Furniture News #408

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LONG POINT | BED SHOW AUTUMN FURNITURE SHOW BEDROOM | LIVING | TRADE SERVICES SLEEP SCIENCE Behind Tempur’s biggest launch in eight years Travel tips for show season Inside Ireland’s Algram Modern Living #408 September 2023 DRIVEN BY DEMAND H Living puts the customer first

Editor's Comment

“It’s time to get moving again, as the next tranche of this year’s trade shows are calling

Did you manage to get away this summer? Even the most dedicated and industrious businesspeople would agree that it’s crucial to take some time out once in a while, to relax, recharge, and reflect. And I’m not talking business trips (more on those later), but genuine, bona fide holidays – the sort of excursion that was commonplace before Covid, but, if you’re looking to venture any further than a camping spot by the coast, now comes with a good deal more baggage.

If you were able to come to terms with the soaring costs, and dodge the riots, fires, floods and strikes long enough to enjoy a well-earned break, I salute you! And I hope you’re well rested, because it’s time to get moving again, as the next tranche of this year’s trade shows are calling …

I won’t list them all here (that’s a job for our calendar at, but, in this month’s issue, we’ve dedicated coverage to a few of the stand-out

fixtures, namely: Derbyshire’s classy showroom-based affair, Long Point (from p58); Telford’s locus for everything beds, the Bed Show (from p64, with much more besides in our separate Bed Buyer supplement); and Stoneleigh’s varied showcase, the Autumn Furniture Show (from p72, and see also our Q&A with Minerva’s CEO, Jim Orr, on p36).

The Furniture News team will be at many of this season’s exhibitions, so hopefully we’ll see you there. And – whether you’re travelling for business at home or overseas – check out our feedback panel’s top tips for ensuring all goes to plan (p114).

But do make sure you find the time to digest the rest of this month’s magazine! In our lead story, we look inside Algram Modern Living’s refurbished Ballymena showroom, now one of Ireland’s premier destinations for contemporary European furniture, with insights from sales director Phillip Logan (p10). Meanwhile, Tempur’s Tobin James shares the science behind the brand’s biggest launch in eight years (p16), while the founders of new shopping platform disruptor Flitch explain why it takes a combination of man and machine to deliver the best experience (p26).

In other developments, cover star H Living is going au naturel (p30), the Steven Shell brand is coming home (p34), and Siren Furniture’s Andrew Kerr is broadening his horizons (p46).

This month’s Opinion section, meanwhile, is packed with personal accounts and professional advice, including columns from Hypnos’ Richard Naylor (p108), standards and regulations expert Phil Reynolds (104), and digital marketing expert Brett Janes (p110) – plus the first in a series of regular columns from Sussex Beds’ Steve Pickering (p109) and sales consultant Mason Knight (p106).

To top it off, The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Jonny Westbrook introduces a much-needed online initiative that promises to open the sector’s doors to younger students and jobseekers. Could this be part of the answer to the furniture industry’s growing skills gap and staffing shortages? Read all about it on p113.

You’d be forgiven for needing a break after all that …

Paul Farley

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6 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Algram Modern Living 16 Tempur 26 Flitch 30 H Living 32 Highgrove Beds 34 Bluebone Imports 36 Minerva Furniture Group 40 belle&co 42 Emma – The Sleep Company 44 Mattsons Beds 46 Getting personal 50 EVENTS 58 Long Point 64 Bed Show 72 Autumn Furniture Show 78 PRODUCTS 80 Bedroom 92 Living 96 Trade services 104 OPINION 104 The implications of the CE Mark U-turn 106 Why roleplay delivers results 108 Spaceship Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse 109 Dealing with toxic team members 110 Analysing the sector’s top online players 113 Partner comment 114 Feedback Contents
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Fresh strategy pays off at ScS

ScS Group is set to report full-year profit in line with market expectations “driven by effective cost management and improved trading in the second half of the year” for the 52 weeks ended 29th July 2023.

The group’s financial position remains robust, with cash of £69.5m and no debt. ScS says its updated brand and strategy are beginning to resonate with customers, resulting in strong LFL order growth of +6% from weeks 34-52, building on the +5.7% previously announced for weeks 27-33. As a result of this growth, following a more challenging Q1, order intake for the full year was in line with FY22.

Continuing the trend of the past two years, ScS continues to gain market share, cementing its position as the UK’s second-largest upholstered furniture retailer. Following the acquisition of Snug in January, ScS says it has re-established operations from an effective standing start – including rebuilding supplier relationships, restoring stock levels, improving brand awareness, and building order momentum: “Order growth was initially slower than we had hoped, but we

are pleased that current run rates are now in line with our expectations.”

The retailer says it appreciates the economic conditions facing its customers, including higher interest rates and low consumer confidence, which it says are forecast to continue throughout FY24. “However,” the retailer adds, “we remain confident that the group’s strategy and strong balance sheet will enable ongoing trading resilience, and we continue to expect to grow our market share while selectively investing in store and other strategic growth opportunities.”

Dreams grows profits despite inflationary pressures

Profit before tax (PBT) increased by £1.6m to £50.1m at Dreams in the year ended 24th December 2022, with profit after tax increasing by £288k to £40.1m. The retailer says this +3.3% PBT growth was a direct result of sales growth, yet PBT growth fell behind due to the inflationary environment and various nonoperating costs. Sales went from £358.5m to £387m, while total net assets increased by £10m to £45.7m.

“Looking ahead, naturally there remains a

degree of uncertainty with regards the widespread economic challenges and rising interest rates which will put further pressure on household finances,” says Dreams. “However, the company is positioned strongly, continues to invest across the business and remains focused on delivering exceptional customer service through its first-class colleagues.”

Dreams plans continued investment in its IT systems and online/digital capabilities.

Storefronts down, but retail parks resilient

Britain has lost 6000 storefronts in just five years, reports the latest Vacancy Monitor from BRC-LDC, which also found that, in Q2 2023, the overall GB vacancy rate increased to 13.9%, which was a 0.1 percentage point worse than Q1 (but a 0.1 percentage point better YoY).

Shopping centre vacancies remain unchanged at 17.8% (the same level as Q1), high street vacancies increased to 13.9% (0.1% worse than Q1), and retail park vacancies fell to 8.1% (a 0.6 percentage point improvement from Q1 2023 – it continues to remain the retail location with by far the lowest vacancy rate).

Geographically, Greater London, the South East and the East of England again had the lowest vacancy rates. The highest rates were in the North East, followed by Wales and Scotland.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), comments: “The past five years saw Britain lose 6000 retail outlets, with crippling business rates and the impact of the Covid lockdowns a key part of decisions to close stores and think twice about new openings. The North and Midlands continue to see the highest amount of empty storefronts. London’s vacancy rate remains

the lowest, improving over the last quarter thanks to the opening of new flagship stores, more office workers, and tourists visiting the capital. To inject more vibrancy into high streets and town centres, and prevent further store closures, Government should review the broken business rates system.”

Lucy Stainton, commercial director at the Local Data Company (LDC), adds: “The headline findings from Q2 are unlikely to have come as a surprise to anyone, with economic pressure from rising interest rates and inflation already mounting as the year began. Current challenges to businesses have been compounded by tightening discretionary spend and a dip in confidence among consumers. The economic headwinds that have made the headlines have filtered into the data, reflected in a slight rise in the overall vacancy rate. The current climate is undeniably difficult, but it should not be overlooked that today’s retailers are more innovative and future-thinking than ever. With the continuing trend in mind, we do not foresee any improvements to vacancy rate in future. However, given that the latest rises in vacancy have not been particularly significant, we anticipate that any increases in the near future will be gradual.”

Carpet Recycling UK (CRUK) has joined industry lobby group, the British Furniture Confederation (BFC)

The Government is seeking views from the industry now the consultation for the proposed revision to the UK flammability regulations for domestic upholstered furniture is publicly available

Next’s full-price Q2 sales were up +6.9% YoY, and the retailer has increased its full-year guidance for group profit before tax by £10m, to £845m

Shackletons has appointed Donna Bellingham (ex-Sofa Brands International) as its CEO. Other strategic roles have also been announced at the heritage contract furniture brand

JYSK has fully refurbished and transformed its retail space on Gate Retail Park, Bolton, which is now its first JYSK XL store

The Furniture Makers’ Company is hosting an event that will explore the planning of inclusive office spaces for people with neurodiversity, on 28th September at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London

Clarion Retail has announced three more meeting dates for its Women in Furniture Network: 25th October, in central Birmingham; 22nd January, at 5.30pm-7.30pm at the January Furniture Show; and 11th July, from 11.30am-1pm at the Manchester Furniture Show

Photo courtesy Julie Howden

Marks and Spencer has outlined strong trading for the first 19 weeks of this FY. LFL Clothing & Home sales grew by over +6%, with strong growth in stores, and more subdued growth online

Pooky has opened its first lighting showroom outside the South West, in Redbrick Mill, West Yorkshire. The second-floor location covers approximately 2000ft2

The Handmade Mattress Company has closed, after eight years of trading as a specialist infant mattress manufacturer. Following the appointment of Wilson Field as joint administrators, an asset sale was hosted by Walker Singletonlast month

Dreams reopens Wales DC and store

Dreams officially reopened its Cardiff distribution centre and retail store on 18th August, following a £300k investment.

The reopening follows a year spent refurbishing and expanding the sites with the aim of enhancing the experience of shoppers and staff in the local area.

The distribution service centre now covers 31,000ft2 and can store more than 2000 (2290) mattresses and bases. This increased capacity will help to improve product availability and provide shorter lead times for customers demanding faster and more flexible deliveries. As part of its PeopleFirst strategy, Dreams has also increased the space dedicated to staff welfare facilities to four times its previous size, and installed electric vehicle charging points.

The retail store now covers 12,500ft2, making it Dreams’ flagship in Wales. The renovated space provides a brighter and airier shopping environment, with a larger clearance section and new Dreams branding to enhance the customer experience.

Thirteen delivery vans will operate out of the distribution service centre, six days a week. In 2022,

Jonathan Hirst, Dreams’ CEO, says: “At Dreams, we are always looking for ways to support our colleagues and better serve our customers. That’s why we have made a meaningful investment in our Cardiff distribution service centre and retail store. This is a significant step forward in delivering on both our growth and People-First strategies and will mean we continue building on our position as the UK’s most-loved bed retailer and a leading employer. We’re looking forward to reopening our doors to colleagues and customers from the local area.”

Furnishings group reveals new management structure

Bed Kingdom, a Yorkshirebased online retailer, has made a three-year pledge to support Candlelighters, a children’s cancer charity in Yorkshire, by donating £5000 each year

January Furniture Show 2024 will feature a new VIP suite and pavilion dedicated to British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) members

The Furniture Makers’ Company is launching an early careers website,, in a bid to help reduce the growing skills gap (read more on p113)

World Furniture will hold an at-home event from 17–20th September at the iconic Titanic Hotel in Belfast

The Belfield Group, which owns the Westbridge, Tetrad, Belfield Home & Leisure and Clinchplain brands, has announced a new “customer-focused” strategy, and has made a number of structural and functional changes to support its next phase of growth.

Allan Rowan joined the group as CCO in July. Allan has assumed responsibility for all sales and marketing activity across the group. Tom Prestwich, who joined as COO in April, has assumed responsibility for all operational sites to spearhead plans for operational excellence, including a continuous improvement culture towards 100% service delivery and quality.

Paul Myerscough, previously MD of Westbridge, has taken on the new role of group technical product director, leading product development and innovation plans across all business units and working closely

with both customers’ and internal teams to deliver innovative solutions.

Steve Olds remains group creative director, continuing to deliver “market-leading creativity and design to the group’s customers”. As one of the preeminent designers in the upholstery industry, Steve remains front and centre of Belfield’s unique design offering, and will be focused on creating a design centre of excellence within the group.

Rachael Nevins, CEO of The Belfield Group, says: “I’m delighted to have this new executive team around me with such strength and depth in their fields. Not only do they bring extensive knowledge and ability, but also the energy and enthusiasm to work jointly in partnership with our clients to deliver fabulous designs and high-quality product to their customer base.”

Consumers will pay more for greener mattresses

The latest consumer survey by the National Bed Federation (NBF) has revealed that sustainability issues are becoming an increasingly important factor in mattress purchasing decisions.

Consumer research undertaken in July, based on a sample of 1000 people who had purchased a mattress from July 2022 to July 2023, showed that almost three quarters of them would be prepared to pay more if they knew it had been designed and constructed in such a way as to avoid ending up in landfill at the end of its life.

Simon Williams, the NBF’s head of marketing and membership, says: “When consumers were informed that around 75% of old mattresses currently end up

in landfill sites, but that there are mattresses now available that have been designed so they can be completely deconstructed and fully recycled at their end of life, they were happy to pay more for these types.”

Of those who said they were prepared to pay more, 29% said they would pay up to an extra +5%, 38% said they would be prepared to pay between +6-10% more, and 19% said they would pay between +11-15% more. The ‘mean’ extra that they would be prepared to pay was just under +10% more. This finding comes on the back of the NBF calling on Government to support its plans for a nationwide programme to fund a service enabling everyone to recycle their used mattresses.

these vans made 45,000 deliveries across the local area and travelled over half a million miles.

The latest Highgrove range has all your customers covered.

Highgrove is delighted to unveil its 21st Anniversary Collection at The Bed Show, with virtually every brochure model represented on the stand plus a few new and exciting specifications.

These range from innovative new comfort and support technologies, including our latest AdvantEdge ® Pocket Spring System, health promoting CopperSleep®, temperature controlling ChiroGel® and our latest ErgoMatic adjustable and Ottoman specifications being unveiled for the first time.

Total Support all the way.

There has never been greater customer choice from Highgrove. Each of our beds has clear benefits for better sleep and is backed up by high quality in-store point of sale supplied free of charge to our appointed stockists.

Whatever your customers want, we’ve got it and available with our 7 day Express Delivery Service.

We’ve got some great Show Offers and look forward to you visiting our Stand F120 at the Bed Show, 26 and 27 September, Telford International Centre.

Highgrove Beds, Headlands Road, Liversedge WF15 6QA T: +44(0)1924 406 600

Island treasure

Algram Modern Living, one of Northern Ireland’s leading destinations for contemporary European furniture, has opened the doors on a major refurbishment that is set to reinforce its reputation as a showcase for excellence in interiors. Furniture News asked sales director Phillip Logan for the lowdown on this cutting-edge retail space …


Last month, Algram Modern Living revealed the scale of the transformation at its purpose-built premises in Bridgewater House, Ballymena, County Antrim – as a three-phase, £400,000 investment in fitout and presentation was completed, creating a unique, highend showroom “unlike anything on the island”.

Upon the 20,000ft2 showroom’s launch, Algram director Darius Graham said: “Customers look to us to present them with fresh concepts in furniture by introducing them to bold new brands and by showcasing key pieces which blend enduring style with the highest quality. That ethos demands an ambitious and appropriate setting, which is exactly what this latest investment delivers. The refurbished showroom provides the perfect backdrop for a curation of fabulous furniture which is totally unrivalled in this region.”

Since it was established in 1958, Algram has been at the heart of Ballymena, and the business has long been a byword for quality products and service throughout Northern Ireland, Darius continued: “As we became increasingly recognised for our specialism in sophisticated, high-end contemporary design not readily available elsewhere, that reputation grew across this island of Ireland.

“Today, we are resolutely focused on modern design, but the original heritage values which were the foundation of our success continue to be reflected in how we operate and, indeed, in the suppliers with whom we partner.”

Among those partners are leading platers incontemporary furniture design including Bonaldo, Cattelan, Koinor, Ligne Roset, Incanto and ROM.

“The internet has its place in this sector as in any other but, at the upper end of the market, customers still want to connect with the furniture – to see and touch it for themselves,” Darius continued. “They choose to take time over their purchases because these are investment pieces which will grace their homes for many years to come – which is why we have created an engaging environment in which to explore emerging trends, browse and buy, with expert service on hand to support their choices.

“The reimagining of the Algram Modern Living concept has raised the bar in terms of presentation and design to a level never before seen in Northern Ireland. The move equips us to serve our customers for years to come, and reinforces our determination to be the go-to all-island destination for those who want the very best of contemporary European design for their homes.”

Algram’s sales director, Phillip Logan, joined the business back in 2009 as a sales executive, quickly developed a genuine passion for the furniture business, and was appointed sales director in 2017. Here, Phillip answers Furniture News’ questions on why and how this impressive new retail space came to be …

How has the store evolved over the years?

The business has always moved with the times –hence our ability to weather storms over the decades – but our major transformation started in 2018, at which time we had two branches in Northern Ireland, namely our long-established traditional home furniture store in Ballymena, in the heart of Northern Ireland, and our contemporary showroom in Belfast. Our newer Belfast branch just took off, consistently outperforming our original traditional store in Ballymena, and that success prompted us to rethink our business as a whole. We decided that, for us, the future wouldn’t be about competing with the multinationals or online shops and offering ‘more of the same’. We had a strong sense that there was a significant gap in the all-Ireland marketplace with for luxe designer furniture … and our experience in Belfast had already given us the insight and trade contacts to address that opportunity.

When we came to a break in our lease in Belfast we decided – admittedly with some trepidation – that the time was right to follow our instincts. Rather than reinvest in the capital city, we opted to transform our Ballymena headquarters into our new destination

“For us, the future wouldn’t be about competing with the multinationals or online shops and offering ‘more of the same’
Phillip Logan

showroom. In doing so we were capitalising on the town’s central location and excellent road access from all corners of the island of Ireland. From the outset, we presented ourselves as an all-island business, and our ambition was to create a showroom that would stand comparison with the best of anything on offer in the major European capitals.

Why choose now to take the store to the next level?

I’ve always believed that if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backwards, and that’s a view embraced by all the senior team here at Algram Modern Living.

There’s no doubt that the last few years have created major challenges, from Covid lockdowns to the cost of living crisis … and plenty in between, not least the shift from bricks to clicks. In the light of such fast-paced external change we took a different approach, opting to be proactive rather than reactive. Our vision for the future, together with a long-term business plan, ensured investment in our success, and that’s something we will continue to do.

Most importantly, we don’t compromise. Customers know that we will always provide superb high-end pieces from some of Europe’s leading and most lauded designers, presenting choices in an appropriate setting of chic galleries, backed by exemplary service. We never waiver from that commitment, and there’s nothing in this business that we aren’t proud of.

What considerations were discussed when developing the new design, and who did you partner with for its delivery?

It was all about that vision, and our determination to create a truly elegant and exciting showcase for amazing contemporary European furniture. Personally, I was influenced by retailers like Heal’s and Harrods, who appeared to be miles ahead of any competition.My senior colleagues are all well versed and experienced in the furniture business, and they often benchmarked our showroom aspirations to the best locations they had visited across Europe.

An overall investment of some £400,000 was allocated to bring our vision to life, and we partnered two hugely talented showroom designers (both based in Northern Ireland) to help us achieve this. Mad Creative helped us complete phases one and two, with Bryan Heaney of 3D2 creating phase three, which stepped it up for us once again.

