Furniture News #397

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ECO CONSCIOUS LIVING | TRADE SERVICES SOMEWHERE THAT’S GREEN Hypnos’ new group MD beds in Get ahead with predictive SEO Haskins’ Jade Farthing talks shop #397 October 2022 www.furniturenews.net Illuminating approaches from Chilli Pepper Designs
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ALL THE SIGNS INCREASINGLY POINT TO THE NEED FOR LASTING CHANGE

As I write this, the economic landscape is quaking with the tremors of new Government policy, from tax cuts to energy bill freezes.

Who knows which of this rapid succession of fiscal measures (yet still no sniff of business rates reform) might truly encourage growth? Are we looking a politically expedient sticking plaster, or a real turning point?

There are so many plates to spin right now, it’d be easy to ignore the ones in the background (usually those with no quick fix available). In this month’s issue, we return to the sustainability story, as all the signs increasingly point to the need for lasting change.

From p22, you’ll find our deepest investigation yet into the trade’s thoughts on the matter. Do consumers understand the implications of more eco-friendly furniture, and are they willing to pay for it? What should a business’ sustainable priorities be? What lies beyond the noise of marketing greenwash, and should we be working more collaboratively to deliver it?

As well as wide-ranging comment from retailers and suppliers alike on

the nature of changing demand and practical ways to meet it, those new to the discussion will appreciate our primers on circular design (p30) and the various terms involved in the green movement (p32).

And yes, amidst all the warming and waste, there is cause to be optimistic. Having witnessed numerous examples of positive change at this year’s NBF Bed Show (more on that next month), I’m confident that our industry can make a difference. On p10, you can read all about Hypnos’ vision of sustainable development, in my interview with the bedmaker’s new group MD, David Baldry. “Some truths just become clearer over time,” he told me.

In a stark break from the norm, much of last month’s news was dominated by the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Many remarked that, such was the longevity of her reign, she had seemed a permanent presence in our lives, and her absence created an acute sense of loss.

Perhaps it serves as another reminder not to take what’s around us for granted.

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CONTENTS 36 CHILLI PEPPER DESIGNS (COVER FEATURE) 6 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Hypnos / 14 Getting personal 18 EVENTS 18 Autumn Fair / 20 January Furniture Show 22 ECO CONSCIOUS 22 Unlocking a greener tomorrow / 30 Circular design 32 Green glossary 36 PRODUCTS 42 Living / 44 Trade services 48 OPINION 48 Predictive SEO / 50 Selling the benefits 52 What is a consumer? / 54 Revising right to work 57 Partner comment / 58 Feedback ECO CONSCIOUS LIVING | TRADE SERVICES SOMEWHERE THAT’S GREEN Hypnos’ new group MD beds in Get ahead with predictive SEO Haskins’ Jade Farthing talks shop #397 October 2022 www.furniturenews.net Illuminating approaches from Chilli Pepper Designs FN397.1.indd 26/09/2022 10:36 10 SOME TRUTHS JUST BECOME CLEARER OVER TIME CONTRIBUTORS Emma Samson, marketing communications manager, Searious Business Adam Freeman, managing partner, MediaVision Sean Holt, MD, British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) 30 48 57 5

DFS GROWS DESPITE “OPERATIONALLY CHALLENGING YEAR”

DFS says it overcame significant challenges to achieve revenues of £1149.8m (down from £1060.2m in FY21) in the year ended 26th June 2022.

Revenue from continuing operations (now excluding Sofa Workshop) grew by £192.4m, “underpinned by a strong order bank entering the year, as well as double-digit order intake growth across both brands, driven by market share gain in DFS and new showroom openings in Sofology”, according to the retailer’s preliminary results.

The proportion of online sales (c.22%) remained significantly ahead of the comparative FY19 period, but has now normalised against the higher levels of FY21. DFS reported a PBT of £58.5 (down from £102.6m in FY21).

Group CEO Tim Stacey says: “This has been the most operationally challenging year that we can remember, with industry-wide Covid-related supply chain issues, double-digit cost inflation on raw materials and ongoing colleague absence and skill shortages. Looking forward, the UK furniture market continues to be challenging and the outlook for the sector remains uncertain given the macroeconomic environment. From the fourth quarter of the year, we saw a reduction in the volume of orders, which we believe is consistent with the overall furniture retail market – although our elevated order bank will provide some resilience as we enter our 2023 financial year. We stand behind our ambition to grow turnover to £1.4b and increase our PBT(A) profit margin to over +8%.”

The period saw the closure of DFS’ Netherlands

and Spain businesses, yet the retailer achieved further market share gains, opening seven new Sofology showrooms, with two more planned in FY23. Its DFS store transformation programme has been rolled out across 47 locations, with the refitted ones showing enhanced sales growth and an average payback period of under 24 months.

Despite creating some customer dissatisfaction, DFS says it overcame significant Covid-related supply chain challenges, and inflationary cost pressures which were absorbed into product prices.

In Q4 of DFS’ FY22 and Q1 of FY23, order volumes softened markedly relative to pre-pandemic levels, and the macroeconomic environment remains challenging, “given the potential effects of the current high-inflationary environment on consumer behaviour”, states the retailer.

“We are targeting cost opportunities on property, supply chain and administrative activities, created by the scale benefits of ongoing DFS and Sofology brand alignments and volume growth relative to pre-pandemic levels,” states DFS’ outgoing chair, Ian Durant.

SCS ENTERS THREE-YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH IDEAL HOME

ScS has announced a three-year commercial partnership with consumer interior design print and digital title, Ideal Home. The partnership will see the retailer launch exclusive ranges in partnership with Ideal Home in 98 stores and on its website.

James Heese, commercial director at ScS, says: “Our partnership with Ideal Home is the latest in a number of exciting developments for ScS as we support our customers to create a home they love. This partnership is particularly exciting, as Ideal Home is the leading authority on home trends in the UK, and has been for over 100 years.

“ScS has collaborated with the Ideal Home team to create stylish and affordable ranges. We’ve been thrilled with the positive customer feedback to date and look forward to collaborating with Ideal Home over the next three years.”

Last month, the retailer reopened its store on Birkenshaw Trading Estate, Uddingston, to reflect its new omnichannel format. It follows similar updates in Coventry and Gateshead this year. In other news, Carol Kavanagh (ex-Travis Perkins and currently a non-executive director of Speedy Hire) joined ScS’ board as a non-executive director.

LUXURY SWEDISH BEDMAKER ENTERS UK WHOLESALE MARKET

Carpe Diem Beds, which opened a flagship store in Marylebone, London, two years ago, before entering Harrods this April, plans to launch a UK wholesale business through UK-based sales agent, Oliver Bowen.

“We are incredibly excited about taking this step and being able to reach more people across the UK,” comments Helen RK Jensen, VP brand, Carpe Diem Beds.

Other than the four directly operated flagship stores in Sweden, Denmark and the UK, Carpe Diem Beds are available through retailers in 20 countries. The retail offer is complemented by an ecommerce site.

Oliver says: “I believe that Carpe Diem Beds has enormous potential, and I am eager to get to work on delivering the existing strategy for the UK market and to accelerate the brand’s growth.”

Oak Furnitureland has appointed former Sofology buying director Suzy McMahon in the new role of CCO

Rowen Homes, a luxury homeware brand based in the North East, has recruited ex-Made. com head of buying Rob Hudson (previously associated with brands including BHS and Next Home)

Arlo & Jacob is moving its HQ from London’s Fulham neighbourhood to Melbourne in the East Midlands, “a natural location to base operations” given the nearby location of its workshop, the brand states

The Vita Group has become the first PU foam manufacturer to set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the level of decarbonisation required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

Furniture China and Maison Shanghai, which were to run last month, will now take place on 23rd-26th November 2022

Swyft has appointed a new national sales manager, Amanda Taylor, who has “a strong background in business development”, states the boxed sofa and bed brand

Rhenus Home Delivery UK plans to create an Academy of Excellence at its new Magna Park site, in which to deliver a variety of training methods across the group

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ScS has appointed ex-Home Retail Group CEO John Walden to join its board as independent non-executive director, with effect from 1st March 2023. He will also become non-executive chair of the group on 30th November 2023, when Alan Smith retires

NBF CELEBRATES BED INDUSTRY’S FINEST

The National Bed Federation (NBF) crowned its 2022 Bed Industry Awards winners at the Bed Show gala dinner in Telford last month.

An independent panel of judges, including Furniture News’ Paul Farley, selected 11 winners from a shortlist of finalists comprising NBF members, their sales agents/reps, and supporting bed retailers.

The BFM’s latest research has revealed a YoY rise in the value of trade sales in 2021, with the general UK market for all furniture also improving. All sectors saw the value of manufactured sales rise, but an increase in imports was also recorded, resulting in the UK share of net supply falling by -1%

Artisan Furniture, one of the UK’s largest dropship furniture suppliers, has expanded its range to encompass home accessories and furnishings, and now offers over 1300 SKUs under its Wholesale & Dropship programme

Hyve Group has appointed Nicola Meadows as portfolio director for Spring Fair, Autumn Fair and Moda, and Alejandra Campos as event director for Moda at Spring and Autumn Fair

This year’s winners were: Elevate Ultra Turing Plush mattress by Sealy UK for Bed Product of the Year; Himalaya Nettle, Cotton and Kapok Fibre Comfort Layer by Hypnos for Component Product of the Year; Harrison Spinks for Bed Manufacturer of the Year; John Cotton Nonwovens for Component Supplier of the Year;

Neil Steed at Shire Beds for NBF Member Sales Agent/Rep of the Year; Dreams for National Bed Retailer of the Year; Mattress Online for Online Bed Retailer of the Year; Now to Bed for Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year; Glasswells for Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year; Dreams for Best Marketing Campaign; and Glasswells, Bury St Edmunds, for Outstanding Bed Store of the Year.

TV and radio presenter Colin Murray (pictured) hosted the annual gala dinner and

awards ceremony, recognising winners across bed manufacturing, supplying and selling for representing the best in innovation, growth and marketing.

Jim Gerety, NBF president, says: “Now in their 13th year, the NBF Bed Industry Awards are a pivotal event in the bed industry calendar and a real opportunity to recognise the businesses and individuals who have gone above and beyond during the last 12 months. Congratulations to all the worthy winners and finalists, and those who put themselves forward to be judged.”

Read more about the awards in a special feature in next month’s Furniture News.

EVE SLEEP COFFERS RUNNING DRY AFTER POOR H1

D2C sleep wellness brand eve Sleep issued a dispiriting set of H1 results (to 30th June 2022) last month, as its bid to raise the funds required for the company’s survival continued to stall.

UK revenues were down -18% YoY, with B2C UK revenue down -14% YoY. Product ranges were consolidated to focus on the most profitable lines, while eve’s new partnership with DFS expanded its reach. eve completed cost-saving measures to cut overheads on an annualised basis by some £2.5m.

Bazaar Group has appointed a trio of new directors – Mark Short, Helen Svennson and Dan Pinchard – as it seeks further growth, including an aggressive European expansion project

DFS Furniture has announced that Ian Durant will retire as its chair and from its board at its next AGM (4th November), and that, following an externally led recruitment process, and subject to his re-election by shareholders, Steve Johnson will succeed him on that date

As of 31st August, the company’s cash balance was £1m, with a drawn working capital facility of £0.7m – yet ongoing challenging market conditions (B2C sales orders for July and August were down

-14% YoY in the UK&I) paint a bleak short-term outlook, despite a “very strong” start to the year. Back in June, eve commenced a formal sales process to explore the strategic and financing options available, including a possible sale. To date there have been no firm offers. Significant costs savings have been made to conserve cash, but, “notwithstanding these savings, eve will require further funding in October 2022, based on current management forecasts. If further funding cannot be raised, or a firm offer for the company is not received before the company’s cash reserves are fully depleted, the board will take the appropriate steps to preserve value for creditors”.

TRADING OUTLOOK AT JOHN LEWIS “HIGHLY UNCERTAIN” FOLLOWING H1 LOSS

John Lewis Partnership has reported a loss of £99m in H1 (to 30th July 2022) – or £92m before exceptional costs – which it says is “largely due to the combination of cost inflation not fully passed on to customers, impact of cost of living crisis, unwinding of Covid shopping patterns and investments to support partners, customers and suppliers”. The loss compares to a profit of £69m in the same period last year, and a loss of £52m three years prior.

“It is not unusual for us to make a loss in the first half of the year – we have done so in three of the last four half years,” says chairman, Sharon White. “Our trading is heavily skewed to Christmas with most of our profits coming in the last quarter of the year.”

LFL sales at John Lewis were up +3% YoY, to £2.1b (and up +4% on 2019), driven by a return to shops. The home category, which performed strongly during the pandemic, declined YoY, falling from 30% of the retailer’s category mix to 28% YoY. Total customer numbers reached 12.2 million, up +4% YoY, while John Lewis Trading’s operating profit was maintained at £295m. The retailer achieved cost savings of £90m, and ended the half with a strong balance sheet with £1.5b “to help weather further shocks”.

