Furniture News #416

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Introducing Carpe Diem Beds’ Iconic Collection

HOME RUN Michael Tyler Furniture levels up Furniture News’ Far East show reviews FIRA’s latest state-of-play report #416 May 2024 LONG POINT | TRADE SERVICES SPRING FURNITURE & BED SHOW INNOVATION IN BEDDING

Cut from a different cloth

We’re passionate about making luxury mattresses and beds in the most responsible way. And for us, that means caring where everything comes from. It’s why we grow natural comfort fillings on our Yorkshire farm, weave fabrics in-house and make our own award-winning springs.

Our unique approach to luxury bed making makes us different. It’s why each and every one we lovingly handcraft is proudly cut from a different cloth.

CO .

Editor's comment

“Employees will end up voting with their feet if they feel undervalued or mistreated

It’s often said that a business’ greatest asset is its people.

If that’s the case, why is their welfare so often overlooked? Those valuable employees will end up voting with their feet if they feel undervalued or mistreated – and good luck finding a suitable replacement! – so it genuinely pays to look after your team.

And it’s not just financial incentives that matter. In this month’s issue, we’re sharing several examples of different approaches to staff welfare, starting on p16, where Neptune’s Daisy Walker describes how the business has embraced a national campaign which encourages the creation of a more inclusive workplace, and challenges the stigma associated with poor mental health.

On p14, BJS’ Tony Pearson explains how his business supported and encouraged his recovery in the aftermath of a tragic accident, and what others can learn about dealing with adversity.

It’s encouraging to see that assaults on retail workers are finally being taken seriously (find out more on p7), and finally, on p66, our regular contributors reveal how they ‘take five’ and try to achieve a healthier work/life balance.

Welfare is one of the key pillars of The Furniture Makers’ Company, the industry’s livery company and charity, which has worked incredibly hard over the years to create a more supportive trade, offering grants and services for those facing financial and emotional hardship – whether they work in furniture manufacturing, supply, retail, or the ancillary services around the trade.

In a record-breaking ceremony held in London last month (see p6), me and my colleague, Sam, were officially admitted to the Furniture Makers, and we look forward to sharing more first-hand stories of how the institution is working to make our industry a better place for all.

In this month’s issue, you’ll also find features previews of Long Point (p36) and the Spring Furniture & Bed Show (p42), plus the latest innovations from the bed industry (p46). We’ve got exclusives on bold new developments at Michael Tyler Furniture (p12) and FIRA’s latest industry state of play (p22), as well as views of Roche Bobois’ stunning NYC showroom (p10) and opinion pieces covering everything from greenwashing to product design (from p56).

On top of all that, the Furniture News team has been clocking up the airmiles again this spring, attending both of Vietnam’s shows and Malaysia’s MIFF, and you can read our thoughts on these evolving global sourcing opportunities from p26.

Finally, there’s still time to cast your votes in our annual Readers’ Choice awards – just go to fn-readers-choice-awards-2024 to nominate your top suppliers. There’s even a new category dedicated to staff welfare – why not nominate a business that’s really going above and beyond for its people?

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5 6 NEWS 10 INSIGHT 10 Roche Bobois 12 Michael Tyler Furniture 14 Tony Pearson 16 Neptune 18 60 seconds with … 20 Rauch 22 FIRA’s Statistical Digest 24 Getting personal 26 EVENTS 36 Long Point 42 Spring Furniture & Bed Show 46 PRODUCTS 46 Innovation in bedding 54 Trade services 56 OPINION 56 Management selling 58 Giving greenwash the
60 Sure bets for increasing
61 How we increased AOV by +70% 62 The art
65 Partner
66 Feedback Contents
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of furniture design
Introducing Carpe Diem Beds’ Iconic Collection HOME RUN Michael Tyler Furniture levels up Furniture News’ Far East show reviews FIRA’s latest state-of-play report #416 May 2024 LONG POINT TRADE SERVICES SPRING FURNITURE & BED SHOW INNOVATION IN BEDDING GENERAL INFORMATION No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written agreement of the Publisher and may not be stored on any type of retrieval system. Furniture News/ Gearing Media Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction. Special colours (Pantone etc) can be catered for with prior arrangement. Some elements of the editorial content in this publication are submitted by the trade, however, all efforts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to offset the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. The Publisher accepts no liability for any loss arising from an advertisement’s late or non-appearance. Kai Winders Michael Tyler Furniture 12 16 24 58 Daisy Walker Neptune Steve Adams Mattress Online Tom Bourne Select First COVER FEATURE 46 CARPE DIEM BEDS

Furniture Makers’ record-breaking admissions

A record 20 people working in the UK furniture and furnishing industry, including two members of the Furniture News team, were admitted as freemen of The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company, at a ceremony at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London last month. The ceremony was presided over by Amanda Waring, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, with senior warden Brian Ahern and junior warden Debbie Johnson.

Furniture News’ Paul Farley says: “I’ve worked closely with The Furniture Makers’ Company during many years spent editing the industry’s leading trade magazine – helping share and promote its aims, and more recently playing an active role in its communications strategy – and I decided it was high time to make my participation official!”

Furniture News’ Sam Horscroft comments: “I’m delighted to join the Furniture Makers as a freeman. Having now worked as advertising and marketing director for Furniture News trade magazine for 19 years and counting, I want to give back to the

furniture industry. To raise funds, share ideas and help move forward with others in our industry will be a wonderful contribution.”

After the ceremony, the new freemen joined other members at the company’s AGM and drinks reception. Amanda says: “The Furniture Makers’ Company is a modern livery company whose membership comprises of individuals and businesses that make up the diverse, vibrant and creative UK furnishing industry. We are a force for good and our members are the fuel that fire the engine and help us fulfill our vision.”

Bedmaker report reveals sustainable scope

Harrison Spinks has outlined a raft of sustainably focused initiatives in its new Impact Report, from both the main bed business and its components manufacturing company.

The business, which employs around 500 people and is already one of the largest growers of hemp in the UK, will increase its flax crop from 20 to 120 acres, to replace cotton – not only is the crop more suitable for the British climate, but there is no requirement for pesticides or irrigation, it says.

Chairman Simon Spinks says: “Our Impact Report details how we’ve adapted our business in the last year and the fundamental commitments we’re adopting for the future to make beds and components in the most responsible way possible.

“We have a patent pending on a coil manufacturing machine which reduces energy consumption by -60%. This machine was designed

and built by us here in Leeds, and we aim to share this technology in our sector and beyond to allow others to benefit from these energy savings.

“From using renewable energy at our Leeds manufacturing site to our partnership with children’s bed charity Zarach, providing them with 20 mattresses every month to give every head a bed, we want to make sure we’re supporting local communities and the environment.

“Owning a farm gives us a unique and unbreakable connection to nature, and that’s why we’ve taken more steps to monitor exactly how we’re affecting the local environment, from making sure we lower emissions, right down to encouraging rare bird species onto our farms. We’re now working on industry-leading ways to repurpose clean waste back into production and looking further ahead to re-purpose our mattress components.”

Dunelm reports continued sales growth in Q3

Dunelm reports that total sales increased by +3% to £435m in Q3 (the 13 weeks ended 30th March 2024), driven by volume, despite “challenging” homewares and furniture markets. It says that March, in particular, saw softer levels of demand.

The retailer enjoyed growth in both store and digital channels, and in gross margin. “As expected, the rate of YoY improvement is slowing as we begin to lap the benefit of lower freight costs, whilst foreign exchange movements remain a headwind. We are managing the ongoing impact of Red Sea surcharges, and despite this, we now expect full year gross margin to be ahead of previous guidance and to increase by c.110bps YoY,” states Dunelm.

“We remain on track to hit our store openings

target for FY24, with four new stores open to date and a further two (including one relocation) planned to open by the end of the year. We have also continued to develop our digital customer proposition, now offering further flexibility on customer delivery options and multichannel giftcards.”

The retailer says it currently expects FY24 PBT to be broadly in line with market expectations.

CEO Nick Wilkinson comments: “Whilst discretionary spend remains under pressure, our relevant and attractive product offer continues to resonate with customers as they shop across our broad ranges to find quality and value for all areas of the home.”

Bensons for Beds has appointed Mark Slater (ex-Howdens) as CCO

Qualita has partnered with Kauno Baldai, one of Lithuania’s largest upholstery manufacturers, to introduce the latter’s models to the UK. It has also hired designer Steve Armitage (ex-Loaf)

The BFM has partnered with Didac to give its members free access to a ‘first responder’ helpline, offering guidance and support relating to accidents or HSE interventions

Tetrad featured on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations on Channel 4 last month, giving behind-the-scenes insight into how it manufactures its furniture in Preston

The Very Group has promoted retail MD Robbie Feather (exFenwick and Sainsbury’s Argos, and co-founder of Feather & Black) to the position of group CEO, succeeding Lionel Desclée

The NBF is calling on the bed trade to support its May awareness campaign, May Be Time for a New Mattress

Keep, a new sofa start-up founded by James Rubin-Smith and Rob Hudson (formerly of M&S and Made), is striving “to bring about change to the furniture industry and put an end to fast furniture”

NCF Living has joined Dreams and Designer Sofas to complete the homewares and furniture lineup at Metro Retail Park (adjacent to North East super-regional mall Metrocentre)


IKEA opens first Irish DC

Flair Furniture, the retail group that owns Bed Kingdom, has acquired stock and IP from Dorchester-based Cuckooland, an ecommerce furniture retailer that was placed into liquidation this year

Industry friends Sas Haines, Emma Hughes, Paul Howe and Callum Day are walking across Wales this June to raise £5000 for Myeloma UK

Artichoke, a Somerset-based design studio and joinery specialist, has appointed Neil Fox as CMO and Sally Morgan-Flower (ex-Loaf) as head of PR

John Doe of Diss, an independent furniture retailer in Norfolk, is arranging a charity golf event on 21st June in aid of The Furniture Makers’ Company

John Lewis Partnership has appointed Jason Tarry (ex-Tesco) as its seventh chairman, following Sharon White’s decision to step down at the end of her term

The BFM’s latest International Trade Review found that furniture imports fell by -13.9% in 2023, reducing the UK’s furniture trade deficit by £1.6b YoY

The New Makers’ Conference will take place on 10th May at Wells Museum in Somerset, offering a platform for emerging talent to network with peers, learn from industry experts and discuss key themes affecting the sector

Ordorite has partnered with shipping tech platform Shipster to create “a highly effective end-toend pick-to-despatch system”

IKEA Ireland has opened a state-of-the-art distribution centre (DC) in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, marking a significant milestone in the company’s expansion in Ireland.

This new facility, employing over 200 people, will result in IKEA’s business in Ireland having one of the shortest delivery times in Europe. Beforehand, IKEA deliveries to Irish consumers required dispatch from the UK. With the inauguration of this new multimillion-euro facility, delivery times will reduce to just three days.

The DC covers over 27,000m2, has a storage capacity of 20,000m3, and is capable of housing up to 9000 product lines. IKEA expects it to be making more than 300,000 deliveries in its first year of operation, with that figure almost doubling to nearly 600,000 within five years. Eventually, the plan is to be able to deliver up to three million items a year from the centre.

“The opening of Ireland’s first IKEA DC will greatly benefit our customers through faster and more reliable deliveries,” says Jakob Bertilsson, country customer fulfilment manager, IKEA Ireland and UK. Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Emer Higgins TD, adds: “This state-of-theart facility is also a testament of IKEA’s unwavering commitment to sustainability. This building is one of the most energy-efficient logistic facilities in Ireland, and will support IKEA’s transition to 100% zeroemission deliveries by August 2025. There is no doubt IKEA’s dedication to become climate positive sets a commendable standard for the entire retail industry.”

Arighi Bianchi outlines new growth strategy

Macclesfield-based independent retailer Arighi Bianchi has announced an ambitious growth strategy that covers a new brand identity, revamped ecommerce channels, and a renewed store experience, all designed to coincide with its 170-year anniversary this year.

The strategy is the culmination of 18 months’ work, based on intensive market and consumer analysis. The senior management team, led by fourthgeneration family member Sarah Bianchi, looked beyond the interiors industry to see how the world’s best lifestyle offers achieve success, observing that great brands do not just sell – they build communities and foster genuine relationships with consumers.

Sarah says: “It’s staggering to think we have been around for 170 years. However, now isn’t the time to rest on our laurels. Evolution has always been central

to Arighi Bianchi’s success. We spent the last 18 months looking both inside and outside the business to ensure that this amazing legacy continues. We’ve been helping people make their house a home for nearly two centuries, and our stand-out product offer has always been central to this, and will continue to be.

“However, what we have learned is that today’s consumers are looking for more from brands than just great products – it’s about inspiration, curation, ease of shop, stand-out customer service, value, and events that help to build a community they feel part us. This marks the start of an evolution from an iconic homewares retailer to a true lifestyle brand, ensuring that Arighi Bianchi will remain in the heart and minds of customers, both in the North West and beyond, for the next 170 years.”