In tandem with creating a great physical space, we also invested in rebranding and building a new website with improvements that would positively affect the overall customer journey. Our new identity firmly positions us as a premium, exclusively modern retailer, with standout credentials across Ireland.

Describe your typical customer. Do they travel from far to visit the store?

We have tried to avoid describing any customer as ‘typical’, as we so totally eschew the one-size-fits-all

“There’s nothing in this business that we aren’t proud of

approach – offering customers choice and options have become a real unique attribute for us.

Many of our customers come to us as they complete a new build, renovation project or extension. They are all interested in design, and they expect the furniture selection process to be both creative and collaborative – which means they look to our consultants not only for advice, but also for inspiration. They aren’t shy about investing substantial sums in the pieces they choose, but they want value and assurances of enduring quality and supreme workmanship.

Customers come to us from right across Northern Ireland and, more so that ever, all corners of the Republic of Ireland. People are prepared to travel, provided the incentive is there, and the promise of something different.

Why do you think there are relatively few stores of this type in Ireland?

I think because our identity is clear – we are totally committed to the end of the market we represent. We don’t have budget together with high end, modern mixed with traditional … instead, customers come to us with a clear understanding of what we do. We also partner with manufacturers who commit to exclusivity, ensuring we truly are a unique destination for customers. This allows us to protect margins, ensuring we can continue to invest in the future.

What’s your favourite part of the new design?

I genuinely love the modern environment and the relaxed ambiance that goes with it. We have the space and style to present gorgeous pieces as they should be shown. I particularly enjoy getting to know a customer and understanding the product needs they have for their home – our in-house coffee bar is a popular spot to have these conversations, that help us to introduce customers to the very best in modern European product that will be in their house for years to come.

When you truly meet a customer’s need, there is no need for a hard sell, and choices become collaborative and creative as we step up to the challenge – and privilege – of furnishing some of Ireland’s most outstanding modern homes.

Can you reveal any more about your brand pipeline or upcoming developments?

We are very excited about the next few years, as our reputation continues to grow and our business builds across Ireland. We’re looking forward to bringing on board some impressive new brands and, as to our showroom … like every ‘home’, it will continue to be a work in progress.
“Our ambition was to create a showroom that would stand comparison with the best of anything on offer in the major European capitals
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Next-gen navigation

Following a stellar reveal at the Science Museum this summer, Tempur’s first major product launch in eight years is bedding in with retailers across the UK, ahead of its consumer launch in February. Furniture News asked Tobin James, MD of Tempur UK, to explain the thinking behind the new models …

What’s been keeping you busy?

There is never a quiet moment at Tempur – as an international brand, new and exciting developments are always happening.

Having said that, this year has been a particularly busy one so far, with our first major product launch in eight years. We’ve already had the trade launch event for our all-new product range – which took place at the Science Museum on 6th July – and are now underway with preparations for February 2024, when they are due to roll out in stores.

Please outline your new range – what’s ’next generation’ about it?

The new Tempur Pro SmartCool mattress and pillow range is a real step forward for us. The mattresses feature the brand-new Tempur Advanced Material, which is a next-generation formulation providing the best-ever pressure relief, motion absorption, and adaptability. That Tempur feeling will have never felt so good – that’s really saying something, when our current ranges are previously unmatched.

In addition to the new mattress and pillow range, we have put a lot of focus into launching our first-ever internationally produced bed range, Tempur Arc. Designed in partnership with Studio Stockholm, the bed bases have a unique and adjustable disc system meaning that, with the touch of a button, the frame will adapt itself to the individual’s shape and help maximise levels of comfort and sleep quality like never before.

We believe that this next-generation design will encourage more consumers to buy the complete Tempur bed system, especially given that these bed frames are built to complement each Tempur mattress and their intrinsic benefits.

We are also launching our smartest bed base ever – the Tempur Ergo Smart Base. It is powered by integrated Sleeptracker-AI sensors which detect and respond to micro-vibrations from snoring. We know from our research that nearly half of consumers experience disturbed sleep from their partner’s snoring, and the next-generation smart bed finally provides a solution to this.

The bed also provides sleep coaching and analytics via an easy-to-use app, making expert-level, tailored sleep insights directly available to customers wishing to fine-tune sleep hygiene. Therefore, it is no surprise that this product’s snore-detecting feature took the US market by storm when we launched it there around 18 months ago.

Adapt SmartCool
Tobin James

What personalised elements are involved, and how will shoppers engage with them?

We have consumer choice covered – the Tempur Advanced Material in the new products adapts to each individual’s body and their unique temperature, shape, and weight.

In addition, the Tempur Pro SmartCool mattress range will be available in four ‘feels’ – soft, medium, medium firm and firm – and each mattress comes in three depths for further personalisation. This will give customers the freedom to choose whichever is best suited to their individual needs. Our pillows are available in a variety of ergonomic shapes and sizes for all sleep positions.

Finally, the Tempur bed range has over 2000 combinations of colours, fabrics, headboards and bed legs.

What inspired the innovations in the range, and how did Tempur go about delivering them?

The customer is at the centre of everything we do – all our products are designed with the aim to provide a solution to real-world sleep problems, identified through consumer research.

Development of these new ranges began just after our last launch eight years ago, and the advancements in research and technology have meant that our solutions are now more innovative than ever. And it’s why we are so excited about the launch of these new products – we know that they work and give real sleep

benefits to consumers, ultimately helping them to achieve their best sleep ever.

Our products, and their benefits, are also unique, given that Tempur does not produce its materials or products for anyone else.

How do you plan to communicate the benefits of the range to end-users?

We communicate with our target consumers using an integrated advertising strategy. We’ll continue to use this approach to promote the new range, backed by a multimillion-pound budget and the launch of new marketing assets when the new products appear on our retail partners’ shop floors from early 2024.

What do you foresee being the biggest challenges in the range’s successful deployment?

A big challenge will be phasing out all of the existing products and replacing them with the new ranges. However, we work closely with our retail partners, and this is why we launched the products to them eight months in advance of the consumer launch. This will allow plenty of time ahead of delivery to carefully plan with our retail partners – for example, finalising display requirements and production, to ensure it all goes smoothly.

There is no doubt that this is a large undertaking, but we have a talented team and work with dedicated people, and I am confident that we will be able to do it.

“Our new ranges are going to take us to the next level
Tempur Pro SmartCool

… and what makes you think the marketplace is hungry for it?

Sleep has always been, and will always be, an essential part of every individual’s wellbeing. This explains why – despite the current ranges being in their eighth year – we are witnessing record sales of our current Tempur products. However, based on our consumer research and retailer reaction, we believe that our new ranges are going to take us to the next level.

Was the range developed specifically for a UK audience, or was it a global initiative?

The new UK ranges are part of the Tempur International global product launch. All markets outside the US and Canada will sell the same products – though the UK fire regulations mean that the UK’s will have a slightly different specification.

In fact, I am currently in Dubai visiting Tempur

stores there this week, where the new ranges have just arrived … there’s never a dull moment when you’re part of a global brand!

The new line incorporates adjustable and temperature-responsive elements. Where do you think the big wins are in mattress features, going forward?

The customer is at the heart of everything we do. Therefore, listening to consumers and developing products that improve their sleep will always be where the big wins are for us. Going forward, we foresee that adjustable and smart bed bases, particularly with the sleep coaching feature, will play an increasingly important role in helping us do this.

How has Tempur’s relationship with Dreams changed its parent company acquired the retailer?

Nothing has changed since the acquisition of Dreams by our parent company, Tempur Sealy International. Dreams has been our biggest UK retail customer for over 10 years and, though we both now have the same owner, our management structures and reporting lines remain separate. We also have numerous other long-term and highly valued retail partners, including many of the UK’s leading furnishing retailers. In fact, we gave lifetime achievement awards to four of our early pioneering Tempur UK retailers – Peter Betteridge (Bed Expert), Stollers Furniture, AIS buying group, and Furniture Village – at the retail launch in the Science Museum.

Can you reveal anything else in Tempur’s pipeline?

The next 18 months will be focused on ensuring that the new product launch is executed successfully. That said, later this week I am attending a meeting to discuss exciting plans and initiatives for the future. Tempur is not standing still, that’s for sure!

“There’s never a dull moment when you’re part of a global brand!
Tempur Pro Luxe SmartCool
The Tempur Ergo Smart Base is powered by integrated Sleeptracker-AI sensors
For E very H ome T: 01782 747 713 E:

Personal shopper

A newcomer to the world of online shopping, Flitch is a free-to-use tool that enables users to browse over 250,000 products from more than 100 UK retailers to find their “perfect piece of furniture”. Combining AI and the expertise of human stylists, the platform offers a unique solution to an often-frustrating shopper journey, say Flitch’s founders, Uriel Tannen and Daniel Ufland …

What’s your background?

Uriel: I started my career with HSBC, before moving to a management consultancy focused on the technology and education sectors. However, my father is a trained interior designer, so interiors have always been in the family and I’ve grown up in an environment of helping people furnish their homes.

When my wife and I moved into our first home we found the task of furnishing it completely overwhelming. At first, we created moodboards with images from Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz to start planning our new home. But when we showed these to my father, he was able to home in on exactly what we liked, and really understood our taste.

That triggered a lightbulb moment, as I realised that without an expert guiding you, you’re really just working off of a ‘feeling’, which is often hard to articulate when you’re not immersed in the industry.

For me, that’s when I started thinking that there should be a tool that can provide this service to the average consumer – and not just those who can afford a full interior design service.

Daniel: I’ve worked across a number of sectors including retail and the marketing division of an accountancy firm. More recently, I’ve been involved in the early days of a startup company developing a breakfast delivery app, and have owned my own business in a completely different sector.

My family had been in the furniture business for generations – my great-grandfather and grandfather were furniture manufacturers, and my grandfather moved into furniture retailing after their factories were destroyed during the Blitz. You could say that furniture is in my blood, and beyond that I have always had a fascination with interiors and how we can use technology to design homes.

Uriel and I met on the first day of secondary school when we were just 11, so we’d known each other for years before realising our shared passion for the idea of making furniture shopping simple – making us the perfect business partners.

Are there any other reasons you chose to target this sector in particular?

Uriel: We saw a real opportunity to solve a problem that we had both experienced first-hand. But we also realised that the furniture and interiors sector is an area that remains very traditional and doesn’t really provide the personalisation and transparency that modern shoppers have come to expect. We wanted to create a platform that would make furniture shopping easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Daniel: We also believe that the furniture and interiors sector is ripe for disruption. As we’ve seen with other industries, the way that people shop for things has fundamentally changed over the last few years. Furniture is no different, and we want to be at the forefront of that change.

How does Flitch differ from the other shopping platforms already operating in the marketplace?

Uriel: I think the concept of a ‘platform’ in the furniture and interiors space is something that the market hasn’t yet fully digested, and as an industry we’re on a journey towards that.

However, our unique approach is to always consider what would make a better and simpler furniture shopping process. So firstly, we use a visualled approach to discovering furniture. This means that we don’t just rely on text-based search terms, but that we also use AI to identify the distinguishing features of each piece of furniture.

This allows us to make more personalised recommendations, even when users don’t have the language to articulate their preferences. I think aggregation – making all furniture retailers discoverable in a single platform – is great, but

“The sector doesn’t really provide the personalisation and transparency that modern shoppers have come to expect
Uriel Tannen and Daniel Ufland, the founders of Flitch Dunelm, available on Flitch

shoppers need something more powerful to actually identify their preferences and navigate the vast and confusing marketplace.

Daniel: We also differ in that we combine personal recommendations with an interior styling service. This means that users can work with a stylist to create a personalised furniture shopping list. Working with a human means that the user has an expert to bounce ideas off, to ask questions, to send photos of items they’ve come across that they like.

And we think that human touch is really important when shoppers are making what is often a very expensive purchase. All three levels of our service – browsing the entire market, taking the style quiz for instant recommendations, and using our styling service – strive to tackle the two biggest problems when it comes to furniture shopping, namely the time it takes to find your perfect item, and the stress this often brings.

Can you outline your business model?

Uriel: Daniel and I put our savings into bringing our vision to life, and we’re quite proud to have got to where we are without needing to resort to venture capital or other fundraising avenues.

In terms of our business model, we make money through a few different channels. We do charge a limited fee for our human styling service, and also earn a commission on furniture items that are sold through our platform. A growing number of retailers pay to be featured on our platform. Finally, we also make money from the detailed and very specific trend data that we’re able to sell to furniture manufacturers and suppliers.

Describe your typical target shopper …

Uriel: Whilst we don’t exclusively market towards a particular niche, we do find that our typical target shopper is a 25-45 year-old woman. They’ll be living here in the UK, and would be quite familiar with online shopping. We also know that this demographic often expects to receive personalised recommendations from whatever it is they are buying or consuming online.

Give us an example of some of the key brands already on board, and your target pipeline … Uriel: We currently have a number of key brands such as John Lewis, Habitat and on board, and we’re in talks with quite a few other brands too. We’re confident that we will be able to add even more to our platform in the near future.

Daniel: In terms of our target pipeline, we don’t have specific names on our wishlist, but we are looking to continue to build our portfolio to include a range of brands that cover the mass middle market and appeal to the average budget of most consumers. We are keen on championing smaller, independent brands that we can bring to new customers.

However, we are careful with who we work with, as they need to meet our standards on quality, value and reliability, as well as have a working product feed –and ideally, good imagery – for us to be able to ensure the best customer experience.

In brief, explain how retailers/suppliers can work with the platform, and how they’ll benefit … Uriel: Retailers who work with Flitch will benefit from the ability to reach a wider audience, perhaps outside of their current geographic hotspot. Our style quiz matches potential customers with products that they’re likely to be interested in, and so retailers will benefit from the targeted nature of how our site works.

Daniel: The furniture space is ultimately changing, and we can help retailers enter this new age of AI and algorithmic recommendations without them needing to invest in changing their own sites.

“All three levels of our service strive to tackle the two biggest problems when it comes to furniture shopping
John Lewis & Partners, available on Flitch
available on Flitch

Can you give us an example of how the AI works?

What has gone into creating that tech?

Uriel: Our AI system works by first visually deconstructing each piece of furniture into its component parts. This includes things like the leg style, the chair back construction, and the upholstery material.

When a user takes a style quiz, our system identifies the distinguishing features that he or she is drawn to in order to map out their personal style. It then trawls the market for furniture that matches their taste. The system takes into account the user’s budget and other preferences, such as the size and colour of the furniture.

Daniel: The development of our AI system was a major undertaking. We worked with computer scientists who specialise in this area to train the system, and invested countless hours in creating the millions of data points needed for the system to work. We also had to collect a large dataset of furniture images and user preferences. We are constantly refining and developing this system further, and are confident that it will continue to improve as we train it.

How are you planning to market and grow awareness of the platform?

Daniel: Through a variety of channels. Our current focus is on partnerships with retailers and other

organisations that can help us reach our target audience.

We understand you donate a portion of your profits to charity?

Uriel: We have a strong commitment to giving back to our community. We currently donate 10% of our profits to charities, actively supporting organisations that address issues that hold personal significance to us, such as cancer support. As we continue to grow, our goal is to build longer-term relationships with key partner charities who share our philanthropic values.

What’s next for Flitch, and how can interested parties find out more?

Daniel: We’re excited to continue growing Flitch and making it the go-to destination for furniture solutions. We plan to onboard new retailers and expand our partnerships, and have just launched a new version of our website which makes it even more user-friendly and accessible.

Uriel: Interested parties can find out more about Flitch by contacting Daniel or myself at daniel@ or, or following us on social media. Interested retailers can get in touch directly with us at

Loaf, available on Flitch
“We can help retailers enter this new age of AI and algorithmic recommendations T : 01254 54266 M; 07890566927 E: Bruce St Business Park , Unit 3 Bruce St, Blackburn BB1 3EE VANCOUVER NEW LUXURY COLLECTION FOR 2023 EXCLUSIVE TO HFS GARDA 3 Colourways Charcoal, Silver, Mink Luxury Velvet Soft Touch £599 3/2 - 3RR/2RR VANCOUVER 3 Colourways Black, Grey, Tan Cushion Soft Touch Leather Look Fabric £599 3/2 - 3RR/2RR All prices exclude VAT @20% EST 1978

H Living looks to the future

As times change – and, with them, consumers’ spending power – how can a business ensure its offer continues to hit the mark, come rain or shine? For Huddersfield-based manufacturer/importer H Living, it’s a matter of ensuring one’s products and services never stays still, says MD Biny Hyder, as he reveals the latest developments ahead of this year’s Bed Show …

“These are turbulent times, and people’s budgets are feeling it,” begins Biny, reflecting on a challenging economic backdrop that could take some time to turn around.

“But we’re managing to maintain a good degree of optimism. We understand people’s need to be frugal, so we’re offering flexible payment plans. We make sure our products are built to last. We’re trying to accommodate retailers and end-customers alike, and to do so, our parameters are constantly changing.”

Although its brand umbrella encompasses a good deal more besides, in the domestic sector H Living is best known for its upholstered bed bases, frames and headboards, and the Natural Collection, a range of mattresses handcrafted in the UK that feature materials including cashmere, silk, bamboo and viscose – all delivered at a more competitive price point than one might expect.

This year’s Bed Show, taking place in Telford from 26-27th this month, will see H Living extend its natural offer, incorporating natural fillings of an even higher quality – yet, in keeping with the times, each model has been carefully engineered to ensure it remains within reach of today’s more cash-strapped consumer.

“We’ve been working hard to understand the complexity of those natural mattresses at the top of the market, and to apply our knowledge and skills to bring the quality of sleep they deliver to a broader section of society,” says Biny.

In practice, he continues, that means removing any unnecessary excess, without compromising on quality: “I actually undertook a mystery shopper exercise of my own, and took delivery of a Natural Collection mattress in my home. What immediately struck me was its sheer size – it was so deep, so weighty … and so hard to manoeuvre.

“So, we went back to the drawing board, and re-

engineered the range to ensure it suited a broader spectrum of households. The result is a product that’s more sensitive to the space constraints of most homes, that’s retained its aesthetic appeal.”

While the collection has become more accessible as a result, Biny was adamant that the manufacturer’s popular bespoke element be retained. “Like making a Subway sandwich, customers can still select what they believe to be the best-performing filling in-store,” he explains. “We’ve just made sure we’re not adding any components or fillings just for the sake of it.”

The decision to correct the collection’s course went hand with a plan to formulate a concrete environmental strategy for the business, with the help of renowned consultant Oakdene Hollins.

“We already utilise numerous sustainable components and processes, but today there’s a greater sense of urgency to ensure our approach is effective,” says Biny. “Achieving net zero is commercially important, and necessary for our survival as a species – and we’re currently developing a series of plans, both short and long term, to ensure we’re going in the right direction. In the face of incoming EPR regulations, we want to be one of the businesses setting the standards, not just following them.”

The desire to futureproof the business also prompted Biny to introduce a 22m-long rolled mattress line this summer, which can flexibly process mattresses of various size and composition to suit demand.

“We recognised a gap in our product offer for a next-day, take-home volume product, and our rolled mattress range will be going into around 100 stores from next month,” says Biny. “The philosophy is simple – if you can sleep on it, we want to produce it!”