Its outlook for the rest of the year is “highly uncertain”, but the retailer has nonetheless taken steps to provide additional support for its staff.

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DUNELM KEEN TO “MAKE EVERY POUND COUNT”

Dunelm has reported record preliminary results for the 53 weeks to 2nd July 2022, which it says demonstrate confidence in “a challenging market”.

The retailer enjoyed sales growth of +16.2%, with total sales +41% higher than FY19. Dunelm says its furniture categories have benefitted from improved availability and new additions to ranges such as home office, where the retailer increased the number of options by +60%. Seasonal ranges also performed well, with customers responding well to Dunelm’s Winter Warm and garden furniture lines in particular.

The retailer’s active customer base grew by +8.5% over the year, with increases across all demographics, while new ecommerce and furniture fulfilment operations provided additional capacity for growth and improved delivery options for customers, and gains were made in sustainability.

CEO Nick Wilkinson comments: “We feel confident and well prepared to weather the current economic pressures – we emerged from an unprecedented global pandemic as a bigger, better business and we believe we have the tools in place to do that again.

“That said, the operating and economic environment is extremely challenging. In this environment, we have to make every pound count, both for ourselves through our tight operational grip and cost discipline, and for our customers, through our offer of outstanding value at all price points.

“Dunelm, at its heart, offers customers great

choice and value. Now is not the time for us to shy away from that, but for us to fully embrace it – whether it’s our Winter Warm collection or our Student Essentials range, we think Dunelm’s unique and market-leading offer is more relevant than ever before.”

In the first 10 weeks of the new financial year, sales remained “robust”, says Dunelm, which is on track to deliver FY23 results in line with expectations – a PBT of £178m, with a range of £130m to £193m.

MADE.COM SIGNALS POSSIBLE GROUP SALE AS OPTIONS DWINDLE

Having signalled a potential capital raise this summer to strengthen its balance sheet, Made. com has decided to conduct a formal review of the various strategic options available to it, to maximise value for shareholders.

Made says a combination of adverse global macroeconomic conditions – from a decline in discretionary consumer spend to destablised supply chains – combined with a slump in sales around The Queen’s funeral, has led Made to withdraw its full-year guidance. It is now exploring various costsaving options and the possibility of a group sale.

Made says it has taken several steps to manage its cost base and cash flow this year, including “significantly reducing the level of forward purchases of inventories, reducing capital expenditures, implementing a hiring freeze, removing planned spend from brand marketing activity, and laying the foundations for opening European sourcing and a new marketplace nonstocked operating model.

“In order to extend the group’s cash runway further, the board has concluded that costs must be reduced further and a process has commenced to implement additional cost reductions, including

a strategic headcount review, within the next few weeks, whilst retaining appropriate skills and resources to be able to conduct the strategic review process effectively.

“As previously announced, the board has been considering ways to strengthen the group’s balance sheet, including a possible capital raising. In light of a number of factors including the continued uncertain trading conditions, the board has concluded that the prevailing conditions are not supportive at the current time of raising sufficient equity from public market investors.

“As a result, the board has decided to undertake a strategic review, which will involve a broad range of options to either facilitate raising additional funding, for example through debt financing, through a strategic investment by a business partner or other market participant, by realising value from a sale of the group – or its business and assets – or through a business combination with another entity with sufficient funding for the combined group.”

PwC has been appointed as Made’s financial adviser with regards to the strategic review and formal sale process.

Messe Frankfurt has appointed Bettina Bärto manage Heimtextil’s Home Textiles segment, in partnership with Meike Kern. Bettina replaces Sabine Scharrer, who will take over as director of Techtextil and Texprocess, succeeding Michael Jänecke, who will retire at the end of the year

TCM Living has appointed Nicola Furlong (ex-Whittan Group, QFC and Silentnight) as MD of Ashley Manor Upholstery, with effect from 1st November, while Will Cawson (ex-Duresta) will return to the brands as design director of Ashley Manor Upholstery and Alexander and James in the coming months

Maze has been awarded Best Outdoor Furniture Design Company at the SME Business Elite Awards

Clarion Events’ new CEO is Lisa Hannant. She succeeds Russell Wilcox, who is now the event organiser’s executive chairman

Maker&Son, the British furniture brand founded by father and son, Alex Willcock and Felix Conran in 2018, has been sold to Manchester-founded business group, Inc & Co in a multi-million-pound deal

Hawa Expo – the Ho Chi Minh Export Furniture Fair – will make its debut at SECC in Ho Chi Minh City from 22nd-25th February 2023

Emma - The Sleep Company enjoyed YoY revenue growth of +33% in H122, and says it plans to open its next international office in Bucharest this quarter

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Sustainability is at the heart of Hypnos. The world’s first carbon-neutral bedmaker, Princes Risborough’s finest has long pioneered greener processes, products and partnerships – and the bedmaker’s ecoconscious DNA was part of what drew its new group MD to the business, writes Paul Farley … www.hypnosbeds.com ZERO HOUR 10 INSIGHT SOME TRUTHS JUST BECOME CLEARER OVER TIME David Baldry

“We all evolve as we go through life,” begins David Baldry, “and some truths just become clearer over time – such as the need to protect the planet. Just look at the weather we had this summer …”

Being “a man of action, rather than beliefs”, David was quick to raise the bar at the bedmaker, tasking his new colleagues (principally Hypnos’ sustainable development director, Richard Naylor) with a fresh challenge, entitled Project Zero, with the aim of broadening the scope of the business’ green thinking.

“There’s a lot of topics going off in the world right now, but it pays to have a long-term strategy,” he explains. “Being new, I have a slightly different view on things to many of my colleagues, so I decided to push the boundaries from the off.

“At Hypnos, sustainability isn’t just a poster on the wall. It’s intrinsic in everything that happens in the business, from our car scheme to staffing, product flow, investment, sourcing, development … it all builds a culture that drives us forward. Project Zero is about how we might go on to approach that culture tomorrow.”

David says there were two rules for any suggestions put forward in this grand brainstorming exercise – that any directions mooted must prioritise comfort and ethical practice.

“Although customer demand varies somewhat by generation, we know that our primary mission is to make and sell something to sleep on. We’re selling the most comfortable beds in the world, which are also truly sustainable,” he says. “The retailer wants to be able to sell those beds to their customers with as few barriers as possible, and they want them to have a fantastic experience, every night.

“All we’ve done with Project Zero is take the brakes off. We’re already looking at going beyond our [wool assurance scheme] Red Tractor guarantees to enable British farmers to get more closely involved with the brand, and bringing a new global textiles standard to the UK (it’d be nice to source

all our products from within 20 miles of the factory, but nationwide will do for now!). But what’s next?”

David says James Keen (now CEO) is a “visionary” from a sales and marketing POV, and is proud of the company’s progress – yet also determined to maintain momentum. Directors Chris Ward (marketing) and Richard Gretton (global retail sales), working alongside Richard Naylor, have also been instrumental in helping to shape David’s vision of where Hypnos will go in the next 5-10 years.

Yet, for all of Project Zero’s blue-sky ambitions, progress must be achieved in manageable steps. “I’m a bit impatient, but I’m very focused,” says David. “I find that if you focus on the small things, looking at what will help to add value, the results come faster.”

David’s background in the KBB and contract sectors gives him a grounded take on the essentials – product, service

AT HYPNOS, SUSTAINABILITY ISN’T JUST A POSTER ON THE WALL

11

and delivery – and all three are coming together in his current mission to improve the customer journey on offer.

“We’re overhauling the entire IT system to upgrade communications, implement a new ERP model, improve analytics and marketing … it’s not going to change how we make the product, but how we visualise it,” says David, who helped shepherd previous employers through this transition.

“My job is primarily to enable us to manufacture products that make people happy every day – and our technology has to change around that. And, once this overhaul’s out the way, I’ll be really drilling down into how we can evolve our customer journey.”

Since he joined the company in July, David has spent much of his time visiting Hypnos’ retail partners, and quizzing them on what they want from

WE’RE GETTING A LOT OF THINGS RIGHT

the brand – the early results of which were warmly received at last month’s NBF Bed Show in Telford.

“The challenge for independent retailers is largely the same, whatever the product,” he concludes, “and that goes for brands too. Their future comes down to how they approach the market, and if they do the right things for the right people.

“I’ve been asking retailers what they’d like to see from us, and where they think we could do better – weakness can be an opportunity for greatness. But, having come back with hundreds of fresh ideas – and a little excess weight, thanks to all the coffee – it’s clear we’re getting a lot of things right.

“It’s not all about reinventing the wheel. That’s Project Zero territory …”

12 INSIGHT

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How might a child describe what you do?

My five-year-old daughter tells everyone that I sell furniture, and she isn’t wrong. Even as MD, I love to be on the showroom floor selling our products and talking to customers. The reality is that I rarely get time to do this, but I am always more than happy to step in during busy periods.

What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face?

Recruiting the right employees. We are fortunate that we have lots of employees who have been with us over 20 years. One of our sales assistants has been with us 37 years, and there isn’t much that she doesn’t know about beds.

The time will come when a lot of these employees will retire. Their knowledge and experience aren’t something that we can teach overnight. We pride ourselves on knowing furniture, and I need to ensure that new employees have the dedication that our existing employees have.

If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on?

I would take all my employees that have supported me these last few years on holiday. I wouldn’t have been able to navigate my way through Covid without some of them. Everyone deserves a rest,

etting Personal

JADE FARTHING

Jade is the MD of Haskins Furniture in Shepton Mallet. Dating back to the 1930s, it is Somerset’s largest furniture store, covering nearly 70,000ft2 of showroom and warehousing space.

www.haskinsfurniture.co.uk

and although some may say this is a waste of budget, I don’t think we should underestimate having recharged and rested employees.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

Mother, Director, Wife. Every day is spent juggling these major parts of my life, and although I love it, it is hard work. Each aspect fulfils a part of me – however, it is a challenge to get the balance right.

What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you?

Work/life balance is complex in family businesses. There is a blur between family and work – family gatherings tend to have conversations about work, or work meetings are with family.

For me, working with family comes with many perks, but the downside is that my work can become consuming, and it is often hard to differentiate between work and life. We all deserve to switch off and focus on our own lives, but this has been a challenge through Covid.

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?

David Carter. I started my career with Ponsfords in Sheffield when I was 18, and David was the sales director who took me under his wing. I have called on him a few times for his advice or help, and 15 years later I still enjoy a good old catch up with him. He is probably unaware of his influence in my life, but the odd phrase or snippet of advice over the years has stayed with me.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’m not sure … I am still fairly young, so maybe I can answer that in the future. I would love to know what an older Jade would say to me now, though! I suspect it will relate back to the work/life balance question, and she will tell me that I should make more time for life!

What’s been your best day in business to date?

We all know retail is a rollercoaster, and that is why I love it – but my best day was the day I was made a director.

CUSTOMERS SEEM TO BELIEVE THEY CAN HAGGLE AND GET DISCOUNTS

14 INSIGHT

I have always wanted to be part of the family business and I have worked hard for the title. I gained experience in other retailers, and achieved my degree and other qualifications before working with family. I am proud that I wasn’t given the title because I am part of the family (although of course this did play a part).

What’s the biggest myth about our industry?

The biggest myth has got to be when customers assume that we obtain very high margins on products. Maybe this was the case a long time ago, but customers seem to assume that this is the case now. It is frustrating that within our industry, customers seem to believe they can haggle and get discounts.

What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing?

Customers are starting to ‘shop local’ and feel a sense of pride at supporting a local business. I think that buyers should look for local products before looking elsewhere. It is a shame that we import so much when we do have some amazing UK manufacturers. In the future, it will be important for us to be able to supply local or UK-made products. I think Covid has sped up this change within the industry and I hope it continues.

OUR EMPLOYEES’ KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE ISN’T SOMETHING WE CAN TEACH OVERNIGHT

Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years?

Unfortunately, I think it will be a hard few years, but it is an exciting time for furniture and interiors. Trends are changing and furniture is becoming far more modern as well as functional. People are falling in love with their homes again and renovating or moving. There are many new houses being built and people want nice spaces to live in.

It is important, with rising awareness of mental health and home working, that people have a space that is their own. Furniture can help create a practical link between a space to relax and a place to work. As furniture retailers, we have the opportunity not just to sell furniture, but to help people create multipurpose spaces and assist customers in a way we haven’t addressed before.

What question do you wish we’d asked? How would you have answered?

No-one ever asks me what it is like to

be a young woman in this industry. For the independent retailers, it is very male dominated. I find this surprising, given that furniture is mostly about aesthetics, and in a lot of cases, it is the woman that makes decisions in the home.

So, if you had asked me what it is like to be a young woman, I would say it is very hard and the industry has a long way to go in levelling up. I will be at the front of this change, as it will happen, but it is taking a little more time than other industries.