Assaulting a retail worker now a standalone offence

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its members have welcomed the Government’s introduction of a standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker. For over five years, the BRC, along with retailers, other trade associations and unions, have campaigned for this change, to create transparency about the scale of the issue and to help police to allocate resources to deal with it.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, says: “After relentless campaigning for a specific offence for assaulting retail workers, the voices of the three million people working in retail have finally been heard.

“The impact of retail violence has steadily worsened, with people facing racial abuse, sexual harassment, threatening behaviour, physical assault

and threats with weapons, often linked to organised crime. The BRC 2024 Annual Crime Survey showed record levels of violence and abuse, with incidents soaring to over 1300 per day last year, compared to 870 the year before. Victims are ordinary, hardworking people – teenagers taking on their first job, carers looking for part-time work, parents working around childcare.

“This announcement sends a clear message that this abusive behaviour will not be tolerated. It will improve the police response, which has historically been poor. Retailers are playing their part, spending over £1b last year on crime prevention measures. Government has taken action, and it is vital that the police use this new legislation to step up their response to incidents.”

Photo by Robbie Reynolds



the latest tech meets

Furniture with flair in NYC

French luxury furniture brand Roche Bobois has unveiled the extensive renovation of its Madison Avenue showroom in New York City – a testament to its creativity and dedication to providing personalised services


Located at 200 Madison Avenue, the newly transformed showroom spans approximately 17,000ft2, including a lower level. It was designed by Jacqueline Hopfer, the head of Roche Bobois’ interior architecture department, and showcases features such as a fireplace, vegetal walls, ceramic flooring and walls, strategically placed wooden floor sections, vertical and horizontal wooden claustras, a dedicated 3D design room, an innovative 3D design office section, and an integration of digital technology including large TVs and tablet stands.

Inside, visitors will find Roche Bobois’ bestsellers, the new outdoor collection Bombom (by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos), plus design services to assist clients in creating their ideal living spaces.

“Our goal with the renovated Madison Avenue showroom is to fully utilise the amazing volumes of the space and ceiling heights,” says Pierre Berardo, GM North East at Roche Bobois. “We aim to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, highlighting premium materials and the latest design features. We want to provide our clients with a high-end, connected experience that reflects the essence of Roche Bobois.”

A new facade with oversized windows will be unveiled soon, enhancing visibility and natural light in the showroom.

Roche Bobois launches an exclusive collection every six months, and currently operates through over 240 showrooms in 53 countries, 32 of which are in the US.

“We want to provide our clients with a high-end, connected experience that reflects the essence of Roche Bobois

Michael Tyler’s home run

Thanks to a change of heart and some serious financial backing, Hastings-based premium upholstery brand Michael Tyler Furniture is looking at a bright future – Paul Farley paid MD Kai Winders a visit to find out more …

Moving home is among the most stressful experiences around – and for a furniture factory, which requires a significant footprint, infrastructure, and accessibility to a workforce and transport routes, the options are decidedly limited.

Michael Tyler Furniture (MTF) has been making premium upholstery products on the same South Coast site since 1976, but in recent years its outlook was darkened by a fast-expiring lease and the threat of eviction.

“This site was always going to be redeveloped,” explains Kai, “and the business had been looking for others for a long time – but the cost never stacked up. Relocation is incredibly expensive, not to mention the disruption it causes. We looked at refurbishing other places too, but to do so would cost the best part of £1m – and that’s just dead money. And all the time, the clock just kept counting down.”

“We’re putting all the building blocks in place to take the business forward

Serendipity, then, that a change of heart finally prompted MTF’s landlord to consider selling the site to its existing occupant, and parent company Hjort Knudsen purchasing the site outright for £2m this spring, replacing all that uncertainty with ambition.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity, and opens up a wealth of opportunities,” says Kai. “We can now invest in the facility – we’re already putting in new spray foam booths – and there’s an additional 25,000ft2 building on the site that means we could offer a Hjort Knudsen stock programme, or extend our manufacturing. We’re looking at taking on new admin and warehouse staff, too. We’re going to benefit from several new economies of scale.”

Currently, the factory is running “quite lean and mean”, but can easily produce over 200 pieces of MTF furniture a week, says Kai.

“But before we scale everything up,” he adds, “we need to better support our existing customers.”

Back in town

A global brand with serious clout in the market, MTF’s Danish parent company, Hjort Knudsen, employs more than 2500 people across Poland, Ukraine and India, and is currently making inroads in the US. Having bought the Hastings business back in 2017 as “a route into the UK market”, Hjort Knudsen’s own range of contemporary motion chairs and sofas has since made good progress here – but, as Kai would be the first to admit, the brand whose name is above the door has been somewhat diminished.

“The Michael Tyler Furniture (MTF) brand has a reputation for good quality, but it’s not been the most visible,” Kai explains. “Our priority now is to get the sales team out there and re-establish ourselves in the marketplace.”

To that end, the business appointed Adam Peek (ex-Sofa Brands International) as sales director in March, and, with a growing team of new sales agents, has been tasked with building MTF’s independent stockist base.

Due to the “complementary” nature of MTF and Hjort Knudsen, the team will sell both collections, with an emphasis on opening doors at the premium end, says Kai: “They’re very different product types, at very different price points, and Hjort Knudsen continues to resonate with the more cost-conscious audience –but there’s still a clientele out there buying premium product, and MTF is the perfect fit for them.

Kai Winders Ascot

“The brand’s focus is quality,” he explains. “You can walk 360° around every one of our Michael Tyler products, and see that every angle and detail has been considered. Full covers across every surface. Sumptuous feather fillings. Invisible zips. It’s like having a fine lining inside a suit – it may be that nobody sees it, but you know it’s there, and that’s why you pay extra for it. Once you sit in a Michael Tyler product, you know it.”

Grand designs

Kai has been at the helm here for nearly 18 months. Before this, he was the company’s design and operation director – and prior to that, his CV reads as a who’s-who of the national upholstery industry, starting with Christie Tyler in South Wales, and culminating at Harveys’ manufacturer Formation Furniture, where he was forced to weather the fallout from Steinhoff’s accounting scandal.

In all, he’s been in the industry for 24 years, and although he is fast proving himself a capable leader, product design and development is still close to his heart, and he’s taking a hands-on approach to the brand’s evolution.

While the factory will continue to develop whitelabel product for many of the UK’s more design-led nationals, Kai is placing a renewed emphasis on the MTF brand and independent line, ably assisted by long-time brand figurehead Steve Smedley, who continues to serve the business in a part-time design and advisory capacity.

“We’re putting all the building blocks in place to take the business forward, rationalising the range, developing more new products, understanding demand, refining our PoS, and growing our sales team – all centred around what the customer wants,” says Kai.

After purchasing a show van, and unveiling an updated stand at this year’s January Furniture Show, Kai is taking MTF to market hard this year, starting with Long Point this month, where its latest models will populate the company’s new permanent showroom space on Harrington Mills’ ground floor.

“Long Point very much fits our customer profile, and this showroom will be much easier to access than our Hastings one,” he adds, happy that the flag is now well and truly planted.

Following that, and having joined AIS last year, MTF is looking forward to exhibiting at its second INDX Furniture show in late August – an outing that promises to set the stage for the brand’s future with an updated collection (followed soon after by another Long Point show, and an appearance at Sweden’s Gothenburg Furniture Fair, a nod to the brand’s growing Scandinavian following).

To ensure the new models shine across every channel, the business is also working with CGI product visualisation wizards Orbital to deliver flexible digital assets with every launch.

“We all understand that people want to shop online – it’s the new storefront,” says Kai. “Granted, you’ll only fully appreciate what goes into our premium products by seeing them in the flesh, but it helps to cover that initial online touchpoint as well as we can.”


Fundamentally, the site purchase (and significant extra investment) marks the start of a new era for the heritage upholstery brand, and will enables it to keep manufacturing 100% of its premium models here in the UK, “frames built, cut and sewn, cradle to grave”, says Kai.

“You can expect to see more ‘Michael Tyler-style’ fabrics by the time INDX comes around, but rest assured that we won’t be turning our back on what has always separated us from everyone else – quality, product and materials.

“As I said, the brand’s focus is quality, and we’re now really going to be able to play to our strengths.”

“You can walk 360° around every one of our products, and see that every angle and detail has been considered
Idol Cadenza

Inspiring others in recovery

In 2022, an accident at home left Tony Pearson, director of sales at home delivery company BJS Distribution, paralysed from the neck down. In an inspiring and humbling journey, he has fought to recover since – and is now looking to share his experiences with others facing adversity …

What’s your industry background?

I worked for 12 years for B&Q as a retail manager, then joined an HGV driving agency, via a franchise, in 2002. I went on to manage my own courier and home delivery business, running six vans, before cofounding BJS Home Delivery in 2009, and taking on the role of sales director.

Describe what happened to you in April 2022

On April 8th I fell down the stairs at home, and was left paralysed from the neck down, due to blood clots in my lungs and heart which I wasn’t aware of.

How did the business react?

They were amazing. Everyone was very supportive, and visited me many times during my nine-month stay in hospital.

Can you outline the key moments in your rehabilitation?

There are too many to mention, to be honest, but here are some of the stand-out moments: breathing on my own; talking without a voice box; eating and drinking without tubes; getting some movement in my arms; and feeding myself.

“I wanted something positive to come out of a very negative situation

What were your initial feelings about your prospects?

As soon as I came out of the three-week induced coma, I suffered two cardiac arrests, followed by other complications, so it was a few weeks before I could assess myself.

I never looked back and asked “why me?” – I just got on the road to rehab, with my wife’s help. Taking positive steps, and with everyone’s positive thoughts and support, I just knew that, slowly but surely, I’d start to get some movement back in my upper body.

Has your experience shaped how BJS handles staff health and welfare more broadly?

We’ve always made the welfare of our people a priority, but I that believe what happened to me taught us all how precious life is. Business isn’t just about making profit – it’s about looking after our employees, suppliers and the local community.

What made you decide to document your experience on social media?

I wanted something positive to come out of a very negative situation. If, by sharing my story, I could help people stop and think about their own health, both physically and mentally, then I felt I should do so.

What sort of reactions have you had from the trade?

Amazing – people from the furniture and transport industry have been very supportive, and as my story has been shared further afield, I’ve received positive feedback from people in various industries around the world.

What’s your next target in the recovery process?

To eat and drink totally independently, and to lose weight and get myself fitter, both physically and mentally.

What advice do you have for others encountering adversity?

It’s a very slow journey, but very rewarding at the same time. Look for support from associations, social media, friends and colleagues.

In January, I founded a side business as a motivational speaker, and I’m setting up a website ( which will eventually be a one-stop portal to help people to create a better version of themselves. Their issue doesn’t have to be medical – it could be, for instance, that they’re looking for a promotion at work. Hopefully my experiences can be of help to many others.

Find out more about Tony’s experience on LinkedIn.


Be yourself, says Neptune

With a growing number of people reporting symptoms of conditions such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, mental ill health is costing UK employers almost £56b each year, says Deloitte, so employers must better understand its causes and remedies. Here, Daisy Walker, retail operations lead at Neptune, explains why her business has embraced a campaign that prioritises wellbeing within the company’s culture …

My Whole Self is a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England campaign that encourages employers to create workplace cultures in which staff feel able to bring their ‘whole self’ to work – their background, sexuality, religion, gender, health and mental health –to help improve their wellbeing at work.

Hundreds of organisations have adopted the campaign, now in its fifth year. International furniture vertical Neptune, headquartered in Wiltshire, is well known for setting interiors trends – but few are aware of quite how progressive the company’s culture is. With a team that comprises some 560 members of staff, across retail, logistics, warehouse, manufacturing and a support office, the business well understands the value of taking care of its people, and My Whole Self now plays a vital role in these efforts, explains Daisy …

What made Neptune adopt the My Whole Self campaign?

first aiders to support with wellbeing conversations, and we ensure the resource is readily available for everyone when they need to use it.

How did it fit within Neptune’s existing approach to staff wellbeing?

“We strive to break the stigma of poor mental health

My Whole Self Day – which fell on 12th March this year – is very much a part of our wellbeing calendar, and was our first introduction to wellbeing for our people at Neptune. We began our health and wellbeing initiative back in 2021, and we’ve participated ever since.

MHFA England provides a great range of free resources. We find the selfies (My Whole Selfies, an online sharing tool) an easy way to engage and encourage our people to get involved, as they can share what they feel comfortable with. The stress container tool is used regularly by our mental health

One of our company principles is ‘do the right thing’, and we keep this at the core of what we do by remembering to approach everything we do by being a decent human being. Kindness comes first.

What cultural changes do you hope to achieve?

The impact of My Whole Self Day has allowed further inclusivity in a variety of departments, and empowered our mental health first aiders to schedule workshops with our operational teams who do not speak English as their first language, so that they are included and aware of the support available, along with a further focus on the importance of men’s wellbeing. We very much believe in being ‘One Neptune’.