Alongside an enhanced white-label proposition, these latest developments illustrate the philosophy at the heart of the business – a desire to get ahead of the curve, while continuing to deliver high-quality, high-value product in line with customer demand.

“We pride ourselves on staying in tune with what people want, but we’re also adaptable,” says Biny.

“With inflation so high, it’s clear there are smarter ways to be doing things.”

Having invested some £0.5m in staff, infrastructure, machinery, customer services and more this year alone, Biny is now looking to the next stage of H Living’s journey.

“I just hope everything we’ve set in motion comes to fruition,” he concludes. “At this year’s Bed Show, we’ll be unveiling competitively priced natural product that stacks up well against our premium competitors, and we’re offering exclusive access and added incentives to the first 50 shops to take it up. Come and visit stand F20 to discover the ultimate synergy of comfort, sleep, health, and a sustainable future!”

“We want to be setting the standards, not following them
in unparalleled comfort and sophistication with our luxury beds” PERFECTION IS A JOURNEY. At H Living, we’re always finding new ways to make better beds – so your customers can indulge in the finest possible luxury. 01484 531000 STAND F20

High-growth strategy

When Wazarat Ali took over the ownership of a small bedmanufacturing business in Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire in 2001, he had little knowledge of the industry – but a strong belief even then that he would build Highgrove into a successful brand

Fast-forward 21 years, and Highgrove is now one of the UK’s fastest-growing bed brands, reporting yearend sales in 2022 of more than £28m – up from £23m the previous year.

Mr Ali’s ambition to compete at all levels with the well-established traditional brands has presented significant challenges along the way, but his longterm commitment to the business, and investment in every aspect of it, has clearly paid dividends.

Today, the Highgrove operation is based in Liversedge, and is one of the biggest and most modern in Europe, producing up to 5000 beds each week.

Mr Ali purchased the 22-acre site in 2017, and, following approximately £12m of further investment, the facility now boasts some 600,000ft2 of manufacturing and warehousing, which also includes a 100,000ft2 distribution centre and a foam conversion plant. The latest site investment is a new headboard manufacturing unit, which will also soon have the capability of producing bed frames, primarily for the UK market.

Mr Ali puts the success of his business down to several key factors – the most important being the partnership approach Highgrove has to its customers.

“Without their continued support over the years, it certainly would have taken us much longer to get where we are today,” he says. “From our part, we give them the widest choice of product available in the marketplace, high quality and great value, and on top of this we provide our seven-day Fastersleep express delivery service for 98% of orders placed.”

Mr Ali also praises his employees: “Their efforts throughout the business, at all levels, have been instrumental to Highgrove’s success.”

The company’s product portfolio now comprises three brands: HG at the entry level; the flagship Highgrove brand, targeting the mid-market; and Sanctum, which provides traditional hand-crafted luxury to the premium price sector.

Mr Ali’s son, Saleem, is now very much involved in taking the business forward, and is confident that Highgrove will achieve £50m sales within the next five years, as the company targets new markets both at home and abroad.

“We now have the foundations to take the business to its next tier of development,” he says, “and we are particularly pleased and proud to have attained both the Sedex and ISO 9001 standards in recent years, which further highlights our ongoing commitment to the highest-quality environmental and ethical standards.”

Several years ago, Highgrove made the strategic decision to put its weight behind independent bricksand-mortar retail, at a time when many established brands were looking to sell directly to consumers online. Since then, the business has invested more than £750,000 in high-impact in-store displays, which have been made available free of charge to Highgrove’s Appointed Stockists.

“Clearly, our brands can be found on the internet via our customers’ websites,” explains Saleem, “but our high street collections are still exclusively available to independent retailers, and not available for online sales.”

So, what does the future hold for Highgrove?

Saleem is confident, despite the uncertain economic forecast. “The business has invested well in people, plant and machinery, and is well placed to take advantage of any new opportunities that arise,” he says. “Our aim is to establish Highgrove Beds as a well-known consumer brand that is a fitting legacy to my father’s original aims when he founded the business.”

This year’s Bed Show, taking place at Telford International Centre from 26-27th this month, will see Highgrove present every model in its range –including the recently introduced Coppersleep and ChiroGel models, which feature a new-and-improved AdvantEdge spring system.

Highgrove will also expand its adjustable bed offer, while adding several new cover innovations. HG will boast a wide range of high-value roll-up mattresses, and the Sanctum stand will feature the full collection of handcrafted models. Visit Highgrove on stands F120 and G70.

Wazarat and Saleem Ali
“We now have the foundations to take the business to its next tier of development


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Bluebone brings back custom classics

For the first time in over 10 years, classic US brand Bramble Furniture Co and London brand Steven Shell are available in the UK – thanks to the brands’ new exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland, Bluebone …

“The UK market is ready for something new,” begins Bluebone’s commercial director, Sam Jackson.

“We’ve worked closely with the team at Steven Shell and Bramble, and have spent the last six months selecting designs to curate a collection that will fit with the current UK and Irish market.”

Steven Shell grew up in an era of what is now iconic British fashion. As a London-born antique dealer, he travelled the world extensively, gathering ideas and inspiration from all corners of the globe, and translating them into well-crafted furniture and accessories.

Meanwhile, Bramble Co’s journey began over 30 years ago – again with a love of antiques and their inherent uniqueness. Bluebone describes Bramble’s pieces as “designs without confines, blurring the lines between sleek, elegant and timeless style – classic American comfort meets British sophistication”.

Today, their combined collections offer arguably the most extensive customisable furniture range on the market, says Sam: “They understand the desire for unique, without compromising on their exceptional quality and design.”

With an impressive track record in the US, these customised collections are now available again in the UK. Comprising over 1300 lines, with an array of paint colours, finishes and artwork options, Bramble Co offers a fully bespoke service on every container. All furniture is constructed using primarily solid wood mahogany and natural hardwoods, by state-of-the-art

technology, supported by traditional woodworking methods – all drawers are constructed with dovetail joints and superior tongue-and-groove backing techniques, entirely from solid wood, resulting in products of genuine craftsmanship, says Sam.

“Dining room furniture, complete bedroom ranges and design-led occasional pieces can be mixed with upholstery, art and homeware,” she continues. “Our first Bluebone collection is finished in a calm and restful colour pallette, including straw, architectural white, duck egg and soft grey. Solid hardwood timbers are stained, painted, distressed, wrapped in linen and given rattan panels. Exquisite, hand-painted artwork can be painted directly onto furniture, or featured as striking wall art – any item, any finish, endless possibilities.

“We are looking for key, exclusive Steven Shell/ Bramble Co partners in all areas nationwide to promote and showcase the collections, and as a container customer you would have full flexibility with no minimum order quantities per item, so you can select unique pieces in line with your own store’s style and pricing.”

A sneak preview of what is to come will be on display at The Village Hotel, Nottingham during Long Point (18-20th this month), and again at the Autumn Furniture Show, taking place at Stoneleigh Park from 3-4th October (stand 1-64). The brands and collections will be revealed in full at next year’s January Furniture Show (stand 2-B21).

For more information, contact sales manager Elaine Anderson via

“The UK market is ready for something new

Jim membership

In January, ahead of the retirement of group business manager Roy Beagent, Minerva Furniture Group appointed Jim Orr as its chief executive. The former Furniture Village buyer (who had worked with World Stores and Dreams before that) quickly set about assessing the demands and opportunities that lay ahead of the buying group and its members …

How’s business? What are you working on?

As a result of the rising living costs, furniture sales were impacted in May and June, but started to slowly improve in July and into August. Our members are currently focusing on improving lead times with suppliers, and good-value, quality product ranges, to ensure an increase in customer conversion rates.

We are currently working on our Autumn Furniture Show, being held at Stoneleigh Park on 3rd-4th October [find out more from p72], where we’ll have an excellent mix of leading global suppliers of upholstery, cabinets, beds, bedroom furniture and accessories presenting their new developments to drive sales for winter 2024.

How do you feel your Spring Furniture & Bed Show went?

Our Spring Furniture Show in May was our bestattended show yet, and featured our strongest selection of leading suppliers.

Are there any plans to evolve the exhibitions’ format?

We are always looking to improve our shows, both for our suppliers and our visitors. We have several new changes being introduced for our autumn show, including several specialist seminars which will improve our visitors’ experience.

What have you learned during your first six months with the buying group?

Minerva enjoys fantastic working relationships with all our members and suppliers. I’m looking to expanding our member portfolio, as well as introducing some great new suppliers.

What are the differences/similarities with your previous role at Furniture Village?

In my previous role I was predominantly responsible for supplier management – working with Minerva has provided an excellent opportunity for me to also work with our great (retailer) members from around the country.

Do you feel closer to any particular sectors of the industry than others?

I enjoy the experiences of working with suppliers from all furniture product categories, and from all parts of the world.

What are the benefits of Minerva membership, and which do you feel is most important?

Being a member of Minerva provides our retailers with an excellent breadth of product solutions, and attractive financial rebate rewards, both of which are extremely valuable.

What’s the biggest challenge facing the buying group?

Our biggest challenge is to continue to increase our leading supplier portfolio, and to expand our membership base.

Can you reveal any new approaches in the pipeline?

We’re looking at exciting new business plans, including several financial- and technology-based solutions for our members.

“Being a member of Minerva provides our retailers with excellent product solutions, and attractive financial rebate rewards

retailer members are able to come together to socialise, do business, and share best practice approaches

Through regular events, parties and informal networking opportunities, Minerva Furniture Group ensures its

37 We offer free delivery and returns, with a 200-night free trial and a 10-year guarantee. You can also shop with 0% finance over 12 months.

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A thing of beauty

Yad Luthra is the founder and director of belle&co, a vintage, modern and retro furniture and interiors shop in Lewes, East Sussex.

“We love high-quality and stylishly designed furniture, ranging from antiques to vintage and contemporary,” says Yad. “We also stock lighting and decorative items.

“When I’m looking for furniture, my influences very much reflect my background and experiences. My family is from India, and I’ve lived in the UK for over 50 years. I spent 40 of them living in London – a great cultural melting pot – before moving to Lewes in the South Downs National Park.

“As a result of my roots, where I’ve lived and my love of travelling, my tastes are eclectic – industrial, rustic, mid-century, British, Scandinavian, European, Eastern, Asian … simply put, great furniture, from wherever and whenever.

“We source items that are individual and authentic. We get tremendous satisfaction when we find a neglected item we can restore or repurpose and give a new lease of life to. In doing so, we try to work as much as possible with local craftspeople, tradespeople, upholsterers and restorers.”

The three words that best describe my business are welcoming, inspirational, environmentally minded.

The last show I visited was So Last Century, a regular vintage fair which takes place in London. It attracts vintage sellers from all over the country and is a great place to make contacts and, of course, pick up gorgeous vintage items.

Our most praiseworthy supplier is Berry & Son, a house clearance business based in Brighton that goes back, I believe, to the 50s. I buy from them regularly as they always have a fantastic range of items and are so nice and friendly to deal with.

Our best-performing products are our mid-century sideboards and dining sets, which are always good sellers. Sideboards not only provide stylish storage but are a perfect platform to put your big-screen TV on. I’ve also seen them repurposed as bathroom cabinets.

Also, as vinyl records have become popular again, LP cabinets are in increasing demand, and do not last long in the shop!

My personal favourites are mid-century armchairs and sofas which we can revive and restore – I’m always on the lookout for them.

A particular favourite is the G Plan 62. In 1962, G Plan created its iconic armchair, the 6250. It was originally sold as ‘The World’s Most Comfortable Chair’ and was used by villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, played by Donald Pleasence, in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967). Renamed as The Sixty Two, its distinctive winged design, soft foam cushioning and deep buttoned back provide the ultimate in comfort. For added luxury, it rocks and swivels too. I have one at home and it’s our dog Paddy’s favourite chair.

Our approach to staff training is encouraging them to learn as much as possible about the items we sell, as many customers like to know where items have come from, their history, and how we have restored and upholstered them. The most important thing is that the shop is a welcoming place – a smile and a hello goes a long way.

“I’m a big fan of Instagram as a means of alerting our customers of what we have available
belle&cois located on Cliffe High Street, Lewes
his shop

The most significant change we’ve made in our business recently is to start stocking items made by local craftspeople and artists which complement our normal stock. I think it’s important to support local makers and help to provide a shop window for their products.

The tastes that best reflect our audience are recycling and repurposing – people are becoming more aware of the impact of retail on the environment. I hope the shop provides an opportunity for customers to consider buying stylish, well-designed used furniture.

Our customers span all generations, but the common theme is a desire to have well-made and well-designed furniture at a reasonable price.

The technology we’ve introduced most recently is an Instagram account. I’m a child of the 60s and 70s, but have been reasonably comfortable with new tech. However, the online world is a constantly changing and evolving beast, and it can sometimes appear to be a little daunting and overwhelming.

As a small business with a quick turnover of stock, maintaining a website as a sales tool can be difficult. Once you’ve photographed, formatted your images, written the copy and posted, the item has invariably sold. As a result, I’m a big fan of Instagram as a means of alerting our existing and potential new customers of what we have available. Within a few minutes, I can take a few pics on my phone, edit them on my phone, write a brief description and they are posted.

Thankfully, my children are in their twenties, and as my unofficial marketing team, have been a great support in helping me to navigate and make the most of the online marketing world.

My number-one selling tip is to stick to buying stock which you love and could imagine having at home. I hope that if I love something, somebody else will love it too.

belle&co’s furniture offer spans antiques, vintage and contemporary Planning to retire or sell your business? Join Artisan Furniture, UK’s largest sustainable furniture enterprise Artisan Furniture: The global wholesaler and dropshipper with a footprint spanning across UK, USA, Germany and a factory in Jaipur, India. Proudly showcased in Forbes and enriched by Goldman Sachs mentorship, our B-Corp certification echoes our commitment to purposeful, sustainable business. Your Next Step? Align with our journey. We invite businesses complementing our product portfolio and market reach to join our journey, while keeping their distinctive culture intact. Preference will be given to B2B entities with robust online presence. Let’s Forge Ahead Together Artisan Furniture Unit 2A, Monck Street, Westminster, London SW1P 2BQ For confidential discussions: Discover our legacy: ® GlobalVision_JA.indd 1 17/08/2023 15:48
“My personal favourites are mid-century armchairs and sofas which we can revive and restore

Emma to expand brand store concept

Leading global D2C sleep brand, Emma – The Sleep Company, which is present in more than 30 markets around the world, has continued to grow globally and, after reaching a revenue of over £754m in 2022, the company is on track to reach new heights and achieve its target yearly revenue of £1b this year …

Integral to Emma’s success is the importance it places on an omnichannel approach. Emma is as committed as ever to bringing its products to life in the retail space, collaborating with more than 200 retailers worldwide in more than 3500 brick-andmortar stores.

Leading the team, and looking to take the UK retail business further, is Sahil Mehra, who took up the position of head of retail for Emma UK in May, after having previously led Emma’s D2C growth in the market.

He says: “We really want to keep growing with our existing and new partners by offering highquality Emma products and services. By creating an omnichannel approach, we are catering to the customers on all sales channels, so customers can have the most convenient buying journey.”

But it does not stop with just retail partners. Emma has already started to introduce its own retaildesigned experience, building on the success it saw with the launch of its first-ever Emma-focused stores in China.

Earlier this year, Emma brought its store concept to Europe for the first time, opening a dedicated space in the Netherlands, which showcases Emma’s diverse and extensive range of award-winning sleep products. Central to this store is the sensory element – consumers can see, feel and experience all the products. Emma’s sleep specialists are on hand to offer expert advice and explain the technology behind the products, but to also provide an exclusive range of in-store-only products.

The success generated by the Dutch store has spurred the sleep expert on to expand this offline initiative further in multiple markets, including the UK, with the hopes of providing customers across Europe with a quality live experience, bringing consumers closer to the Emma products than ever before.

“After our store tests in China, we decided to bring this concept to Europe, with the Dutch store being the first iteration of this”, says Dr Dennis Schmoltzi, co-founder and CEO of Emma – The Sleep Company.

“Expanding our own store offering is an important step towards becoming the world’s largest sleep brand, both online and offline.”

“Expanding our own-store offering is an important step towards becoming the world’s largest sleep brand
Emma plans to expand its own-store concept in the UK
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Six generations of luxury bedmaking

In 1851, in the Swedish village of Malmback, the Mattsons family embarked on a journey that would culminate in one of the world’s most exquisite bed brands. Here, Oscar Mattson (product development and international sales) and Anders Mattson (production) share their views on legacy, quality and sustainability …

As part of the fifth and sixth generations of Mattsons Beds, how does it feel to maintain such a rich family legacy?

Oscar: It’s a profound honour. Our family’s dedication to quality and craftsmanship has been unwavering for nearly two centuries. Continuing this journey is both a responsibility and a source of immense pride.

Anders: Absolutely. It’s like being entrusted with a cherished heirloom. We’re not just making beds –we’re weaving the essence of our family’s values into each piece.

Mattsons Beds is known for its quality. Can you tell us more about the values that guide your craftsmanship?

Oscar: Quality is at the core of everything we do. Our beds are a blend of tradition and innovation, a fusion of time-tested techniques and modern insights – and it’s not just about the end-product. The materials we use, like Swedish pine, wool and horsehair, are carefully chosen to ensure lasting comfort.

Each bed has a chapter, and tells a story of its own. Our flagship Black Velvet model is the epitome of elegance – it stands tall with its layers of comfort, and is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship. The other models in the range include the Elegance, Rise, Pure, and Soulful, which are each a symphony, a harmony of materials woven with a common thread of luxury.

How do these values translate into the bedmaking process?

Anders: It starts with the selection of the finest materials. We handcraft each bed in Sweden, poring over every stitch, ensuring the perfect balance of support and luxury. Every strand of horsehair becomes a tiny spring, breathing life into the bed. Cotton, soft and strong, lets the body breathe, while wool dances with temperatures, keeping sleepers snug in winter and cool in summer.

Our commitment to sustainability is also a significant aspect. We want our beds to not only provide exceptional sleep, but to also leave a positive impact on the environment.

What do you think sets Mattsons Beds apart in today’s fast-paced world?

Anders: In a world of mass production, we remain steadfast in our dedication to slow craftsmanship. Each bed tells a story of patience and precision. And our family’s heritage plays a pivotal role. The legacy of generations before us is embedded in every bed we create.

Finally, what message would you like to share with those considering a Mattsons bed?

Oscar: When you choose a Mattsons bed, you’re inviting a legacy of comfort and craftsmanship into your home. It’s an investment in quality sleep and wellbeing. Our beds are an embodiment of our family’s dedication and values – when you sleep on a Mattsons bed, you’re experiencing generations of expertise and care.

“In a world of mass production, we remain steadfast in our dedication to slow craftsmanship
Mattsons’ beds are “are an embodiment of our family’s dedication and values”, says Oscar The materials are carefully chosen to ensure lasting comfort


Andrew left the fashion industry for furniture at the turn of the decade, joining Long Eaton-based sofamaker Siren Furniture as an account manager in 2020, before taking the lead as a director in 2021 – and taking control in an MBO process thereafter.

How might a child describe what you do?

My son is 12 years old and proudly tells people that ‘Daddy builds sofas’.

