UK’S LEADING BIG TICKET ERP>RETAIL SOLUTION

With full barcoded warehouse management to customer delivery and on-going ERP Retail is the complete end-to-end ERP Retail is the complete end-to-end solution for solution for aspiring Big Ticket, Furniture customer service management. aspiring Big Ticket, Furniture & Flooring Retailers. & Flooring Retailers. Built within the world’s Built within mid-market the world’s popular mid-market ERP most popular ERPmost system, system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. analysis & Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. Real-time • ERP>Retail has achieved Certifi management ed for Microsoft Dynamics (CFMD) status

reporting

Monitor sales performance, predict

Designed and built from the ground up with and for Furniture & Flooring Retailers.

• A solution to run your entire & sales furniture trends, analyse store & channel flooring retail business performance, product range or

even • Complete stock management, costings & individual SKU’s. traceability Report on each store, channel

• Real-time analysis & management reporting or salesperson P&L. The last ERP System you will ever have to invest in!

Sci-Net Ltd, ERP House, Duns Tew Grange, Duns Tew Road, Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 7DQ

www.sci-net.co.uk

SciNet_JA.indd 1

16/06/2022 12:42


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 furniture@satra.com Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000


86

OPINION

LEADERS, MANAGERS AND TEAM PLAYERS Consumer expectations are high, as is staff turnaround – so it pays to ensure every member of the team is pulling together. This month, US bed industry consultant Gordon Hecht reflects on how retailers can get the best from their staff – at every level …

CHANCES ARE, EVERY TEAM MEMBER THAT’S WORKED IN YOUR BUSINESS SINCE 2019 IS A LOYAL EMPLOYEE

By GORDON HECHT gordon.hecht@aol.com

Earlier this year I read a quote from my favourite Canadian retail blogger, Donald Cooper. He stated that in business, “We all get the team that we deserve” – but what does that team look like? The players on your team will reflect how you, as a leader, act, react, and proact to the environment around you. Forward-thinking leaders sharing a dream and a plan create a visionary team and the future leaders for the business. Those leaders build their business and their players concurrently. Angry leaders who flare up at every bump in the road will either create angry players, or worse, frightened players who are unwilling to challenge their leader with new solutions. Leaders who listen create a team that is willing to share the ground-level issues that prevent the organisation from market domination. Absent leaders who just aren’t on site at the retail store create players who are also willing to check out early, or loathe the boss while they toil the retail schedule. Communicative leaders share information about how the business is progressing. Some even share the financial knowledge of how to run a business. They create players who are entrepreneurs. Egotistical leaders who hog the credit for every victory and spread the blame for every failure create players who stop delivering the legendary customer service that makes the business remarkable. You can choose the players on your team, and you can change those players as often as you like. Their actions, and the way they treat your paid-for-inadvance buying public, and each other, will depend on your leadership style. Several years ago, I asked my everlovin’ bride if she knew the difference between leaders and managers. Her explanation was simple and brilliant: “Leaders lead, and managers manage.”

It seems that in many businesses crisis management is the job du jour. I’ll agree that the last two years has thrown every kind of roadblock our way, and we’ve had to dig out of a lot of holes – yet while we’re managing our way out of yesterday’s problems, we’re ignoring tomorrow’s opportunities. Back in the day, IBM had a oneword poster in their offices. The word was THINK. In these days of eating a Grubhub lunch in front of a laptop, and where a coffee break is a lost ritual, many leaders are not providing their managers time to THINK – about how we could do things better, less expensively, attract more shoppers and team players, and exceed expectations. If you saw a store or department manager sitting in a chair staring at the ceiling and asked them what they were doing, and they answered, “I’m thinking,” you’d probably consider that your manager was losing her grip. There’s probably no better time to schedule time out of the four walls of your store. Not work at home, but time to take lunch in a restaurant (no mobile phones please) or shop a competitor, or just walk in the park. Chances are, every team member that’s worked in your business since 2019 is a loyal employee. They’ve had 730 reasons to quit in the last two years, equal to one a day. Be sure to thank and reward them. But you also may have some bad players, or others that just got too comfortable in the 24-month pity party. A key rule of leadership is ‘poor performance that is not addressed becomes company policy’. And any department can have employees who are miserable and make everyone miserable around them. Sure, it’s difficult to hire these days, but your bad player will land up driving your good players to another team. Correct it or clean it out – that’s leadership your team will respect and appreciate