When I go out buying or to functions in the industry, I am in the minority, being a young woman – but it would be great to see this change over the remainder of my career, and I have a focus on ensuring that, within my business, I give opportunities to younger employees. I promoted my GM when she was 26, and she is efficient and hard working. It is refreshing to have her by my side –she brings new ideas and a whole new outlook on the company

INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 15

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FAIR TRADE

Autumn Fair 2022, which took place in September at NEC Birmingham, offered the UK and Europe’s retailers a space to meet, reconnect, network and source, as well as learn about sustainability, responsible sourcing, circularity, and advice for creating a buoyant future for retailing.

Thousands of retailers engaged hundreds of exhibitors across product sectors including homeware, decor, gifts and Christmas.

New features included the New Product Showcase, while a stand was dedicated to the Power of One campaign, and the Sustainability Product Showcase put the spotlight on an edit of eco-conscious exhibitors, and Autumn Fair’s headline sponsor, Products of Change, collaborated on the Power of One stand, offering advice and one-on-one sessions on how to make businesses more sustainable.

Buyers from retailers including John Lewis, Fenwick, Fishpools, M&S,

TJX – TKMaxx, Wayfair, Dunelm, Next and Homebase attended the show. Many commented on the importance of seeing products and meeting people in person, the scope created from crossbuying opportunities, and the benefits and value generated by the talks and presentations on the Inspiring Retail Stage and MODA Catwalk.

The event also saw the launch of a new responsible sourcing show, Source Home & Gift, to be co-located with Spring Fair and Autumn Fair, which aims to create “a new vision for responsible sourcing”, with a focus on manufacturers offering sustainable, ethical and inspirational product ranges. Suzanne Ellingham, sourcing director at Autumn Fair, says: “The launch of Source Home & Gift indicates a step change in the way retailers and brands are now able to source products. Retailers and buying teams have been telling us that they are actively looking for responsible manufacturers, those that are not just producing sustainable products, but those that pay fair wages and are fundamentally operating in the right way. The challenge for them is finding those manufacturers – Source Home and Gift solves that problem, and by working with governments around the world who are supporting this new sourcing dynamic.”

Spring Fair will take place from 5–8th February 2023 at NEC Birmingham

www.autumnfair.com
18 EVENTS
22-24 JANUARY 2023* Register now: indxshows.co.uk Curated by buyers for buyers *22 JAN 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.

NEW YEAR, NEW PRODUCT

The January Furniture Show will open its doors once again at the Birmingham NEC in January 2023. After the success of this year’s show, furniture and interior brands from around the world are raring to get back out and meet buyers, says organiser Clarion, which promises visitors plenty of new launches, fresh brands, industry insight, emerging trends and more

This coming January, buyers will have the opportunity to explore four halls of contemporary furniture, innovative design concepts, and homewares to suit all retailer and customer styles.

They will be able to discover everything from beds to cabinets, home decor and accessories from leading suppliers, all in one place. With over 10,000 new products and exclusive, never-before-seen launches from some 350 premium exhibitors, there will be endless choice of product and inspiration from some of the best brands in the industry, promises Clarion.

This season will also see the return of Furniture Talks, a schedule of masterclasses, panel discussions and interviews with renowned makers and

designers. The diverse agenda will provide visitors with an opportunity to learn from the experts, listen to industry trailblazers and look ahead with recognised thought leaders. These seminars aim to help furniture and interiors professionals learn how to overcome the challenges they may be facing in today’s industry – leading voices from the furniture world will share their insights and knowledge to help make visitors’ businesses a success.

The Furniture Awards will also be back, to crown the best in the industry. An expert panel of judges will pick deserving winners across various categories, from Sustainability to Best of British.

January Furniture Show will take place from 22nd-25th January 2023 at the NEC. Find out more and sign up on the show website

… www.thefurnitureshows.com/january
20 EVENTS

The

of

J F S 22—25 January 2023 NEC, Birmingham 4 Curated Halls 20,000+ Products 500+ Furniture & Interior Brands 15,000+ Buyers £500m+ Average Buying Power 32+ Years Serving The Industry Photograph © Skovby Book your stand today thefurnitureshows.com
UK’s home
premium interiors 75% of the floorplan is already reserved.

UNLOCKING A GREENER TOMORROW

Against a backdrop of growing consumer demand, evolving methodologies and rising awareness of the issues involved, eco-friendly furniture continues to gain momentum. But how will the movement affect how you do business? Paul Farley investigates …

In last November’s issue, we explored the philosophies behind the emerging sustainable sofa movement, before drilling down into the world of eco-friendly packaging in February. This month, we’re looking at the big picture, and asking a broad cross-section of the trade to comment on the key themes of consumer demand, effective marketing and the possibility of delivering a joined-up solution.

Do consumers really understand the implications of the processes involved in delivering sustainable furniture – and are they willing to pay for it? As the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates whether fast-fashion brands Asos, Boohoo and Asda are guilty of misleading advertising practices, where does the greenwashing stop and the hard work begin? And might the green agenda require more of a cross-industry approach before it’s too late?

Here’s what the trade had to say …

22 ECO CONSCIOUS (Photo courtesy 123RF/jmimagefactory)
23

Huw Williams (Toons Furnishers):

If suppliers clearly explain the process of producing furniture from recycled products to the sales staff in the business so they can pass that knowledge on to customers, backed by clear and informative PoS, then there is no reason why the majority of customers will not understand the process. A good example is the recycled plastic fabrics from Ashwood.

There is a clear interest from consumers in the green agenda. What needs to be focused on is the recyclability of furniture at end of life, so as little as possible ends up in landfill.

Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds): I am writing this on a day which has recorded record UK temperatures. The problem is real, and action is necessary. I am not going to pretend I have been or am a preacher or warrior for environmental matters – far from it. I have been in our industry for over 34 years and remember taking part in a supplier training session at the age of 17 and being instructed to “destroy, put a knife through every collected old mattress whatever the condition to ensure they are removed from the supply chain, and therefore another sale for a new mattress created”.

Instruction of this type is long gone, but underlines the challenge of changing mindsets and views. I am lucky to be surrounded by many great team members from younger generational periods – Millennials and Generation Z. For them, environmental matters are top of their priorities as they begin careers and bring up young families.

For these younger generations, a strong environmental goal or strategy is engaging and motivating. Another strong ‘why’ or ‘purpose’ will assist in attracting and retaining top young talent to your business. And remember – these younger generations will also be our customers of the future, who will expect businesses to supply sustainably.

In business every year we are hit with new initiatives or campaigns around what we should be doing or not doing, saying or not saying, which, over time,

can become tiring or even exhausting … hence the throwaway comments of greenwash or box-ticking (I’ve done it myself).

However, the green, environmental and sustainability agenda is very much a responsibility for all industries and businesses to embrace and take action.

We are just beginning our journey by seeking understanding and advice. With this knowledge it is my intention to build a strategy around a goal or target which will commit and engage our business and team.

24 ECO CONSCIOUS THE
YOUNGER GENERATIONS WILL BE OUR CUSTOMERS OF THE FUTURE, AND WILL EXPECT BUSINESSES TO SUPPLY SUSTAINABLY

Adam Ashborn (Reborn Marketing and Design): There are clearly two camps, with two differing perspectives on the ‘green’ movement. I do believe this movement will continue to grow and gain traction because of the way the media is presenting the data to the next generation.

Unfortunately, going green will come with a price tag until the companies’ ROI into new technologies are recouped – but the question remains, are consumers ready to pay more, or will they avoid making that purchase? Can

manufactures do more in their sale offerings, including the recycling of old furniture on behalf of the consumer by avoiding landfill sites?

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery

UK): Greenwashed box-ticking is part of it. At the moment there isn’t enough compliance. Too many retailers are professing to be selling a ‘green’ product when it clearly isn’t, and the consumers don’t know the difference. Sticking a mane round a cat’s neck doesn’t make a lion.

Tom Bayliss (Kettle Interiors

Agencies): Collectively, it’s very positive that broad pressure is now being applied across the industry to improve the sustainability of products and the way we all operate.

I don’t think this is a box-ticking exercise, and for Kettle Interiors Agencies it’s all about constantly improving the way we do things, increasing our diligence and exploring ways we can increase sustainability across all aspects of the business – but in a way that still delivers the most competitive price possible.

TOO MANY RETAILERS ARE PROFESSING TO BE SELLING A ‘GREEN’ PRODUCT WHEN IT CLEARLY ISN’T, AND THE CONSUMERS

I don’t think the consumer fully understands the implications and cost associated with delivering this just yet, but it’s clear that the consumer understands that we all need to play our part, and I certainly think they are more willing in the main to support the increase in cost associated.

Royce Clark (Collier & Clark Group):

I think we all appreciate that change is needed, but, for example, with recycling costs still relatively high and more expensive than sending end-of-life furniture to landfill, it’s a challenge. I think we as an industry could make a huge difference if we worked together and made a difference by, for example, committing to using biodegradable plastic as standard.

Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture):

We have undoubtedly seen more customers interested in the ‘green’ credentials of the products they buy, and our business’ environmental impact. Whether that be through greater interest in what we do with the old furniture we collect when delivering their new products, or through choosing products which have a better ‘green’ footprint, consumers are becoming more informed and interested.

Selecting products with proven sustainable benefits where possible is part of our merchandising process, but it is difficult to make a genuinely compelling portfolio at present. Suppliers will introduce a range with recycled fabrics or greater natural fibre content – but that might be one of 30 ranges in their portfolio. Would a housing developer be allowed to get away with putting solar panels on one in every 30 homes they build now, and claim to be ‘green’?

A brighter future may await sustainable manufacturers, but what is the cost today? (photo courtesy 123RF/alinamd)
DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE 25

We need suppliers to think about a more cohesive and all-encompassing approach so that, as the retailer, we can tell a better story to the consumer.

Customers will pay more for products with environmental benefits, but they have to feel that the reasons are genuine and will improve their ownership experience. Whether that be an accredited recycling scheme when the product reaches the end of its life, or the one-off benefit of choosing one product over others at the outset, the story has to be credible.

I’d like to see the whole industry working on a plan to provide better recycling facilities that can handle the full range of products. We had a local recycler who dismantled mattresses, but they went out of business prepandemic, and finding a replacement has been fruitless to date. As with ‘fast fashion’, I think furniture, and how we simply throw it away, could be the next big consumer backlash …

John Conroy (working with The Furniture Makers’ Company): The green agenda is a win-win situation to get involved in. Recycled fabrics are starting to be offered more and more, and what this will do is attract a certain demographic to your product. What it is unlikely to do is put someone off buying it. Regardless of your personal opinions on going green, a large portion of consumers like the idea, and it can give your products the edge.

Neil Barker (Barkers Furniture): From a retail perspective, retailers can only

buy what is made, and can only sell items people want to buy. When we are forced to change (or when fashion leaders make it popular), we’ll change. Draylon stopped selling when the flammability treatment of fabric came in during the 80s, because it suddenly creased badly. More switched-on suppliers seem to see what the clothing market is doing and get ahead of the curve that way. Government can enforce restrictions, and fashion gurus seem to create trends.

Steve Adams (Mattress Online): Mattress Online is forward thinking, and preparing for longer-term accountability. At the moment, and in this economic climate, ‘green’ is a secondary consideration for our customers – as yet, they are not willing to pay substantially more for greener products. It’s up to us as an industry to educate and manufacture greener products more cost-effectively.

Although, it’s not just our industry –the ESG expectations of the corporate world are ahead of consumer expectations. But rightly so.

Rob King (Julian Bowen): I feel every business should look to play to their strengths. We recycle waste at home through council-led necessity now, and there is no doubt that ‘greener’ issues are on the rise – but from a very low point. The percentage of furniture sales that come from a ‘lead’ need for the product to have ‘green’ credentials is extremely low – especially when the largest part of the industry is shipping in product from abroad.

The work certain bedding brands have undertaken in genuinely developing greener principles is great, award winning, and should be applauded. However, does this actually focus on their customer’s needs for profit, and the consumers need for comfort, or does it smack of feature-led selling again?

There will be some trade off between comfort – filling, cover, manufacturing process – and price, and it will work brilliantly for some consumers and not register for others. I feel consumers understand the trade off in price, as free-range food and recycled products are already available elsewhere, and usually sold at a premium.

The debate over whether green policies are a need or a want will

IT’S CRITICAL BRANDS ARE FORCED TO BE TRANSPARENT

continue. I don’t think there is a wrong or right way – the consumer will lead the retailer on their purchasing needs and there is room for all at the table, store or online web page.

Steve Reid (Simba Sleep): For me, ‘green’ furniture is about sourcing sustainably, including using FSC or certified sustainable wood, recycled fabrics and materials, and an endof-life recyclable product. Also, eco-designing the product to make it the best product, but with the lowest environmental impact, and using lowimpact manufacturing practices. It’s about choosing materials that have a reduced impact on the environment, but at the same time producing amazing, innovative products that customers will love for many years.

I also think it’s a moral and ethical obligation for all of us to make products that are repairable or available for the refurb market. I’m really proud of what Simba is doing in this space.

There is more and more evidence that customers are looking for sustainable products. According to a recent Business News Daily report, there has been a +71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods globally, while 66% of all respondents to a survey from McKinsey & Co say that they consider sustainability when they make a purchase.