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

I wouldn’t necessarily call it a challenge, but I’ve always fancied living overseas at some point. From a business perspective, the challenge is to maintain drive, focus and dedication to overcome external market factors and successfully continue to develop and drive the growth of Siren.

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

At Siren we are all recognised as individuals who play a key role that’s crucial to driving the growth of the business, so as priority we would look to invest in the expansion of our team and provide employment opportunities (that, and a great coffee machine that produces barista-worthy coffee for the team!).

What would be the title of your autobiography? And Why Not?

What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you? Being dedicated and determined to driving the growth and success of Siren means it can be difficult to completely switch off – although I do try to maintain a healthy work/life balance to spend essential time with my family, and always leave my work phone at home when on holiday to avoid the temptation of checking emails.

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?

I was fortunate to work for Touker Suleyman for seven years, and took a lot of learnings from my time there – particularly his positive approach to making things happen and not being derailed from his goals.

What advice would you give your younger self? It’s not all about the money.

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

What’s the biggest myth about our industry? That it’s not that complicated.

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

There is an opportunity to improve and increase sustainability across the whole supply chain, and a call to action for the Government to implement specific benchmarks in order to drive change and see a true difference, industry wide.

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

A continued increasing demand for customisation and personalisation.

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

Q. If you were king for the day, what would you do?

A. Help to reduce homelessness …

Anyone wishing to see Siren’s latest collections should visit the company’s showroom in Harrington Mill at this month’s Long Point show.

“I was fortunate to work for Touker Suleyman for seven years, and took a lot of learnings from my time there

Best foot forward

Forward thinking, forward planning.

That’s the theme at the heart of October’s Furniture News, in which we’re returning to one of the biggest issues of our time – sustainability.

As well as our regular industry-leading content, next month’s issue will feature:

• Greener products and credentials in our Eco Conscious round-up

• The latest in Bedroom, Dining, Living and Trade Services

This autumn, embrace the future by making yourself heard via Furniture News’ pages and online channels.




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IFHS sets the stage for Image milestone

Image Furnishings, which is marking 20 years of business, kicked off the celebrations in style at this year’s Irish Furniture and Homewares Show (IFHS) …

Having started out as a small family business in 2003, Image Furnishings has grown to become one of Ireland’s leading furniture wholesale businesses. In the past 20 years, Image has built some exceptional relationships within the Irish industry, so it was only fitting that they celebrated this great achievement with the industry at the sector’s largest trade show.

Image reports that its stand was a hub of excitement on day one of the show. Here, the main celebrations were held to mark this milestone – both staff and customers gathered throughout the day to share a glass of bubbly and raise a toast to the wholesaler.

For Image, the celebrations provided an opportunity to reflect on how far the business has come over the years – and to look to the future. In conjunction with the celebrations, Image launched a range of on-trend products, highlighting its ongoing commitment to quality and service.

During the celebrations, MD Mark Gannon remarked: “We are here at the IFHS 2023 in Dublin celebrating our 20 years in business – and we are very

much looking forward to the next 20! A big thank you to all the team, our family, and everyone involved for the past 20 years. It’s been a rollercoaster ride!”

Image took the opportunity to thank the industry for the support it had received during its 20 years in business by providing complimentary coffee and tea to all attendees and exhibitors for the duration of the three-day show.

Retailers attending the show had the opportunity to vote for the Retailers Choice – Best Sales Rep award, which pays tribute to the top sales professionals in the industry today, celebrating and acknowledging their competitive spirit, sales achievements and strong relationships with customers.

The recipient of this year’s award was Image Furnishings sales rep, Harry Sweeney – a testament to his dedication to providing high-quality service to Image’s customers all over Ireland.

Image Furnishings has evolved a good deal over the years, and continues to do so. The recent completion of a new distribution centre, and plans to commence building a new HQ and showroom in the coming months, highlight a commitment to providingits customers with even greater levels of service. Coupled with its mission to bring customers on-trend designs, while consciously taking steps towards a more sustainable future, these directions indicate a bright future for Image Furnishings.

“We are very much looking forward to the next 20 years
Image sales rep Harry Sweeney (centre), accepting his Best Sales Rep award. Also pictued are head judge Amanda Bone and Image MD Mark Gannon

The BFM says its upcoming Furniture Component Expo – set to run from 24-25th April 2024 at Telford International Centre – has been met with a positive reception from the industry, with manufacturing partners promoting the event to suppliers, and exhibitors eager to participate.

The trade association says this response reflects the “real need for a B2B event of this type in the furniture industry … the expo will provide a platform for suppliers to expand their business, and for manufacturers to discover new and innovative ideas”.

Chris Everist, sales director at Parker Knoll, comments: “The furniture industry thrives off innovation, and new ideas need to be exposed to the manufacturers.”


The event’s seminar programme is currently being curated, and will cover topics such as regulations, sustainability, and regulatory frameworks. An Innovation Trail, where exhibitors can launch their freshest products and services, and a wider industry discussion on import/ export and the global economy, are also being developed.

Exhibitors are invited to sponsor the event and/or seminar theatre, and space can also be booked at the theatre. To learn more, contact the BFM at

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New year, new accent for Brussels show

Returning to Brussels Expo from 5-8th November, Brussels Furniture Fair promises to deliver more of what it is famed for – plus a range of developments underpinned by a natural theme …

With its market-based offer, clear segmentation and manageable scale, Brussels Furniture Fair remains a popular B2B platform for the industry.

This year’s theme again embraces progressive business, but encompasses other core elements of the furniture and design business – aesthetics, inspiration and planning – all underpinned by nature. This will be reflected in the fair’s look and marketing, as well as in the introduction of the ECO-Stories label, which will enable visitors to quickly identify those exhibitors actively working on and/or looking for environmentally friendly solutions.

This year’s show is already shaping up to be significantly larger than the last edition, with, for example, every square metre in Hall 4 being sold for

the first time since 2018 (assisted by a relocation of Passe Partout and Recor Group).

Having noted a strong increase in demand from ‘traditional’ exhibitors, Hall 3’s Square segment had to be completely overhauled, while the Sleep segment in Hall 6 is filling up fast too. There has also been a significant increase in the number of exhibitors from the Nordic region, with newcomers Ecolife Beds, Dan-Form, Tenzo, Innovation Living and Torpe joining the roster.

The Square, which in recent years has become the go-to destination for inspiration and discovery, will be refined to deliver even greater relevance. For example, Design Street and Design Academy were merged into Design Academy Masters & Scholars, showcasing a range of products from established names in the design world, combined with creations by promising furniture design students. Square also continues to host the ‘Bubble up your Store’ concept, whereby retailers can engage with suppliers of goods and services that can assist them in optimising their retail spaces.

Despite these various developments, doing business efficiently, in a pleasant and hospitable atmosphere, remains at the heart of the show. With a contract route, the Balthazar awards and various trend corridors continuing to enrich the overall event, Brussels Furniture Fair again promises visitors a balanced mix of exhibitors and interesting features, states the show’s organiser: “These past years, Brussels wanted, above all, to symbolise certainty on one hand, and efficiency for both visitors and exhibitors on the other.

“This year, the fair continues on that same trajectory – but adds the emotional element that is inextricably linked to furniture.”

“This year’s show is already shaping up to be significantly larger than the last edition



VIFA EXPO promises a new experience

VIFA EXPO 2024, the 15th edition of the popular Vietnamese trade fair, will take place across the new dateline of 26-29th February, at a new venue, Sky Expo Center (District 12, Ho Chi Minh City), and promises to deliver new opportunities and experiences for international buyers looking to expand their connections and discover quality furniture and suppliers from Vietnam and Southeast Asia …

With 14 successful editions behind it, VIFA EXPO has long been considered Vietnam’s leading furniture and home accessories fair by buyers both international and domestic.

Next year’s show will kick off the Southeast Asian spring show circuit, ahead of IFEX (Indonesia, 29th February to 3rd March) and MIFF (Malaysia, 1st-4th March) – both of which are in reach of Vietnam for any buyers seeking to cover multiple events during the same visit.

As Vietnam’s largest and best-established furniture fair, VIFA EXPO attracts leading furniture and home accessories manufacturers seeking to export their newest products and, says its organiser, has long satisfied the needs of markets with international export standards.

This year’s successful edition reportedly attracted more than 18,000 visitors from 117 countries and territories, including more than 6000 international buyers – the highest number of visitors attended from the US, Europe, the UK, China, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Taiwan, India, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and France.

Based on that performance, the show’s organiser expects the upcoming edition to feature more than 600 exhibitors, in more than 2000 booths over an area of more than 36,000m2, in turn attracting a large number of international buyers.

The new venue is nearer to Tan Son Nhat Airport, and visiting buyers may also wish to visit furniture factories in the Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Long An provinces, Vietnam’s furniture-manufacturing centres.

VIFA EXPO 2024 promises to be a must-attend destination for international furniture and home accessories buyers seeking the latest in Vietnamese product and manufacturing expertise.

“Visiting buyers may also wish to visit furniture factories in Vietnam’s furnituremanufacturing centres
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Get on Point

Long Eaton’s showrooms will open their doors to the trade again this month for the biannual Long Point exhibition, comprising 28 manufacturer and supplier displays across seven locations …

Building on the town’s long history of craft and furnituremaking, in 2014 Long Eaton was recognised as the UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture – making it the natural home for one of the furniture industry’s most unique events, the Long Point exhibition.

Taking place each May and September, Long Point encompasses and celebrates the newest product launches from the many manufacturers – principally purveyors of fine upholstery – based in and around the town, while giving guest exhibitors an opportunity to present their new lines.

Recent years have seen an increasing number of furniture brands securing permanent showroom spaces in Long Eaton, the town’s warm, industrial aesthetic working well to complement a range of

styles and looks. As the concentration of furniture businesses in the area continues to grow, the show takes on even more life of its own with each edition – while the exclusive presence of several key brands makes it a must-attend event for many buyers.

Although a car is handy for travelling between showrooms, all the exhibition’s locations are situated within a mile of the town centre and the town’s railway station – for assistance, visitors arriving by train can contact the show’s helpline in advance, on 0115 973 4481.

Exhibitors include Ashley Manor, a key player in the UK home upholstery market, whose unique designs, combined with trend-led fabric collections, will be brought to life in the brand’s well-appointed showroom in Harrington Mills.

Siren Furniture – also in Harrington Mills – will present the recently launched Alice and Amy sofas, upholstered in new variations. The FSC-certified designer and sourcing manufacturer will also display Freya, its “most comfortable sofa ever”.

“A warm welcome awaits at all locations
Couch & Co Denver, Wiemann Harrington Mills

German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann will display its new VIP range, Denver, which has proved its hit of the year so far. With its unique, decking-style panel, the eye-catching collection offers a striking look. Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture, says: “We’re looking forward to showing flagship ranges including Denver and the ever-popular Monaco system at our Harrington Mills base during the exhibition. All are welcome to come and see the versatility and value for money which Wiemann bedrooms offer.”

With its wide range of upholstery, cabinet furniture and accessories on offer, Long Point enjoys a reputation for being one of the UK’s most relaxed and intimate furniture exhibitions. Andrew Mitchell, chairman of show organiser, the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers, says: “A warm welcome awaits at all locations – so come along and enjoy the show!”

Autumn Long Point will take place from 18-20th this month. Read on to discover a few of the highlights …

Exhibiting at Harrington Mills Leopold Street NG10 4QE Alexander & James Ashley Manor Carlton Furniture David Gundry Duresta Ercol G Plan Hunter Knight Parker Knoll Siren Furniture Wiemann Bedroom Bridge Street Tesco Asda Exhibiting at West End Mills Leopold Street NG10 4QD Couch & Co Kesterport Tamarisk Violino Warwick Fabrics Steed Upholstery Artistic Upholstery Iain James Furniture
Westgate Station St. Cross Street Clifford St Gibb Street Harrington Mills West End Mills Salisbury St Beaconsfield St Westgate Suite Exhibiting at Westgate Suite Westgate NG10 1EF Ashwood Designs Contrast Upholstery Libra Designs Exhibiting at Bridge Street NG10 4QQ Artistic Upholstery Iain James Furniture Exhibiting at Wilsthorpe Road NG10 3JW Gascoigne Designs Exhibiting at Bonsall Street NG10 2AL Steed Upholstery Market Place Porcelanosa McDonald’s Chilwell Retail Park BrailsfordWay Gascoigne Designs B o s skcot enaL LONG EATON TamworthRoad Westgate Village Hotel Exhibiting at Village Hotel NG9 6DL Alpha Design Upholstery Baker Furniture Bluebone Spink & Edgar Tetrad Hunter Knight 59
Siren Furniture
Gascoigne Designs
“One of the UK’s most relaxed and intimate furniture exhibitions


Following the business’ successful launch in January, Couch & Co presented its impressive Scandinavian collection at spring’s Long Point showcase, which it says was “incredibly well received”.

The supplier is now looking to the upcoming event, where, at West End Mills in Leopold Street, its two showrooms promise to be “brimming with commercial product” (as well as a coffee bar).

“Our static collection is going from strength to strength with the addition of some fresh new designs, as well as a number of exciting new fabrics and accents sourced from around the world,” states Couch & Co. “Our recliner category now has additional sofas added, which

strengthens the range of matching multi-function chairs (too many functions to list!) as well as complementing our ring-base swivel recliner chairs.

“We hope you can join us for the show, and if we can make your journey any easier, please let us know – we are happy to arrange collection (and return!) from local airports, train stations and hotels.” To make an appointment, contact sales@


Ashwood has produced bespoke upholstered furniture in the Welsh valleys for over 20 years – skilled, passionate people are at the heart of the company, and in conjunction with the latest technology, the business is rightly proud of the upholstery it creates.

Ashwood says its quality furniture, handcrafted and tailored in the UK, combines traditional techniques with modern technology to ensure superior construction and comfort: “Our furniture combines technical prowess with a bespoke approach. It is the product of a ceaseless quest for the ultimate in quality, coupled with lasting respect for traditional workmanship and the latest in innovative design.” Ashwood will again be exhibiting at the Westgate Suites.

Toulouse in Avana Ivory


We are thrilled to be hosting Long Point 2023 in our stunning showroom, in Harrington Mills, Long Eaton,” states Parker Knoll.

There, the upholstery specialist will showcase its latest collections, as well as displaying a wide range of attractive new designs and fabrics, creating new looks for its bestselling collections.

“We look forward to welcoming you to this month’s Long Point show,” concludes Parker Knoll.



Duresta says it is elated to be at this year’s autumn Long Point, where it is ready to deploy “a captivating array of new designs and exquisite collections”.

Based at the brand’s well-dressed showroom in Harrington Mills, Duresta is looking forward to introducing visitors to its latest collection, as well as a range of luxurious new fabrics: “Join us at this month’s Long Point show, and see what we have to offer!”

Bluebone will once again reside at the Village Hotel’s Motivation Suite for the duration of Long Point. Here, visitors will be able to discover brand-new dining ranges Arlo and Arc, two stylish new home bars perfect for cosy winter home entertaining (and likely to be fully stocked for the show!).

Bluebone also has two new upholstery ranges – the slouchy Oxford and the sculpted Florence sofas – while counter stools will be key, with over 12 new styles, and a new forest green vegan leather.

With a striking range of new artwork and accessories, Bluebone promises to be at its best this autumn, “so be sure to make time to visit us at the Village!”

Hazel 61

Following a successful May show, Contrast Upholstery is looking forward to launching additional products at the Westgate Suites in Long Eaton.

The loose-cover Saratoga in washable linen fabrics is available in two sizes of sofa, armchair and ottoman, with feather/fibre seat interiors, solid hardwood frames and bespoke legs. All of Contrast’s loose-cover ranges will now also be available in fixed-cover chenilles, velvets, prints and cotton twills.

“Janus, Nick and Annabel look forward to seeing you soon,” concludes Contrast Upholstery, which can be contacted via janus@, or by calling 07866 545729.



Tamarisk Designs was founded 32 years ago to fulfil a market need for luxury, stylish and comfortable sofas, chairs, and footstools.

All Tamarisk’s furniture is handcrafted in the UK using a blend of traditional techniques, cutting-edge technology, and high-quality materials. The company’s goal has been the same since the beginning – to deliver beautiful furniture and excellent service at every step of the process, from the initial enquiry right through to the delivery of the handmade sofa.

Find Tamarisk in The Exchange, West End Mills, Leopold Street.

Gascoigne Designs, which will proudly celebrate its 35th anniversary this January, invites buyers to visit its showroom on Wilsthorpe Road, Long Eaton (NG10 3JW) during this month’s Long Point show.

Gascoigne Designs produces an extensive luxury range, designing, developing and traditionally handcrafting each piece from start to finish – with the ability to incorporate bespoke elements to customers’ individual requirements.

The manufacturer’s range varies from extravagant, Italian-style, hand-carved show-wood designs through traditional, and includes more modern styling. Exclusive designs and white-label pieces can also be produced, and an exclusive fabric library, sourced from some of the world’s finest weaving mills, is available to complement the upholstery collection.

“David, Simon, Duncan and the rest of the team here at Gascoigne Designs hope to see you!”


Where bed businesses buy and bond

Organised by the National Bed Federation (NBF), the award-winning show takes place from 26-27th September at Telford International Centre, and is shaping up to be another impressive bed-focused event.

With an abundance of established exhibitors present, from some of the biggest names in beds and component supplies to smaller, niche players, visitors are promised a product selection that meets every price point.

This year, visitors will see the latest from the likes of Breasley, Deluxe Beds, Harrison Spinks, Hypnos, Jay-Be, Millbrook, Relyon, Sealy UK, Silentnight, Sleepeezee, Vogue Beds and Vispring, to name just a few.

Representing Glasswells, which clinched last year’s Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year and Outstanding Bed Store of the Year accolades, buyer Julie Valentine says: “The excellent selection of products on display at the show provides a superb opportunity for us to plan our new ranges, and there are always plenty of new innovations being launched to keep our bed department on top of current market trends.”

Sharon Robson, head of PR and communications at MattressOnline, comments: “The Bed Show is a real

highlight in the calendar, giving us the opportunity to touch base with our suppliers and peers and discover products and innovations that are new and upcoming to the industry. We look forward to the camaraderie and excitement of the annual event.”

The Supplier Innovation Zone should be the first port of call for bed manufacturers’ purchasing managers, and those that run their own mattress production units. The show area will host component suppliers including Apropa, Boyteks, CPS Group, Enkev, Handy, John Cotton Nonwovens, Kayfoam, Leggett & Platt, Maes Mattress Ticking, Nestor Springs, Rawsons, Spinks, The Vita Group and Wolf Components.

Upon the close of the first day’s trading, the gala dinner and Bed Industry Awards ceremony will return, with celebrity host, comedian Maisie Adam, ready to keep the guests entertained and the evening flowing. The awards, sponsored this year by The Vita Group, celebrate all that is good about the UK and Irish bed industry, and are an opportunity for bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to highlight their achievements from the past year.

This year, 10 companies across the industry will be declared winners. The NBF member awards include: Bed Product of the Year; Component Product of the Year; Bed Manufacturer of the Year; Component Supplier of the Year; and NBF Member Sales Agent/ Rep of the Year.