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88

OPINION

IMAGE CONSCIOUS In marketing, images matter – so it pays to get them right, says Press Loft’s founder Nicola Snell, who offers a few picture-perfect tips for furniture businesses this month …

THE BRANDS THAT CAN CAPITALISE ON ANY OPPORTUNITY THAT COMES THEIR WAY HAVE A LARGE, VARIED IMAGE LIBRARY AT THEIR FINGERTIPS

By NICOLA SNELL www.pressloft.com

The phrase ‘a picture says a thousand words’ may seem tired, but in a visual world filled with short attention spans, it’s never been more true. The reality is that you could have the most incredible brand story and new designs, but without top-notch imagery to illustrate them, your chances of being able to engage potential customers or retailers will quickly diminish. From your own website to press placements, product listings on digital marketplaces to social media posts, an expansive library of product imagery is one of the best investments you can make. The brands that can capitalise on any opportunity that comes their way, or shake things up quickly if something isn’t working quite how they’d hoped, are those that have a large, varied library at their fingertips. Products come in many forms, and it’s important to know how you can use them all. Lifestyle images are the perfect way to help potential customers envision your product fitting into their lives. A wellstyled living space with a comfy looking sofa or a table that has been set ready for a summer BBQ are great ways to engage and excite your audience. Whilst using models can be a great way to further paint the picture, and are useful for your own brochures and marketing materials, they can limit the images’ versatility in press and on social media – so, if you’d like to include models in your shoot, be sure to also get some of each set up without them. Styling is incredibly important when it comes to lifestyle images, as you want to display the product in a natural, engaging setting, but with balance so that it’s not lost. Cut-outs, which are sometimes known as deep etch, are probably the most useful image type in your arsenal. Where styling and theming can sometimes date or become oversaturated, a cut-out’s lifespan is as long as you are selling the products for. They are great for website and digital marketplace listings, but also for press, given how versatile the format can be. In fact, 60% of press features will use cutout images in their features.

As well as the whole product, it’s worth also taking some cut-out shots of fabric swatches, textures and materials too, as this will help the viewer really get a feel for the product. There’s some opportunity to take some hybrid images too, which look great on social or peppered throughout online product listings. Sitting somewhere between a lifestyle and a cut-out, these semi-styled images retain the simplicity of a cut-out, with the opportunity to add small amounts of personality and character. This could be the simple addition of a coloured or textured background, grouping the entire collection in one frame, or adding styling accessories to a flatlay that help tell a story – a bobbin of thread next to a hand-stitched cushion, for example. Then there’s behind the scenes or context images, which can be great for social media and press. Don’t forget to keep a library that documents your products being designed and assembled, as moodboards of swatches, materials and samples that helped you bring the piece to life. In terms of timing, if you want to see your products featured in a glossy magazine or included in a third-party campaign (think trade show you’re exhibiting at or a retailer who stocks your brand), remember that they’re going to want your images as soon as possible. If you’re scheduling a shoot, don’t forget to factor this in, as well as having props and briefs ready for seasonal styling so you don’t miss allimportant retail periods like Christmas or the start of summer. Finally, you can have the most beautifully styled images going, but if they’re low quality then their use is extremely limited, and any resource invested into them will not be worth it. A minimum of 300dpi is the industry standard, so be sure to meet this. Whilst images taken on a phone can suffice, remember that some apps will reduce the quality of the images when editing. Also, remember to keep plenty of white space around your products so the image can be reformatted and resized with ease