To counter greenwashing, I think it’s critical that brands are forced (we can’t trust everybody!) to be transparent to customers, illustrating what materials the products are made from and what steps they are taking to reduce carbon footprints.

For the whole industry to change – or even just one company – the retailers, suppliers, manufacturers and logistics need to work in a collaborative partnership to make the biggest impact. Teamwork makes the dream work – and we need to collectively drive to make the dream a reality.

REGARDLESS OF YOUR PERSONAL OPINIONS ON GOING GREEN, A LARGE PORTION OF CONSUMERS LIKE THE IDEA, AND IT CAN GIVE YOUR PRODUCTS THE EDGE 26 ECO CONSCIOUS

Andy Stockwell (Gardiner Haskins):

It’s not a new topic. In 2010, the ‘green’ agenda was gaining traction, products generally were starting to come through, and the public was becoming more aware. Then the financial crash happened, and everyone was more concerned with how far the pound in their pocket would stretch than they were about how much plastic was in the oceans, or what a +0.5% increase in global temperatures might mean.

Since then, Brexit, conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, a bizarre US presidency and a global pandemic have grabbed headlines and disrupted thinking. Now it’s a cost of living crisis and, once again, our spending power is the key topic of conversation.

All the while, across continents, temperatures rise and the earth burns, and whilst presidents, wars and pandemics come and go, climate change continues its relentless march.

It’s no longer going under the radar, though. With the UK Government setting out ambitious targets to combat global warming, industry is starting to take action. Solar farms are springing up in fields across the UK, electric cars are ever more evident on our roads. and bed and furniture manufacturers are introducing increasingly eco-friendly materials, fabrics and processes into their products and manufacturing.

Whether consumers are really engaged with the green scene is open to debate. Any time the much-revered David Attenborough opens his mouth on the subject, there is a pique of interest and awareness, and awards are handed out to the trailblazers bidding, in their own small ways, to save the planet.

The man in the street sympathises if asked, but still needs to feed his kids

CAN MANUFACTURERS AFFORD TO INVEST IN CLIMATE-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES WHEN THESE THINGS ARE NOT DRIVING CURRENT DEMAND?

and put fuel into the family 4x4 to get them to school. His first question when he’s buying a new sofa or bed is not ‘How many plastic bottles sourced from the ocean go into producing this sofa?’, it’s ‘How much is it?’ (ie ‘Can I afford it?’) and ‘Is it value for money?’

Value for money is a subjective thing, of course. There is a price to pay for quality workmanship, quality materials, great service and reputation. Equally, in what has been a throwaway society, some consumers are willing to sacrifice some of these factors for lesser products, knowing full well they don’t intend them to last beyond the next fashion trend.

However, with younger consumers coming into the market, awareness of the green agenda is growing. Younger generations are far more aware and engaged with the implications of climate change than their parents ever were. They will be the ones most greatly affected, after all. Finding out the furniture you like is ecologically friendly is becoming less of a pleasantif-inconsequential surprise, and more of a prerequisite in the decision-making process.

This gives manufacturers something of a dilemma. As with any new process or innovation, there is a cost involved. And while the long-term benefits seem obvious, in the short term the traditional consumer still places price and value for money over eco credentials. Can manufacturers afford to invest in new, innovative, climate-friendly products and processes, particularly when these things are not driving current demand?

It’s a gamble, but one which the industry has little option but to adopt. It took Tesla 18 years to turn a profit. Now it is finally flying high on the crest of

the sustainability wave – but it could so easily have gone wrong.

Furniture manufacturers need (maybe should even be forced) to adopt a greener way of working and produce a greener product. But will customers buy enough to make the businesses themselves sustainable?

Maybe the answer is to ensure the only products available meet these criteria. If all manufacturers have to meet minimum standards and all endproducts are the same, consumers will have no choice but to purchase said products and pay the price, whatever that may be.

That should hopefully lead to green products and manufacture becoming mainstream and prices coming down. In the meantime, the industry innovators such as Harrison Spinks, Hypnos and Ashwood Designs continue to lead the way, and should be applauded for their efforts.

There are, of course, many ways the industry at all levels can improve its green performance. What is really needed is cross-industry collaboration and a joined-up strategy from governments to encourage and support those making a real difference. Unfortunately, scepticism around global warming still exists, and there are those who believe individuals, and even the whole movement, is guilty of ‘greenwashing’, scaremongering, and then ‘resolving the issue’ for profit.

Whilst there are those within the industry who choose to deny climate change is happening, there will always be opportunities for the greenwashing accusation to be laid at others’ doors. The fight against climate change is everyone’s fight, and working together the only way to win it.

27

Mark Gannon (Sofa Source): It’s generally agreed that the ‘green’ furniture movement is gaining traction – but what does it really mean to your business and customers?

There’s no doubt that sustainability has become more relevant to furniture organisations – the importance of sustainability has accelerated, and is only set to become more prevalent.

There is increasing demand for organisations to operate sustainability, causing less harm to the environment while also producing ‘green’ furniture. This demand is mainly coming from customers, but I think there will be increased pressure from the Government from a legal perspective for organisations to engage in sustainable operations.

The implications this has on our business are important. We’re analysing our own business model, products and packaging to see how we can implement effective sustainable initiatives. We have a team in place who has been working on eco-packaging for a number of months, and some exciting developments are happening in this area – from using Global Recycled Standard (GRS)-certified recycled plastic, to FSCcertified carton boxes. We understand that there’s a lot more to do to become fully sustainable – but I believe it’s important to first focus on key areas of the business, and then move forward with other sustainability projects based on market insight and what is commercially viable.

From a customer perspective, there’s increased awareness of sustainability credentials and interest in sustainably produced furniture. We’ve seen this with the rise of the eco-conscious consumer.

TRULY SUSTAINABLE PRODUCT WILL BECOME THE INDUSTRY NORM IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS

Millennials, followed by Generation Z, will make up more of the market share of furniture in the foreseeable future, and I predict that selling a truly sustainable product will become the industry norm in the next five years.

We recently carried out our own research in this area by interviewing key stakeholders in the industry, and our findings show that there’s increased consumer awareness of what sustainability means. However, being willing to pay for it is another question. The price-versus-sustainability tradeoff has a significant influence if the consumer pays more for sustainably produced products – but how much extra are they willing to pay? Other factors such as quality, comfort, style and price are often considered more important.

Customer demand is of particular importance in the study’s findings. The research suggests that in the next 10 years consumers will expect companies to sell only sustainably produced furniture. The growth in demand may not yet be mainstream, but it is gaining momentum.

The increase in customer demand for eco-friendly furniture is influenced by society, media and education around climate change and sustainability, and there is also an element of virtue signalling to peers through owning sustainable furniture. Customers are asking more questions as to how and where the product is made, and if it has the relevant certifications.

When it comes to marketing, consumers are calling out large organisations for greenwashing more

28 ECO CONSCIOUS
Mark Gannon Mark believes demand for sustainable goods will only grow (image courtesy iStock/jgfoto)

often. In my opinion, it’s better to admit you’re not engaging in green activities than to market your initiatives as ‘green’ when in fact they’re not. Organisations will get found out eventually, so it’s important to be cautious when telling your customers that you’re ‘green’. That’s why, from our perspective, we want to first deliver the sustainability projects were working on and ensure they’re having a positive impact on the environment before we engage in any marketing activities on this front.

I think it’s going to require a collaborative industry approach for organisations to make a positive impact. There are some innovative and impactful sustainability projects happening, but organisations in isolation can only go so far. I believe for a truly collaborative approach to happen within the industry, governments must also be involved and take some of the responsibility.

For instance, legislation must be reviewed and updated – particularly in the UK. The UK Fire Resistance (UKFR) BS5852 regulation was enforced in 1988 by law and requires materials such as fabric and foam to be chemically treated. These flame-retardant standards and laws can majorly prohibit furniture from being fully recycled, as the chemical treatments used are difficult to break down, therefore creating a barrier to implementing a circular economy for furniture products. Also, chemically treated furniture products are expensive to dispose of, as careful disposal is required to prevent the release of toxic fumes. Thus, furniture organisations are faced with both economic and environmental barriers as a consequence. This outdated law presents a significant barrier to sustainability practices within the furniture industry, and must be reassessed sooner rather than later.

In terms of product, our findings indicate that technological advancements in the industry to establish and implement circulatory practices, as well as innovation in design, are key. As well as legislative changes, the transition to a circular economy requires new technologies and infrastructures. Advancements in technology can have a big impact on furniture design for the circular economy, enhancing recyclability as well as making the process of disassembly or repurposing more cost-effective.

There’s clear evidence of design innovation within the industry, such as cradle-to-cradle mattresses. These go beyond the circular economy model, as there’s no waste –they’re made from recycled plastic from the ocean, and the parts are removable and recyclable, increasing the lifespan of the product.

Other findings show that to make a product truly sustainable, it must be designed using good-quality, long-lasting materials that people will keep. Furniture designed with a lifespan of 20 years has a much lower carbon footprint than the ‘fast furniture’ currently being sold on the market with an average lifespan of five years. Furthermore, incorporating easy-to-disassemble parts in the design process, with the product’s end of life in mind, aids in the circularity of the product – for example, changing the interiors or reupholstering the fabric, making it easily removable from the main frame.

We also found strong evidence that the responsible sourcing of raw materials such as FSC-certified wood, and recycled and renewable materials, is vital to this movement – which is only going to get stronger

YOUR 2023 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.

• COMPETITION – Check your competition to find out what they are offering. Avoid all-out price wars. Out-perform your competition on the most relevant beneficial points including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood to mystery shop your competitors.

• PROMOTION – Promote your business effectively. Every good retailer from Aldi to Harrod’s does. Consider using a Greenwood Sales Promotion to increase sales, turn stock into cash and win future market share, while protecting your profit at the same time. Call Greenwood!

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Take a look at our website or call me now on 07771 700247, or, send an e mail enquiry, and I’ll gladly call you to discuss the exciting possibilities we can offer you, without obligation.

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GreenwoodRetail_OCT2022.indd 1 20/09/2022 16:18 29

CIRCULAR DESIGN RULES

Every year in the UK, an estimated 22 million pieces of furniture are sent to landfill by people eager to keep their interiors on point, says Emma Samson, marketing communications manager at circular plastics agency Searious Business. However, worsening climate change and socio-economic inequalities show that this takemake-waste consumption culture isn’t working for people, planet or profit –so, how can we create a circular system where resources are retained and not lost to landfill or leaked into our environment?

The furniture industry seems ripe for a circular approach. Materials and designs tend to stay the same across decades, and parts are not subject to technological obsolescence like electronics.

It all comes down to effective design. Furniture designers need to conceptualise their products with their entire lifecycle in mind, including disposal and the system in which they exist. To help guide manufacturers, here are our 10 golden design rules …

1. Longevity

Furniture that lasts longer is the first way to decrease the use of new materials. However, as well as functional durability, you must also consider aesthetic and emotional factors. Building timeless pieces that users will love and trust for generations is the holy grail for designers.

2. Repair friendly

Slow the circulation of materials by designing easy-to-repair modular features with accessible and interchangeable spare parts and accessories across a product portfolio.

3. Easily upgraded

Furniture needs to respond to consumer needs. By supplying add-ons, upgrade features or refurbishment services, you can extend a product’s life and maintain a revenue stream from loyal brand fans.

4. Repurposing

How can the components and materials in your products be used again? Could you incorporate used material within your new products? For example, using recycled plastic in the frames or upholstery cuts carbon impacts dramatically.

5. Disassembly

6. Material choice

Choosing optimal materials is key. Consider the purpose, lifespan, environmental impact and recyclability. Mixed materials, hazardous substances and adhesives hinder recyclability. Although not yet mandatory, a product passport could help future actors better understand the resources embedded in used furniture.

7. Take-back schemes

Designing and setting up reverse logistics and reward systems to collect used furniture ensures valuable materials do not end up in landfills and diminish companies’ reliance on virgin sources, reducing CO2 emissions and risk from disrupted supply chains.

8. Product as a service Leasing models means furniture stays in circulation far longer. It can also be a way for producers to tap into a growing market segment, test their products, and strengthen consumer relationships.

9. The twin transition Digitalisation is inevitable, and will facilitate the green transition by tracking substances, materials and products across the value chain. Furniture manufacturers should use digital tools to collect detailed data and stay ahead of growing legal and social demands.

10. Communication

Although not strictly part of product design, consumer awareness is vital to ensure circular furniture is appreciated and the costs and environmental benefits understood. Standardisation of labelling is necessary to allow consumers to make informed decisions.

Furniture components must be easily disassembled – the fewer parts, the better. Keep glue and fastenings to a minimum, and the disassembly tools should be commonplace. Disassembly instructions should be easily accessible to recyclers and secondhand users.