For retailers that predominantly stock NBF member brands, awards up for grabs include: Small NBF Retail Champion of the Year; Large NBF Retail Champion of the Year; National Bed Retailer of the Year; Online Bed Retailer of the Year; and Ad of the Year.

Guests are invited to attend the drinks reception, sponsored by Hypnos, from 6.45pm. This will be followed by a sit-down dinner and awards ceremony from 7.45pm.

To register to attend the Bed Show, and to find out more about the awards, visit the event’s website –and find out more in Bed Buyer, the special preview supplement distributed with this month’s issue.

The UK’s biggest bed exhibition, the Bed Show, is all set to open its doors to hundreds of bed buyers and specifiers later this month …
“The Bed Show is a real calendar highlight
The ONLY place to see so many UK and Irish bed manufacturers and component suppliers all under one roof - from the biggest brands to smaller niche players WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT 26 – 27 September 2023 | Telford Mattresses | Divans | Bedsteads | Headboards | Pillows | Futons Sofabeds | Tickings | Fillings | Springs | Foam | Machinery | Components @thebedfed | #BedShow2023 • Over 70 manufacturer and supplier brands • Latest products, collections and innovations in bed making • Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony with celebrity host • Prime networking opportunities • Supplier Innovation Zone • FREE entry, parking and Wi-Fi • Complimentary refreshment vouchers

Hypnos marks start of 120th year

Celebrate with Hypnos at the Bed Show this September, as the iconic bedmaking brand approaches its 120-year anniversary in 2024, and promises an exciting event and an array of new products and thoughtprovoking concepts …

As its next chapter unfolds, Hypnos continues to celebrate its traditional bedmaking heritage and progressive values – while, thanks to the support of myriad distinguished partners and trusted retailers, the bedmaker’s Royal Warrant and innovative collaborations bolster the brand’s enduring consumer appeal.

Recent projects with exclusive hotels such as The Other House, Royal Lancaster, and Soho House, have been highlighted in the exclusive Hotel Hypnos series. Each project exemplifies the business’ commitment to enabling sleep and wellbeing, and the value of luxurious comfort, design and craftsmanship.

Over the last six years, Hypnos has refined its approach to comfort and sustainability, forging pioneering partnerships and embracing its mission to become a global leader in innovative luxury bed design – adopting ‘comfort with integrity’ as its mantra.

Last month, Hypnos was thrilled to receive Furniture News’ Readers’ Choice Award for Sustainable Thinking, alongside an award for its Organic mattresses at the Best of Organic Market Awards 2023. Recognised by multiple certification bodies and the Planet Mark, and a holder of a Queens Award for Enterprise for Sustainability 2020, Hypnos is committed to sustainable thinking in its bed design and manufacture, with a mission to encourage healthy, sustainable and responsible sleep.

In 2022, Hypnos introduced the Responsible Wool Standard to British wool farming, further elevating its traceable British wool story. As the first brand in any industry to use British wool that meets this internationally recognised standard, this development supports recognition for this versatile, British-farmed fibre, bringing a whole host of benefits for farmers, animals and the environment.

In fact, Hypnos’ continued pioneering partnership with the Eden Project, and the company’s dedication to achieving circular design and protecting biodiversity, has inspired a quest for more innovative plant-based solutions which can help absorb carbon and make use of naturally available materials.

“Our unique partnership with the Eden Project is really important to us, and it’s evolving,” explains group MD David Baldry. “It’s been incredible to meet and work with their knowledgeable and visionary team, to understand their objectives and learn about how businesses, like Hypnos, can make a difference to tackling social and environmental problems.

“This month’s Bed Show will bear the fruits of these discussions, and introduce new and exciting collections to our retailers and consumers. We are looking forward to showcasing these in this very special year of celebration, and at this fantastic industry event!”

Find Hypnos on stand E110 at this year’s Bed Show.

“Our unique partnership with the Eden Project is really important to us, and it’s evolving
Recent projects with exclusive hotels are highlighted in the Hotel Hypnos series
Hypnos’ David Baldry, Amanda Castle and Richard Naylor at the Eden Project this summer
Exhibitions have come a long way –Hypnos promises a 66 EVENTS BED SHOW
further glimpse of the future of sleep at this year’s Bed Show
SIESTA BEDS COMFORT & QUALITY ASSURED Est 1986 Natural Bamboo Fillings Tencel Soft touch fabric Springs Mulliners Works 154 Bordesley Green Road, Bordesley Green, Birmingham . B8 1BY. Email Tel: 0121 773 9969 Fax 0121 766 7413 A Life Changing Choice Exhibiting at NBF Show Telford 26th 27th September 2023 STAND E20 Copper Latex Encapsulated Pocketed Hybrid Essential Available in 1,000 2,000 and 3,000 Pocketed Springs. Superior comfort Gel Layer, Memory Foam STAND E20

Landmark moment for bedmaker

At this year’s NBF Bed Show, taking place from 26-27th this month at Telford International Centre, Sweet Dreams will introduce Landmark – a sustainable line that the manufacturer says heralds “a new era in UK bedmaking” …

Sweet Dreams’ Landmark range comprises six beds that feature foam-free fillings, and sleep surfaces made from eco-friendly sustainable fabrics.

After signing the NBF Pledge for Our Planet, Sweet Dreams set about developing a range that would place it firmly on a path in line with the pledge’s five tenets: demonstrate commitment to becoming a more sustainable business; reduce global warming impact; reduce waste; reduce products’ impact on the environment; and take responsibility for one’s actions.

Sales manager Nick Williams says: “After signing the NBF pledge last September, this is our first launch of our more sustainable, eco-friendly products.

“Our components are responsibly sourced, using many recycled elements, and making the product more recyclable at the end of its life, with the aim to make beds better for the environment,” he continues.

“The mattress offer is based on our three best-selling

springs systems – 1000 and 2000 pocket, and the 12.5 gauge open coil – and the eco-friendly fillings include Platinum, which is free from chemicals, with sustainability at the forefront, and 100% recyclable at the end of its life.”

However, the sustainable credentials are by no means limited to the mattresses. “The Landmark base comes with a choice of six fabulous 100% GRScertified 100% recycled base fabrics,” explains Nick. “The GRS standard applies to the full supply chain, and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, chemical content and labelling.

“The benefit of GRS is that our Landmark base, border and headboard fabrics will feature -94% less water use, -59% less energy use and -32% less CO2 emissions in the production process.

“The Landmark base fabric is the first of its type available from Sweet Dreams, and the mattresses will feature a co-ordinated border manufactured from the same sustainable fabric as the bases, affording the bed a luxurious look and feel.

“Continuing with the sustainable story, all Landmark bases and matching headboards feature FSC-certified wood. Non-storage, two- and fourdrawer, front and side ottoman options are available as standard, and Landmark comes in double, king and super-king sizes.”

Landmark will be showcased at this year’s Bed Show alongside a range of bestselling beds from Sweet Dreams’ main catalogue, and its internet-only Eden bed range.

“We’re really excited about the impact Landmark will have at the NBF show,” enthuses Nick. “We look forward to seeing you during the show – why not stop by and see our new Landmark collection on stand G50?”

“We’re really excited about the impact Landmark will have at the NBF show
Landmark in blush Landmark in grey

Developed through consultation with the bio-mechanical engineers of the Orthopaedic Advisory Board, Exquisite introduces expert-perfected innovation.

The NEW patented coil system provides the next level in performance - providing more of the genuine support and true comfort you would expect from a Sealy Posturepedic.

Meticulously crafted with speciality comfort materials and signature tailoring, Exquisite embodies luxury.

Experience Exquisite at The NBF show | Stand B40

Devonshire to unveil refereshed palette

Devonshire Living is looking forward to welcoming visitors to its stand (1-65) at this year’s Autumn Furniture Show, says MD Nicolle Hockin …

“We have always been particularly strong on bedroom cabinet, as shown in this year’s Furniture News Readers’ Choice Awards win as Best Bedroom Cabinet Supplier,” says Nicolle. “Therefore, this year we have been focusing on strengthening our dining selection, as well as broadening our use of different materials – and the first taste of this will be launched in October.”

At the show (taking place in Stoneleigh from 3rd-4th October), Devonshire plans to launch three brand-new ranges, plus an updated colour palette for its paint finishing plant in Devon.

The first new range is Moreton, a 32-piece natural

oak collection available in bedroom, dining and living room. This range has been purposefully designed in petite sizes to fit smaller spaces, as well as to hit certain price points in the current economic climate.

The second range, Vermont, combines sintered stone tops with a metal cross pedestal in a slim, elegant dining collection. The range has three sizes of table, two of which have smooth, easy-to-use end extensions, and the whole range is available in two stone colours – a subtle grey, or bright white.

Last, but by no means least, Nevada is a stand-out dining collection which will no doubt draw the eye in any showroom, as well as in the customers’ home, says Nicolle. Combining a unique piston-style leg with glass tops, this range also has versatility in that the offer includes two colours of glass – a universally popular clear, or a deep and sophisticated smoked.

Devonshire is well known for its colour options on painted ranges – a popular choice with customers who want a specific colour, look, or something more unique. Being finished by hand in Devon also adds a special touch to what can be, at times, an impersonal market.

As colour trends change over time, Devonshire constantly reviews its palette, and is due to launch the new selection at the show, with four brand-new hues. On the new combination, the company comments: “After extensive research and feedback, we are extremely happy with the new colour choices and feel we have hit the right balance between commercial validity and interest on the colour board.”

When asked about future progression, Devonshire adds: “We’re continuing on our journey of redevelopment and modernisation, and the response so far has been exceptional – we’re so thankful to all our customers, new and old, who have gotten behind us this last year especially. We have an exciting announcement to share over the next month or so, and are already well under way with new product launches, ready for next year.”

“We’ve been focusing on strengthening our dining selection, and broadening our use of different materials

Crafted by expert hands right here in the UK using the very finest natural materials, Sanctum is the epitome of luxury and comfort in a premium bed brand. Luxurious viscose damask covers, an engineered pocket spring system for total body support, plus an extensive range of base options with enhanced drawers and exceptionally stylish headboards. All supported by stunning in-store POS and unrivalled delivery service. Sanctum really does represent excellent value for money.

We look forward to you visiting our Stand G70 at the Bed Show, 26 and 27 September, Telford International Centre

406 600

Luxurious British wool, horsehair, mohair, alpaca, bamboo and flax. We’ve
a hand-tailored sanctuary.
Headlands Road, Liversedge WF15 6QA T:

Wiemann set for busy autumn

Leading German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is looking to build on a successful first half of the year with a busy autumn of trade exhibitions …

The award-winning company will show off a selection of its most popular collections at Long Point (Long Eaton, 18-20th September), the NBF Bed Show (Telford, 26-27th September) and the Autumn Furniture Show (Stoneleigh, 3rd-4th October).

The stands will feature a carefully curated display of products suitable for customers seeking versatility, style, quality and “outstanding” value for money.

New-for-2023 VIP choice Denver is an eyecatching, award-winning collection. Its unique decking-style panel offers impressive versatility and striking looks. A sliding and hinged wardrobe, it is available in a range of bestselling finishes and, with options for outer or centre doors in matching or contrasting colours, the range gives a variety of bold or subtle finishes to suit any bedroom – every Denver finish combination gives a different look, demonstrating the flexibility of this product.

Versatility is a central theme for Wiemann wardrobes. The company prides itself on making products which truly offer a total bedroom solution, whatever the style or size of home. Reflecting this, slider range Miami Plus, and hinged choice, Tampa, come in plenty of contemporary colourways and are enjoying strong sales this year, given their high quality and competitive price. Timeless classic Cambridge, a Shaker-style design which offers a long-lasting look, is also driving a full order book, says Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture.

The Monaco system, a VIP offering, comes in virtually any variation imaginable, to suit any style of bedroom, and is also a market leader for Wiemann. Options include sliding, hinged and bi-fold doors, plus a clever corner unit to maximise space.

Wiemann has enjoyed a list of endorsements, with award wins across the UK and Ireland crowning a year which has seen its latest ranges hit the sweet spot with customers, says the supplier: “Strong sales have followed valued accolades.”

Wiemann was recently named Best Importer in Furniture News’ Readers’ Choice Awards, then Denver was named Best Bedroom Collection at Dublin’s IFHS in July – all this after opening the year with a win in The Furniture Awards (delivered by January Furniture Show/Furniture News), in the Global Player category.

Simon Hewitt, MD of Litmus Furniture, says: “We are delighted that our products continue to satisfy those seeking stunning, top-quality, long-lasting wardrobes and accessories. We are looking to offer more of the same, and strive to do even better as we move into the later months of the year. The autumn trade shows are a vital part of this, and we are looking forward to catching up with existing friends as well as meeting new people as we take our products around the country.”

Wiemann also operates from two permanent showrooms – in Harlow, Essex, and Long Eaton, Derbyshire – where appointments to view products are always available.

“We are looking forward to catching up with friends and meeting new people as we take our products around the country
Wiemann’s team, celebrating their award win this January Cambridge Monaco Quito

See us at Long Point (September 18-20), NBF Bed Show (September 26-27) and Autumn Furniture Show (October 3-4) |
in germany
in graphite
Stunning bedroom solutions from Wiemann
Bedrooms of distinctive style, quality and value



NAEC Stoneleigh in Kenilworth CV8 2LZ easily accessible by major road, rail, and air links.


Enough space for dedicated exhibition halls. Its excellent Strollers Restaurant.


The event is open to ALL BUYERS.


Over 70 leading global suppliers exhibiting.

Huge selection of both major British and Overseas companies, showcasing their latest new Autumn/Winter product ranges. A great mix of all product categories, including upholstery, cabinet, bedroom cabinet, beds, and accessories.

Upholstery suppliers including HTL, Violino, Primavera and Sherborne.

Cabinet and Bedroom Cabinet exhibitors such as Wiemann

Julian Bowen and Devonshire.

Bed suppliers including Sealy, Highgrove, Relyon and Healthbeds.



We have an In-Show Coffee Shop and a Juice Bar –both with seating for you to meet and relax with Suppliers and Colleagues!



NOT TO BE MISSED 3rd & 4th OCTOBER 2023 Register Now
A FREE LUNCH in the Strollers restaurant. FREE entrance ticket. FREE SHOW E-Catalogue. FREE WIFI.
go to for your Complimentary Entrance Pass.


Weavers, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of upholstery fabric, continues to provide value to customers in every continent, with its specialised designs and textures, and unique product lines.

Weavers produces upholstery fabric, outdoor fabric, velvet, loop velvet, drapery and bedspreads, with variety of colour selections.

Weavers’ woven fabrics invite users to rediscover primitive heritage in a modern setting – natural resources employed in a modern way to deliver a timeless feel, with fresh, sustainable

manufacturing techniques and alternative textile sources ensuring an enduring trend.

“Thanks to their resilience, natural fibres such as hemp, cotton, bamboo, linen and viscose have been used for ages,” states the manufacturer. “Aesthetically pleasing and long lived, the fabrics derived from them are inspired by the magnificence of nature – and our experts are working to produce robust new solutions.

“Thanks to recent innovations, the textile industry has helped bring about a revolution in materials and processes – and Weavers plays its part with the environment in mind, utilising new

sustainable, recycled and biodegradable fabrics.” Weavers’ high-quality upholstery fabric collection is therefore an eminently ecofriendly choice for home furnishings, says the manufacturer: “Our offering comprises both natural and synthetic fibres, thereby creating organic upholstery fabrics with high durability and a long lifespan. Our customers can choose from a wide selection of colourful, eco-friendly fabrics for both indoor and outdoor applications – and, for those wishing to live in an even more sustainable world, they can peruse our recycled fabric collections.”

“As we (hopefully) ramp up to what should be our busy period for dining, we’re excitedly awaiting delivery of our new ranges of Live Edge and Star Burst dining tables, which are finished in our Goa, Raipur and Mango colourways to blend in with existing ranges or be standalone pieces,” enthuses supplier IFD.

“We also have new swivel dining chairs in three colours, to match any of our dining ranges. These should all be ready for delivery next month, and we’ll be showcasing them for the first time in next month’s Furniture News, so watch this space!

“In the meantime, we’ve put together package deals on all of our in-stock dining ranges, that allow you to get a great display on your floor in time to take orders for pre-Christmas delivery. These represent great value, whether you are looking for oak, painted, mango or sheesham finishes. You can also log into our website, where you can view all the package deals and place your order online (you’ll also find the online brochure, where you can see all our ranges and the items they include).”

Live Edge
Star Burst

Bed and mattress testing at SATRA

At SATRA we offer a comprehensive range of bed and mattress tests to our customers. To complement the existing range of furniture testing equipment we have recently invested in a second roller tester for assessing the durability of all kinds of mattresses to BS EN 1957:2012.

Testing to this standard includes;

• Rigorous fitness-for-purpose assessment

• 30,000 cycles test duration

• Firmness rating, correlating with subjective human assessment

• Firmness and hardness measured before and after rolling

• Bed edge testing

• Overall construction assessed, for issues such as broken springs and displaced filling



Contact our furniture testing team at to discuss your bed or mattress testing requirements

Consultation on the new approach to the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture is underway. Contact us or visit our stand at The Bed Show if you have any questions. at the TheShowBed
Sept26th & 27th

Enhancing sleep through top tech

In today’s fast-paced, sleep-deprived world, one brand says it stands out as a true game-changer in the realm of sleep – Simba …

With a mission to improve the way the world sleeps, the sleep tech innovator says it has transformed the humble act of slumber into a science-led experience.

At the heart of the Simba ethos lies an unwavering commitment to cutting-edge technology, meticulous craftsmanship, and a deep understanding of sleep science, to create “truly exceptional and comforting” sleep products.

As a certified B Corporation, Simba is blazing a green trail and strives to set new standards in sustainability in the industry, by using eco-factories powered by renewable energy, minimal transport emissions and a zero waste policy, with a state-ofthe-art recycling facility that welcomes any brand of mattress.

The science of superior slumber

With over 250,000 five-star reviews and 50 industry awards, Simba continues to impress with comfortdriven innovation. All Simba mattresses are made in the UK with 100% recyclable materials, so they can be returned via the brand’s unique collection service and fully refurbished for circular resale.

The pursuit of scientific excellence and rigorous research is evident in Simba’s engineered Hybrid technology, which combines multiple, intelligent layers of patented, ventilated Aerocoil springs, cooling graphite-infused Simbatex foam, a knitted hypoallergenic sleep surface, and 13 zoned areas of support over a No-Roll off Supportcore base with edge-to-edge support.

The result is responsive, cloud-like comfort that adjusts dynamically to the sleeper’s body, offering personalised support, temperature regulation and

pressure relief, with minimal motion transfer.

Simba has also released a cot bed mattress, bringing Hybrid technology to the world’s smallest sleepers.

Simba’s state-of-the-art sleep tech is highlighted perfectly with Stratos, a temperature-regulating technology that creates a cool-touch sleep surface on the outside and actively transfers heat away from the body, maintaining the comfort of the sleeper, and offering relief to those who overheat as they sleep.