How does Neptune monitor and support staff wellbeing throughout the year?

Our team of MHFA champions and mental health first aiders meet monthly to discuss upcoming events and resource requirements, and to share ideas to develop our wellbeing activities and support.

We have an employee assistance programme (EAP) which our champions and mental health first aiders can utilise when supporting individuals, and, to signpost the 24/7 counselling available for our people, we have conducted awareness training for employees and leaders.

We commit to creating and cascading a monthly newsletter that provides insight into different topics, promotes positive wellbeing, encourages use of our EAP, signposts our mental health first aiders, and gives a heads-up on any upcoming events or key dates in the diary.

Our wellbeing initiative is led and supported by people who are passionate about making a change and helping others. Each person has committed to the initiative in addition to their day-to-day role within the business.

Daisy Walker Neptune’s Knutsford store

We continue to strive to break the stigma of poor mental health and to ensure every person feels supported and safe around the business. We’ve achieved a great deal, but we have much more that we want to achieve and continue to build upon.

Has the programme aided staff retention and recruitment?

Our talent acquisition team regularly have candidates comment on our presence on LinkedIn, and it prompts conversations at the interview stage. When new employees join, they are inducted into the business and are aware of the importance of wellbeing at Neptune, our mental health first aiders, and how they can get involved or access this support should they need to.

And does this considered approach benefit your customers at all?

We take pride in everything we do, and if we have engaged, empowered and happy team members, our customers will benefit from a wonderful experience at every touchpoint with the brand.

One of the campaign’s aims is to enable staff to “express opinions without fear of criticism or judgement”. Is there a risk that opening this door could cause conflict, rather than alleviate it?

We continue to work on awareness, communication, breaking barriers, and giving individuals the power and strength to have a voice without fear of being judged. Productive conflict can have a positive outcome, if handled in the right way and fairly. It allows people and the business to achieve a better understanding and respect for individuals.

Neptune is a big business – how might smaller companies with fewer staff employ approaches like this?

Approach anything you do with empathy, compassion and kindness. Ensure you have done your research, identify like-minded individuals, and explore employee assistance programmes.

“If we have engaged, empowered and happy team members, our customers will benefit from a wonderful experience
Inside Neptune’s Bath showroom Neptune’s HQ in Swindon

60 SECONDS WITH … Charles Dedman

To mark its 60th anniversary, The Furniture Makers’ Company looked to the future by highlighting 60 of the industry’s most promising young professionals (aged under 35) through its ‘60 for 60’ campaign. To discover how they view the trade, Furniture News is inviting these rising stars to share their stories – this month, our quickfire questions go to Charles Dedman, head of design at maker of luxury outdoor furniture, Gaze Burvill.

In one sentence, describe what you do … I head up the passionate design team at Gaze Burvill, creating beautiful and lasting designs.

What makes you well suited to the role?

I’ve come to realise I am a furniture designer and enthusiastic encourager – which means I have passion for creative design and problem solving, but also I get enjoyment from supporting and seeing my peers achieve their goals, much like a coach.

How did you come to work in the furniture industry?

As a son of a property restorer, I’ve grown up surrounded by natural materials and sympathy to its provenance and potential. This inspired me to study furniture design at school, college and university, concluding in 2015 when I completed a two-year City & Guilds in furnituremaking following a degree in furniture and product design.

How has your career progressed since you started?

I started with Gaze Burvill in January 2016, following a fairly lengthy (but relevant) education and employment in furniture.

My first role was assistant designer, where I supported and learnt from the design manager – not only about evolving a range of products, but also the transition from Inventor to Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software.

One year later, I progressed to the role of designer (customer facing). The work included working closely with Simon Burvill on the design of the prestigious Remembrance & Hope bespoke seat, made out of the Verdun Oak and installed in Kew Gardens for Remembrance Day in November 2018, and the creation of The Woodland Seat, using full five-axis CNC capability.

Four years on, I took the lead role in the design department, which included successfully creating and implementing an annual design placement programme for third-year BA design students, which started in August 2021, and is now in its third year.

Then, in April 2022, my role broadened with a greater company focus on R&D. Working with the other departments to create the UK’s finest outdoor timber furniture and kitchens, great emphasis is

put on sustainability, longevity, wonder and design excellence.

Alongside this I have taken part in two business mentoring programmes – the Hothouse programme by the Crafts Council in 2016, and a mini MBA diploma by Pro-Actions in 2021.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

I hope to be building on the successes of the new interior furniture brand, Meon, within Gaze Burvill, launching later this year. By this stage with the team, we’ll be offering sustainable, beautiful and comfortable chairs and tables to the market.

What’s been the biggest surprise in how the industry operates?

How small and friendly it is. From being a student visiting shows to being a professional exhibiting at them, I’m always surprised how small our industry is, despite it growing. Everyone is very open with their advice and experience – and The Furniture Makers’ Company is a fantastic organisation for networking and support!

What does being named one of the ‘60 for 60’ mean to you?

A huge amount. By being nominated by my employer/ mentor Simon Burvill, I feel confident in my senior role at the company – and then to be selected by the esteemed judging panel at The Furniture Makers’ Company cements it.

To meet the other recipients at the award ceremony, and hear about their journey so far, was fantastic – the future of the industry is strong!

What would you say to encourage others to join the industry?

Do it! But keep asking questions, and be open to the many avenues that are open to you. It sounds cheesy, but everyone is different and all roles are unique, so don’t feel intimidated if you aren’t the same as someone else in the industry.

Create a network of thinkers, designers, makers, technicians and procurers – all their skills will help you traverse your career.

Find out more about the ‘60 for 60’ stars at

“I’m always surprised how small our industry is, despite it growing. Everyone is very open with their advice and experience

Contemporary, simple and comfortable, Furnico’s Lotus collection combines style with luxury. Offering classic comfort to suit any living room, Lotus is hand-crafted in Britain.

Available as a chair, two or three seater sofa and love seat with motion or static options. A large square storage pouffe completes the range.

British Made

Rauch elevates design and delivery

Thanks to a swathe of new models and vastly improved delivery methods, German bedroom furniture specialist Rauch is going from strength to strength across the nation, explains Peter Friend, head of Rauch UK …

The German furniture industry is going through a challenging time – how is Rauch adapting to this changing market?

Last autumn we were fortunate to introduce dozens of new ranges which have been widely accepted by all –from our smaller independent retail customers, to the biggest international buying groups. Many of these were introduced to our UK customers during our partner days at Rauch HQ in Freudenberg, Germany, and more recently at the January Furniture Show in Birmingham.

Additionally, we’ve diversified by supplying furniture to customers on a contract or project basis, ranging from serviced apartments to other specialist applications.

How does this affect Rauch’s UK operation?

focus. Firstly, although we’ve benefitted from some very clever and talented agents within the industry –who we have to thank for the historic growth of the business – we’ve started the process to move from sales agents to a team of employed regional sales managers and merchandisers.

This is by no means an overnight process, and will certainly be more of a blend over the coming years –but within the next few years we should enjoy a hybrid of the standard German sales model, combined with UK personality. The overall target is, of course, greater levels of sales support and more regular contact for our UK retail customers, both in the field and from our UK-based sales office in Evesham, Worcestershire.

“The system has required considerable investment, but the benefit to our customers has already proved significant

Here in the UK we’re lucky to benefit from a lot of these new products and finishes. During the next few months, many of these new ranges will be introduced to the market by our retailers – and the new finishes we’ve added to our existing successful ranges have already shown positive order intake development.

The eye-catching new Abraxxas range of sliding door wardrobes, for example, has been very positively received. It was launched last autumn, and shopfloor displays will be appearing over the coming weeks.

The new Luana programme, meanwhile, has many new subtle lighting effects, and offers a mix of champagne and dark oak finishes. It is available as a DHD range.

Are there any other UK-specific activities that our readers should know about?

We currently have two main topics at the top of our UK

Our second strategic activity is greater investment into UK logistics, and combining that with our DHD service. This will enable us to further improve our service levels to both smaller independent customers and our larger retail group customers.

What does greater investment realistically look like?

Good question – and again, there’s a two-part answer. Firstly, we’re investing in a new DHD digital interface for our customers and service providers. This will provide much greater transparency for retailers on the actual status of their customer orders which are supplied through the Rauch DHD channel. All topics including ‘real-time’ updates will be fully integrated.

The full ‘go-live’ for this portal will take place this summer.

The second part relates to the way goods are transported. Some of the talented designers at Rauch have diversified, from not only delivering innovative furniture designs, but to delivering a market-leading


logistic service through design and innovation. Faced with our ongoing logistics challenges and increasing costs, combined with our company-wide sustainability philosophy, a global project was created – that the UK business has already started to benefit from during the first roll-out phase.

Initially, we reviewed our existing delivery process. The main hurdles were very labour-intensive processes: a loading time of four hours; an unloading time of up to eight hours; exclusively using box/ridged trailers; and many packages, with many opportunities for damage and mis-selection. After intensive internal development, the Rauch Returnable Load Carrier system was created, to immediately bypass the typical obstacles of our flat-pack furniture logistics.

What are the benefits of the new system?

Minimising human handling not only saves time, it reduces the opportunities for human error, and dramatically reduces damage and, of course, the need for excessive packaging.

The Rauch Returnable Load Carrier system provides the following results: unloading times reduced by over -80%; further quality assurance of goods (over -50% reduction in claims due to up to five manual handling segments eliminated during goods transfer); sustainable and available materials for many years of re-use;

reduction of waste by eliminating damage, as damaged goods are typically destroyed at source; reduction of waste by correct picking, as orders can’t be mixed up during this movement; reduction of waste through correct storage, as goods are protected; reduction of packaging materials,

because of less damage potential due to reduction in manual handling; safe storage of goods in multi-use warehouses, as goods are self-supported; and simple, space-saving storage when not in use (unlike regular trollies, the carriers can be simply broken down and stacked in columns of eight, then collected when further goods are delivered).

The system has required considerable investment from Rauch, and will continue to do so, but the benefit to our customers has already proved significant. This leaves our next target, to deliver 100% of goods bound for the UK on the load carrier system – which will produce additional challenges, but also opportunities. Watch this space …

“We are investing in a new DHD digital interface for our customers and service providers
The Rauch Returnable Load Carrier system is set to radically improve delivery efficiency and reduce waste

FIRA’s latest industry insights

The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) has resumed the publication of its annual Statistics Digest for the UK Furniture Industry, and is again offering Furniture News’ readers an exclusive look at some of the report’s key findings, including valuable insights around the industry’s size, scope and activity.

The 2023 digest is a valuable resource for anyone operating in the furniture sector, distilling information primarily sourced from Government bodies such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS), HM Revenue and Customs, Communities and Local Government, and the Bank of England.

The available data (covering 2018-22, where data is available), has been analysed and compiled to produce a series of reports: consumer spend; the structure of the UK furniture manufacturing industry (its size, distribution and number of employees); furniture manufacturer turnover, imports and exports; the total size of the furniture industry, including manufacturing, retailing, distribution and repair; and trading relationships with the rest of the world, plus an analysis of trade gaps.

All data sources are referenced within the report and are publicly available to organisations wishing to undertake their own statistical analyses.

The industry structure figures cover furniture manufacturing as a whole and, in addition, data is presented for the following sub-sectors: office and shop furniture; kitchen furniture; mattresses; and other furniture.

The UK furniture and furnishings sector

The UK furniture and furnishings sector, comprising design, manufacturing, retail and repair is much larger than many people think.

Total manufacturing turnover for this sector in 2022 was £11.35b, representing a YoY increase of +9.2%, and this turnover emanated from 6880 companies, employing 91,000 individuals.

The wider sector, including specialist retail but excluding general retail, comprised over 29,932 VAT-registered companies supporting in the order of 292,000 jobs, with a combined turnover of £41b.

Consumer spend

Total UK consumer expenditure increased between 2021 and 2022 to £1352b (an increase of +5%, following a decrease in 2020 of -13%). Despite this increase in total spending, expenditure for the wider furnishings, household goods and routine maintenance sector fell by -5%. Consumer expenditure on furniture and furnishings was just over £20.1b in 2022.


“In 2022, the US overtook Ireland as our largest export market

Turnover, import and export data are presented for these sub-sectors each of which has been analysed in more depth than previously. As such, trade figures are shown for a range of contract, office and domestic product groups.

A brief commentary, largely focusing on mediumterm trends and the changes between 2018-22, supports the tabulated and graphical data, and offers findings such as the following …

In 2021, 6857 UK furniture manufacturers employed a total of 90,000 individuals. Total manufacturing turnover in 2022, meanwhile, was £11.35b, which was +10% higher than 2021.

‘Office and shop’ furniture saw turnover increase to £2.37b in 2022, while turnover in the ‘kitchen’ sector increased to £3.84b. The ‘mattress’ sub-sector grew slightly to £0.9b in 2022.