90

OPINION

GET ON THE MAP One of mankind’s earliest wayfinding methods was following stars – and more recently, satellites have provided navigation information to our phones. Today, digital indoor wayfinding apps are being developed to help people reach not just the entrance to a store, but the department or even shelf they want, writes Joe Fernandes, founder and CEO of navigation platform BuzzStreets …

Wayfinding is an important aspect of running a business – and here are three ways it can help boost yours: 1. Think basics Many businesses miss key details. Clear signage outside your business is obvious – but what about beyond your front door? By making it obvious to your customers that they are nearby, you reduce the risk of them becoming lost. Finding a place of business quickly and easily creates a positive feeling of support and professionalism. Customers feel that they can rely on you to show them the way – it is the beginning of building trust. Trusted companies are more popular, and they do more business. On your website, Facebook page or in a pinned Tweet (perhaps a thread), include a few directions about where people can park, which entrance to go through, as well as any details that might let them know they’ve reached the right place. You may even consider including photos to help reassure customers that they’ve gone the right way, since many people are visual learners. But don’t assume that everyone will be driving. Provide details of bus routes, stops to get off at, and the frequency of buses and trains. 2. Think community Supporting local businesses is important to many people, and you can use your wayfinding to highlight how connected you are to your local community – perhaps pointing out other local businesses or points of interest. This shows that you are integrated within and supportive of your community. You could include images of the local pub or school on the corner, to let people know that they are close.

By JOE FERNANDES www.buzzstreets.com

These visual reminders are both useful and place your business within a wider community that will help customers feel secure, and that they are dealing with a knowledgeable, friendly brand. Supporting other (non-competitive) businesses is another way of being helpful while showing that you champion your community. Tell them where the best place to get a coffee is, or where your staff tend to get the best lunchtime snacks. If there are any interesting points along the way, you could tell people a little about the history – be connected, friendly and informative. 3. Think indoors Wayfinding should not stop at your front door. Indoor wayfinding is especially important if you are situated within a shopping centre or are a concession within a larger store. Using an indoor wayfinding system helps people find your business within these larger, more complex environments. Systems like BuzzStreets can also provide the best route – the quickest, the least busy or with fewest stairs. You could even point out useful places along the way, such as the nearest toilets or coffee shop inside the shopping mall. An extra benefit of some indoor wayfinding systems is that you can gather additional anonymous data about your customers. You can discover where they entered an environment such as a shopping centre, what route they took, how long it took them, whether they missed the cafe because they took a different route, or which routes are most used. With this new data, you can ensure that people find you quickly and easily, where you might need to add signage, as well as understand the best placement for things like water coolers, toilets or concession stands

BE CONNECTED, FRIENDLY AND INFORMATIVE – THIS SHOWS YOU ARE SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR COMMUNITY


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92

OPINION

TAKING CHARGE The global supply chain crisis has impacted the furniture industry at every level – but how are consumers likely to react when faced with late deliveries and no-shows? In this article, Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO and cofounder of Chargebacks911, explains how damaging transaction reversals (or chargebacks) can be, and how they might be avoided …