For example, with the Hybrid pillow, where one side of the cotton cover provides instant coolness, sleepers will never have to turn the pillow over during the night to get the cool side of their pillow. On the inside, the products contain Simba Renew Bio, an anti-allergenic material that offers lightweight, downlike comfort from soft, airy clusters, made from GRS recycled PET bottle fibres that can biodegrade in just two years.

Recognising the pivotal role that pillows, duvets and sleep accessories play in enhancing sleep quality, Simba has extended its expertise to a range of thoughtfully crafted sleep essentials, including an adjustable pillow with different combinations of height and firmness, a 3-in-1 duvet with seasonal layers, and a body pillow for side sleepers, that all benefit from advanced textile innovations.

“With engineered, sustainable and supremely comfortable products for the whole family, and prices to suit all budgets, Simba is one step closer to completing its mission to give everyone better sleep at all life stages,” concludes the sleep tech specialist.

“Simba is one step closer to completing its mission to give everyone better sleep at all life stages

Tempur’s sleep comfort milestone

In July, at a retail launch event at The Science Museum, Tempur UK unveiled its biggest product launch in eight years – described by MD Tobin James as “a milestone moment in our history”. Here, Furniture News asks the sleep specialist to share the lowdown on its new lines …

Please sum up the releases in the first wave … The new Tempur Pro SmartCool mattress and pillow range provides best-ever pressure relief, thanks to the next-generation Tempur Advanced Material, a new formula that distributes body weight more evenly and effectively [read more on p16].

The new range also benefits from Tempur’s SmartCool cool-to-the-touch cover, which absorbs excess body heat and helps regulate the sleeping climate. The Tempur Pro SmartCool mattresses will be available in soft, medium, medium firm, and firm styles, and in three depths – Pro, Pro Plus, Pro Luxe.

Our mattress and pillow range is complemented with the Tempur Arc range of beds. This Studio Stockholm-designed bed range is fully customisable. The modular system offers a varied choice of fabric textures and colours, headboards, and classic and contemporary foot options for the perfect finishing touch, with over 2000 combinations available.

It will offer some ground-breaking bed support systems, including the Tempur Ergo Smart Base, a fully adjustable bed base that features SleepTrackerAI and Snore Response technology which detects vibrations from snoring and raises the head 12° to counteract this. The Ergo Smart base offers sleep coaching and analytics via an easy-to-use app, making expert-level, tailored sleep insights directly available to customers wishing to fine-tune sleep hygiene.

Then there’s the Tempur Arc Disc system. The new disc bases are made up of a combination of firmer and softer discs which the customer can arrange as per their preferences, and come in both static and adjustable models. The disc base is a good alternative to the more traditional wooden slats, and allows consumers to take advantage of another level of customisation, arranging the discs to provide more

comfort to parts of the body they typically experience aches in, such as the back or hips. The disc system includes an adjustable bed base option, allowing customers to adapt their position for optimum sleep, rest or relaxation.

What do you expect to be the stand-out models?

The new Pro SmartCool mattress range with bestever pressure, that comes with Tempur Advanced Material, is going to take consumer comfort to a whole new level. In addition, our designed Arc bed range – and in particular the Ergo Smart Base with the Snore Response feature – are exciting developments for the industry.

Will the new lines complement or replace Tempur’s existing in-store offer?

This is the biggest product launch we’ve ever undertaken, with all current models being replaced in March 2024.

How do you plan to help retailers convey the range’s more innovative aspects in-store?

We will use an integrated advertising strategy to promote the new range, backed by a multimillionpound budget and the launch of new marketing assets when the new products appear on our retail partners’ shop floors from early 2024. We have also recently hired a new training manager who will be running product training sessions for retailers, and will soon be launching our Tempur Academy app, which retailers can use to learn our USPs, using quizzes to keep it interactive.

Have you received any fresh feedback following the launch event?

We’re thrilled with the amazing feedback we received from our retailers after the launch event. Retailers have shown real enthusiasm for our new range.

“The Pro SmartCool mattress range is going to take consumer comfort to a whole new level
Tempur’s new Arc Disc system offers a modern Tempur
alternative to alternative to wooden slats Pro SmartCool mattress



Join Protect-A-Bed’s mattress protection club

The focus on each and every customer that walks through the shop door has never been sharper, as maximising every sale is vital, writes Gowsh

“With lower footfall in stores, increasing the AOV has never been so important,” says Gowsh, “and Protect-A-Bed have continuously demonstrated their achievements in helping retail partners significantly grow sales.”

For the second year running, Protect-A-Bed will be exhibiting at the Bed Show, taking place at Telford International Centre from 26-27th this month (stand D28).

“We’re extremely excited to be showing at the Bed Show this year,” says Gowsh. “As a business, we are constantly looking to help drive sales for all of our retail partners, and the Bed Show is the perfect opportunity to discuss how we can significantly grow sales in their bed departments.

“Product innovation is one small element of how we unlock greater sales for our partners. The Therapeutics ranges, featuring Copper, Graphene and Charcoal mattress protectors, hasalready been a great success. And supporting our innovative mattress protectors is our specialist sales training, which is vital to unlock the sales potential. Our Protect-A-Bed team are incredibly adapable, and able to support this in any retail environment, driving attachment rates to over 70%.

“We support this training through a bespoke reward system, through the Protect-A-Bed Platinum Club,” he continues. “The Platinum Club has been running consistently for some years now, and the results have been excellent. Both existing and new partners have joined, and are benefitting from the club’s focused approach and rewards for growing sales. Indeed, the Platinum Club was designed to build, recognise and reward success with unique promotional and discount opportunities, sponsored incentives and tailored PoS solutions, as well as membership rewards.

“Protect-A-Bed’s ability to upskill your team and increase your sales revenue by maximising every sales opportunity has been well documented,” Gowsh concludes. “We can manage every step of the process for you and build a reward scheme through the Protect-A-Bed Platinum Club – there’s nothing to be lost, and everything to be gained.”

Visit Protect-A-Bed’s stand at this year’s Bed Show to discover exclusive Platinum Club offers, and to see the supplier’s advanced Therapeutics range.

“There’s nothing to be lost, and everything to be gained
Mattress protectors are the ideal add-on purchase for any consumer wishing to prevent stains and damage

New hire bolsters Shire

To help maintain its impressive growth trajectory, multi-awardwinning bed manufacturer Shire Beds has appointed bed industry veteran Stuart Hibbert as COO – and this year’s Bed Show will see the initial results of his input …

Stuart has hit the ground running, reports Shire. Working closely with MD Sajid Butt, he initially rationalised, then developed the new range, states the business: “The Ravello and Capri ranges are handside-stitched, tufted, pocket-sprung ranges. With the option of personalising with own-brand labelling and POS, it has seen huge take-up.

“The bestselling Artisan Range – particularly the Picasso, a cool blue gel encapsulated product –continues to lead the market in the encapsulated sector, while the NBF Product of the Year Signature Collection of luxury, high-count pocket spring mattresses, maintains good sales as an awardwinning product.

“Whilst most products have eco-design principles at their heart, Shire Beds’ EverLife range goes further, being made from recycled products and recyclable at the end of its life.EverLife by Shire Beds offers comfort that feels good and does good. Launched in January, it has seen significant interest and good sales.”

Sustainable products often come at a significantly higher price point, yet Shire says it understands that, in challenging economic circumstances, doing good should not incur a price.

Shire Beds believes in the circular economy model as a vital element to protecting the planet. The business employs ethical and sustainable practices and processes in its manufacturing and, in line with this, has attained FSC certification as a company, and signed the NBF Pledge for Our Planet, to further its sustainability journey.

Shire Beds’ EverLife sustainable range saves bottles from going to landfill and polluting the earth’s oceans. The range combines comfort and sustainability to give a restful night’s sleep. EverLife soft-touch sustainable fabric is made of 76% upcycled plastic bottles, is 95% recyclable at the end of the mattress’ life, and also uses eco-clean, chemical-free FR, says Shire.

EverLife complements

Shire’s biodegradable

Heaven 7 range, and is available in 1000-, 2000- and 3000-pocket spring models. The comfort layers and insulator pads are also made of recycled materials, and are recyclable or reusable at the mattress’ end of life.

“Overall, it is one of the most sustainable mattresses on the market,” says Shire. “With high specification and attractive pricing, it is gaining floor space quickly with retailers.

“Shire Beds is becoming a strong, desirable, musthave brand in furniture retail, that offers the retailer excellent sales opportunities. The quality offering, in line with eco-design principles, has elevated the Shire Beds brand with a wider range of retailers – and now, with the sustainable EverLife range, Shire Beds has a growing range of sustainable products, catalysing its journey of carbon reduction and towards net zero.”

Visit Shire on stand E100 at this year’s Bed Show, taking place in Telford from 26-27th September.

Ravello 3000 Capri 2000 Zen 2000 86 PRODUCTS BEDROOM
“Shire Beds is becoming a strong, desirable, must-have brand in furniture retail
WINNER Best of British T A

Sleepeezee celebrates award wins

This summer, British bed and mattress brand Sleepeezee enjoyed a successful run in the industry’s trade awards, winning Furniture News’ Readers’ Choice Award for best Bed Supplier and the Interiors Monthly Award for Best Bed Manufacturer (Mid-Market), again proving itself an industry leader …

From innovative designs to timely delivery, Furniture News’ reader awards recognise the businesses going above and beyond to provide the industry with the best furniture, furnishings and services.

Since the programme’s launch in 2021, the awards have gone from strength to strength, celebrating suppliers that are leading the pack. Similarly, the Interiors Monthly Awards spotlight retailers, furniture, flooring suppliers and support companies that are the best in their field.

Both accolades recognise the innovative and market-leading approaches practised by Sleepeezee, and highlights all the bedmaker’s successes, from new product development to sustainability.

Sleepeezee’s head of marketing, Amy Curtis, comments: “We are over the moon to have been

awarded the Furniture News Readers’ Choice Award for Best Bed Supplier and the Interiors Monthly Award for Best Bed Manufacturer (Mid-Market) for 2023. Our industry has faced some challenging times this year, so receiving recognition as one of the top mattress suppliers in our industry is a massive achievement.

“Thank you to Furniture News and Interiors

Monthly, the trade, and our wonderful customers who voted for us to win these incredible awards.”

Find out more about Sleepeezee’s award-winning products on the brand’s website.

“Receiving recognition as one of the industry’s top mattress suppliers is a massive achievement
Cool Rest 2400 88 PRODUCTS BEDROOM
Bespoke Silver Ortho Bespoke Gold

Celebrating 100 years of sleeping on it



Softheads Group, which consists of Siesta Beds, Mayfair Beds and Mulliners Beds, has launched several new products in 2022/23, all of which it says have been received well and surpassed expectations – in particular the new Medi Zone edge-to-edge encapsulated-pocket range, which is available in the 1000 and 2000 series.

Its engineered, medical-grade foam offers superior support, giving the range a unique comfort feel, states the group. The zoneX edgeto-edge encapsulated line is available with spring counts of 2800, 1800 and 1400, and is zoned latex pocketed, offering greater back support.

The Hybrid collection offers a conventional pocketed spring unit, featuring 3000, 2000 or 1000 individual pocketed springs. The edge of the mattress boasts additional support, thanks

to the placement of butterfly springs along the perimeter. This is upholstered with gel to the top, to help regulate body temperature, and memory foam below.

The Bamboo range, meanwhile, consists of 3000-, 1500- and 1000-pocket beds. With a greater understanding of sustainable resources and the benefits of bamboo – which is as soft as silk or wool, says Softheads, with a natural deodoriser, and is being used more commonly in fabrics, sheets and babygrows – this range promises an improved sleeping experience along with luxurious support, thanks to the fibre’s natural comfort, resilience and elasticity.

Next is the Exquisite range, which has infused copper latex upholstery, and is offered in 3000, 2000 and 1000 encapsulated spring counts, with superior edge-to-edge pocket support. Copper is a thermal conductor which rapidly transfers heat away from the body, and, being antimicrobial, is


Bedmaster imports and wholesales furniture, and manufactures its own divans and mattresses, backed up with a strong supply chain and significant investment in product development.

Today, Bedmaster’s portfolio continues to go from strength to strength. Working together with international QC teams, the supplier/

thought to promote health and wellness.

Then there is the Mulliners Natural Handmade bed collection. All models are hand-side stitched and upholstered with cashmere, silk, mohair, wool and bamboo. The range comprises: Arcadia (8000 pocket springs); Oriana (6000 pocket springs); Azura (5000 pocket springs); and Aurora (3000 pocket springs). All models are available with sprung edge, firm edge/sprung centre, and firm top bases.

The group also offers its long-running products in pocketed spring options, both tufted and quilted, and the latter also applies to the open-coil spring options.

This year’s Bed Show will see Softheads expand its headboard collection. Anyone unable to attend the show can visit the factory and showroom in Bordesley Green, Birmingham by appointment, or arrange for a show van visit. The manufacturer can be reached on 0121 773 9969.

manufacturer offers competitive prices “without compromise”. A new IT infrastructure enables even better customer service and stock management, while Bedmaster’s extensive product database allows for straightforward onboarding. All this means Bedmaster is now poised for further growth, with additional product launches coming this year.

Bamboo Medi Zone Ottoman 90 PRODUCTS BEDROOM
01924 420 700 Grange Enterprise Park, Grange Road, Batley WF17 6PB

La-Z-Boy prioritises personalisation

Personalisation is a key part of LaZ-Boy UK’s strategy for 2023, with customers able to choose from a wide range of styles, configurations, upholstery options and finishes to create their ideal sofa or recliner.

While the furniture brand might be most famous for its iconic recliner, over recent years La-Z-Boy UK has branched out into more contemporary designs to complement its traditional pieces. And with both to-the-floor and off-the-floor models to choose from, the brand has broadened its appeal to an even larger customer base.

Adam Morley, head of marketing and operations at La-Z-Boy UK, says: “Offering our customers a genuine choice is really important to us, which is why all our collections come in a wide range of upholstery options and colourways so people can pick the right product for them. Many of our products also have a number of different recline options, because we recognise people want different things from their living room furniture.

“To make the choice easier for our customers, our website offers users the opportunity to personalise products and see how they will look in different colours and finishes. They can then use the

augmented reality (AR) ‘view in your room’ feature to see what the product would look like in their own living room, to help them make their selection.”

Traditional to-the-floor products remain popular with customers, and are still a key part of La-Z-Boy UK’s ranges. A good example of this is Anderson, which has the classic waterfall back and piped cushioned arms often associated with the brand – but its timeless look has been combined with modern features designed to suit today’s busy lifestyles.

The sectional corner group in the Anderson collection includes a storage console which has a handy and discreet drawer to keep items like remote controls as well as wireless charging, so users never need to worry about their phone running out of battery while they are relaxing.

Customers who want Anderson for their living room can choose from a swivel armchair, two-seater sofa, three-seater sofa and a sectional corner group, to find the combination which works best for their space. And there are four different recline options available – static, manual recline, power recline and power recline with head tilt.

Another popular to-the-floor model is Paris, which was unveiled earlier this year at the January Furniture Show. Designed to give extra price flexibility to retailers and make the La-Z-Boy brand accessible to more customers, Paris is available in its own exclusive leather and fabric ranges – Calda and Anivia.

These upholstery options are La-Z-Boy UK’s most competitively priced yet, giving customers a greater choice so they can pick products which suit their own taste, preference and budget.

With compact arms, curved lines and pocketsprung seats, Paris combines traditional La-Z-Boy quality with added comfort and support. It includes two- and three-seater sofas plus a chair with static, manual and power recline options, including optional lumbar and head tilt.

Otta ››
“Offering our customers a genuine choice is really important to us

Harrison - A contemporary off-the-floor design with a sleek low-profile silhouette, featuring an adjustable headrest for optimal comfort. Available as an armchair, two seater sofa or three seater sofa with an optional chaise end. Choose your preferred leather or fabric colourway to personalize this versatile suite.


Contemporary off-the-floor products are also becoming increasingly popular, and La-Z-Boy is continually working on developing new collections, which reflect current trends and customer preferences. These include chairs and sofas which look quite different from the traditional recliner associated with the brand, and reflect modern tastes.

The Otta range combines a mid-century aesthetic with sophisticated technology to create “something as comfortable and luxurious as it is stylish and sophisticated”. With contrasting piping in a complementary colour, Otta has a unique and striking look and is available as one-, two- and three-seaters,

as well as a corner group with an optional chaise end. La-Z-Boy UK has also been manufacturing more and more of its products in its factory in Colne, Lancashire. One of these UK-manufactured models is Trent, an off-the-floor contemporary product with solid wooden legs and deep-fill padded cushions. Available as a three-seater, two-seater, loveseat and chair, Trent can be bought as either static furniture or with a power recline, which uses a sensor switch. Customers can also choose from a large number of fabric options.

“Our website offers users the opportunity to personalise products and see how they will look in different colours and finishes
Trent Paris
La-Z-Boy UK Manufacturing, Bradford House, Phillips Lane, Colne, BB8 9PQ Suppliers of handmade furniture to retail 01282 869888 • Suffolk and Apollo provide both classic style and comfort. Offered as static or manual and power recline options with a storage footstool completing both ranges; all available in a wide choice of fabrics. British Made

Rapid, robust ERP for today’s retailer

For aspiring big-ticket and furniture retailers in search of a comprehensive, end-to-end solution to effectively manage business operations, ERP>Retail is the ultimate choice, says Sci-Net …

ERP>Retail is a certified Microsoft Dynamics industry add-on designed to Microsoft’s stringent standards. It is built within the world-leading, mid-market ERP Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, providing a “best-of-breed”, industry-specific solution for retailers in the furniture and flooring business, says Sci-Net:

“This solution empowers retailers to manage and streamline their operations efficiently, ensuring seamless integration and automation across various aspects of their business. It has been designed from the ground up for high-value, omnichannel and internet retailers across luxury, flooring, furniture, specialist, brand owners and fashion retailers.”

Sci-Net’s MD, Duncan Fergusson, explains:

“We understand that retail businesses are facing challenges amid a fast-moving landscape that has seen the cost of doing business soar and consumer spending habits curtailed. Big-ticket retailers are particularly exposed, with furniture reported as among the purchases falling out of favour with consumers amid rising inflation. As an industry-specific tool, we know ERP>Retail can help navigate this landscape.”

The key strength of ERP>Retail is its ability to centralise and optimise multiple business functions, ranging from tablet to PoS, store administration, supply chain management, warehouse operations, web integration, reporting, and financial management, says

Sci-Net: “By leveraging this robust software solution, retailers can effortlessly oversee and control every aspect of their furniture business, ensuring smooth operations and enhanced productivity.

“Another advantage of ERP>Retail is its ability to seamlessly integrate with existing systems, ensuring a smooth transition and minimal disruption to daily operations. The solution provides a user-friendly interface that simplifies complex tasks and empowers users to navigate the system quickly. With its intuitive design and customisable features, ERP>Retail can be tailored to meet individual retailers’ unique requirements and workflows.”

ERP>Retail also boasts advanced reporting and analytics capabilities, enabling retailers to gain valuable insights into their business performance. By leveraging real-time data and comprehensive reports, retailers can make informed decisions, identify trends, and capitalise on growth opportunities. In addition, the solution facilitates data-driven forecasting and planning, helping retailers optimise inventory levels, manage demand, and enhance customer satisfaction.