The rest of furniture manufacturing comes under

Photo courtesy 123RF/everythingpossible

the heading of ‘other furniture’, and comprises the largest of the industry’s four sub-sectors – 2022’s turnover was £4.64b, an increase of +16% YoY. This ‘other furniture’ category has a significant influence on UK furniture manufacturing’s overall performance figures, accounting for 31% of turnover. As such, any recovery in turnover here normally reflects the overall position of the whole sector.

Company size

Although furniture manufacturing comprises a large number of micro- and small- to mediumsize businesses, with just 305 companies (5%) operating at turnovers in excess of £5m, a total of 160 companies turn over more than £10m, which is slightly higher than the previous year.

The latest data indicates 6880 companies in the sector. Most of this growth has been in the number of companies turning over less than £1m, although there has been a slight increase in the number of organisations in the £1m-£5m bracket, as well as the £5m-£10m and £10m-£50m brackets. This, particularly in the higher turnover brackets, is assumed to be due to growth rather than new entrants.

The majority (83%) of companies turn over less than £1m, and the biggest proportion of companies occupy the £100,000-£250,000 turnover band. This is largely unchanged from the previous year.

In the ‘mattress’ and ‘office and shop’ sectors, the percentage of smaller companies is lower than for the other sectors (61.9% and 66.5% within these sectors turn over less than £1m, respectively). Conversely, in the ‘other furniture’ and ‘kitchen’ sectors, turnover is significantly higher at 87.1% and 85.8%, respectively.

The ‘mattress’ sector has proportionately more large companies than others, with 16.7% of companies turning over more than £5m, an

increase of +33% from 2016. In comparison, 9.8% of companies within the ‘office and shop’ sector turn over more than £5m, followed by ‘kitchen’ (3.6%) and ‘other furniture’ (3.1%).

International trade Imports of furniture into the UK in 2022 increased to £8.5b. As in previous years, by far the biggest value of imports originated from China (£3.2b), with its share of imports into the UK increasing slightly to 38%.

In purely financial terms, Poland ranked second in the hierarchy of furniture exporters to the UK. Germany moved to third position, with Italy dropping to fourth. In round terms, these countries accounted for 10%, 9.5% and 9% of furniture imports into the UK respectively, at around half a billion pounds each.

Meanwhile, furniture exports have continued to grow in recent years, reaching £1.4b in 2022. Exports to the Irish Republic continue to grow YoY, and reached £0.29b in 2020, an increase of +16.2% YoY.

There was an increase in UK furniture exports to the US in 2022 (to £252m) which accounted for 12.3% of the total, and the US overtook Ireland as the largest export market for the first time.

The 2022 negative trade gap with China (the largest for the sector) was £3.1b. There were also large negative trade gaps with Poland, Italy and Germany. The main positive trade gap, as in previous years, was with the Irish Republic. This gap, despite the republic’s recent increases in exports to the UK, moved from £0.19b to £0.13b in 2022.

The full report is available free of charge to members of the Furniture Industry Research Association, or can be purchased from the association’s online bookshop.

“The UK furniture and furnishings sector is much larger than many people think
Photo courtesy 123RF/bialasiewicz


Steve Adams

Steve is the CEO of Rotherhambased Mattress Online, one of the UK’s leading online mattress retailers. The business, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is increasingly pursuing a ‘clicks and bricks’ expansion strategy through the acquisition of physical stores, while maintaining its best-in-class approach to digital sales.

How might a child describe what you do?

Boring, probably! After nearly 19 years I have seen many reactions from younger generations, and most are rather unenthusiastic – a career in beds can’t hold a candle to a fireman, soldier or police officer, and rightly so.

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

Letting go. After being at the reins for so long, and with a fast-growing, highly capable team who are more specialised and smarter than me, it’s hard to let them crack on independently. I guess it’s my version of FOMO.

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

Twenty bricks- (clicks) and-mortar stores.

What would be the title of your autobiography?

From the Bedroom to the Boardroom.

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

At the moment a stretch goal, I live and breathe Mattress Online, and while I try to lead by example and promote a healthy balance of work, family and relaxation, it’s one of my biggest challenges personally.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Buy Tesla shares, always listen, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?

Steve Kelly, my ex-co-founder, taught me everything I know about beds and the industry, and that is rather a lot.

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

The 28th March 2019 – the signing of my MBO of Mattress Online.

What’s the biggest myth about our industry? That we simply make and sell stuff for the home. Deep down, we are a key part of our customers’ wellbeing journey, especially in the mattress sector. A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone to a healthier and happier life.

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

We should all be working together for a sustainable future, even if that means our prices going up.

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

An even bigger proportion of customers are moving online, but with an expectation of a hybrid retail mix, where they can experience an online brand, offline. Wayfair and Amazon are moving forward with their offline retail strategy.

“Deep down, we are a key part of our customers’ wellbeing journey. A good night’s sleep is the cornerstone to a healthier and happier life

Hey June!

Here comes the sun, and we’re heating up buyer interest in product launches and shows this June, with the following features:

Outdoor Furniture: New outdoor living lines, from traditional to contemporary

New in Upholstery: The latest leather and fabric styles across chairs, recliners and sofas

We’re also looking back at INDX Beds & Bedroom and the Furniture Components Expo (and not forgetting our regular Bedroom, Living, Dining and Trade Services round-ups)

Be part of the UK furniture industry’s top trade magazine this summer – it’s your time to shine!

Book by Tuesday



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Western buyers discover a new MIFF

This spring, Furniture News’ editor-in-chief made his (long overdue) return to the Malaysia International Furniture Fair (MIFF). The show, which took place from 1st-4th March, covered an impressive 10,000m2, and reportedly generated some $1.28b in export sales – putting the disruption of recent years well and truly behind it …

South East Asia’s largest furniture trade show is also arguably its most hospitable, and an essential stop on the spring show circuit. I’m no stranger to the event, but it had been a while since I last attended. I was all set to fly over in March 2020, but unforeseen complications put a stop to that (and everything else).

Having executed several online events and a summer edition before returning to its traditional physical format in 2023, MIFF felt well and truly back on form this year, and had clearly stepped up from its pre-pandemic days.

“MIFF has clearly stepped up from its prepandemic days

There was a notable shift in the weighting of exhibitors across the show’s venues, for instance –although the hotels adjoining the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL) still house many of MIFF’s visitors, the days of the show’s labyrinthine heartland seem numbered, with an increasing leaning towards the modern majesty and sheer scale of the newer Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC) building, just a short shuttle ride away.

The exhibition’s grand parties and ceremonies have also relocated to these newer surrounds, a shift that really hit home at the popular Buyer’s Night shindig, which, befitting a 30th anniversary event, delivered a more engaging and varied line-up of entertainment than ever, from magicians, drummers and dancers to opera singers, a rock band and an unforgettable traditional Japanese dance routine.

The manner in which MIFF engages with its international visitors and exhibitors is undeniably more sophisticated and assured, a step change that is echoed across the show.

MIFF has long been a favoured destination for western buyers, and the notable presence of familiar UK faces amongst the visitors again hinted at a return to form. Showcasing an impressive 715 exhibitors (359 of them Malaysian, and 356 international, from 15 countries and regions), MIFF 2024 attracted a reported 19,213 visitors, from 120 countries and regions (with the UK ranking 10th of these).

Of these, 5419 were internationals (an increase of +6% YoY), and there was a huge component (+43%) of new visitors. When the show’s visitors were polled following the event, 93% said they were satisfied with MIFF and would visit again.


Mathilde Le Villain, founder of London-based design studio La Villaine, said: “We’ve seen some really impressive things so far. It’s my first time here, and it’s been a great experience so far, very insightful. We’re enjoying meeting many people, and the suppliers have been incredibly friendly, open, and welcoming.”

On the exhibitor side, Emily Wong, MD at Malaysian supplier Zenith Projects Technology, commented: “MIFF is crucial for us, especially this year, with a stronger response than ever before. We’ve seen more visitors from the UK, Japan and India. Our growth has been closely linked with MIFF since day one, and we see it as a platform to showcase our international capabilities.”

Paul Murphy, MD of Aspire Beds, which was exhibiting alongside an international partner at MIFF for the first time, enjoyed a good reaction to the company’s UK-made natural mattresses, and also remarked on the healthy number of British visitors present.

In terms of trends, there was little in the way of newness, but plenty of signs of greater technical aptitude and manufacturing prowess, and several memorable sparks of innovative design.

Alongside the main show, MIFF 2024 featured specific zones dedicated to different product segments and new designs – from MIFF OFFICE and the xOrdinary showcase, to the Muar, designRena and International halls – while a plethora of awards helped the most promising creators stand out.

The young designer-focused MIFF Furniture Design Competition (FDC) saw Toh Wei Hang’s novel Mu-Shi chair – an abstract seat comprising rounded wooden blocks – take first place, while among the exhibitor base, Johann & Johann Concept came out on top in the Best Presentation Award, for its Legoinspired booth.

I again had the privilege of helping judge the Furniture Excellence Award, giving me a whistlestop tour of some of the best the fair had to offer. In the Household Furniture category, the deserving winner was Infab Classic Industries, for its naturalistic, modular sofa concept Oahu, created by celebrity designer Tyler Wisler. Meanwhile, Oasis Furniture Industries topped the Office Furniture category.

Elsewhere, and alongside various industry seminars, the My Favourite iNternational Designers (MFID) Award celebrated international interior design, while an innovative tree-planting campaign married augmented reality (AR) technology and sustainable preservation.

That said, the proof is in the pudding – from generating $1.21b in sales in 2023 to $1.28 this year, and marking its 30th anniversary in barnstorming style, MIFF has emerged from the pandemic a brighter, bolder fixture, more than holding its own on the fast-changing international stage.

According to MIFF’s founder, Dato’ Dr Tan Chin Huat, the show’s enduring success can be attributed to “a trifecta of factors – the exhibition’s unwavering commitment to exceptional hospitality and meticulous service for exhibitors and buyers, its extensive spectrum of furniture offerings, and the robust composition of its exhibitor community.

“Being able to go this far, we have certainly done something right. And I believe that MIFF will continue to become one of the largest exhibitions in the region.”

Happy 30th birthday, MIFF – and here’s to the next one, when the fair returns to Kuala Lumpur on the same dates (1st-4th March) in 2025.

“The manner in which MIFF engages with its international visitors and exhibitors is more sophisticated and assured

Showcasing Vietnam’s vibrant offer

HawaExpo returned to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 6-9th March – and Nigel Gearing, chairman of Furniture News’ publisher, Gearing Media Group, decided to see this year’s show for himself …

“Any initial trepidation was quickly replaced by this totally vibrant, spectacular and enthusiastic event

HawaExpo was very much a first-time visit for Furniture News, so my expectations were quite unclear, especially after four years of economic slowdown due to the pandemic.

However, any initial trepidation was quickly replaced by this totally vibrant, spectacular and enthusiastic event, which went a long way to highlighting all the very best that Vietnam has to offer.

The scale of the exhibition was somewhat overwhelming – 2500 booths and showcases, and 500 exhibitors spread over 46,000m2. Over 80% of the manufacturers were Vietnamese, and the reported visitor numbers were high, at 20,076 (including 4643 buyers).

As Nguyen Quoc Khanh, chairman of organisers Viforest Fair HAWA, says: “There are three core missions of HawaExpo: firstly, to prioritise the exhibition and trade promotion of Vietnam’s wood and handicraft products; secondly, to contribute significantly to the industry-wide transition from Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) to Original Design Manufacturer (ODM), thereby enhancing the value of products bearing the ‘made in Vietnam’ label; and lastly, to spearhead innovation and creativity by organising professional and modern trade events that accurately affirm the strength and potential of the wood and handicraft industry in Vietnam.”

One visitor, David Gevurtz, president of Urbia Imports, was suitably impressed with the show, especially in its stand arrangement, reception activities, and, foremost, its ability to connect international buyers with manufacturers, making it all in all “a worthwhile and effective business trip”.

Meanwhile, exhibitor Duong Thi Minh Tue, business development director of Minh Duong Furniture, said: “Through the trade fair, we have received a lot of positive feedback from our customers about the designs. It is also a motivation for us to develop new trends in the future.”

Both ends of the attending spectrum were fulfilled by what this event has managed to deliver. In all, HawaExpo proved a great visual experience, and a fantastic place to do business – roll on next year!


I Saloni celebrates record turnout

With a total of 361,417 visitors in attendance (54.3% of them from from abroad), this year’s Salone del Mobile reaffirmed its position as an international industry hub, presenting 1950 exhibitors from 35 different countries, alongside a rich cultural programme …

With visitor numbers up +17.1% YoY, Salone del Mobile.Milano 2024 enjoyed a record turnout, attracting 100,000 more visitors than it did in 2022.