Over the next decade, the UK furniture industry will encounter various economic, regulatory and environmental challenges. Global competition, supply chain disruption, shortages of raw materials, an increasingly enlightened customer base and legislative oversight will mean manufacturers need out-ofthe-box thinking to survive. That starts with design

30 ECO CONSCIOUS FURNITURE DESIGNERS
NEED TO CONCEPTUALISE
THEIR
PRODUCTS WITH THEIR ENTIRE LIFECYCLE IN MIND
www.seariousbusiness.com
Weavers organic sustainable fabrics are easily biodegradable in nature…

GREEN GLOSSARY

Do you want your furniture business to be sustainable, but find yourself bamboozled by all the eco-friendly and environmental terminology? More and more consumers are becoming concerned about what they buy and interested in how they can make a difference, and brands across most industries are making all sorts of green claims – but sometimes it can feel hard to make sense of the jargon and know for sure what it all really means. Here, Beyond Bamboo’s founder Tiffany Kelly explains what the terms mean, so they can be applied appropriately …

Research conducted recently by E.ON found that almost two thirds (64%) of those questioned said they want to take climate action but feel overwhelmed by the numbers or jargon, or are often put off by the lack of information available on the topic. The same study found that four in five (82%) would do more for the environment if they saw less ‘carbon jargon’ and instead received simpler information about what they could do to reduce their impact on the planet.

Simplifying the language may help you to understand properly the benefits of a cleaner, greener and more sustainable lifestyle. Here is Beyond Bamboo’s glossary of green terms, to help you navigate these green claims and eco buzzwords. This will help you make the best choices for you, your tech business and – most importantly – the health of our planet.

Net zero

Net zero refers to achieving an equal balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. This can be done by changing business processes to reduce emissions in the first place – for example, by switching to renewable energy or minimising plastic in products or packaging – while also actively removing the remaining greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, perhaps by

contributing to projects that conserve natural habitats or planting trees to absorb carbon.

You can also subscribe to have carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere and stored safely underground, where it turns to stone. The term tends to refer to current emissions, not historic ones.

Carbon offsetting

Offsetting is a way of paying for others to reduce emissions or absorb CO2 to compensate for a company’s own emissions. For example, a business may pay towards tree planting or the delivery of energy-efficient cooking stoves to communities in developing countries.

However, brands should be doing that as well as cutting emissions directly, not just substituting them. Offsetting doesn’t actually cancel out – or ‘offset’ –the emissions to which they are linked. Also, contributing to a project that was going ahead anyway doesn’t help remove extra carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So offsetting is beset with problems, which is why it is falling out of favour.

Carbon neutral

Carbon neutrality is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. This can be achieved by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal (often through carbon offsetting), or by eliminating emissions completely.

32 ECO CONSCIOUS
A zero-waste label stipulates that no rubbish is sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean (photo courtesy iStock/avid_creative)

Again, this is generally used to describe current carbon dioxide emissions, not historic ones (which also need to be removed).

Carbon positive

This is a step beyond carbon neutral. Once net-zero or carbon-neutral status is achieved, a business can start to tackle removing its historic emissions or, for new businesses, additional CO2 can be removed to create a wider environmental benefit.

Vegan and vegan friendly

If something is vegan, it does not contain any animal ingredients or animalderived ingredients. Often brands claim a food item is ‘vegan friendly’ if it contains no animal ingredients, but was made in a factory where other nonvegan items are made. The terminology is used to indicate that they cannot guarantee there is absolutely no cross contamination (but, on balance, the product can be considered vegan).

Vegan should also mean that no animals or animal products were used in any part of the product’s creation.

Animal exploitation for food and products is directly related to biodiversity and wildlife loss, either through the loss of habitat, the slaughter and starving of wild animals, overfishing and/or the pollution of ecosystems. Livestock farming is a major contributor of greenhouse gases and deforestation.

Cruelty free

Cruelty free is a label for products that do not harm or kill animals anywhere along their supply chain. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty free, since these tests are often painful and cause the suffering and death of animals. Look for the Leaping Bunny logo to be sure an item is genuinely cruelty free.

Plant based

The term ‘plant based’ has been thrown around a lot in recent times. This move away from meat is fantastic news for the environment, our health and for animals. Big companies are now seeing the marketing value of ‘plant based’, realising that people are more educated than ever about the environmental impact of food and the health benefits of eating plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones.

SIMPLIFYING THE LANGUAGE MAY HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND PROPERLY THE BENEFITS OF A CLEANER, GREENER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE

Though some people, including food bloggers, may use the terms ‘plant based’ and ‘vegan’ interchangeably, plant-based is an umbrella term and does not always equate to being vegan – so do check the labels and ask if the item really is vegan. Eating plant-based foods is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the environment as individuals.

Biodegradable/compostable

Biodegradable materials or products are those that are able to break down to their basic components when given the right conditions and presence of microorganisms, fungi or bacteria. This is great, as it keeps the item out of landfill and saves space.

Some items are biodegradable/ compostable in home composting bins, while others require industrial composting silos where very high temperatures are reached. So, check if it is suitable for home composting, as you can do this yourself without the need for additional transport, and it also indicates that the item will break down relatively quickly. Once degraded/ composted the item leaves nothing harmful behind.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an independent, third-

party evaluation by an assessment body (such as a certification body, inspection body or laboratory) against recognised standards. A brand having gained an industry accreditation ensures that due diligence has been done for that particular claim.

Be aware that not all accreditation schemes are created equal, so make sure the assessment body is widely recognised or else transparent in how it establishes the validity of claims.

Sustainable

This word is really thrown around a lot these days, but its real meaning is seldom well understood. Simply put, sustainable products and practices are those that do not jeopardise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It has become too broad a term with such little accountability that it can hardly be taken at face value. Brands that are operating “more sustainably” should always explain specifically how they are doing so.

Zero waste

Zero waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource lifecycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean

Eating plant-based foods is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the environment as individuals, says Tiffany (photo courtesy iStock/marilyna)
INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 33

PLASTIC FANTASTIC

keep

Designed to minimise its environmental impacts, the fibrefill is now made with 100% recycled plastic waste – of which 50% is ocean-bound recycled plastic collected by Plastic Bank, globally recognised as a leading solution to the problem of ocean and beach plastic.

The collected plastic waste is cleaned, recycled and processed with a sophisticated recycling technology at ADVANSA into high-grade Quallofil Blue.

The initial look and feel is what many furniture designers look for – a soft look and feel, while also meeting the highest quality standards for sofa cushions, giving them a long-lasting performance while springing back to their original shape and feel, with a negligible rate of cushion returns.

FIRA Gold certified, the Quallofil Blue fibre filling offers reassurance to customers, as the quality of the products is guaranteed by ongoing independent third-party audits and retesting to stringent standards by an independent source.

Over 350 million tons of plastic are produced every year worldwide, for use in a wide variety of applications, and, each year, up to 10 million tons of plastic waste from coastal communities end up in the oceans, where marine species are severely impacted as they ingest or are entangled by plastic waste.

Marine and bay areas are increasingly becoming less viable environments for humans and animals alike – by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea, warns ADVANSA.

Consumers are increasingly opting for more eco-friendly products. In a recent survey, 81% of Brits believed that the seas surrounding the UK would be full of plastic within 50 years, while 72% believed there would be floating islands of rubbish. Public awareness of the problem of plastic waste is growing, which has drawn the end-consumer’s attention towards sustainable products.

ADVANSA, a leading European fibrefill producer based in Germany, offers sustainable fibre solutions to customers worldwide. In the past 10 years, ADVANSA switched 90% of its fibre production to using post-consumer recycled plastic as a raw material. The latest technology allows ADVANSA to produce high-tech fibres, thereby utilising waste plastic within first-grade products. The company uses over two million recycled bottles every day.

In co-operation with Plastic Bank, ADVANSA’s mission is to help prevent and reduce the flow of plastic waste into the oceans or beaches, which mainly happens in regions that do not have efficient waste or recycling systems. About 10 rivers carry 90% of plastic waste to the oceans – of which eight are in Asia, and two in Africa. The Nile, for example, contributes over 40% of the plastic waste in the Mediterranean Sea, which equates to over 15,000 bottles per minute.

Collecting plastic before it enters the oceans can make a significant change. Plastic Bank has over 17,000 collectors registered in coastal areas like in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, and Egypt, who are rewarded for collecting plastic waste before it enters the oceans and rivers, in exchange for a source of income.

ADVANSA is also committed to transparency and traceability, and is certified by Global Recycled Standard (GRS), an independent auditing body which certifies the production of fibre using post-consumer recycled plastic

The sofa cushions that help
the oceans clean just got cleaner – Quallofil Blue from ADVANSA is an ecofriendly upgrade of the well-known premium fibre-filling for long-lasting, comfortable sofa cushions. www.advansa.com
The new and improved Quallofil Blue gives cushions a soft look and feel, plus long-lasting performance (image courtesy Adobe Stock/Africa Studio) Plastic Bank employs collectors in coastal areas to collect ocean-bound waste 34 ECO CONSCIOUS

Join the movement… the sofa cushions that help to keep our oceans clean!

Quallofil® Blue from ADVANSA is an upgrade of the well-known premium fibrefilling for eco-friendly, comfortable sofa cushions. The fibrefill is made from 100% recycled plastic waste of which 50% is collected by Plastic Bank, globally recognised as a leading solution to the problem of ocean and beach plastic.

Quallofil® Blue sofa cushion using recycled plastic is made from more than 400 recycled bottles

FIRA Gold certified, the Quallofil® Blue fibre filling lasts for the lifetime of your sofa cushions and is available from licensed cushion manufacturers: Platt & Hill Ltd. and United Fillings Ltd.

One
.
www.fusionfillingcushion.co.uk/en QUALLOFIL® is a registered trademark of INVISTA. Join the movement: www.plasticbank.com

TURNING UP THE HEAT

With key exhibitions looming, warehouses full of stock and the need to save costs paramount, there’s never been a better time to embrace CGI, says Chilli Pepper Designs’ Neil BuckleyJensen, who is taking a break from creating hard-hitting visuals (like this month’s front cover) to discuss the finer aspects of his trade …

Launched in 2020 to overcome the barriers in his own furniture brands’ marketing funnel, Chilli Pepper Design has quickly turned up the heat in the fast-evolving CGI marketing world, bringing industry experience and boundless creativity to a growing number of clients.

“It’s a crucial moment for the trade,” says Neil. “The sheer amount of stock – and its propensity to get held up somewhere – means even greater need for product photography to sell from, and CGI is the perfect solution. With it, you can market new product before the physical goods even leave the factory!

And there are massive cost savings to be made compared to traditional photoshoots, which could make all the difference right now.

Neil says Chilli Pepper Designs represents some retailers and manufacturers which have already halved their marketing budgets, and are saving even more by utilising CGI.

“It’s approximately 20% of the cost of a traditional photoshoot,” Neil explains, “but you can see the results for yourself. Cutting budgets and reducing the quality of your marketing imagery is like stopping your watch to save time – especially in such a competitive market,” he continues. “Such is the quality of our work, we’ve been known to double clients’ turnover – can you afford not to give us a try?”

Chilli Pepper Designs is a creative (and award-winning) CGI company that specialises in interiors and furniture. Its team of designers, stylists, artists, modellers and project managers creates, dresses and accessorises entire scenes and projects for its clients, delivering not only world-class images, but offering top-class customer service.

Today, Chilli Pepper Designs is recognised as one of the leading lights in interiors CGI – both in the UK and further afield, Neil explains: “From designing and manufacturing furniture with our sister company [Indesign Furniture], to going through the whole sales and marketing process, we understand the sector’s needs – we know what goes into selling furniture, and what’s needed to create successful furniture and interiors imagery.

“We also understand budgets, and the need to manage great photography within time constraints and the pressures that come with running a furniture company. That’s why we’re more cost effective than our more ‘techfirst’ competitors, who can be lacking in creativity and customer service.

“We’ve been there and done it from a traditional photography route, and now lead the field in CGI. Time and money are precious. We can help maximise efficiency – and even change a business’ fortune,” Neil concludes

36 PRODUCTS
www.chillipepperdesigns.co.uk
CGI by Chilli Pepper Designs COVER STORY
Furniture News 2022 READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS WINNER BEST CGI VISUALISATION/WEBSITE PROVIDER 2021 BEST NEWCOMER 2021 BEST FOR INNOVATION PROVIDER 2022 01424 734191 info@chillipepperdesigns.co.uk www.chillipepperdesigns.co.ukDESIGNS DESIGNS DO YOU HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT A LACK OF MARKETING IMAGERY FOR YOUR FURNITURE? CGI REALLY IS A DREAM COME TRUE At Chilli Pepper Designs we create detailed, scalable, digital 3D furniture models that can be placed in a lifestyle scene of your choice. With exhibitions looming and sales materials pending at a time of supply chain issues, shipping costs, sample delays and therefore lack of marketing imagery in the face of an economic downturn, why not try CGI where you will have your desired results well within budget and in no time at all - once you’ve tried CGI you will wonder just how you managed without it. CGI really is a dream come true compared to the pains of traditional expensive and timely photoshoots. We represent some of the best retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers in the U.K. to produce their product and scene CGI imagery. You quite simply won’t be disappointed, and we can help to change your company’s efficiencies and fortunes! Give us a call…

GALLERY – PRICED TO PROSPER

Gallery Direct, whose catalogue has style and affordability at its core, exhibited at the recent Autumn Fair, with two stands offering a strong selection of products for visitors to view. As always, the stands looked impressive

but there was more than just good looks to please the customers

Gallery used Autumn Fair to showcase a range of products which have just had a price drop. MD Peter Delaney explains: “We are always looking at ways to help and support our customers, especially during these tough economic times, so we have undertaken a huge review and have managed to drop the price on over 725 lines, including a substantial assortment of our key ranges, with an average reduction of -24%.