IF CUSTOMERS CAN REQUEST REFUNDS EASILY FOR THE FURNITURE THEY PURCHASE, THEY WILL CHOOSE THAT OPTION

The world has a serious supply chain problem. It’s been reported on at length throughout the pandemic, with shipping issues and rising transport costs exerting significant pressure on the furniture industry. The term ‘chain’ is important to remember, because what happens at one part of the chain has knock-on effects further down – and one of these effects is likely to be an increase in chargebacks. If customers aren’t getting the goods they order on time, many will initiate a chargeback, which will end up costing significantly more than a refund and could contribute to your company being charged more for every transaction. The crisis started over two years ago as the pandemic started to impact major manufacturing centres, such as China. Factories at these locations had to shut down or slow down production, and the shipping companies who take their finished goods across the world similarly slowed down their operations in anticipation of less demand. This period of decreased demand clogged up the international shipping system, with even the containers used to ship goods across the world being in short supply. The cost of shipping skyrocketed, and the sudden influx of ships overwhelmed the capacity of ports. What’s more, because of decades of lean, JIT logistics practices, there was little in the way of warehoused goods to fulfil demand – meaning that the crisis is still ongoing in many places. How does this affect chargebacks? Furniture businesses that rely on shipping physical products to customers will have been affected by the supply chain crisis – domestic shipping has been affected by increased demand and

By MONICA EATON-CARDONE www.chargebacks911.com

a decreased number of delivery drivers. Inevitably, this means that customers have been getting their products later, or in some cases not at all. Although many will contact merchants directly to resolve issues, some will simply initiate a chargeback. Technically speaking, these ‘goods not received’ chargebacks are only supposed to be used if merchants refuse to refund customers for goods that are not delivered – but too many consumers consider them a first-line solution to their problems, mainly because in most cases, chargebacks are highly likely to get their money refunded. However, a surge of chargebacks can be devastating for furniture businesses, as they can be very costly – they also include fees levied by the acquiring bank and take time to process, particularly if you intend to dispute them. Should your company receive enough chargebacks, your acquirer may decide that your company is risky and will therefore increase their processing fees, meaning that every transaction will cost more. How can chargebacks be stopped? The first step is to offer robust, easyto-use package tracking for all your deliveries. Even if a delivery is running late, a customer will still be able to see it, and that should prevent a request for a refund or chargeback. It is also important to make sure it is easy to request a refund for an item that doesn’t arrive. If customers can request refunds easily for the furniture they purchase, they will choose that option over the relatively more complicated process of initiating a chargeback, and although refunds aren’t ideal from a business standpoint, they are preferable to chargebacks

TOO MANY CONSUMERS CONSIDER CHARGEBACKS A FIRST-LINE SOLUTION TO THEIR PROBLEMS



94

OPINION

RESULTS DRIVEN Three sofa retailers dominate the UK’s online search market – but where are they missing a trick, and what can other e-tailers learn from their approaches? Lucy Dodds, senior content strategist at Evolved Search, asks Google …

THE MARKET VALUE OF ORGANIC SEARCH CLICKS IN THE SOFA SECTOR IS WORTH OVER £37M A MONTH

By LUCY DODDS www.evolvedsearch.co.uk

As online sofa retailers recover from the volatility in traffic caused by the pandemic, many are preparing to maintain and grow their presence in Google Search. With a lasting impact on brick-andmortar stores, consumer attitudes have shifted to buying products online which previously had a much stronger presence at stores – including sofas. With this change in attitude, online retailers must react. But this does not simply involve increasing rankings and growing their presence in Google – it is about developing lasting relationships with consumers and building trust so customers are willing to shop for something they previously would never have considered buying online. Our Search Competitor Insight Report found that the market value of organic search clicks in the sofa sector is worth over £37m per month. However, three brands dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs) and hold more than 83% of that non-branded organic click value – DFS, Sofology and ScS. As expected, the larger brands lead the way for highly competitive generic sofa and product category terms, although DFS is significantly contributed to by the site’s strong lead for sofabeds, holding a 60% market share – 1.5 x higher than the other 18 brands in our report combined. Sofology isn’t as strong for the generics, but consistently ranks in the top three positions for highvolume sofa product categories. According to overall search visibility alone, Furniture Village is the highest performer. However, stripping away branded keywords shows an organic downturn, which coincides with a 2018 Google core update that focused on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Sites with poor-quality content were affected by this major algorithmic change, and it appears Furniture Village was impacted as a result. Loaf.com is another site that has seen a significant drop in visibility since 2018 – a huge -55% decline – although we have seen more recent changes which could make it one to watch this year.