“The Salone has reconfirmed its position as a matchless bridge for dialogue

The number of professional visitors in aattendance was up +26.8% – 65.8% of them from abroad, states the fair’s organiser: “Figures that confirm, yet again, the pivotal role played by the event in the internationalisation of the companies within the industry, the value of the relationship networks and also the catalytic force of an event that has exceeded the boundaries of the trade fair dimension, driven by the second phase of the redesign of the layout and visitor paths in some of the trade fair pavilions, with a special focus on EuroCucina/FTK, Technology For the Kitchen and International Bathroom Exhibition biennials in particular – two sectors strongly committed to experimenting new aesthetics and functions in highly technical projects increasingly geared to a sustainable approach.”

The attendance figures point to China making a strong comeback, followed by Germany, Spain, Brazil, France, the US, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, India, the UK, South Korea, Japan, and Austria.

Show president Maria Porro says: “The 62nd edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano exceeded all expectations – it was a record edition. We saw exceptional results, thanks to the confidence of an ecosystem that, yet again, recognised the international leadership of the event.

“With an amazing 361,417 presences, the Salone has reconfirmed its position as a matchless bridge for dialogue with the new market geographies, an intercontinental city open to innovation, in which competition stokes the competitiveness of a key sector for the country’s economy and more besides – a great ‘factory’ of meaning and lasting value, products and jobs, and tangible and intangible culture.

“During the process of redesigning the format and the experiences, we kept both industrial and manufacturing and the visitors as our focus, in a bid to stimulate both sides with a stunning cultural programme capable of creating new connections between the powerful roots of the design culture and the definition of new future visions.”

The event’s 63rd edition will take place in Rho from 8-13th April 2025.


Welcomes to woodworking wonderland

The Materials & Finishes Show (formerly W Exhibition), taking place at the NEC Birmingham from 19th-22nd May, is set to be the primary platform for carpenters, joiners, machinists and installers to see running machinery, the latest materials, components, software, tools and innovations for the woodworking sector …

Alongside networking with the industry, visitors will be able to see thousands of the latest products on the UK market, and speak directly to leading manufacturers and suppliers to the woodworking sector.

“Whether you’re looking for the latest timber solutions, tools, fixtures, finishing products or machinery, Materials & Finishes Show really is your one-stop shop,” says organiser, Montgomery Group. “Nowhere else can you compare all of the very latest products, side by side, under one roof.

“See every link in the supply chain under one roof

“As well as seeing the latest products, software and tools, you’ll be able to speak first-hand to the manufacturers and suppliers behind the brands, who will be lined up and ready to take your questions.”

The show will also feature the new Live Demo Zone, where visitors will be able to see running machinery and demonstrations from brands including AMS, Leitz Tooling, The Joinery Network, Lamello and Rubio Monocoat. Alongside the construction of a timber window, visitors will see tooling, paint and finishing brands deliver hands-on, practical demonstrations.

The brand-new CPD learning programme, meanwhile, will deliver four days of CPD-certified learning content, from panel discussions and keynotes to seminars, all delivered by industry experts – on topics such as compliance, health and safety, social media, and maximising efficiency.

For those unable to take a full day out of the office, the show’s Sunday opening and late night on Tuesday 21st May offer additional opportunities, while the new Materials & Finishes Show Bar promises to provide an informal setting in which to meet clients and colleagues. The show will also be running a big social meet-up on Monday 20th, where visitors will be able to meet online content creators including Robin Clevett, Tibby Singh, Alastiar Johnson and Derek Barrett.

“If you miss Materials & Finishes Show 2024, you’ll have to wait until the event returns in 2026,” warns Montgomery. “This is your main UK industry event platform to see every link in the supply chain under one roof, at the same time.

“Save time visiting multiple suppliers and distributors, cut out the need for more than one day to wrap everything up for the year ahead. Shop around, source, enquire, research, purchase, compare, network, learn – do all of this at Materials & Finishes Show.”

Be part of the show that revolves around you.
Crafted for your business, to do business. Materials & Finishes Show was formerly known as W Exhibition. REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE TICKET AT
Materials & Finishes Show is the primary platform for carpenters, joiners, machinists and installers to see running machinery, the latest materials, components, software, tools and innovations from the biggest brands in the woodworking sector. The UK’s trade show for the furniture manufacturing & joinery industries

Why trade shows continue to deliver results

With the Manchester Furniture Show’s return just around the corner, exhibition organiser Clarion Events explores the history, legacy and ROI of the trade show format, and explains why the upcoming fixture is an unmissable opportunity for the industry …

“Trade shows have long been pivotal platforms for businesses wishing to showcase their products and services, connect with potential customers, and network with industry peers,” states Clarion.

“The furniture industry has always thrived on the need to touch, feel and inspect products

“The concept of trade shows can be traced back to ancient times, when merchants and artisans would gather at local marketplaces to sell their goods. These early gatherings were more than just commercial events – they were social and cultural hubs where people exchanged not only goods, but also ideas and information.

“Trade shows have evolved significantly from the Middle Ages, propelled by the Industrial Revolution and then accelerated in the 20th Century by the advent of the internet and digital technologies. The pandemic fundamentally shifted the way the world did business, and AI looks set to transform the future even further –but the furniture industry has always thrived on strong relationships between manufacturers and buyers, and the need to touch, feel and inspect products, so technology will never replace this all-important human interaction.

“The past decade has seen a surge in digital communication and the development of new channels and ways to connect, with emails often replacing the traditional phone call. However, online platforms have proliferated, and email, once the preferred marketing tool of choice, has become less effective due to stricter data legislation, limited cookie tracking and higher email unsubscribe rates. This, combined with the advent of a new hybrid working week, has made it even harder to reach customers.

“With Brexit and the pandemic causing the UK furniture market to stall over the last few years, trade shows continue to be the most effective channel to reach new clients, showcase product and continue dialogue. This was demonstrated at this year’s January Furniture Show (JFS), now in its 33rd year, where the NEC Birmingham received visitors from over 50 countries, with 89% of attendees citing trade shows as ‘very important’ to the success of their business.

“From their humble beginnings in ancient marketplaces to the sophisticated global events of today, trade shows have come a long way. They have continually adapted to the changing needs of business and society, reflecting the economic, technological and cultural shifts of their times. As a dynamic and resilient industry, trade shows will undoubtedly continue to be a vital part of the business world for years to come.

“Be part of history in the making and join us at Manchester Furniture Show (MFS), which, after a five-year hiatus is returning to the iconic Manchester Central from 10-11th July 2024. With the show already tracking +15% ahead on visitor registration, and costeffective packages available, MFS is all set to reaffirm that trade shows remain as relevant for the furniture industry today as they did in ancient times,” Clarion concludes.

Find out more about JFS, MFS and the Women in Furniture Network (WIFN) on the events’ website.


Discover Ireland’s dynamic industry

The Irish Furniture and Homewares Show (IFHS) returns to the National Indoor Arena, Blanchardstown from 25-27th August, and promises to be a pivotal event for Ireland’s furniture trade and beyond …

“Make a lasting impression in Ireland’s dynamic furniture and homewares markets

For any business that sells into Ireland – or aspires to do so – the IFHS represents an unmissable opportunity to engage with its key suppliers under one roof, while discovering the latest trends and product innovations.

“Take advantage of the only premier event of its kind in Ireland, to expand your reach and make a lasting impression in Ireland’s dynamic furniture and homewares markets,” says the show’s organiser, which adds that continuous reinvestment in the event has helped to create an increasingly dynamic sourcing platform, that “propels the entire Irish industry forward”.

“The IFHS 2024 will reflect a decade-long commitment to fostering the growth of the Irish furniture industry,” it continues. “The show boosts the Irish furniture trade by uniting every level of the industry, with a singular focus of adding value to the sector.”

Registration is now open to all professional buyers, and suppliers are invited to find out more: “Don’t miss out on your chance to showcase your products and forge invaluable connections within the Irish furniture industry.”



To secure your space today contact event manager Aisling on 00353 838576794 or email To find out more visit
25th - 27th August 2024 The National Indoor Arena, Blanchardstown, Dublin Uniting the industry. Adding value. Fostering growth. NOWREGISTRATION OPEN! NOWREGISTRATION OPEN!

Long Point’s spring show in bloom

The Long Point show is back in Long Eaton from 13-15th this month, with its biggest (spring) exhibitor roster for many years, says Andrew Mitchell, chairman of show organiser, the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers …

In 2014, Long Eaton was recognised as the UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture. It is fitting, then, that each May and September, the Long Point show brings together the newest product from the manufacturers based in and around the town, plus guest exhibitors and those with permanent showrooms there.

Indeed, recent years have seen more and more furniture brands take up permanent homes in Long Eaton, the town’s rustic industrial aesthetic complementing a wide range of styles and looks.

This year, 29 businesses will share their latest models at the show, says Andrew, including seven newcomers (the majority of which now occupy permanent showrooms in the town) – Andrew Paul Furniture, Fortune Woods UK, Hartmann Mobel, Ramaro Upholstery, The Hastings Sofa Company, Hjort Knudsen, and Michael Tyler Furniture (read all about the latter on p12).

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

“Long Point enjoys the reputation of being the most enjoyable and relaxed furniture exhibition within the UK, and is the ideal vehicle for manufacturers and retailers alike to work together,” adds Andrew.

Read on to discover a few of this year’s highlights …

“The ideal vehicle for manufacturers and retailers alike to work together


13TH  15TH MAY 2024

FAMILY SOFA MAKERS SINCE 1952 F O R A M A P O F A L L L O C A T I O N S P L E A S E V I S I T W W W. L O N G E A T O N G U I L D . C O . U K HELPLINE : 0115 973 4481


Andrew Paul Furniture, a new member of the Long Eaton Guild, promises that visitors to Long Point will be amazed by the selection of upholstered sofas and chairs on offer in its large showroom on Fields Farm Road (NG10 3FZ).

“Our product range is made to high standards and quality, and is constantly evolving,” states the sofamaker. “On show will be exciting modern designs with 60s influences, 80s designs with soft tonal fabrics, and classic elegant traditional sofas with a modern twist – all in all one of the most comprehensive upholstery ranges you’ll see anywhere in Long Eaton.

“We look forward to welcoming both new and existing customers to the spring Long Point show!”


Ramaro, a family-owned Polish upholstery company with manufacturing facilities close to Poznan, has been supplying quality fabric furniture for the last 40 years.

With modern and contemporary styles in modular and static versions, featuring popular fabric collections (specially from Davis), Ramaro also offers a comprehensive collection of dining chairs and bar stools.

Currently, the company’s export markets are France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria, but now, with the appointment of Tim Robinson Furniture Agencies, Ramaro is targeting the UK and Irish markets, and will present some samples in Hartmann’s permanent showroom in Wade Business Centre, Wellington Street, Long Eaton.

For further information, contact


Long Point’s Westgate Suite venue will host the launch of the Legacy Collection from the Hastings Sofa Company, comprising eight new sofa designs featuring either floral print fabrics or washable loose cover options, which promise to bring a revival of colour, pattern and style to “a market that has been dominated by plain fabric for a very long time”, says the sofamaker.

To arrange a preview of the collection, contact Simon Orr at orr.s@ or David Imrie at


German cabinet and dining furniture manufacturer Hartmann Möbelwerke is to open a UK showroom following the appointment of Tim Robinson Furniture Agencies as its agent for the UK and Ireland.

Space at the Wade Business Centre in Wellington Street, Long Eaton, is being converted into a permanent showroom, which will be available for visits by appointment. Hartmann will also take part in the Long Point exhibitions in May and September.

With more than 100 years of experience, Hartmann Möbelwerke is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solid wood and lacquered furniture. For further information, contact

Vara Paradiso

Classic Elegant Sofas with a Modern Twist

furniture andre paulw Browse Our Website 0115 9725 020 |

Wiemann’s finest bound for Long Point

Award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann is showcasing six of its finest and most popular ranges this month, starting at Long Point …

“The Wiemann team is looking forward to welcoming visitors

On the stand in Harrington Mill, Long Eaton, will be VIP star Denver and the ultra-versatile Monaco, joined by the new-for-24 Lagos, and established favourites Miami, Split and Tampa.

The stylish, just-launched Lagos is a hinged range with an eye-catching floor-to-ceiling handle, which can be downlit to impressive effect. It is available in a wide choice of finish combinations.

Denver, meanwhile, is memorable for its nod to urban chic, with striking decking effect doors which

can create different looks depending on the colour choice – and Monaco, a VIP favourite, is a very flexible range with lots of options across doors, finishes and colours.

Every Wiemann item enjoys the back-up of the company’s renowned network of agents, plus marketing support, home delivery and installation services.

Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agent for the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture, says: “The Wiemann team is looking forward to welcoming visitors to our displays at both exhibitions, and meeting up with friends old and new.”

The specialist in contemporary bedroom furniture will also be present at the Spring Furniture & Bed Show this month (taking place in Stoneleigh from 21st-22nd).

Denver Lagos


Couch & Co’s team is looking forward to welcoming visitors to the company’s exclusive trade showrooms at Long Point this month.