“If you are a furniture retailer seeking a new implementation partner with extensive experience in the furniture industry, look no further than Sci-Net,” states the service specialist. Indeed, its ERP>Retail solution was honoured earlier this year with the Superior Service award at The Furniture Awards (organised by Furniture News and the January Furniture Show), cementing its position as an industry leader with over 30 years of software expertise.

To simplify the implementation process, Sci-Net has now introduced its latest innovation, ERP>>>Rapid. Built on the foundation of the ERP>Retail solution, this uniquely crafted, templated approach ensures “a seamless, swift, and budget-friendly implementation of your new solution, enabling you to hit the ground running in no time”, says Sci-Net.

Call sales 01869 349949, visit Sci-Net’s website to find out more, or meet the team at next year’s January Furniture Show (stand 2-A14).

Sci-Net is working with a growing number of retailers in the sector
“Retailers can effortlessly oversee and control every aspect of their furniture business
ERP>Retail can centralise and optimise multiple business functions, enabling retailers to take an increasingly omnichannel approach
SCI-NET LTD, ERP HOUSE, DUNS TEW GRANGE, DUNS TEW ROAD, CHIPPING NORTON, OXON OX7 7DQ 01869 349949 YOUR BUSINESS sm ar ter f as te r ERP Retail isthe complete end-to-end solution for aspiringBigTicket, Furniture & FlooringRetailers. Builtwithin the world’s most popular mid-market ERP system, MicrosoftDynamics365 Business Central. ERP>Retail is the complete end-to-end solution for aspiring Big Ticket, Furniture & Flooring Retailers. Built within the world’s most popular mid-market ERP system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. A solution to run your entire furniture & flooring retail business Complete sales, supply, stock management, traceability and profitability reporting Real-time analysis & management reporting The last ERP System you will ever have to invest in! CONNECTING THE DOTS FOR ALL YOUR BUSINESS OPERATIONS THE UK’S LEADING BIG TICKET ERPRETAIL SOLUTION YOUR BUSINESS sm ar ter f as te r DESIGNED AND BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP WITH AND FOR FURNITURE & FLOORING RETAILERS YOUR BUSINESS sm ar ter f as te r ww w.s c i- n et. c o.u k Sci-Net Ltd ERP House, DunsTew Grange DunsTew Road, ChippingNorton Oxon OX77DQ ERP Retail isthe complete end-to-end solution for aspiringBigTicket, Furniture & FlooringRetailers Builtwithin the world’s most popular mid-market ERP system, MicrosoftDynamics365 Business Central. THE U LEADING BIG TICKET ERP>RETAIL SOLUTION ww w.s c i- n et. c o.u k Sci-Net Ltd ERP House, DunsTew Grange DunsTew Road, ChippingNorton Oxon OX77DQ ERP Retail isthe complete end-to-end solution for aspiringBigTicket, Furniture & FlooringRetailers Builtwithin the world’s most popular mid-market ERP system, MicrosoftDynamics365 Business Central. THE UK’S LEADING BIG TICKET ERP>RETAIL SOLUTION PROUD WINNER OF THE SUPERIOR SERVICE AWARD Are you looking for a new solution? Discover Your Fast Track to Efficiency Built upon the foundation of ERP>Retail, ERP>>>Rapid is our new templated approach for a swift, seamless, and cost-effective implementation. Get in touch to find out more!

Committed to next-day delivery excellence

Rhenus Home Delivery is unwavering in its dedication to customer satisfaction, solidifying this pledge through an expansive next-day delivery service covering over 95% of the UK …

Boasting an impressive 18-year legacy in premium UK delivery services, Rhenus Home Delivery UK stands as an industry leader in the two-person, last-mile delivery sector.

Its sterling reputation rests on a foundation of excellent service quality and a profound grasp of the intricacies inherent in the final stages of the supply chain. Operating across 11 nations and three national partner networks, Rhenus Home Delivery commands a pre-eminent position as the European market leader for the delivery of home and lifestyle goods across the last mile.

The latest stride in Rhenus Home Delivery UK’s journey is the launch of a nationwide next-day, two-person home delivery and collection service, blanketing an impressive 95% of the populace. This offering also includes a suite of services such as order processing, secure storage, expert assembly, disconnection and installation services (covering both wet connections and ‘green button test’), comprehensive in-house training, returns management featuring inspection reporting, and the eco-conscious recycling of packaging materials and end-of-life products.

A monumental turning point occurred in late 2022 when Rhenus Home Delivery proudly unveiled its 260,000ft2 facility in Magna Park, Lutterworth. This cutting-edge establishment functions as the business’ national distribution centre, facilitating the transition to a hub-and-spoke operational model. This strategic pivot facilitated Rhenus Home Delivery’s over-arching vision to deliver next-day services.

Commanding an immense storage expanse comprising 32,000 pallet spaces, with 13,000 readily accessible slots, and supported by an impressive 126 loading doors, as well as an expansive 30,000ft2 bulk storage domain, Rhenus Home Delivery is well equipped to rapidly disseminate an array of products – from the bulky to the delicate. Daily dispatches flow from the service provider’s three strategic UK depots. With the meteoric rise of ecommerce, the competition within the delivery service sector has grown fiercer than ever. Emerging as a beacon of speed and efficiency, next-day delivery has become a pivotal factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Recognising this pivotal shift, Rhenus Home Delivery, which had previously specialised in highvalue, deliberate purchases, has extended its reach into diverse markets, encompassing TV and electrical, white goods, and mobility solutions. This strategic expansion underscores Rhenus Home Delivery’s commitment to providing customers with swift, nextday delivery options that cater to their needs.

MD Vinny Riley articulates the significance of this milestone, stating: “We are pleased to announce the addition of next-day delivery to our already outstanding delivery service. Additionally, it allows us to expand into new markets by diversifying our delivery network.”

“This expansion underscores Rhenus’ commitment to providing customers with swift, next-day delivery options
Rhenus has extended its reach into diverse markets, including white goods

Alinkissenttothecustomer thedaybeforedeliveryonthe Amessagewiththe3-hour time-slot.

Alinkissenttothecustomer thedaybeforedeliveryonthe Amessagewiththe3-hour time-slot.

Thenewpurchaseisdelivered tothecustomer'sroomof choiceintheirhome.

Thenewpurchaseisdelivered tothecustomer'sroomof choiceintheirhome.

YOURNEXT-DAYDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524 RHENUSHOMEDELIVERY NEXT-DAYPROMISE
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YOURNEXT-DAYDELIVERYPARTNER... CONTACTUS: HeadOffices(Cheshire,UnitedKingdom) RhenusHomeDeliveryUK,Unit7NewCheshireBusinessPark,WinchamLane,Northwich,CW96GG Tel:+44(0)7745540524 RHENUSHOMEDELIVERY
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Enter the AI-driven virtual furniture showroom

Zolak is a SaaS solution designed exclusively for online furniture retailers. At a time when “static images and lacklustre descriptions have become the norm”, Zolak says it stands out as “an exceptional platform that empowers online furniture stores to craft interactive showrooms within their websites …”

As one might imagine, this innovative approach could completely reshape how customers engage with and make furniture choices.

Where imagination meets innovation

Zolak says it heralds a paradigm shift in the realm of virtual experiences. It goes beyond a mere collection of images – instead, it offers interactive 3D showrooms and an immersive shopping experience.

Powered by advanced AI technology, this visual commerce solution has been designed to empower online furniture retailers to break free from limitations: “In this situation, the role of a passive observer is replaced by that of an active participant. Customers now have the ability to rotate, move, hide, and delete furniture items, making the days of uncertainty about how a sofa fits or whether a coffee table complements the decor over.

“With Zolak, customers can now enjoy a 360° view to appreciate intricate details, the liberty to swap products for effortless comparisons, and the power to visualise how different pieces harmonise within a space.”

By showcasing a gallery of hundreds of predesigned 3D showrooms, Zolak enables customers to explore environments that resonate with their preferences.

In addition, for those who seek an even more personalised touch, Zolak lets customers step into the role of interior designer for their own spaces. By simply uploading a photo of their room, Zolak’s AI transforms it into an interactive replica. Once the virtual replica of the room is generated, customers can use it as a sort of showroom. Through intricate algorithms, Zolak’s AI-driven precision deciphers dimensions, proportions, and spatial dynamics with “unparalleled accuracy”.

Yet, the scope of AI’s impact transcends mere dimensions, states Zolak: “It delves into the subtleties of lighting, where shadows caress surfaces, and ambient light moulds a room’s essence. Furthermore, Zolak’s AI meticulously scrutinises every pixel, every gradient, infusing the virtual space with an uncanny realism that mimics the physical world.”

The intended outcome of this technology is a newfound confidence in purchases, and satisfaction that transcends the confines of screens.

A class of its own

What distinguishes Zolak from its competitors?

“It empowers customers to revolutionise room configurations, placing boundless creativity at their fingertips. Zolak visually represents the entire scene, including the existing furniture and decor within the customer’s personal space. Neural networks meticulously dissect the customer’s space photograph, discerning the room’s dimensions, proportions and perspectives with pinpoint precision.

“Whether customers recreate their rooms digitally, or retailers opt to employ or create pre-designed showrooms, the platform ensures that virtual spaces are a mirror image of reality.

“Moreover, Zolak’s simplicity shines through in its easy integration, allowing retailers to devote their attention to what truly matters – enhancing customer satisfaction and boosting conversion rates.

“In the simplest of terms, Zolak’s AI-powered Visual Commerce turns dreams into dimensions, and ideas into immersive realities.”

Zolak offers a wealth of pre-designed showrooms Zolak enables furniture shoppers to visualise what furniture choices could look like in their own homes
“The platform ensures that virtual spaces are a mirror image of reality

Guardsman’s expert repair training pays off

Guardsman does not see itself as the ‘boastful’ type, but after receiving feedback from a technician who had experienced a run of successful repairs following a recent training course, the business (quite rightly) decided to shout about it …

“A fantastic training course with some amazing advice and techniques, it has given me a lot more confidence when it comes to repairing cabinet furniture,” states the technician. “I have trained with a few furniture repair companies before, but I was amazed at how much more I learnt in such a short amount of time whilst attending the Guardsman course!”

The technician, an apprentice learning his craft from his father, was able to remove water marks from unfinished wooden tables, as well as scratches to marble- and high gloss-finished tables – which are three of the most notorious and difficult surfaces to work with.

“Our expert technicians are such an intrinsic part of our business”, comments MD Mark Potter. “They are the face of Guardsman, and work incredibly hard to restore some of the most complex repairs on site in customers’ homes, and we are delighted to hear that the courses we run are delivering out in the field. ”

Guardsman, which boasts a UK-wide network of mobile furniture experts – from SMART repair technicians to stain removal technicians and regional expert workshop-based specialists – attributes part of its success to the wealth of expert skills held within the network.

Will Taylor, Guardsman’s technical manager, comments: “Last year, we visited over 50,000 customer homes to restore their furniture, and we fixed an industry-leading 82% of those claims on the first visit for repairs, and 85% for stain removal, delivering the best customer journey possible.

“We believe in the power and success of our training programme, which is delivered throughout the year. We only use industry experts in their own sector, who share their knowledge, experience and

best practice, ensuring that our technician network can truly be called the best of the best.”

Guardsman operates differently to some others in the market, by operating two networks to service its customers’ needs. “Having a network for repair and a network for stain removal (our own franchised network Safeclean) means the best person for the job is always sent,” continues Will.

After the recent training event, which involved more complex and difficult-to-repair materials, such as high-gloss marble and stone, technicians were able to evidence and show improvement from an average 80% first-time visit repair, to upward of 95-100%, states Guardsman.

“We are so privileged to have a network of technicians who actively engage with us, who want to learn and improve their craft, as well as sharing it with the next generation,” says Will, adding that there is an active desire from technicians across both networks to share their expert skills and mentor young apprentices, safeguarding their craft and unique talents for generations to come.

“Our network of technicians run their own businesses, so they are even more motivated to do the job well and build a rapport with the customer, as it helps them in the long run,” Will concludes –and this provides Guardsman with a unique service provision which complements its other products and services.

To find out more about any of Guardsman’s awardwinning products or services, or to join its expanding network, contact Zeyn Kassam on 01235 444700, or email

“We are delighted to hear that the courses we run are delivering out in the field
Guardsman’s technicians have an impressive repair success rate
Guardsman’s recent training event covered complex and difficult-to-repair materials


Multi-award-winning machinery brand MattressTek is a leader in the provision of solutions to issues that manufacturers and processors – industrial, material handling and packaging – are facing.

The company has been busy following up enquiries involving the processing of other materials, while sustaining orders for the mattress and foam production worlds, from the slitting and rolling of flooring and windowtinting film to stitching, stacking and stuffing

for gym mats. It recently launched a sub-brand, AutomateTek, in response to demand from customers and prospects to differentiate the design and build of machines and production lines for use in manufacturing, management and material handling in other industries.

Technical director Shaun Peel says: “Innovation – adapting and redeveloping our machines to suit bespoke customer requirements – is what we do, so it made sense to listen to the feedback and act on it. As all our


Following the UK Government’s recent announcement that the consultation for the proposed revision to the UK flammability regulations for domestic upholstered furniture was publicly available, the Furniture Industry Research Association is hosting a series of Flammability Regulation Consultation Forums exclusively for its members.

The forums will look at the potential impacts of the proposed changes, carefully examine the questions raised in the consultation, and facilitate working together to produce a cohesive response to present to Government.

There are three sessions planned, each tailored to a specific audience: Component Manufacturers Flammability Consultation Forum (Tuesday 12th September); Product Manufacturers Flammability Consultation Forum (Wednesday 13th September); and Retailers/other Flammability Consultation Forum (Thursday 14th September).

The forums will be held at FIRA International’s HQ in Stevenage. However, members will also have the opportunity to participate in the discussions remotely.

FIRA International’s testing and technical manager, Howard James, and section head of

flammability and physical upholstery testing, Steve Cotton, will host the forums. Howard has been involved in furniture testing for over 20 years and is a member of various standards committees, including flammability and test methods for furniture. Steve has a wealth of knowledge of all the UK flammability regulations

machines have an element of programmable automation, AutomateTek is a logical shift.”

Sales director Michael Birtwistle adds: “We’ll proudly continue to service the mattress and bed sectors, as well as foam, springs and the processing of all manner of other materials, but we want to make sure that we get in front of those who can benefit from using our machines and adaptive approach for their own solutions. We’ve found that we can make a machine to solve almost every manufacturing problem.”

and tests. He regularly hosts webinars which focus on flammability, upholstery and mattress testing.

Members can reserve their place at www.fira. Anyone interested in becoming a Furniture Industry Research Association member should email 102 PRODUCTS TRADE SERVICES


Time is a critical factor in any product development process in today’s complex global supply chains – SATRA recognises this, and to support its customers involved in the bed industry, has invested in an additional mattress roller testing machine.

This increases the testing capacity for customers and, critically, improves testing turnaround times during peak development periods.

In addition to increasing capacity for testing to BS EN 1957:2012 “Furniture. Beds and mattresses. Test methods for the determination of functional characteristics and assessment criteria”, SATRA also recognises that some of its customers would like to evaluate their products’ performance further, and require a testing protocol to do this. With the rise in popularity of

‘multi-zone’ mattresses with a firm midsection but softer cushioning around the shoulders and feet, there is a need for testing and quality control that is appropriate for these products.

With this in mind, SATRA has developed a new testing protocol, SATRA TP 37, for mattresses. This evaluates the load-bearing properties at not only one point on the mattress, but also at

multiple key areas, taking into account variations in filling or cover material. This data will benefit anyone wanting a more thorough, technical assessment of their mattress’ properties, whatever its construction.

For further information on this or any other furniture test, contact SATRA Technology at


James Latham, one of the UK’s leading independent distributors of architectural materials and finishes, has announced the UK and Ireland launch of Swiss Krono’s One World collection.

Specially curated for James Latham, One World brings together 37 of Swiss Krono’s highly sought-after, premium melamines in one place. Offering a near-unrivalled variety of patterns and textures, One World covers all the bases, including monotone, woodgrain, material reproduction and design surfaces.

One World’s surfaces can be continually combined in new and interesting ways, opening up a diverse range of design possibilities and firing the imagination of any specifier, daring them to mix, match and experiment.

Available across all of James Latham’s 14 UK and Ireland depots, the PEFC-certified range comes as 2800 x 2070 x 18mm sheets. The distributor possesses a full stockholding of black, white and standard carcass decors, with three distinct collections – UNI, Woodgrain and Camustyle TX.


The implications of the CE Mark U-turn

Despite long-mooted plans to the contrary, it has been confirmed that the UK will continue to recognise the European CE Mark on products. Furniture standards and regulations expert Phil Reynolds looks at what this could mean for the industry …

When the UK left the European Union in 2020, much was made of the fact that we would be taking back control of our rules and regulations. For the majority of products, this meant replacing the EU’s CE mark –the mark indicating that a product complies with all relevant European safety regulations and standards and controlled by EU – with a UK equivalent. With this in mind, the UK Government introduced the UK Conformity Assured mark (UKCA).

In terms of the furnishing industry, not many products are covered by the CE/UKCA regulations, those that are affected are predominately floorcoverings, motorised furniture and fire curtains.

As products needed to be reassessed for the UKCA mark, it was never going to be an overnight exercise to switch to the new conformity marking, and so set a deadline of December 2024 for manufacturers and importers to have their products assessed and mark them with the UKCA mark, along with the CE mark.

For products that need third-party assessment for proving compliance with both the CE and UKCA mark, this meant that products would need to be assessed in the EU for CE marking, and then the UK for the UKCA mark, as approval for CE marking is only issued to EU-based bodies and similarly in the UK only for the UKCA mark, even though the requirements, in terms of standards, were identical.

Then, in a surprise move on the 1st August, the UK Government announced that they would indefinitely recognise the CE mark alongside the UKCA mark, as an indicator that a product is safe for sale in the UK.

For manufacturers, importers and exporters this does make sense, and will help reduce costs. Products will only need to be assessed once and be able to sell across Europe without additional marking and bureaucracy, rather than effectively having to go through the same process twice, and additional red tape removed.

The questions for the UK, however, are:

How does this align with taking back control?

Whilst the UK is still heavily involved in writing European Standards, which form the basis of the CE marking criteria, the actual rules and requirements for CE marking will be regulated by the EU, and the UK will have no input into any changes that are introduced. In the short term this shouldn’t have an effect, as most current UK legislation is effectively a

mirror of European legislation. Longer term, however, we can’t predict what will happen if new UK or EU legislation is introduced.

How does this affect the UK’s testing and certification industry?

Where third-party approval is needed, a product would need to be assessed by a Notified Body. For CE marking, this would be a European testing/ certification body. For UKCA marking, this would generally be a UK-based testing/certification (TIC) body. If you are a company producing products for global consumption, the obvious choice is to get a product assessed to, and marked with, the CE Mark, as you only need to have to invest in testing/ certification once to cover mainland Europe and the UK.