Our report found that almost all brands are missing out on key SERP features, including ‘Featured Snippets’. A study by Ahrefs says that the search query ‘answer box’ steals away a third of clicks that would normally go to the site in position one for that search term. However, only DFS, Sofology and Darlings managed to obtain more than two Featured Snippets. In total, only 0.5% of Featured Snippets have been acquired by the sofa brands in our report, out of a total of 6577 opportunities. This is even more interesting when you consider that Featured Snippets are normally acquired through well-targeted, highquality content, and where a site has the correct technical implementation, indicating that even the largest brands are falling down in this area. For other SERP feature opportunities, only Love Sofas has correctly implemented Rating Schema for around 200 rankings – which allows sites to display rating stars in the search results. conversionXL found that star ratings improve organic clicks by +35%, indicating that almost every site in the sofa industry is missing out. Meanwhile, the Digital PR segment of our report shows that several sofa sites are subscribing to an outdated link acquisition strategy by poorly targeting topically relevant sites. Even larger high street names such as ScS are not acquiring relevant links on topical sources such as Apartment Therapy or Country Life. Surprisingly, Loaf is a leader here, having earned the most topically relevant links as well as other strong links from Tier 1 sites, mostly through proactive expert commentary and product PR. Our CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) analysis of the industry shows that almost all brands could increase their organic traffic value by reducing PLT (Page Load Time). Several companies are losing out on a significant number of sales from lost traffic caused by a high PLT impacting the bounce rate of these sites – with one losing up to £220,000 worth of organic traffic due to a less-optimised PLT


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At The Helm Join Hydeline’s voyage of discovery BEDROOM / DINING / LIVING IFHS / AUTUMN FAIR / TRADE SERVICES

#367 October 2019 www.furniturenews.net

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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. www.iafpalliance.com

25/09/2019 14:09


96

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OPINION

97

PURSUING HAPPINESS The cost of living crisis is all around us, with many suffering more than they’d like to admit. Here, Sue Dean, welfare officer at industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company, offers some advice on how to cope, and how institutions like hers can help …

STRUGGLING DAY IN, DAY OUT TO KEEP TO A TIGHT BUDGET IS SOUL DESTROYING

INDUSTRY PARTNERS

By SUE DEAN www.furnituremakers.org.uk/welfare

Everyone’s talking about it – the cost of living crisis. Mr Micawber, the fictional character from Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, probably best summed up the effect of low income with his principle – annual income exceeding expenditure equals ‘happiness’ and household outgoings higher than income equals ‘misery’. That’s what many are experiencing today. Misery. Even with the most prudent household budgeting, this crisis is going to challenge many. At The Furniture Makers’ Company, this is what I’m hearing, both from grant applicants and HR professionals in the industry. Many describe this time as a perfect storm. Filling a family car is now exceeding £100, energy bills are at a record high, food, transport and supplies for industry all going up. The Office for Budget Responsibilities is forecasting the highest inflation in 40 years at +9% (forecast to go to +10% soon). Public service unions have been asking for wage rises in line with inflation, with the governor of the Bank of England requesting employees show ‘restraint’ when negotiating pay. For those on welfare benefits, the picture is even bleaker, as benefit uprating won’t keep up with inflation. The reality is that the cost of living crisis is fuelling a sense of desperation. The temptation for many – especially low-income households – is to extend overdrafts and borrow. If the economic arguments were not enough, we have a public health crisis emerging. One in six are now making visits to food banks, 22% of children are now eligible for free school meals, and 14.5 million are living in poverty in the UK. There’s a recognised correlation between poverty and poor mental and physical health. If all this is making you feel despondent, you’re not alone. One of