“Join us for a coffee and take in our extensive range, featuring established core models, our recently launched NEC collection, and the very latest we have to offer for the spring, from both our static and multi-functional recliner collections,” says the supplier.

New models include Jackie, an all-rounder that works equally well as a sofa as it does as a flexible corner. “Available in both leather and

fabric, it exudes modern comfort, and stands out from the crowd,” says Couch & Co.

“Or get three chairs in one, with Melody from our Cosy Collection. It rocks, it swivels, it reclines! Choose a size to fit, and add functions to take the comfort to another level.”

Find Couch & Co’s showroom in unit D0, West End Mill, on Leopold Street (opposite Harrington Mills).


Spring show promises valuable opportunities

The Spring Furniture & Bed Show is returning to Stoneleigh Park on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd of this month, and promises buyers a plethora of timely sourcing opportunities …

The UK’s largest spring furniture show will again feature leading global suppliers of upholstery, cabinets furniture and beds, alongside some of the UK’s top accessory and service providers.

“Over 70 suppliers will present their new product ranges

“We’ll have over 70 suppliers presenting their new product ranges launching for autumn/winter at this edition,” says Jim Orr, CEO of show organiser, Minerva Furniture Group, “and, in addition to new products, several of our exhibiting suppliers are holding exciting seminar sessions over the two days of the show.”

All visitors can enjoy free parking, free entrance and a complimentary lunch. Visit the show website to see a full exhibitor list.

“We look forward to welcoming buyers from all UK furniture and home businesses to our spring show,” Jim concludes.



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Sci-Net’s ERP>Retail solution provides comprehensive business management for furniture retailers.

It is certified as a Microsoft Dynamics industry add-on and operates within Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, catering specifically to furniture and flooring businesses. This solution enables “seamless” integration and automation across various business functions, empowering retailers to navigate challenges such as rising costs and evolving consumer habits.

With features such as tablet to PoS, supply chain management, and financial management, ERP>Retail centralises operations, enhancing productivity and efficiency, and its user-friendly interface and customisable features ensure a tailored experience for retailers, says Sci-Net.

Recently, Sci-Net introduced a pre-

configured solution called ERP>>>Rapid, derived from years of furniture industry experience. Built upon the ERP>Retail foundations, this pre-set configuration reduces development, consultation and implementation hours, ensuring “a seamless, swift, and budgetfriendly” implementation of the new solution.

“It is the ideal solution for small-scale

retailers who need a software solution that allows them to keep up with demand and effectively compete with larger companies without breaking the bank,” says Sci-Net, which will be present at the Spring Furniture & Bed Show, on stand 45/46 in Hall 2.

To find out more, call sales 01869 349949 or visit Sci-Net’s website.

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Iconic concept marries design and comfort

This month’s cover star, Carpe Diem Beds, is dedicated to combining style and comfort to “redefine the bedroom furniture landscape” – and its latest release, The Iconic Collection, promises to reaffirm the luxury bedmaker’s position as a pioneer in bespoke bedroom furnishings …

Inspired by the heritage of Sweden’s West Coast archipelago, The Iconic Collection was developed as a homage to the ethereal beauty of these Scandinavian landscapes – company founder Börje Thuleskär’s encounter with weightlessness on the island of Stora Kornö sparked the inception of this collection, the bedmaker striving to capture “the essence of floating serenity” in every design.

At the heart of The Iconic Collection is the beds’ centred leg piece, which elegantly imparts this effect.

Paired with Cape Diem Beds’ patented Contour Pocket Spring System, each bed offers unparalleled support, elevating the sleep experience to new heights of indulgence, says the luxury bedmaker.

Accompanying The Iconic Collection are new fabrics that draw inspiration from the harmonious hues and patterns of Lysekil’s shores. “These timeless additions seamlessly integrate with the existing collection, offering endless possibilities for creative expression,” says Carpe Diem Beds.

The Iconic Collection includes four bespoke bed models, each named after islands in the archipelago.

The Kungsö continental bed (featured on this month’s cover) combines innovation with an elegant, modern design, its centred leg piece creating that floating visual effect.


“Experience a floating sensation that transports you to the tranquil shores of Sweden

Meanwhile, the Hällsö walnut- and Hällsö upholstery-framed beds exude timeless charm and tailored quality. The handcrafted walnut frame, with natural wood variations, ensures each bed is unique –while, with its fabric-padded elegance, the upholstery frame complements modern interiors, adding sophistication to any bedroom.

Finally, as the most exclusive bed in The Iconic Collection, the Vindö adjustable bed offers the same luxurious, floating design, as well as being adjustable, setting a new standard, and providing a one-of-a-kind luxury and comfort experience, says the bedmaker.

“Carpe Diem Beds invites you to experience a floating sensation that transports you to the tranquil shores of Sweden,” it continues. “As you immerse yourself in the luxurious embrace of The Iconic Collection, you’ll embark on a journey where comfort meets innovation, and luxury becomes an essential part of your nightly ritual. This collection is a masterpiece, inviting you to seize the day, starting with a night of unparalleled sleep.”

See the new collection in person at Carpe Diem Beds’ flagship store on Wigmore Street, Marylebone, and online on Carpe Diem Beds’ website. For more information, email Oliver Bowen at oliver.bowen@

fabrics accompany The Iconic Collection Kungsö

Inspired by our heritage, designed for the modern bedroom. The Iconic Collection features floating beds with unparalleled comfort and exclusive fabrics. Handmade in Sweden


Leading the bedroom’s evolution

In today’s market, comfort and convenience reign supreme, and the bed industry is constantly evolving to meet consumers’ diverse needs – and M. A. Living prides itself on leading the way, constantly innovating to deliver sleep solutions that blend luxury, functionality and style …

The West Yorkshire bedmaker has never shied away from embracing and delivering newness, and its latest models further reflect the company’s pioneering spirit.

M. A. Living’s latest line of adjustable beds, for example, has been designed to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of modern sleepers. “Whether you’re seeking relief from snoring or acid reflux, or simply looking for a more comfortable position to read or watch TV, our adjustable beds offer customisable settings to enhance your sleep experience,” explains MD, Uneeb Akbar.

“They’re reshaping the landscape of the bed industry

In response to a growing demand for space-saving solutions, M. A. Living has also unveiled a new range of electric ottoman beds. These innovative designs blend elegance with functionality, featuring luxurious upholstery and effortless electric lift mechanisms to reveal spacious storage compartments beneath the mattress, says Uneeb: “Say goodbye to cluttered bedrooms, and hello to a sleek, organised sleep sanctuary!”

Next up, M. A. Living’s commitment to sophistication shines through in its latest upholstered luxury frame bed designs. Crafted with premium

materials and with meticulous attention to detail, these beds exude timeless elegance and charm, says Uneeb: “From sumptuously soft fabrics to intricately tufted headboards, each design offers a sanctuary of comfort and style for the discerning sleeper.

“As we showcase these at various industry events, we’re excited to share how they’re reshaping the landscape of the bed industry. Through meticulous craftsmanship, innovative technology, and a keen understanding of consumer needs, we’re revolutionising the way people sleep and relax in their homes.

“At M. A. Living, our mission is simple – to transform sleep experiences and enhance the lives of our customers,” Uneeb continues. “Whether you’re searching for the perfect adjustable bed to alleviate discomfort, an electrical ottoman bed to maximise storage space, or a luxurious upholstered-frame bed to elevate your bedroom decor, we have the perfect solution for you.”

Make an appointment to visit M. A. Living’s showroom to see its latest innovations first hand, and to discover how its new adjustable beds, electrical ottoman beds, and upholstered luxury frame bed designs can transform consumers’ bedrooms into “havens of comfort and style”.

M. A. Living’s latest upholstered luxury frame bed designs reflect the company’s commitment to sophistication M. A. Living’s latest line of adjustable beds has been designed to cater to the diverse needs of modern sleepers
01133 224 384 • • malivinguk

Mammoth’s “game-changing” SmartPillow

With its heritage in healthcare, Mammoth has been synonymous with innovation for more than a decade, having introduced the furniture market to Medical Grade foam, a unique technology offering “unrivalled” pressure relief and cooling across the brand’s sleep and seating products – and Mammoth is now set to launch its most exciting new product in years …

Mammoth’s new SmartPillow, coming to the UK and international markets this year, has been developed in partnership with Cambridge Sleep Sciences, a leading expert in sleep, science and sound.

This first-of-its-kind product uses unique technology to help train the brains of those who typically struggle to find quality sleep. The team at Cambridge Sleep Sciences hae worked with Mammoth, using their SleepEngine technology to create an integrated audio solution that turns Mammoth’s soft, supporting and sumptuous pillow into a true SmartPillow, controlled using a mobile app.

Featuring a compact unit containing two speakers embedded within the pillow, the SleepEngine technology delivers scientifically developed sound waves, which the brain recognises and follows to help restore healthy, natural sleep patterns, says Mammoth.

“We are bringing a truly game-changing solution to market

These psychoacoustic sounds with sinusoidal waveforms guide the user into sleep and encourage the brain to follow the natural cycles of REM and nonREM sleep. When the sleep programme ends, the user is able to wake up at the right point in the sleep cycle, helping them to feel refreshed and energised.

A clinical trial of the SleepEngine technology, featuring participants with at least three months’ history of insomnia, saw 92% of them experience a positive sleep improvement. On average, per night, participants spent 155 minutes more asleep, and saw a -55% reduction in night-time wakings.

Mammoth MD Mike Hobson explains: “This summer, we believe we are bringing a truly gamechanging solution to market. The Mammoth SmartPillow is not only a comfortable, supportive product, able to ease aches and pains, but also a solution that actively tackles the underlying issues faced by millions of people when they head to bed at night.

“The partnership we have developed with Cambridge Sleep Sciences is built on our shared passion for improving health and wellbeing through innovation. Together, we have created a truly remarkable product ,and I’m confident it will make a powerful, positive change in people’s lives.”

Cambridge Sleep Sciences’ CEO, Dr Julian Stone, says: “As a company, we are incredibly passionate about enabling people with sleep issues to enjoy better quality sleep. Whether it’s those experiencing insomnia, highly stressed individuals, shift workers, frequent flyers or elite athletes, research shows that improving sleep will enhance quality of life and aid performance and recovery.

“When looking for a partner in the sleep space, Mammoth was the obvious choice. The team’s background in healthcare, commitment to testing and track record for forming successful partnerships is second to none. And their passion for improving quality of life through sleep solutions mirrors our own values.”

For information on the new Mammoth SmartPillow, email

Mammoth’s SmartPillow The SleepEngine sits inside the pillow as an integrated audio solution The SleepHub app enables users to track their progress

Mammoth 2.0

The next generation of Comfort has landed

The new Mammoth Comfort collection combines market-leading health technologies with the most advanced materials to deliver a more comfortable and restorative night’s sleep.

Ready to add a healthy choice to your shop floor, contact us today at Manufactured by *See for details. 69% Faster Cooling 47% Greater Pressure Relief Fell asleep 29% quicker Experienced a 7% increase in sleep efficiency Reported a 21% more enjoyable sleep Scientifically shown to improve sleep* where participants: Independent testing* resulted in

Creating a British wool legacy

In its 120th legacy year – its 95th as a Royal Warrant Holder – Hypnos is keen to celebrate its valuable relationships with its retail and hospitality customers, suppliers and strategic partners.

Hypnos has been working with strategic partner the Woolkeepers since 2018, to champion traceable wool with provenance from British farms, paying a fair price directly to farmers, investing in better animal welfare standards and encouraging better land management.

“Hypnos mattresses have been free from foam for over a decade,” says Hypnos’ group MD, David Baldry. “We firmly believe that natural, chemical-free fibres offer comfortable, healthy and sustainable fillings for mattresses, that are better for people’s sleep and wellbeing, and that of the natural world. Indeed, our brand’s strategic approach is built around delivering this vision, and strong strategic partnerships are key to this sustainable approach.”

“I am proud of the legacy we are building with our wool partners

Hypnos has committed to responsibly sourcing materials. It was the first brand to partner with Red Tractor Farming Standards, in 2018, to actively promote to UK consumers that its wool was 100% British farmed and traceable. Today, Hypnos buys over 1000t of wool for its beds from a community of farmers across the country, and its support and enthusiasm has enabled its farmers to transition to the globally recognised Responsible Wool Standard, which is already well known in apparel as a recognisable quality assurance mark.

“Wool is naturally occurring, and our climate enables us to grow some of the best wool for cushioning and upholstery,” says David. “By introducing and buying British wool certified to the Responsible Wool Standard, our consumers, retail and hospitality partners, in the UK and abroad, can be confident that our wool quality and farming standards are robust.

“We have witnessed first hand the journey of our wool from farm to our handcrafted mattresses, and it is audited at every stage, ensuring it meets rigorous independent standards. As a supplier to some of the most prestigious hotels and households around the world, Hypnos is dedicated to proudly handcrafting luxurious mattresses and beds where every element exceeds expectations.”

