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This month: Reviewing I Saloni New Designers One Year On Housing Units puts the customer first

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

June 2016

www.furniturenews.net

Corona, Seconique

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“In the increasingly fast-paced and digital age that we live in, it’s vital to remember that business thrives on real-life communication and a personal approach”

Comment After interviewing home furnishings retailer Housing Units this month – as well as fitted bedroom specialist Sharps last month – the subject of keeping a human element to business is something which has been at the forefront of my mind. In the increasingly fast-paced and digital age that we live in, it’s vital to remember that business thrives on real-life communication and a personal approach. This is the focal point of Housing Units’ philosophy, with the business putting the needs of the customer at the heart of everything it does. The company strives to offer more than the typical shopping experience, with a concentration on exceptional customer service and in-store activities such as cooking demonstrations, children’s storytelling and seasonal events. What’s more, the retailer provides areas for refreshment and relaxation, giving it more of a destination shopping-like feel. As a result, Housing Units enjoys a loyal customer base, with people travelling long distances to its two five-acre sites. The fact that the business is approaching its 70th anniversary next year proves that this formula of putting the customer first is an effective one. The theme of making business personal recurrs in this month’s

partner comment from event organiser Furniture & Gift Fairs’ Theresa Raymond, in which she discusses the merits of personal, face-to-face interaction. Communicating with someone through social media outlets, via email or over the phone is no subsitute for having a real conversation with someone and forming a true relationship. It’s easy to get sucked into our technological society and the ever-growing demands of today’s marketplace, but surely for retail to survive in the long-term, the human foundations of business should not be neglected or forgotten, rather celebrated and nurtured.

Victoria Noakes Victoria Noakes, deputy editor T 01424 776105 E victoria@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @Victoria_FNmag

ts

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4

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CONTENTS

7

INFORMATION This month: Reviewing I Saloni New Designers One Year On Housing Units puts the customer first

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

June 2016

www.furniturenews.net

Partner Comment

Housing Units (18)

Theresa Raymond, co-director of event organiser Furniture & Gift Fairs, discusses the importance of keeping business personal

10 News 16 Interviews Corona, Seconique

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The Corona collection by Seconique (www.seconique. co.uk) Editor Paul Farley 01424 776101 paul@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @FurnitureNewsED Deputy editor Victoria Noakes 01424 776105 victoria@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @Victoria_FNmag Advertising manager Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 sam@gearingmediagroup.com Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Deputy advertising manager Trisha Fletcher 01424 776100 trisha@gearingmediagroup.com Production manager James Ash 01424 775304 james@gearingmediagroup.com

Furniture News speaks to The Retail Ombudsman’s chief executive and chief ombudsman Dean Dunham, and Westbridge Furniture, plus Victoria Noakes questions home furnishings retailer Housing Units’ CEO Nick Fox to discover more about the business

26 Events

Featuring a review of I Saloni by Gemma Ralph, from sister title Hosptality Interiors, plus previews of Manchester Furniture Show, Home and Tendence

36 Resources

Anthony Creaby from GfK provides a quarterly market analysis, Shweta Jhajharia from The London Coaching Group discusess common leadership traps, and Fortegra’s Kevin Cundiff explains how furniture retailers can turn the online tide

Tendence (34)

Deputy production manager Katie Bate katie@gearingmediagroup.com Production assistant Stephanie Reading stephanie@gearingmediagroup.com Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108 production@gearingmediagroup.com Proofreader Keith Fitz-Hugh Editorial director John Legg 01424 776104 john@gearingmediagroup.com Publisher Nigel Gearing Accounts Wendy Williams 01424 774982 wendy@gearingmediagroup.com Subscriptions subscriptions@gearingmediagroup.com Annual Subscription Rates UK-£65 Europe-£85 RoW-£95 Repro, print and distribution Acorn Web Offset Ltd Gearing Media Group Ltd 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street Battle, East Sussex TN33 0AG ISSN No: 1475 - 3731 © Gearing Media Group Ltd 2016 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.