“These lower prices were not just for the show – they will be held until further notice, so even if you were unable to attend Autumn Fair, you can still make the most of these new low prices.

“We have also managed to maintain prices across the majority of our other products. There will be no price increases at this stage on our House Collection sofas and Sofa in a Box products, plus five entire categories – furniture, outdoor, wall decor, accessories, and textiles.

“The amounts for carriage-paid orders also remains the same – £250 for textiles, lighting or accessories, and £750 for all other product categories – and there is no minimum order. And to help with single-parcel deliveries, we have introduced two new weight brackets – under 1kg and under 5kg – to help with smaller deliveries.”

The main stand at Autumn Fair featured Gallery’s AW22 Collection, which offers a wide range of accessories and textiles, along with a carefully curated selection of price-drop lines, which are featured in Gallery’s Autumn Edit brochure. These included pieces like the Thornton side table, with its smoked glass top paired with an

… www.gallerydirect.co.uk
THESE LOWER PRICES WILL BE HELD UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE Newington table and bench
House Collection Model 2 three-seater sofa
38 PRODUCTS

unusual and stylish geometric metal base, and the Neyland armchair, which offers classic mid-century-inspired design, with blush upholstery adding a contemporary twist.

Also featured was the Newington table, which offers a sleek contemporary twist on a timeless classic. It is crafted with a solid acacia wood top, paired with elegant, angular metal legs. The Newington range offers two sizes of dining table and two sizes of dining bench, all in a choice of a natural or black finish to the wood.

Gallery’s second stand at Autumn Fair featured the supplier’s award-winning made-to-order upholstery. The products on show included the House Collection, which offers an exclusive, easy-toshop range of sofas and armchairs at good value-for-money price points. The collection comprises three styles, available in a choice of 75 fabric options, ensuring there is one to suit all interiors.

All Gallery’s made- to-order products – including sofas, chairs, sofabeds, bedsteads, headboards, mattresses and divans – are crafted by the company’s skilled team at its own manufacturing unit in Wiltshire. The team offer an impressive 4–6-week production lead time, so there is still time to order for customers to have the products in their home for Christmas.

Gallery’s popular Sofa in a Box collection was also featured at the show. There is a choice of models, offering styles to suit different interiors, but all feature the same innovative design which allows easy delivery to any room in any property, even when access is tight and awkward.

The sofas and chairs are delivered flat packed in a box. Assembly is quick and easy, with no tools required thanks to the easy lock mechanism. The sofas and chairs are sold from stock for quick delivery, but are still made by hand at Gallery’s Wiltshire factory

Sofa in a Box Model 7 Pillar candles and festive accessories Neyland armchair in blush Thornton side table in bronze, and Holbrook sideboard in mint Winter textiles
39

LOUIS DE POORTERE

Echoing the labyrinthian networks of coral reefs in a relief pattern of structured high and low yarns, The Meditation Coral Collection is readily available from Louis de Poortere.

Louis de Poortere’s Rugs 2022 Collection continues to deliver with Coral, coming in seven vibrant colourways and a brand-new circular shape. Including the azure-like blue lagoon, high-contrast black gold, expressive tropical green, calming oyster white and fiery volcano, Coral is a design that uses its multitonal base and a single-colour, high pile to mesmerising and unexpected effect. The rug appears as if its pattern was seen through the shades of rippling coastal water, its polyester yarn adding depth and intensity of colour.

In six Louis de Poortere standard sizes ranging from 80 x 150cm to an impressive 280 x 390cm, as well as the new 240cm round option, Coral’s colourful designs can be enjoyed in all sizes of home.

Having successfully launched top-end Swedish bed brand Mattsons in the UK last month, national agent Colin Boyce (The Bed Agent) has teamed up with James Leach (JRL Agencies) to help lead the charge.

“Once we started talking with Mattsons about the opportunity to launch the brand in the UK, we fell in love with their story and the nostalgia associated with their brand,” says James. “The quality of the products that are created by the craftsmen working in their factory is probably the highest we’ve seen in our industry.

“When we were talking with the brand, [vice-MD and founding family member] Oscar Mattson described the future, saying, ‘It’s going to be a lot of fun!’ It was then that we knew we had found a great brand to be working with. We look forward to growing the Mattsons brand in the UK.”

The pair have formed a new company, Passage House, to better enable Mattsons’ delivery to select retailers across the UK. Colin can be reached on 07876 198938, and James on 07779 335801.

Coral in tropical green 40 PRODUCTS
Each Mattsons bed is handmade in Falkenberg, Sweden MATTSONS www.mattsonsbeds.com
James Leach and Colin Boyce in Mattsons’ Devon showroom

be embraced by a hand-tufted bed by Mattsons is like touching cashmere for the first time, after wearing coarse wool against your skin your entire life. Your body will feel weightless, and you’ll soon drift off into a dreamlike state of blissful sleep, safely resting on only the finest natural materials.

Contact – uk@mattsonsbeds.com & Trade Showroom in Topsham, Devon To
www.mattsonsbeds.com Hand made in Sweden since 1851

MADE COMFORTABLE

As part of its mission to support independent furniture retailers by offering strong product and truly personal service, Blackburn-based upholstery supplier BH Made recently ran its first in-house show, at which it shared its impressive range of affordable sofas with customers old and new …

With over 30 models, including leathers, in a variety of new new designs and prices to suit all, BH Made is fast making its mark, and is looking to follow up on the success of its first inhouse event with another this month.

“All of our invitees were checked into a great local hotel just 10 minutes from the showroom, where they were provided with free hospitality and a lovely comfortable bed for the evening,” comments a spokesperson. “We have been overwhelmed by the reaction from all areas of the country to our showroom, and to the models themselves.”

As well as sofas, BH Made has launched a small range of beds and

chairs, available in numerous fabrics and colours. The supplier offers a 4-6week delivery time on all of its items, including leather and clearance lines.

As well as expanding its portfolio, BH Made has also grown its team, appointing several new reps to lead the charge nationwide, including Furnish Your Interior’s Victoria Melling.

“Due to the overwhelming response we’ve had to the show, we will be putting out an invite for our next one, which will take place in the week commencing 24th October.

“Fancy a look? Just give us a call to secure your place on 07747 592671, or email gary@bhmade.co.uk. We can’t wait to see you!”

42 PRODUCTS WE HAVE BEEN OVERWHELMED BY THE REACTION

PERSONAL

EASY BHwillofferapersonalservicetothe independentretailcustomertogivethemthe Serviceandattentiontheydeserve. WewillhaveadedicatedcustomerService Teamforeveryindividualcompany,tobuilda personalrelationshipwithourcustomersto understandthereneeds.
O URMESSAGE WelcometoBHMADE.Withover50yearsDesign Manufacturing,wholesaleandretailexperience.We havebuiltourteamtocoverallaspectsofthe furnitureindustrytohelpwithyourexperience dealingwithussecondtonone. Wearecurrentlyintheprocessofbuildinga'oneofa kind'TRADESHOWROOMlocatedintheHeartof Lancashirewhereweintendtoofferyouaquality personalserviceandhospitalitytowelcomeyouto theBHfamily. WHATWECANDOFORYOU? FABRICANDLEATHERSOFAS 4WEEKLEADTIMEONUKMADEPRODUCTS VASTSTOCKAVAILABLEFORCOLLECTIONOR DELIVERY VIPGOLDMEMBERSHIPSTATUS SOCIALMEDIAPACKAGE QUALITY Asacompanyweprideourselvesonqualityproduct. Wearedeeplycommittedtoprovidingnotjusttheproduct butaqualityexperiancefromstarttofinish. TAKEASEAT ContactusemailDAve@bhmade.co.uk nigel@bhmade.co.uk showroomaddress unit115aGlenfieldparkbb15pf Blackburnunitedkingdom

ONE-STOP 3PL SHOP

Disruptions to supply chains are a major source of concern for companies working within the furniture and homeware sector – and particularly those operating online, states AP+.

Post-Brexit trade barriers, rising costs and shortages in both labour and materials have made it increasingly challenging for retailers and manufacturers to fulfil orders within a reasonable timescale. This is a particular issue for online retailers and companies which do not have their own storage and distribution facilities within the UK.

AP+ offers an innovative solution to manufacturers and retailers in the furniture and homewares sector, and to worldwide importers that wish to protect themselves from potential issues in the global supply chain and ensure they can fulfil orders quickly.

The company specialises in offering end-to-end third-party logistics (3PL),

storage and fulfilment solutions using the latest technology to ensure an efficient, high-quality service.

AP+ has a purpose-built 300,000ft2 warehouse in a central UK location, strategically located near key transport links. It can provide storage for furniture and homeware stock of all shapes and sizes, including bulky items like sofas, mattresses and carpets, and fragile products which require more care and attention.

When items enter the warehouse, they are quality checked by staff to ensure they have not been damaged in transit and are in suitable packaging to be stored safely until they need to be sent out to customers. If stock is not adequately packaged, AP+ will unpack and repack it in appropriate protective materials so it can be stored safely and maintained in saleable condition.

AP+ has made a significant investment in infrastructure, software and staff so it can act as an extension of its clients’ businesses. This includes the ability to integrate its order management system with more than 60 shopping carts and ecommerce marketplaces.

This, combined with a state-of-theart warehouse management system, means AP+ can offer complete inventory management, live stock updates and full traceability, ensuring orders are fulfilled as soon as they are placed.

Intelligent carrier comparison software then automatically compares quotes from more than 80 carriers, reducing expense and minimising the risk of any delays, so customers can be sure their orders are distributed in the most cost-effective way possible

When supply chain disruption occurs more often than not, it pays to have a good storage and distribution partner on side … www.apfulfilment.com
44 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES

DESIGNED TO STAY DRY

Renovating kitchens or bathrooms not only adds style to a home but can add value to a property – research suggests that a bathroom renovation or ensuite can boost the value by +5%. Yet the materials needed to build the cabinetry, furniture and panelling in these rooms need to withstand the varying indoor climates – which is where MEDITE SMARTPLY comes in …

www.mdfosb.com/en/products/meditemdf

MEDITE SMARTPLY has announced a new addition to complement its existing MEDITE MDF range. MEDITE OPTIMA is a higher-density, moisture-resistant MDF panel with superior finishing properties.

As a market-leading manufacturer of environmentally produced, sustainable, engineered wood panels, MEDITE SMARTPLY is committed to evolving speciality and technical products in all markets to provide value-added solutions throughout the supply chain.

MEDITE OPTIMA has been designed for applications where users need added density, superior machinability and higher surface quality than is found in standard moisture-resistant panels. This innovative new panel is suitable for kitchen and bathroom furniture, architectural mouldings, window boards, flooring and general interior joinery where a higher-quality moistureresistant board is required.

MEDITE OPTIMA is suitable for interior humid conditions, and is manufactured in accordance with EN 622-5.

Chris King, MD – commercial at MEDITE SMARTPLY, comments: “We’re delighted to introduce MEDITE OPTIMA to the market, which broadens the range of MEDITE’s high-performance, moisture-resistant products. This innovative panel can be used for virtually any interior application that requires increased moisture resistance.

“As a company, we’re dedicated to bringing innovative products and solutions to a constantly evolving industry – solutions that not only meet the demands of the market, but also contribute to a healthier environment and help combat the climate crisis.”

The new panel is the result of the company’s continuous evaluation of the marketplace, and ensuring that all products are relevant to current demands.

Over the years, MEDITE SMARTPLY has continuously developed innovative, versatile and sustainable products, which are suitable for bespoke creations, and showcase the company’s ethos – from its sustainably managed forests through to its commitment to creating products that contribute to healthier buildings. An industry pioneer in the fields of MDF and OSB, the award-winning brand is renowned for delivering high-quality products, customer-led innovation and industryleading customer service.

Visit the brand’s website for further information on MEDITE OPTIMA and the rest of the MEDITE MDF range

MEDITE OPTIMA is suitable for a wide range of applications MEDITE SMARTPLY prioritises sustainable manufacture
MEDITE’s
moisture-resistant
panelling
in action 46 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES

MAXI MOVER

Mover

brand-new

Floor Luton

busy Christmas season,

low-floor Luton van

recently secured a limited number of

can currently supply

six weeks from point of order,” states

Mover.

one-stop shop will make it easy

other

FURNITURE STORAGE OPPORTUNITY LOCATION WAREHOUSE FEATURES DETAILS Gavin Boden 07384 257205 gavin.boden@uk.rhenus.com Magna Park, Lutterworth and Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire Inventory management Live stock visibility Long term storage availability Fully racked, clean and secure CCTV monitoring High storage locations Efficient operations For further information, please contact: 47
www.maximover.co.uk Maxi Mover customers Barker & Stonehouse and Gallery Direct recently collected two
72REG Jumbo Maxi
Low
vans in time for the
reports the leading lightweight
manufacturer. “Having
cancelled-order cabs, we
vehicles within
Maxi
“Our
for you to join
established furniture vans in delivering loads more for less!” Call Maxi Mover’s sales team on 01673 863300 to find out more about its range of ready-to-go vehicles.