With a comprehensive collection of mattresses that feature RWS wool and other award-winning, plantbased fibres, Hypnos offers products that address comfort, quality, longevity, and the environmental concerns that influence consumer purchasing decisions today.

James Keen, Hypnos’ CEO, comments: “I am personally proud of the legacy we are building with our wool partners to improve standards and support the sustainability of their individual businesses. Ultimately, our commitment ensures we have a clean fibre, free from impurities, that is carefully selected to meet our product specifications.”

David concludes: “British wool certified to the Responsible Wool Standard is unique to Hypnos mattresses, and features in our new Legacy collection and dedicated ranges for customers. The team are looking forward to the Spring Furniture & Bed Show (taking place at Stoneleigh on 21st-22nd May), and introducing retailers to our comprehensive range.”

Farmer Mary Steel with David Baldry during a recent farm visit The flock at Kilwinnet farm, Scotland
Featuring certified traceable British wool The Legacy Origins Collection Carbon Neutral | Inspired by Nature | 100% Recyclable | 120 years of British bedmaking


What is the difference between an ombudsman and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes?

“Whilst an ombudsman is a key part of the ADR landscape, there are certain features of an ombudsman scheme that differentiate it from other ADR models,” explains The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman. “This is particularly the case in private sector schemes which offer a genuine alternative to court action.

“An ombudsman’s remit is wider than the dispute before it, and whilst all ADR schemes offer dispute resolution, an ombudsman has been held out as a ‘gold-plated service’.

“In addition to the dispute, however, an ombudsman has a role to improve standards in the sector under its jurisdiction by providing feedback, training and identifying themes.

“Taking an inquisitorial approach, when considering a case, an ombudsman will have regard to the relevant law, and it may also consider other non-legal factors and remedies. In the furniture industry, for example, reselections (or store credits) are often used as a tool to resolve a consumer’s dissatisfaction

with a particular product, offering a more convenient and pragmatic resolution for the consumer which also enables the trader to retain business and its customers’ confidence in it.

“In a voluntary sector such as the furniture industry, membership of an ombudsman

scheme also enables a trader to differentiate itself from its competitors and take advantage of complaints data, feedback and thematic recognition of issues across the sector to raise standards, enhancing reputation and trust.”

For more information, visit The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman’s website.

Photo courtesy Shutterstock/aga7ta

The balancing act of management selling

The furniture store manager is often the person best equipped to make the sale – but at what cost? In this month’s article, industry training specialist Adam Hankinson (Furniture Sales Solutions) looks at the pros and cons of managers getting ‘hands-on’ with the shopfloor opportunities …

In the busy and ever-changing world of retail leadership, managers of furniture stores often find themselves at the intersection of management and salesmanship. Their roles encompass a myriad of responsibilities, from overseeing operations to managing staff and ensuring customer satisfaction, while still delivering high performance.

It’s also common practice in many furniture stores for managers to take on the role of selling directly to customers. While this approach has its advantages, it comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s explore the pros and cons of managers of stores selling …

Pro 1. In-depth Product Knowledge

One of the primary benefits of having managers engage directly in sales is their in-depth product knowledge. They are often well-versed in the features, materials and benefits of the furniture they sell. This expertise enables them to provide customers with detailed information and recommendations, helping to guide their purchasing decisions effectively.

Pro 2. Authority and decision-making

As managers, they possess the authority to make decisions on behalf of the store. This includes providing discounts, negotiating prices, and offering special deals to customers. Having the power to make such decisions can streamline the sales process and make it easier to close deals.

Pro 3. Building customer relationships

Managers who are actively involved in sales have the opportunity to build strong relationships with customers. By taking the time to understand their needs and preferences, managers can create a personalised shopping experience that fosters loyalty and repeat business. Building rapport with customers can also lead to positive word-of-mouth referrals, further enhancing the store’s reputation.

Pro 4. Being excellent at selling

Many managers have been promoted through the ranks and are very skilled in selling. With the added authority that the customer can feel, they can often ‘sell’ better than some of their colleagues. Indeed, if they didn’t engage with that particular customer, the store might not even get the order! Many managers lose this ability once they’ve been promoted.

Pro 5. Meeting sales targets

Direct involvement in sales allows managers to

closely monitor and track sales performance. They can set ambitious sales targets and work actively towards achieving them. By leading by example, managers can motivate their sales team and instil a culture of excellence and achievement in the store.

Con 1. Time management challenges

Balancing managerial duties with selling responsibilities can be a daunting task. Managers often find themselves pulled in multiple directions, juggling customer inquiries, staff training, inventory management and administrative tasks. This can lead to time management challenges, as managers struggle to prioritise their responsibilities effectively.

Con 2. Limited focus

Spending too much time on sales can detract from other essential managerial responsibilities. Managers may find themselves neglecting tasks such as staff training, performance evaluations, and strategic planning. This lack of focus can have long-term implications for the store’s success and profitability.

Con 3. Conflict of interest

There is a potential for a conflict of interest when managers are directly involved in sales. They may prioritise their personal sales goals or commission earnings over the store’s overall success. This can lead to tensions within the team, as staff members may feel that their manager is more concerned with their financial gain than the wellbeing of the store.

Con 4. Risk of burnout

Juggling multiple roles can take a toll on managers’ mental and physical wellbeing. The constant pressure to meet sales targets, coupled with the demands of managerial duties, can lead to burnout, which can affect performance, morale, and job satisfaction, ultimately impacting the store’s bottom line.

While there are clear benefits to having store managers actively engage in sales, it’s essential to recognise and address the challenges associated with this approach. Finding the right balance between managerial responsibilities and selling duties is key to ensuring the long-term success and sustainability of the store. By effectively leveraging their expertise, authority, and customer relationships, managers can drive sales and create a thriving retail environment.

“Finding the right balance between managerial responsibilities and selling duties is key to the store’s long-term success

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Giving greenwash the red light

The European Parliament is cracking down on misleading environmental claims – but the trade may not find it easy is to move on from falsifications that are practically embedded in its promotional lingo. Here, Tom Bourne, creative director at interiors communications agency Select First, explains why he signed up to the AntiGreenwash Charter, and what the movement could mean for product marketing …

As we read in February’s issue, the European Parliament has taken the first step in combatting greenwash with the overwhelming approval of a directive that will consign generic environmental claims and misleading product information to the bin. Thankfully. We’re going to have to wait a bit for the directive to become law – sometime in early 2026 –but when it comes, it will be welcome indeed.

Of course, the UK will not be subject to the law, but I don’t think that matters so much. Product suppliers will be changing marketing materials, packaging and much more as a result, and if they are doing it for Europe, it makes a lot of sense just to roll out those changes to UK.

So, in around two years, we’ll see the use of phrases like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’, ‘biodegradable’ and more binned if the product supplier can’t substantiate those claims with facts. Significantly, the directive will also stop companies describing products as ‘climate neutral’ or ‘climate positive’ if they use carbon offsetting to achieve that goal.

Alongside the EU’s green claims directive still being discussed at Parliamentary committee stage, this will see industries like furniture and flooring face substantial change when it comes to their messaging around green issues. How much this will impact a company, though, will depend very much on how hard they’ve gone into sustainability.

I primarily work in flooring, and there seems to be two camps when it comes to sustainability – those that do talk about it, and those that don’t. For those manufacturers that have embraced sustainability the task of change is alarming, for while they have been taking strides in developing better and less-impactful products and manufacturing processes, they have also been in a race to be seen as the most sustainable company around.

This is more apparent in the commercial sector, where it has become a sales and margin winner. Here, it’s not unheard of for specifiers to pay more for an otherwise equivalent product if it can demonstrate better environmental performance than another. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, but you can see that why it’s easy to think a company’s drive to sustainability is less about protecting the planet and more about boosting profits.

So, what we have now is a situation where terms like ‘climate neutral’, ‘carbon neutral’ and ‘climate positive’ make all-too regular an appearance. These slogans have become embedded at the heart of

company and product marketing, but the truth is that products and operations are none of these things. Everything has an impact – the product’s materials, the energy used to make it, its disposal or recycling, and operating the company, all leave a trace.

The trouble is that these slogans seem so attractive that companies can’t help but use them, and often in ways that aren’t particularly transparent or fair. You don’t have to look very far or very deep to find claims that talk about neutral status with very little mention of what that actually looks like in real terms and figures, or how it’s achieved. For everyone, the purchase of carbon credits – offsetting – to achieve the magic zero is the only way to get there, but not everyone is happy to talk about it. Smoke and mirrors are in full effect.

Some companies have been open about using credits – Interface’s Carbon Neutral Floors programme is an example of this (it will have to change that name though), but many do their level best to cover it up by over-emphasising the environmental prowess of materials, green energy usage or operational GHG emission reductions.

It’s a confusing picture that makes it almost impossible to really assess just how sustainable a product or company is without a doctorate in Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Throw in words like ‘aspire’ and ‘aim’ alongside, and ambiguity is heightened yet more. Simply, it’s the marketeer’s intent to create a great story at the expense of misleading or misrepresenting their performance to end-users.

Forcing companies away from headline-grabbing statements that obscure the true picture can only be a good thing. But it shouldn’t really need legislation in the first place. Companies should be acting responsibly and presenting products in a way that makes it easy for end-users to gain an accurate, true and fair representation of environmental performance.

It’s our hope that involvement as a certified signatory of the Anti-Greenwash Charter will encourage others and begin a drive to better openness and transparency in the industry without the force of regulations.

But however far the EU rules reach in the UK, this may well be a good opportunity for those that don’t talk about sustainability to restore some balance. After all, some of these companies have made excellent strides in the development of better products and processes – they just aren’t quite as good at shouting about it.

“The use of phrases like ‘environmentally friendly’, ‘natural’ and ‘biodegradable’ will be binned if the supplier can’t substantiate those claims with facts

Sure bets to increase revenue this year

It may be impossible to know what’s around the corner, but for those who like to gamble, there remains a few dead certs – writes Furniture News’ US correspondent Gordon Hecht, business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry.

Having spent a few weeks working in Las Vegas, I can assure you that there are very few sure bets in the world. Other than guessing the over/under on the price of two slices of cheese pizza and a bottle of pop in a high-tone casino ($32), or learning that the goal of Blackjack is not getting 22, our topsy-turvy world has reduced the number of sure things in the wild casino we call retail.

This author cannot predict supply chains, fuel costs, competitors entering or exiting the market, interest rates, or the price of wheat in distant lands – but if you’re looking to increase revenue, there are still some 99.9% guaranteed winners in the marketplace …

Avoid becoming your market’s best kept secret

There’s no two ways about it. You gotta advertise if you want to see foot traffic in your store. Cut or eliminate shouting out your name, and you’ll see less ‘ups’. Maintain or increase your marketing efforts, and more guests will stop by.

Advertising is not an expense. It’s an investment in keeping your business relevant and dollars flowing. You need to figure on spending 6-10% of your sales budget on ads if you plan to increase revenue.

There’s lots of places to invest. Advertising venue effectiveness varies by marketplace. However, be sure each ad contains the ‘Four Ps’ – Place, Product, Promotion and Price.

All advertising roads lead to your website

Back in the Stone Age 1990s, Fred and Barney retailers would advertise in the newspaper or local

magazines. They’d place a coupon in the ad. ‘Snip and Save’ was printed on the coupon, with an image of scissors and a dotted line. When a shopper brought in the coupon, they could tell Wilma and Betty that the ad worked!

A third of a century has passed since that practice became extinct. Every penny you invest in advertising – billboards, radio, TV, direct mail, email blasts, and good ol’ newspaper – drives shoppers to your website.

In 2024, we don’t go to a movie or restaurant, buy a shirt or airline ticket, hire a pet sitter or real estate agent without pecking away on our phones or laptops, and your shoppers are no different. Your website must be eye-catching. That means video, a hot promotion, chat or text feature. Get to the merchandise in three clicks or less. And show your prices, otherwise your website is a library reference book.

You don’t need to know how to create an awesome website. You don’t even need to know how to operate an ATM machine. You just need to hire someone to do it. Increasing your revenue depends on it.

Learn how to lift barbells

Cellphones and water skis. Cruise packages and water heaters. Autos and athletic shoes.

Most merchandise is presented in Good/Better/ Best categories. Promote to basic products, demo the enhancements that a shopper gets for a few bucks more, then roll out the top-end exclusive luxury line.

Except something has changed. There’s a lot of market activity (that means shoppers are buying) at the lower end. Queen mattresses under $1000. And

“Show the top-end merch in king, because when you show kings beds, you sell king beds. And that means more revenue
Not all business decisions are a gamble, says Gordon (photo courtesy iStock/dem10)

demand is high at the higher end ($2500 and up). Like so many Baby Boomers, the retail market got a little soft in the middle. We call that the Barbell Effect.

There’s never been a better time to top out your display with a few $3000-and-up models. You may not sell them as often, but it costs the same to warehouse and deliver one $3000 bed as three $1000 beds.