the biggest public health concerns we have is our mental health. Struggling day in, day out to keep to a tight budget is soul destroying. It’s no wonder people on limited income face increased levels of anxiety and depression – reports suggest typical incomes will fall by £1000 over the coming year. So that takes me back to Mr Micawber’s principle … if you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some tips to help you though this crisis. Firstly, help is available, in the form of measures from central Government. Next, my experience highlights to me the urgent need for people to build financial resilience into their household budgeting. The Money Charity has tools and advice to build financial resilience. Look into whether you/your family are claiming the right benefits. Findings from Turn2us show there are £15b unclaimed welfare benefits annually. They and Citizens Advice have a benefits checker to see if you could apply. And don’t forget your occupational charities, like ours. Requests for grants surged during the pandemic, in part due to the reduction in the perceived stigma associated with reaching out to a charity at a time when ‘we are all in this together’. Today’s crisis has similar connotations. The Furniture Makers’ Company has been supporting the welfare of people working in the furnishing industry since 1903. We can provide various grants, depending on the person’s situation, to help alleviate financial hardship. If you’ve worked in the industry for two years or more and need advice or grants, then please get in touch. We will come out of the crisis eventually, but it is going to take some time. Use this time to plan how you will manage your finances – you may be surprised by what you learn

Young Furniture Makers exhibition.


98

OPINION

THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Mike Murray (Land of Beds) We advertise the business locally through specific geo-targeted ads on Google, Bing and social media channels. These ads are served to customers within a specific radius of each store. The campaigns are tailored to the needs of local customers Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers) Advertising is difficult because we sit on the edge of both the East and West Midlands. We use a mix of local radio and social media – I feel the days of newspaper and leaflet advertising are long gone Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds) We market locally through a wide variety of media. Targeting our key demographic, each medium is tested and measured to ensure ROI is provided. Types of marketing employed are TV, press, radio and direct mail, mixed with modern digital media such as AdWords, email and social channels Steve Adams (Mattress Online) We advertise on local radio and occasionally the printed media. More recently we have joined the local Chamber of Commerce, which has raised awareness of Mattress Online as a great employer and contributor to the local economy, in both Rotherham and Sheffield

HOW DO YOU MARKET YOUR BUSINESS LOCALLY?

Wendy Martin Green (Peter Green Furnishers) I am on the marketing team with my MD Mike Devey and our digital media manager, Iulia Pop. My daughter provides the artwork for us. We have a TV ad which is served to our target demographics and works very well for us, and we use various local radio stations quite heavily. In more recent years we have turned to social media, and we do very much less in the way of printed advertising now. We are a creative group, with marketing, writing and graphic skills – our ads are created in-house, and we seem to do very well with them. Most of all we enjoy it, and I think our listeners and readers can feel that

#394 July 2022 www.furniturenews.net

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

BACK TO NATURE

Hypnos goes greener with Origins Organic

* Join the conversation on Twitter @FurnitureNewsED * Message the editor at paul@gearingmediagroup.com * For advertising and subscription enquiries, see p3 FLYING THE FLAG

Britain’s top furnituremakers in the spotlight BEST OF BRITISH | LIVING DELIVERY FULFILMENT BEDROOM | TRADE SERVICES

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The benefits of Barkers’ online experience Out-of-the-box thinking from Simba

22/06/2022 12:45

Royce Clark (Grampian Furnishers) We very much focus on direct mail combined with social media, and have stopped all our regular press and radio advertising. Our new building is situated on a busy main road, so our advertising spend has actually gone down due our prominent location Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture) We use a full range of marketing media across our bricks-and-mortar trading area and online to a UK audience. TV, radio, direct mail, digital mail, social, online, sponsorships, doorstep, outdoor – they all play their part Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins) We’ve moved to a more digital-based marketing strategy since Covid. Social media is growing in importance, and we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. We have even used a ‘social media influencer’ who lives locally and now appears on national TV. We have the obligatory listing on Google Maps and have a new website under development. We occasionally use local radio (we stopped using it for a while, but we had a jingle that really stuck in your head, and when we stopped using it many of our customers thought we had gone!). We also use local press and glossy magazines, though this is much less frequent than it used to be



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