PREDICTIVE POWER

power

gain market

says MediaVision’s Adam Freeman – but, with demand changing so frequently, it’s time furniture retailers started thinking about SEO as a

tool rather than a reactive process

High street businesses faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, but during the most testing times, innovation can come to the fore.

By investing in a digital model, legacy bricks-and-mortar businesses were able to hold onto their core customer base.

But it also meant they could begin competing with native ecommerce players – who were well insulated when lockdown measures were imposed. Legacy furniture stores had new tools to drive their market share and engage with digital competitors on more of a level playing field.

Out-of-the-box thinking from the market has led to some impressive digital innovations. Dunelm invested £3m in omnichannel and gamification activities, while ScS merged the online and offline within its new concept store. But what really made the difference was the investment in advanced search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-perclick (PPC) marketing.

This makes perfect sense from a strategic angle. Take DFS – for 85% of its customers, sofa buying starts with online research. You need to be on that first page of Google.

With lockdowns in the past, shopping habits have recalibrated, so we’re at another point of digital evolution. How will retailers continue to compete?

Predictive organic Organic search needs to be central to any business strategy. It remains the most cost-efficient tactic to steal that all-so-important market share away from competitors. But now is the time to use it a bit differently.

To date, organic search has been reactive (onsite optimisation) and proactive (digital PR and onsite content). It has also required retailers to look backwards for the insights that would guide these marketing strategies. However, spend too much time looking back, and you risk missing new trends.

prepare and earn higher rankings later.

Sounds like a pipe dream? Thanks to the evolution of technology and data, it doesn’t have to be. There are tools such as digital demand trackers that can help businesses anticipate consumer search behaviour, rather than optimising by reacting to past data.

Gaining a competitive edge

Where ‘predictive SEO’ really proves its worth is when it comes to the customer demand cycle. It enables businesses to maximise benefits across the whole process – early warnings, optimising sales and margins, scaling with demand, building an integrated approach to SEO across an organisation and creating a new growth engine that ensures it is seen as a key investment.

For example, from a buying point of view, annual trends are notoriously tricky. What was successful last year might not be again – a new interiors trend might emerge from nowhere, leaving you struggling for stock. You therefore need speed-to-insight to gain that edge over competitors, and if you have an understanding of demand and trends at a product level, you’re in a better position to do so.

A digital demand tracker can help by supplying search trend data that can be modelled to predict actual product demand. Furthermore, passing this data to buying teams allows them to not only understand what products need to be prepared, and details such as which materials or style, but also the volumes in which they need to be purchased.

Search demand data can also be deployed to sculpt links to provide the right visibility of certain products on a website, can ensure products are correctly named and in line with what people are searching for, can be used to tailor and optimise PPC ads, and can help with content planning and production.

You need to think about SEO as a predictive tool. That changes everything. It means the SEO is also there to spot future trends so a business can adapt,

What you need to do is to tie all this together. The best way to start that process is by investing in digital skills, rethinking what SEO really means today, and how digital demand data should sit at the heart of such a proposition

Organic search
remains the most cost-efficient tactic to
share,
predictive
www.wearemediavision.com NOW IS THE TIME TO USE ORGANIC SEARCH A BIT DIFFERENTLY 48 OPINION

BUYER BENEFITS

It’s a great time to be alive in this world of ours. Sure, things are not perfect. They never were and never will be. There’s lots to keep us awake at night, but we also live in a time with more options and solutions to make life just a little easier.

My everlovin’ bride and I relocated our home to Florida a little more than a year ago. Moving meant getting rid of a lot of old stuff and replacing it with new stuff that helps us adapt to our new environment. Some of what we bought was a small investment, others required a larger spend. It included …

A $1.25 spoon rest. It’s that scoopy looking thing that sits on our range or counter and gives us a place to put kitchen implements that we use for stirring sauce or gravy. I know we packed one from our old house, but that one must be hanging out in the Bermuda Triangle with the missing socks from our dryer.

You don’t miss something until you don’t have one. I picked up our new spoon rest at the Dollar Tree. We use it, pop it in the dishwasher and it comes out clean. It saves us time and effort from having to scrub the range top or wipe down the counter.

A $12.00 Rada tomato knife. Spring and summer in Florida means lots of fresh veggies and fruit. We eat a lot of salads all year, but always make a mess when slicing tomatoes. Between the seeds, the stem, and getting thin slices, those red romas and beefsteaks can be quite troublesome.

We heard about the Rada line of knives and checked out their version designed for tomatoes. It’s well engineered, easy to use, easy to clean, and I’m able to cut tomatoes a thin as a dime. There’s even a hook at the end to cut out the stem. Any time you can avoid a hassle and shell out less than a double sawbuck, it’s a good deal.

signal. As far as juicing it up, it can be plugged in, has a rechargeable battery, and even a crank to charge it in case the electricity is out.

There’s a NOAA (national weather service) station setting which reports accurate weather. Now I don’t have to watch the Ken and Barbie weather reporters on TV. Best of all, no commercials, no hype, and very local reporting. That radio is small, but delivers a powerful amount of information and personal security.

A $40.00 Roku Streaming Stick. There was a time when you could sign up for cable and for under 30 bucks a month could get 300 crappy TV channels. Cable bills today run closer to $200 a month for 350 crappy TV channels. We switched to a Roku stick that connects to our smart TV. For a one-time cost of $40 we now have access to over 3000 crappy TV channels! Sure, we still have to pay for internet, but we get all the viewing we want and are saving an extra C-note a month.

We purchased each product for a reason: to save time; less hassle; security; to save money; and to feel better. Whether you are selling cheap spoon rests or top-of-the-line sleep systems, every product is purchased for one of those same reasons. It’s not what the product is, it’s what it does –specifically for the shopper standing (or laying down) in front of you.

We try, so often, to sell by reciting a list of specifications, giving an indication of what those specs mean – but seldom do we talk about how the product will make life better for our shopper. Every product you sell will appeal to your shopper and make their life better based on one or more of those five reasons. That includes your accessory items, and services like home delivery, finance, and product protection plans.

A $29.00 NOAA weather radio. We live close to the coastline. That means being aware of minor disturbances like hurricanes, waterspouts and power outages. We spent just under $30 for a small radio with a built-in flashlight, cellphone charger and emergency

This week, create, rehearse, and deliver a sales presentation that includes saving time and money, gaining security and feeling better. Your shopper will appreciate having less hassle in her hectic schedule. You’ll make her life easier, and you’ll celebrate sales numbers that get better all the time

Why do people buy your products?
Rather than rolling out the old sales spiel, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the qualities that actually push your sales over the line, suggests US bed industry consultant Gordon Hecht …
IT’S NOT WHAT THE PRODUCT IS, IT’S WHAT IT DOES – SPECIFICALLY FOR THE SHOPPER STANDING (OR LAYING DOWN) IN FRONT OF YOU
50 OPINION

Technology has launched a new furniture and floor coverings membership package, specifically tailored to meet the needs of these industries.

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.

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.

Findoutmoreaboutmembership byvisitingfurnishings.satra.com www.satra.com furniture@satra.com Tel: +44 (0)1536 410 000 SATRAsupporting you SATRA

CONSUMER MATTERS

With new research from the Institute of Customer Service finding that customer service complaints have hit their highest level on record and are costing UK businesses more than £9b a month in lost staff time, putting the consumer at the heart of your business is more important than ever, writes the Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman’s Judith Turner – but what are some of the legal definitions of ‘consumer’, and what additional considerations make a consumer much more than just a legal definition for a business?

The history of contract law, from its 19th century origins in horse sales, had no regard to uneven bargaining positions.

Apart from scenarios where a buyer could not inspect goods (usually because they were being shipped from abroad), contracts, when entered into freely and voluntarily, were held sacred, and enforced by the courts of justice.

The Sale of Goods Acts 1893 enshrined common law into statute and still retained application until the 1970s, nearly a century later. Alongside domestic developments, much of the impetus for consumer rights has arguably been driven by the EU, where the role that consumer activity plays was considered integral in the success of the single market.

hearing impairments.

Other attempts have been made to define vulnerability not as separate and distinct groups, because anybody can face circumstances that make them vulnerable – either temporarily or permanently. These might include physical or mental health, debt or unemployment, bereavement or becoming a victim of crime.

Another factor indicating vulnerability might be the potential for customers’ circumstances to change suddenly –certainly something that the coronavirus pandemic shined a spotlight on – and it’s vital that all customers are treated fairly to help mitigate the impacts of these.

Inclusive policies

INCLUSIVE SERVICE BY DESIGN CAN LEAD TO INCLUSION BY DEFAULT

One of the stated aims was to protect consumers from abuse of powers from sellers or service providers, and an emphasis on the quality accessible –hence the need for enhanced rights, aimed to protect consumers more explicitly and create a level playing field to ensure consumer rights are a prominent and initial consideration when a business considers who their consumers are and why their rights matter.

For the purposes of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a consumer is an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside of their trade, business, craft or profession – which has implications for those to whom the often-enhanced consumer remedies are available.

On our journey to define a consumer, we can see that there are nuances that make one single definition, such as that given in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, tricky to apply. Businesses should therefore be providing an inclusive service with commitment to accessibility, and remove barriers to complaining.

Some of this is already prescribed – for example, to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010, and the way in which special categories of personal data must be dealt with for the purposes of GDPR.

For the purposes of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Contracts Regulations 2008, an average consumer is defined by reference to their being reasonably well informed, reasonably observant and circumspect, whereas a vulnerable consumer is said to come from a clearly identifiable group who may be susceptible to the practice or underlying product because of their mental or physical infirmity, age or credulity in a way which the trader could reasonably be expected to foresee – for example, in the case of hearing aid products advertised to customers with

Similarly, when in dispute with a consumer, timely signposting to alternative dispute resolution, such as the sector’s appropriate ombudsman, is vital to ensure accessible redress for every consumer – not least those that find themselves in vulnerable circumstances, unsure of how to enforce their rights.

The ombudsman can provide important insight to the businesses that register to it, in terms of consumer complaints and their legal remedies. However, we also emphasise the wider benefits of best practice in designing customer services processes with the needs of all consumers in mind – thereby concluding that inclusive service by design can lead to inclusion by default

52 OPINION
YOTFC Ye Olde Traditional Furniture Company WE ALWAYS TRY HARDER TO GO THE EXTRA MILE! Call us on 01604 890956 email md@yotfc.co.uk or visit our website www.yotfc.co.uk

RIGHT TO WORK REVISED

It is unlawful to employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK. The consequences of employing an illegal worker are significant and can lead to a criminal conviction and/ or a penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal employee. When an employer has carried out an adequate right-to-work check, the employer has a statutory defence if that worker is later found to be working illegally.

Prior to the pandemic, under Home Office rules the majority of right-to-work checks were required to be conducted in-person. The prospective employee showed their documents evidencing their right to work, and the employer took copies and kept them.

On 30th March 2020, temporary adjustments were made to the requirement to conduct in-person rightto-work checks, to take account of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The adjustments allow the checks to be carried out over video calls, and for job applicants to send a photo of their documents to employers via email, rather than sending the originals.

The Government then announced that the temporary adjustments to right-to-work checks would end on 30th September 2022. This date has been pushed back on various occasions in response to concerns by employers about having to return to in-person checks.

In place of adjusted right-to-work checks, from 1st October 2022, employers can use certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete digital right-to-work checks for British and Irish citizens with valid passports. This is an alternative to manual checks, and the IDSPs will complete these digital right-to-work checks on behalf of employers for a fee. The digital check will involve submitting images of personal documents rather than the original documents, using Identity Document Validation Technology instead. Manual checks can continue to be carried out for employees not covered by that initial point.

Full details of the new rules on rightto-work checks can be viewed on the Gov.uk website. Employers who have been conducting right-to-work checks under the current temporary adjusted measures will need to consider their approach to these checks in the future. If employers do not wish to return to manual checks, they will also need to factor in the costs of performing these checks in their future budgets.

The Government therefore announced plans to implement the option to carry out digital or online checks for all employees. Under the new rules, foreign nationals who have a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit can now only be checked online, not manually. They must provide their date of birth and share code to allow the employer to check their status using the Government’s online checking service. This is a free service, and as a result, manual checks will no longer be permitted. It will not be necessary for employers to carry out a retrospective check for employees where a manual check was completed on or before 5th April 2022.