A 30-bed line-up should have about 10 good beds, eight better beds, and 12 best in class. Show the top-end merch in king, because when you show kings beds, you sell king beds. And that means more revenue.

Capitalise on your fans

You should gain about 200 raving fans a year. They are the shoppers who became your customers. They know you and (most likely) love you.

In the marketing world, it costs one-sixth as much to attract a return shopper as trying to recruit a new shopper – so reach out and touch your fan base with hot offers. A mattress for upcoming summer guests and back-to-school beds. A pillow trade-in event. Trade-in a boxspring for an adjustable base. A $100 gift card for anything in your store priced $99 or more. This is the lowest-cost advertising you can do. Phone call, text, email, or plain old snail mail. There’s just no reason not to do it.

Pass the white glove test with flying colours

People shop your store to get something fresh and

new. They make up their mind about your store within 15 seconds or 15ft of the entry. A messy store prevents revenue every day.

Dirty sidewalks, faded signage and soiled carpets just don’t make it these days. You don’t have to dress to the nines, but clean, ironed, collared shirts with dress slacks or skirts are a must.

Remove any handwritten, taped-up signs. No-one reads them, and they are just plain ugly. The sales counter should be clear of debris.

Background music is a must. It’s so simple these days. Pandora, Spotify, or XM with a few Bluetooth speakers. If that last sentence sounds like a foreign language, ask the grandkids for help. The music should be relaxing and suit your customer base. And no news stations, please!

In closing, ask for the close It was true 50 years ago, and it’s a sure thing that true today. The #1 reason shoppers don’t place an order today is that no-one asked them to buy.

You gotta make it a non-negotiable policy that every shopper is asked to place an order today. Even if they seem a million miles from deciding. Even if they aren’t shopping with their better half. Even if they are from out-of-state. No matter what.

When you ask everyone to buy today, a few more will, and your revenue will increase.

Gordon can be reached at

How we increased AOV by +70%

By increasing the average amount customers spend per transaction, stores can generate more income without necessarily needing to attract additional customers or increase foot traffic – says Steve Pickering, the ‘unorthodox’ CEO of fast-growing South East independent bed retail chain Sussex Beds …

As we entered 2020, our group’s average order value (AOV) was £719. Today (Q1 2024), it has risen to £1217, an increase of +70%. Within this period, inflation has played its part in this increase – yet it was an internal strategy that’s had a greater impact in driving up this key metric.

Pre-pandemic, our sales team was rewarded by various commissions targeted toward specific premium product lines or add-on products. This incentivised the upsell. My issue was that commissioning toward specific lines added a sales bias, which may not always have aligned with the customer’s needs.

Enter lockdown! Time and

freedom to rethink, and, together with my brother Matt, I developed a new reward system focused on order value rather than specific product lines. This tiered system would increase commission levels as order values were passed. For example: £749 and lower = 0.5% of gross profit; £750-£999 = 1% of gross profit; £1000-£1499 = 2% of gross profit; and so on.

As we returned from lockdown, the new system was introduced, and the impact was immediate. By the end of the quarter, the AOV was hitting £838, an increase of £119, and it continued to increase QoQ, YoY, ever since.

Another interesting fact is the number of orders hitting £5k and

“Glass ceilings have definitely been well and truly broken
“You gotta make it a nonnegotiable policy that every shopper is asked to place an order today

upward, which, if honest, was a bit of a fun super-target. For the 12 months pre-pandemic, we recorded 14 orders over £5k. In the year after the new format launched, this increased to 46, and last year, it reached 142. Glass ceilings have definitely been well and truly broken.

The initiative has been a success for us, with a substantial rise in revenue per customer. The team have increased their earnings. Most importantly, our customers have benefitted from unbiased advice, and products aligned with their needs.


The art of furniture design

What’s at the heart of good furniture design, and why does it matter? Creative design consultant Alun Rees offers his approach to a unique art form …

Like most retail purchases, buying furniture is rarely met with absolute clarity. As soon as you find something you like, another piece turns your head.

Furniture, like buying a car, presents an endless list of options. From size, to brand, colour, styling, comfort and functionality … it all comes down to personal preference – and when the casually browsing audience has a seemingly endless choice, it’s the furniture designer’s role to make a piece stand out.

So, what sets one piece apart from another? As an experienced designer, I believe it’s not just one factor but a combination of many things that makes a piece of furniture truly stand above the rest.

Consider the Chesterfield sofa, for instance. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different variants available, and each one is unique. The scale, aesthetic, colour, feel, comfort, specification, sustainability and cost all play a crucial role in distinguishing one sofa from another.

Design is a personal journey. Everyone is a designer in their own right, and every design element will appeal to a portion of the marketplace. Design is about understanding the finite aspects of furniture and how they culminate in a harmonious creation. A deep-dive into every element is essential, and manufacturers have to invest in experienced designers to stand above their rivals in a remarkably competitive marketplace.

Design possesses an innate and intuitive quality that defies formal training. As an avid sketcher, I immerse myself in the process of refining shapes and proportions for hours. When examining a form, I instinctively discern subtle imperfections that might elude most observers. While I appreciate the precision of computer-aided design (CAD), it is somewhat limiting compared to the expressive freedom of hand-drawn contours in furniture design.

As a seasoned designer, I believe in the art of

harmonising design elements. My relentless pursuit of trend research, coupled with my fascination for colour and texture, is key. The devil is in the details – the subtle loft of a cushion, the intricate patterns that invite softness, the time-worn finish on a walnut leg. It’s about envisioning the product as a cohesive whole, a market offering, a statement. It’s not merely about individual elements, but their symphony.

I’ve always been curious about how design can trigger the buyer’s emotions, and I’ve invested years in exploring the finer details of every element, the nuances that make a piece of furniture stand out. This curiosity and passion for design drives me to create pieces that are not just functional, but also aesthetically pleasing and sustainable.

With a saturated market, the designer’s job is to connect with the audience and create a desire to purchase. We do this by creating value – not just monetary value, but also emotional and aesthetic value. A well-designed piece of furniture is not just a utilitarian object, it’s a piece of art that enhances the space it occupies. It’s about developing pieces that connect with people on a deeper level.

Brand value is also crucial. A strong brand and a unique design signify quality and reliability and influence the perceived value of the product. Building a reputation for excellence and consistently delivering on that promise with a unique style is the raison d’etre of the designer.

In conclusion, good design is about understanding the nuances, appreciating the details, and creating pieces that stand out in a crowd. As designers, we have the power to shape the way people experience their spaces. In my opinion, that is the true essence of furniture design.

Alun can be reached at, or

“While I appreciate the precision of CAD, it is limiting compared to the expressive freedom of hand-drawn contours in furniture design
Alun specialises in upholstery design

6th June,

FROM INSIGHT TO IMPACT Brockholes Nature Reserve Thursday


Established in Singapore in 1976, HTL are a dynamic global market leading company specializing in the manufacture and supply of leather and fabric upholstery to the UK’s leading furniture retailers. As we expand our UK operations, we’re seeking an ambitious and experienced Area Sales Manager for Northern England.


As the Area Sales Manager, you will be responsible for driving sales growth within the independent customer sector, with a strong emphasis on new business development, as well as maintaining and growing our existing sales. The area sales manager will also provide ongoing training and support to our trading partners retail sales teams. The role will require extensive travel within the region, and at overseas trade shows.


The successful candidate will have a passion for furniture, be well educated, ideally to Degree level, with excellent communication, negotiation, and interpersonal skills. You must be self-motivated, with the ability to work autonomously, using your time effectively and planning efficiently. The successful candidate will need to possess good IT skills, being proficient with PowerPoint, Excel, Word. You must have a full clean driving licence.


A competitive salary and sales commission structure, pension scheme and fully expensed company car will be offered to the successful candidate. Interested applicants should in the first instance forward their CV together with a covering letter to:

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.

HTLJob_JA.indd 1


23/04/2024 15:10

IAFP_2021_QP.indd 1

20/12/2021 19:51


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JANUARY FURNITURE SHOW INDX FURNITURE | BEDROOM LIVING | DINING | TRADE SERVICES A man’s world? Evaluating gender equality in the furniture industry Behind the rise and rise of Qualita Forecasting the product trends of 2022 #388 January 2022 VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY Join At The Helm’s bold adventure
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The two sides of sustainability

Going greener is a significant challenge for the furniture industry – but it also presents opportunities, explains John Hubbard, technical consultant at FIRA International, the service provider to the Furniture Industry Research Association, which has published a new guide on the topic …

In recent years there has been an increasing interest and focus on sustainability across all parts of the consumer products supply chain, and the furniture industry is not an exception.

Fortunately, the furniture industry has a positive story to tell compared to other sectors. Most furniture products have a long service life, and there is a potential for extending their life into a second one. Moreover, the industry has a relatively short supply chain, with significant manufacturing capacity still remaining in the UK.

However, the industry should not become complacent. Many significant challenges exist, and it is up to everyone in the industry to promote the sustainability credentials of different sectors and drive sustainability improvements through supply chain partnerships.

What can often be confusing about the discussions around sustainability is the significance that different people put on different sustainability aspects, and the lack of coherent measurement metrics. However, most organisations possess data on sustainability factors because they are closely related to cost. In many cases, such as energy consumption, the goal of improving the sustainability of a product can lead to a corresponding cost benefit.

No two organisations will have identical challenges, due to differences in location, product range and distribution model, but the lack of comparability should not be a barrier to making improvements in the supply chain. To identify areas for improvement, organisations must evaluate the potential risks they face and the impact that these risks may have on the business and the wider community. In environmental management systems these are referred to as aspects and impacts, and only by understanding the scale of these risks can meaningful decisions about improvements be made.

By taking action at each step of the supply chain, it is hoped that over time the whole industry will be in a better position. In the standard ISO 14001, certified

“Our industry has a positive story to tell

companies are expected to commit to continuous improvement by making incremental changes. Therefore, sustainability actions should not be seen as a one-time decision, but as a journey where small steps can make a difference.

Monitoring is also important, especially when making significant claims about your company’s ethical and sustainable position. Any claims that are made need to be backed up by evidence and be meaningful with regard to the product. Historically companies have been criticised for making vague or non-specific claims about their sustainability practices, often referred to as ‘greenwashing’.

One scheme, created specifically for the furniture industry to provide a benchmark for sustainable practices, is the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP). This audit-based scheme identifies best practice to drive continual improvement of its members’ social and environmental impacts, and can lead to independent certification recognised within the industry. The scheme is supported by the BFM, CIUK, FIRA and the NBF.

To bring together the varied aspects of modern sustainability thinking, the Furniture Industry Research Association recently published a guide, entitled Sustainability Challenges and Opportunities for The Furniture Industry. The guide introduces sustainability concepts across the supply chain and includes sections on materials, carbon emissions, logistics, the circular economy, waste management, packaging, and options for responsibly presenting sustainability and environmental claims.

More about the guide is available at

“In many cases, such as energy consumption, the goal of improving the sustainability of a product can lead to a corresponding cost benefit
INDUSTRY PARTNERS Young Furniture Make xhibition. F U R N T U R E Women in

How do you ‘take five’?

Walk the dog

Furniture Logistics)

I find running, and exercise in general, to be very therapeutic. I do try to maintain a healthy work/life balance, so try where I can to mentally clock out and spend quality time with my family

Andrew Kerr (Siren Furniture)

Friday is my ‘office day’!

Brian Levitt (Brian Levitt Sales Agencies)

Taking time out is essential. For me, amateur dramatics is my escape. For a short space of time you become someone else and focus on being that character. I am not Steve, I am someone else, somewhere else. More recently, I’ve dedicated time to writing and posting my experiences, thoughts, fails and wins on LinkedIn. This too I find very liberating and rewarding

Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds)

Pick up a bowling ball and throw a few frames

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery UK)

I swim 2.5km every day to break away from everything else I may be doing. It provides me with clarity of mind if I’m deliberating over certain issues, whilst also keeping me physically fit

Jonathan Burrage (Hydeline Furniture)

Turn off my phone, spend time with family and friends

Greg French (Westgarth Furniture)

For me, taking five involves a combination of spending quality time with my family, hitting the gym for some exercise, and dedicating my efforts to coaching a local grassroots football team. It’s not only about teaching them the game, but also imparting important life lessons like teamwork and discipline. These activities help me recharge, find balance, and connect with what truly matters in my life

Mike Murray (Land of Beds)

I never sit still for long, but I enjoy a glass of wine whilst looking at trends on social media

Carole Nolan (Maze Outdoor)

If I’m working on something that requires continued focus, I’ll often take time to pop downstairs from our offices to the store below and take a wander, talking to the sales team and finding out the key challenges they face

Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture)

I’m an active member of the local hockey club and value the relationships made over the years, so continue to get involved in both playing and fundraising, to give something back

Sam Jackson (Bluebone Imports)

66 OPINION FEEDBACK WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! • Follow Furniture News on LinkedIn • Join us on X @FurnitureNewsED • Contact the editor at • For advertising and subscription enquiries, see p5 THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING …




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