Whilst the larger testing and certification bodies will have representation in both the UK and Europe, and so may be able to offer CE marking, not all can. The threat to the UK TIC industry is that there will be an exodus of work moving to Europe, which could jeopardise the ability of the sector to survive. For UK manufacturers and importers, it can also be a problem – most like to work with UK TIC companies, for both speed and communication issues.

Then there is the issue of product failures – if there are problems with a product, generally both manufacturers/importers and Trading Standards rely on TIC companies to support them. This could affect any legal action if the TIC company is not accredited to issue a CE Mark.

So, in general, it does seem like a good move for industry, removing cost and bureaucracy – but the real test will be how it works in practice.

“It was never going to be an overnight exercise to switch to the new conformity marking
Another Brexit reversal? (image courtesy 123RF/jegas)

Why roleplay delivers results

Sales training can be delivered verbally, or in writing – but it really pays to get hands-on in front of an audience, says experienced furniture sales consultant, Mason Knight …

I hope you find the information in this column to be valuable. It’s a shame that you’ll forget about 50% of the content 10 minutes after reading it.

It could be worse. If I spoke the written words to you in person, you’d forget 80% of the content in the time it takes to brew a pot of java.

If I could get you actively involved in performing tasks in the column, you’d see a marked increase in retention. Adding practical application to written and spoken word can increase recall to up to 80% of the information that is presented. Only 20% of the information is forgotten.

Training, whether in the classroom, sales bullpen or warehouse, is most effective with a combination of reading, lectures, and hands-on activity. In sales that means roleplay (whether you like it or not).

This is not, however, a story of training. It is a story of transferring knowledge and enthusiasm. We also call that a sales presentation. It’s only in the retail showroom that you can show it and tell it. You can put it in the shopper’s hands and get them to become an active participant in the path to purchase.

Buying merchandise online has affected us in the retail world. But for all their fancy graphics, pop-ups and endless aisles, those online sites can never touch the potential of shopper interaction on the retail floor.

Your showroom can be a delight to all the senses. No website can provide that. Sure, they can show a demonstration video, or reviews of how thousands of strangers “love” the product. But they can never have an eye-to-eye conversation with a shopper.

And they can’t give a shopper a comparative

comfort test. Or let the shopper feel the difference between a flat mattress and Zero-G relaxation. Only in a retail shop can they touch the component parts of a mattress – you know, using those handy demo kits your rep brought you earlier this year. Squeeze the spring, caress the fabric, experience the cooling action of the foams.

Here’s a challenge for your next (or first) roleplay sales training session. Have your sales team give a sales pitch – but they can’t mention price, warranty or financing. They can only talk about the merchandise and component parts. Along with each feature, they have to encourage a hands-on interactive demonstration.

Some salespeople dislike having to perform for their peers. You might give them a couple of days to prepare their pitch. Training good habits is always difficult. Don’t let them off the hook until they get it right. Practice does not make perfect – only perfect practice makes perfect!

A near-perfect demo will be unforgettable. It will include features, benefits, and their advantages to the shopper in front of you. That same demo will build value in the product and how it can improve your shopper’s life. Done well, price is no longer a hurdle. Tell the story, show the product, and encourage the feel to close the deal.

Mason consults with home furnishings companies seeking to develop and grow their sales and profitability. He can be contacted via Furniture News (

“Training good habits is always difficult. Don’t let them off the hook until they get it right
Regular pitch practices will help deliver more sales, says Mason (photo courtesy 123RF/Elnur)
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Spaceship Earth’s atmospheric greenhouse

It’s not easy being green – but furniture businesses must face up to the challenge. In the third of an exclusive series of articles exploring the whys and hows of becoming a more eco-conscious furniture business, Hypnos Beds’ group sustainable development director, Richard Naylor, looks at the impact of greenhouse gases, and the importance of a business’ journey to net zero …

The title for this month’s article has been influenced by R Buckminster Fuller’s 1969 book, entitled Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth, which is Fuller’s take on how humanity can avoid extinction and head towards a more sustainable future. It is an insightful read, and ranked fifth in Cambridge University’s top 50 sustainability books.

This month, I want to use my opportunity with this column to explain (and possibly demystify) the ‘enhanced’ greenhouse gas (GHG) effect, and why it is so important that the furniture industry engage and lead a 2050 net zero transition.

The Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 sets a legally binding target to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHG emissions by at least -100% by 2050, from 1990 levels. This is referred to as the 2050 Net Zero target. This poorly publicised legislation impacts all of our businesses, so it is really important for our industry to understand the basics. To do this, I thought a simple summary of the GHG effect would be useful – here goes …

Inside the greenhouse

Our planet (‘Spaceship Earth’), has a natural GHG effect due to trace amounts of water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere. These gases let the sun’s energy reach the Earth’s surface, which is then reflected back into space – but some of the energy is partly absorbed by these gases in the atmosphere, which in turn leads to the heating of the surface of the planet.

This greenhouse process results in an average surface temperature that is 33°C greater than it would be without this natural warming effect. If it were not for the GHG effect, Earth’s average temperature would be a rather chilly -18°C! This is what is referred to as the ‘natural’ GHG effect, and essentially keeps the earth habitable for humanity and millions of other species.

The additional absorption of reflected energy from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases induced by human activities (anthropogenic) is referred to as the ‘enhanced’ GHG effect. There are many GHGs, but the main ones are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbon-12, hydrofluorocarbon-23, hydrofluorocarbon-23, nitrogen trifluoride and sulfur hexafluoride.

Carbon dioxide is the most abundant enhanced

GHG, representing around 75% of emissions. The others are much lower in volume, but are a lot more potent when it comes to absorbing reflected heat energy. For example, sulphur hexafluoride is used to fill tennis balls. A release of 1kg of this gas is equivalent to 22,800kg of CO2, making it an extremely potent GHG. The reason we only really hear about CO2 as opposed to the other more potent GHGs, is twofold, in my opinion: CO2 is by far the largest contributor to the enhanced GHG effect, as it is responsible for about 75% of emissions; and the unit of measurement used to standardise the climate effects of various gas emissions is known as the CO2 equivalent (CO2e) – this measurement allows bundles of different GHGs to be easily measured and compared.

Tipping the balance

We have established that Spaceship Earth has a naturally warmed atmosphere via certain gases that act like a greenhouse. This atmospheric greenhouse becomes a lot more effective when more GHGs are added via human caused activities. Since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased by +40%, methane has increased by +150%, and nitrous oxide by +20%. Furthermore, us humans also affect climate by changing the nature of the earth’s surface through the clearing of land for agriculture, logging, and construction. These activities take away natural plant resources that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. For example, in the Amazon alone, 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years. In 2019, the equivalent of 30 football pitches’ worth of forest were lost every minute in the tropics.

Regrettably there are too many statistics like this to quote, but the consequences of these actions, when

Image courtesy 123RF/jmimagefactory
“It is disturbing and uncomfortable writing a small article on this subject matter, but I believe it is essential to understand the basics of the issues

combined with enhanced GHG emissions, impact climate change in a disastrous way. According to the sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment: “Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability.”

The consequences have become almost daily news events. In 2023 alone, we’ve witnessed devasting fires in Europe and North America (most recently on Hawaii). As oceans warm and turn more acidic, we are seeing the extinction of coral reefs and the melting of glaciers at an unprecedented rate.

What businesses can do

It is disturbing and uncomfortable writing a small article on this subject matter, but I believe it is essential to understand the basics of the issues, so we understand the actions we all need to take to transition to net zero furniture businesses.

We can lessen our impact on climate change in a number of simple ways:

• Measure and monitor our direct activities to see what our impacts are, and make a plan to reduce. For example, renewable energy options, electric/ hybrid vehicles, efficient transport plans, fewer flights, and car sharing for employees, to name but a few improvement opportunities

• Examine your supply chains. Do they meet your net zero reduction plans? Challenge, improve or change them where required

• Examine your product design materials. Is your timber FSC certified? Do you need to use that chrome finish? Could you substitute fossil fuelbased materials with plant-based ones? What is your innovation journey, and how will it positively impact climate change?

• Examine funding options for businesses designed specifically to help with climate change and wider sustainability issues

There are a number of really good resources that highlight and expand upon the summary content of this article.

As a starting point, I recommend the following websites:; www.ghgprotocol. org;; and www.

Having a well-planned net zero strategy is an opportunity to help repair Spaceship Earth, and provides an opportunity to make your furniture business and products more resilient, whilst being commercially attractive to future generations.

Dealing with toxic team members

In the first of a new series of regular columns, Steve Pickering, the ‘unorthodox’ CEO of fastgrowing South East independent bed retail chain Sussex Beds, offers his tips on dealing with negative staff traits …

Definition of the toxic team member: “Great at their tasks, smashing numbers, but their poor attitude and corrosive actions are sucking the life out of the greater team.”

We’ve had a few of these types of people over the years, and a common trait in all of them is a lack of self-awareness or emotional intelligence.

Frustratingly, they could be exceptional team members, but for whatever reason they are either unable or unwilling to honestly selfreflect or to understand how their negative behaviours impact the greater team.

In the past, we’ve been guilty of inaction or burying our heads in the sand when it comes to dealing

with toxic team members. This is both costly to the business and extremely damaging to team morale and company culture. It breeds apathy and destroys engagement.

Over the past 18 months, this has changed. We no longer tolerate toxic behaviours. Systems such as quarterly 1:1s and records of conversations have been put in place which allow our line leaders to quickly react to any behaviour lapses or issues.

I’m not a Manchester United fan (since breaking my heart at the age of 10 when they beat Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA cup finalreplay, which I attended – I was gutted).

However, I am a huge admirer

of Sir Alex Ferguson, the master of team management. No-one was bigger than the club, and he would act swiftly to remove anyone, high or low profile, in order to protect the greater team. We all know the success they achieved under his leadership.

Are you guilty of inaction with regards to dealing with toxic behaviour? How do you manage toxic team members in your business?

Discover more of Steve’s thoughts on his blog, at

“They could be exceptional team members, but they are unable or unwilling to understand how
“Having a wellplanned net zero strategy is an opportunity to help repair Spaceship Earth

Analysing the sector’s top online players

According to Salience Search Marketing’s latest annual report on the home furnishing sector, IKEA is currently the UK’s most prominent home furnishing brand online, writes

Our report analysed 11 crucial performance indicators, including YoY visibility, search volume trends, and brand awareness, for home furnishing names, to reveal the brands dominating the industry.

Through analysis of monthly searches for each brand, and calculating an owned social score which combines the number of followers and engagement rate across major social platforms for each brand, our report unveiled the most prominent in the sector.

Winners and losers

With an impressive owned social score of 66,381, thanks to the brand’s strong presence of social media followers and a sizeable 3,350,000 brand searches per month, IKEA is the market leader when it comes to brand awareness.

Wayfair is the second most prominent brand in the sector, with 1,220,000 brand searches per month and an owned social score of 16,143.

However, when it comes to organic visibility, it’s been a challenging year for the home furnishing industry, with a -11% decrease in overall organic growth. Wayfair has seen the biggest drop in visibility, with a decrease of -30% since June 2022. In contrast, Dunelm has seen the biggest growth in organic

visibility, with a YoY increase of +15%

Product trends

According to our findings, the term ‘double bed’ has seen the biggest increase in searches within the industry, with a +15% jump. Searches for ‘curtains’ have also had a boost, with searches for the product up by +7%.

Our report also found a dip in the volume of searches for grey furnishings such as curtains and crushed velvet beds, with the findings suggesting the traditional ‘Mrs Hinch’ trend is on its way out. Searches for ‘grey curtains’ were down -6%, with ‘grey carpets’ down -17%, and ‘crushed velvet beds’ saw an -18% drop.

Like many other industries, home furnishing has faced a hit this year. As product trends are everchanging, it is crucial for home furnishing brands to align their marketing strategies, focusing on performance metrics such as visibility and brand awareness. Building a strong online presence across multiple channels becomes crucial in driving sales and capitalising on expanding market demand.

“It is crucial for home furnishing brands to align their marketing strategies, focusing on performance metrics such as visibility and brand awareness
When it comes to organic visibility, it has been a challenging year for the 110 OPINION
home furnishing industry, says Brett (image courtesy iStock/pagadesign)
As the charity for the furnishing industry, we have been supporting the welfare of people working in the trade since 1903. We help furnishing industry people by providing financial grants and practical, useful advice. 020 7256 5558 07366 568 458 SUPPORT FOR FURNISHING INDUSTRY PEOPLE The Furniture Makers’ Company the furnishing industry’s charit y Struggling financially? We’re here to help! The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers’ Charitable Funds incorporating the Furnishing Trades Benevolent Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1015519) and a registered company (no. 02759359) in England and Wales

We’re hiring!

Sales Representative

Northern Ireland & The Republic of Ireland.

If you are looking for a role where you can make the good days great, then we should talk

We’re recruiting for a Sales Representative to service our customers in Northern Ireland & The Republic of Ireland.

With proven experience in B2B sales, the role will involve managing and developing customers’ accounts, using your networking skills and proven track record to develop and engage customers existing and new

The position comes with a competitive salary, excellent commission opportunities, alongside benefits including company car and mobile phone.

If you’re interested in applying, please email your CV and covering letter to our UK & Ireland Sales Director, Tom Bayliss at

Ashwood have been producing bespoke upholstered furniture in the Welsh valleys for over twenty years and have become one of the key UK upholstery suppliers to the independent furniture sector. Skilled passionate people are at the heart of the company and in conjunction with the very latest technology we are rightly proud of the inspiring upholstery that we produce. We are delighted to announce that we are looking to strengthen our team with an Experienced Regional Account Manager to cover the Midlands and East Anglia.

The Regional Account Manager will have sales experience within the furniture industry and ideally live on the area. You will support and grow the business as an integral member of the Ashwood team. The role requires the candidate to work closely with furniture retailers and expand sales through expert knowledge, excellent customer service and the ability to build and maintain relationships. Professional, conscientious, and proactive approach Is central to advancing the Company’s reputation and brand.

OTE £70,000

Reporting to the Sales director


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.

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Reaching out to the younger generation

For many years now, we have been warning of a widening skills gap that’s developing in the industry. Like many other sectors, the furniture and furnishing industry has a documented ageing workforce, which if left untreated, could lead to a significant loss of institutional knowledge, skills, and experience.

It is crucial for us to implement strategies aimed at supporting and retaining our senior employees while also facilitating the transfer of their expertise to the younger generation – but to do that, we desperately need to raise the profile of our industry with Gen Z and the emerging Gen Alpha.

As part of our new education and training strategy, we are developing an early careers website,, which will offer businesses a free invaluable tool in fulfilling vital recruitment and training needs.

Launching in autumn, will seek to inspire young people (15-24 years old) who are still deciding on a career path, while signposting those looking for industry-specific training, and connect those seeking a job in the industry with employers.

Through, businesses will have access to a comprehensive range of resources, expert guidance, and tools to improve and ease their hiring and training processes.

So, you might ask, why is a dedicated website needed? Well, we’ve had firsthand reports from young people who are struggling to find jobs in the industry. That seems inconceivable, as I’ve spoken to businesses – at the same time – that have said that they’re facing difficulties in filling vacancies. will join the dots between these two groups, providing employers with free access to posting vacancies on the jobs board, while creating a one-stop destination for early jobseekers to explore the roles and opportunities available in the industry.

The exciting new platform is being developed with Get My First Job and The Talent People – experts in early career recruitment. Through this association,

any vacancy posted on will also automatically be shared on the Get My First Job website, which has 10,000 new registered users every month.

We believe has the power to significantly impact the skills gap – not only through the free jobs board, but also through the site’s directory of training providers, which will make it easy for companies to find appropriate local courses to upskill existing employees so time-honoured skills aren’t lost when someone retires.

For our industry to strive, we need to shrug off the old spit-and-sawdust preconceptions that the furniture industry starts and ends with the traditional workshop. We need to showcase it for what it is – a £41.2b powerhouse with vast, exciting and rewarding career opportunities available.

This is why will not only provide a hub for exploring training and employment opportunities, but it will also be a destination for motivational content – traditional, video and social –that will inspire young people who are considering a career in the sector.

However, just having a website and expecting Gen Z to stumble across it is not enough, we know that. That’s why we’re going to be working with Get My First Job and influencers from the furniture and design community to create targeted Tik Tok and Instagram content that speaks to 15–24 year olds and pushes them to the site. Ambassadors for the website already include Jay Blades MBE and several young influencers promoting furniture and furnishings.

This is a very exciting time, and we hope the industry will embrace this new platform, as the more jobs we post on it, the more jobseekers we’ll have coming to it, which is good for everyone. I encourage the readers of Furniture News to go to now and register for early access to the site in time for its imminent launch.

“We believe
the site has the power to significantly impact the skills gap A new website from The Furniture Makers’ Company promises to open the door to the furniture industry’s youngest aspirants, joining the dots between jobseekers and employers, writes CEO Jonny Westbrooke …
INDUSTRY PARTNERS Young Furniture kers exhibition. FURNITURE Women in



What’s your top business travel tip?

Take carry-on where possible, and don’t get stressed about delays!

Greg French (Westgarth Furniture)

Take time to appreciate the people and places you visit. Their perspectives are often different from your own – embracing them can be both operationally and personally enlightening

Jonathan Burrage (Hydeline Furniture)

Always have a plan B

Paul Little (Airsprung Beds)

Use air mile-rewarding credit cards (such as Virgin Atlantic) to pay for as much as you can in your business. Pay them off every month, of course, don’t get into debt. You can leverage your necessary business spending to get free travel!

Jonathan Staker (Vanquish)

The cheapest is not necessary the best option!

Brian Levitt (Brian Levitt Sales Agencies)

Using public transport where possible is better for the environment, and you can be more productive. Top tip to keep the accountant happy – look at split-save train tickets, they can save a small fortune!

Steve Adams (Mattress Online)

Get there early!

Steve Warren (Sleepeezee)

Call home every day. They miss you

Jerry Cheshire (bed and mattress expert)

Ensure you book a hotel with a comfortable mattress, and don’t forget to bring your favourite pillow along. Personally, my Hypnos latex pillow has been my faithful companion on numerous journeys, ensuring a good night’s sleep wherever I go!

Mike Murray (Land of Beds)

Travel always broadens the mind, and we constantly remain open minded to any new initiatives across the supply chain. After being delayed so many times over the years, my top tip is to always pack for an extra day, just in case … and don’t forget your toothbrush!

Andrew Kerr (Siren Furniture)

Plan, plan, plan

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery (UK))

Carry a battery pack with you in hand luggage, and ensure all your travel documents have been photographed – save them so they are electronically stored and accessible from your phone

Sam Jackson (Bluebone Imports)

From experience, don’t buy an all-electric car for business (yet). The infrastructure isn’t ready, and you end up spending more on renting cars, trains, or adding hours to your journey to charge up midway (assuming the charge points are even working, and not already in use)

Nicolle Hockin (Devonshire Living)

Treat people as you would like to be treated, no matter their status, whether they are a supplier owner, factory worker or customer. And comfy shoes!

Carole Nolan (Gallery Direct)

114 OPINION FEEDBACK WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! • Follow Furniture News on LinkedIn • Join us on Twitter @FurnitureNewsED • Contact the editor at • For advertising and subscription enquiries, see p3

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