But what impact will the changes have on employees? At present, it is common for prospective employees to be asked to provide right-to-work documentation during the early stages of the recruitment process. It is likely that many furniture businesses will delay undertaking checks until the later stages of the process, so they do not incur unnecessary costs in relation to candidates who will not ultimately be offered employment.

An approach which involves checking the right to work at the latest stage possible is also advisable from the perspective of avoiding claims for discrimination.

The Government has issued a new Code of Practice in relation to avoiding discrimination when conducting rightto-work checks, which all employers would be well advised to review. The code states the importance of treating all candidates fairly and having clear procedures in place for the recruitment and selection of workers based on equal and fair treatment

54 OPINION
The Government recently announced changes to the ways that employers, including those in the furniture industry, can perform ‘right-to-work’ checks, writes employment law expert Nicola Smyrl, as she unknits some of the complexities of the new framework …
IT’S LIKELY THAT MANY FURNITURE BUSINESSES WILL DELAY UNDERTAKING CHECKS UNTIL THE LATER STAGES OF THE PROCESS
JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW INDX FURNITURE BEDROOM LIVING DINING | TRADE SERVICES A man’s world? Evaluating gender equality in the furniture industry Behind the rise and rise of Qualita Forecasting the product trends of 2022 #388 January 2022 www.furniturenews.net VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY Join At The Helm’s bold adventure 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.iafp.info MATTRESSES SERVICES Channel hopping takes market on the crisis The trading out lockdown PICTURE PERFECT Orbital’s award-winning CGI www.furniturenews.net DIRECTIONSBEDROOM SERVICES The The going Why need www.furniturenews.net HOT PROPERTY Sizzling from Designs JOIN TODAY and gain FULL access to our reports, guides and suite of new business support templates www.fira.co.uk The centre of knowledge for the furniture industry 55 NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE From the boldest in beds to new ways to pay, November’s issue has you covered! Next month’s issue will feature our NBF BED SHOW REVIEW, alongside an official celebration of this year’s BED INDUSTRY AWARDS, delivered in partnership with the NBF. We’ll also delve into the latest in RETAIL FINANCE, alongside our regular look at the latest in BEDROOM, DINING, LIVING ROOM 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 14TH OCTOBER BEST PRACTICE

SALES AGENTS REQUIRED

A well-recognised bed company, Shakespeare Beds is looking for bed agents to cover various parts of the UK.

We are very proud of our beds and headboards, and have very good accounts across the nation. However, we still want to grow and support our clients.

We are looking for experienced agents with good customer relationship skills and connections who are eager to join us and be part of our success in the following areas: West Midlands; East Midlands; North West; and the North East and Yorkshire.

Shakespeare Beds

Telephone - 0121 764 4024 Mobile – 07939509509

Email - naheeda@shakespearebeds.co.uk

154 Wharfdale Road, Tyseley, Birmingham, B11 2DG

154 Wharfdale Road

Birmingham B11 2DG

JUNIOR TRADE MARKETING MANAGER RETAIL (UK & IRELAND)

0121 764 4024

This is a newly created role to support the Senior Trade Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland Retail/Wholesale with our ever-expanding portfolio of accounts and new points of distribution.

orders@shakespearebeds.co.uk

KEY ELEMENTS: Support with all PoS initiatives currently in place or planned so the brand remains front of mind, both online and off. This would include the design and briefing in of all new, on-brand creatives.

Support in the planning and execution of all elements for regular and ad hoc trade shows, including planning of the stand layout, liaison with stand constructors and show organisers, as well as all back-office requirements.

Create marketing tools and brand guidelines for our respective retail partners, assist in their implementation and regularly check on compliance. This would include regular online brand audits with any issues being passed on to the relevant account manager.

Set up marketing KPIs and metrics to measure performance of on- and offline activities.

Help prepare brand presentations for general distribution but also to assist and support in individual account presentations.

Ability to work with all Emma data sources and assist in sales reviews of performance. The individual will also be able to develop links with all key Emma retail stakeholders, be they the sales team or the support team of customer services and retail operations.

Computer and numerically literate. Able to check turnover and profitability by store and by account and be able to suggest how these can be improved or enhanced.

Solid understanding of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel as well as the ability to understand and use all Emma’s various data and software sources.

You will be curious and hungry to learn and to progress to a more senior sales roles within Emma (either in the UK or abroad).

LOCATION: Home based in the UK, but candidates in the Lisbon and/or Frankfurt office will also be considered. There will be some requirements to be away from home overnight for trade fairs, meetings in the UK and possibly meetings in Frankfurt or Lisbon.

SALES TRAINER/REPRESENTATIVE

SOUTH EAST/EAST ENGLAND

This is a field-based role requiring the individual to be travelling to and visiting Emma retail stockists, with one day home-based for planning and administration.

The role is primarily for supporting existing accounts, but identifying and securing new business would be a highly valuable asset. Retail stockists will cover both individual stores of major retail businesses, as well as independent accounts.

KEY ELEMENTS: Developing and maintaining solid relationships with retail staff. In many cases, there will be various contact points within the store.

SALES AGENTS REQUIRED

Shakespeare Beds are a leading manufacturer producing high quality hand crafted mattresses, divan bases and headboards in the heart of England.

Assessing and dealing with any retailer issues, from invoice queries to delivery orders.

Maintaining PoS excellence in store. This includes ensuring that all Emma PoS is in place, undamaged and in a prominent position. Mattresses should also be checked.

In-store product training so staff feel empowered to confidently sell Emma.

Ensuring all price and promotional tickets are correct, and having full details of existing and planned promotions for individual accounts.

Harmony Beds and Furniture has been established for over 15 years, importing quality metal and wooden beds and furniture.

Shakespeare Beds offer a wide range including Pocket Sprung, Open Coil, Laygel, Staingard, Contract Range and Natural Collections. Shakespeare offer high quality bespoke models including hand side stitching and much more.

We are now seeking to grow the company and are therefore seeking established, well-connected agents for the following areas:

Compiling in-store (PoS excellence) reports using the Emma online processes that records all the above elements as well as being able to give a full competitive overview. The individual will also be able to develop links with all key Emma retail stakeholders. They will be computer and numerically literate, able to check turnover and profitability by store and account, and to suggest how these can be improved or enhanced. They must have a solid understanding of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel, and be hungry to learn and progress to a more senior sales roles within Emma (either in the UK or abroad).

Bases and headboards are offered in a range of different fabric types to suit all customer requirements.

Shakespeare offer a warm welcome with no order too big or small.

Previous experience of sales in the bedding /furniture sector is not essential. Great interpersonal skills, an ability to work for long periods on your own and with minimal supervision will be key. A full driving licence is a pre-requisite.

LOCATION: Home based in the UK but candidates in the Lisbon and/or Frankfurt office will also be considered. There will be some requirements to be away from home overnight for trade fairs, sales meetings in the UK and possibly sales meetings in Frankfurt or Lisbon.

Please send your application and details to laura.fibich@emma-sleep.com

•North East

•West and East Midlands

•Home Counties

•Northern and Southern Ireland

•South East (including London)

and Yorkshire are already represented.

contact Ramzan

07977 183447

Lancashire
Please
on
mohammadramzan@btinternet.com HarmonyBeds_JA.indd 1 26/09/2022 15:47
Please send your application and details to laura.fibich@emma-sleep.com
EmmaJNR PF.indd 1 23/09/2022 11:13
EmmaJNR PF.indd 2 23/09/2022 11:13
ShakespeareNov18.indd 1 22/10/2018 08:34
Established since 1986 Kozee.1.indd 1 26/09/2022 15:36 56 JOBS

FABRIC FLAGSHIP

Prospective exhibitors can book their places for next year’s London Fabric Show, which is already shaping up to be better than ever, says BFM MD, Sean Holt …

As a result of the success of the newlook London Fabric Show in 2022, we’re delighted that new and returning exhibitors from across the UK and Europe are already securing their places for next year’s show.

This is the furniture industry’s flagship fabric event, and we’re pleased that the changes introduced this year to increase capacity and choice have been welcomed by exhibitors and buyers alike. The show will return to the ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court on 28th February and 1st March 2023, and will include private showrooms on the exhibition floor as well as new catering options on the show floor and at the onsite restaurant and pub.

The show draws in world-renowned manufacturers and suppliers from across Europe, including Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Germany and the UK, and 70% of the companies who exhibited at the show in 2022 have already confirmed their return. Fabrics on show will include wools, tweeds, velvets, cottons, linens, chenille, silks, leathers, faux leathers, backing fabrics and FR treatments. Alongside the fabrics and accessories on display, the latest in fabric protection and cleaning treatments will also be presented.

BFM has built a reputation for delivering a high-quality event with leading fabric buyers in the UK market. This year’s edition saw 98% of buyers achieve their objectives at the show.

venue for showcasing leading fabric and accessory suppliers.

It is our aim to offer British furniture manufacturers the opportunity to source high-quality designs and innovative contemporary and traditional fabrics for upholstery, bed, and soft furnishings at price points to match their respective budgets. The show is by invitation only, which enables exhibitors to showcase their products directly to a key, professional audience, offering opportunities to network with colleagues across the industry.

In line with one of BFM’s key strategic objectives, we are committed to reinvesting all profit made from the event into the furniture industry and our membership. This is an exhibition run by the industry for the industry. We will continue to invest and evolve the show for the future, and now look forward to delivering further growth, attracting more exhibitors and a wider audience of international buyers for the 2023 event.

The ILEC Conference Centre offers easy access, being within walking distance of West Brompton and Earls Court stations. It also has on-site car parking and accommodation and is close to the A4, with easy access to the M4, M5 and M40.Companies interested in joining a world-class line-up of exhibitors are urged to make contact with us as soon as possible to secure their space on the floorplan.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Our intention is to continually improve and add to our growing database and reputation by attracting more buyers from British furnituremakers, with a real push this year to increase the number of buyers from bed manufacturers and contract furniture suppliers. The show is a one-stop shop for volume buyers of materials used in soft furnishing and upholstery, as well as providing a

Young Furniture Makers exhibition. INDUSTRY PARTNERS
WE ARE COMMITTED TO REINVESTING ALL PROFIT MADE FROM THE EVENT INTO THE FURNITURE INDUSTRY AND OUR MEMBERSHIP OPINION 57 THIS YEAR’S EDITION SAW 98% OF BUYERS ACHIEVE THEIR OBJECTIVES

THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING …

Shane Harding, Highgrove Beds

It’s the mix of what Highgrove offers – great choice, great value and great support, including heavy in-store investment

John Northwood, sales agent

They could probably answer that best, but I believe it’s always being available and responding swiftly and efficiently to requests and enquiries

Keiran Hewkin, Swyft Beautiful product

Deirdre Mc Gettrick, ufurnish.com

Giving choice whilst saving time and money. If I talk about our consumers, they enjoy the choice of finding and searching all the retailers (known and unknown), the speed at which they can search all the retailers and the comfort in knowing they have found the perfect item for their home at the best available price

Steve Reid, Simba Sleep Quality, innovative product

Huw Williams, Toons Furnishers

Customers value our friendly, genuine service. Building good long-term relationships is essential for repeat business

Martin Seeley, MattressNextDay

Free next-day delivery, most definitely –or, as we like to say, the Amazon Prime of the mattress industry

WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR BUSINESS DO YOUR CUSTOMERS MOST VALUE?

Jade Farthing, Haskins Furniture

The customer service we offer – each customer is a person and is treated with respect from the start of the sale to the delivery, and beyond

Shaun Peel, MattressTek

The tailored approach and innovative thinking of our designers (and internally, the involvement of our in-house engineers in the installation, repair and servicing of our machines at their site). We are here to help them solve and prevent problems arising, and we seem to do it well

Tom Bayliss, Kettle Interiors

George Sinclair, Nimbus Beds

The ‘design your own bed’ section. Customers can come in, and if they don’t like anything they see, they can design their own, free of charge. We then get it made in the factory and delivered to the customer. Every customer’s wants and needs are different, so to be able to design your own is amazing

Wendy Martin Green, Peter Green Furnishers

We are a family business, which brings a certain warmth to our relationships with our customers. I think that is rare these days

I don’t think there is simply one aspect, but more of a combined recipe that our customers enjoy. Broad choice of product, supportive content, and the added flexibility of how the customer can access it, is at the core of what we offer

David Kohn, The Multichannel Expert

Excellent product design and quality

Mark Gannon, Sofa Source

Our open and honest two-way communication

Mike Whitman, Iconography

The amount of time we can save them –IXO Commerce makes the day to day so much easier to administer

Neil Barker, Barkers Furniture Honesty

ECO CONSCIOUS LIVING | TRADE SERVICES SOMEWHERE THAT’S GREEN Hypnos’ new group MD beds in Get ahead with predictive SEO Haskins’ Jade Farthing talks shop #397 October 2022 Illuminating approaches from Chilli Pepper Designs WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! * Follow and message Furniture News on LinkedIn * Join the conversation on Twitter @FurnitureNewsED * Message the editor at paul@gearingmediagroup.com * For advertising and subscription enquiries, see p3 58 OPINION
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