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Westbridge Furniture (24)

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CONTENTS

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5

CONTRIBUTORS

New Designers One Year On (68)

07

7 Theresa Raymond Theresa is co-director of event organiser Furniture & Gift Fairs

36

36 Anthony Creaby Anthony manages British retail homewares coverage at global data analyst GfK

38

38 Shweta Jhajharia Shweta is the principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group

Charles Dedman (70)

44 Profiles

40

Including updates from Serene and Seconique

48 Beds & Bedroom

Dreamworks Beds features in this month’s Feature Focus Q&A, plus product roundups from Bluebone, Kettle, Matza, Sweet Dreams, Wiemann and Slumberland

40 Kevin Cundiff Kevin is the vice-president of retail for Fortegra, a singlesource insurance services company

58 Living room

Including recent updates from Sweet Dreams, Kettle, Flair Rugs, Louis de Poortere, Febland, Crest Leather and Aerofoam

66 Dining room

Wood Bros and Core Products feature in this month’s dining room section

68 Designer Dreamworks Beds (54)

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A preview of New Designers’ One Year On section, and Charles Dedman stars in this month’s In Design feature

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PARTNER COMMENT

Media Partners

Furniture News enjoys partnerships with a wide range of key global and national institutions and exhibitions, and invites a spokesperson from each to share their views each month … EXCLUSIVE UK MEMBER

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7

The importance of keeping business personal “Face-to-face interaction for me is a crucial part of business”

OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER

MEDIA PARTNER

Furniture News supports the aims and objectives of ACID (Anti Copying In Design) which is committed to fighting intellectual property theft

I’m a people person. I believe that personal relationships make the world go round. However the world has changed and we are living in the digital age – it’s different, faster, more efficient perhaps – but is it better for business when it comes to the crunch? Every single day of the week I get several LinkedIn invitations from people I don’t know. They’ve never spoken to me, sent me an email, visited or exhibited at any of our events and they’re unlikely to do so in the future. I used to accept them all, but in the last couple of years I’ve ignored many of them. I’m aware they just want to look through my list of contacts to see who else may be useful – I’m now far more careful about which invitations I accept. Now don’t get me wrong, I find LinkedIn and other social media very useful for keeping in touch with industry colleagues – particularly when they’re in between jobs – and it can be a helpful marketing tool for many businesses, including mine. But I don’t believe I’ve ever formed an actual relationship this way. Face-to-face interaction for me is a crucial part of business. Despite the success of online shopping and business sales using website and email, there will always be a place for those of us who prefer to speak to someone in person. In fact, according to the Office for National Statistics, 63% of women and 52% of men still prefer to shop in stores. So it’s not just me being old school! The same theory works for live events. When I’m running or visiting an exhibition I’m often told that I’m smiling all the time. Well of course I am! Along every gangway and around every corner I bump into people I know but only see a couple of times a year. It’s great and it makes me happy. I walk up and down exhibition gangways for hours on end and all I see is people smiling. Buyers walk onto stands and smile, the exhibitors smile back, there’s a lot of hugging and kissing – these are real relationships. Business relationships become personal over the years, and we ask about families as well as discussing business propositions. We have dinner together and don’t mention tables, chairs, sofas or beds. So, if you see me marching up and down the gangways at Manchester Central in July, don’t be shy – smile and say hello. I promise I’ll be happy to see you and you’ll get a big smile and a warm greeting back in return. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Theresa Raymond is co-director of event organiser Furniture & Gift Fairs, and works alongside Laraine Janes to organise fairs including the Manchester Furniture Show (www. manchesterfurnitureshow.com), and the January Furniture Show (www.januaryfurnitureshow.com).

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TAF Sho

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New for this year:

Judges Choice Award

For more information and to complete your entry online visit www.bedshow.co.uk National Bed Federation, High Corn Mill, Chapel Hill, Skipton, BD23 1NL Tel: 01756 799950 • www.bedfed.org.uk

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TAF Show Advert 2015 PRINT_Layout 1 29/04/2016 11:02 Page 1

Dates for your diary ‌. Now in its third year, this successful trade show will again be at the International Centre, Telford and will feature beds & bedroom furniture, upholstery, cabinet, home office, mirrors, pictures, lighting, accessories, software. A must visit one stop furniture event.

Tuesday 11th October 9am to 5pm Wednesday 12th October 9am to 4.30pm A 2 day event for all furniture retailers Please pre-register at

www.theautumnfurnitureshow.co.uk An event from

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NEWS

New president for the LIA Peter Scott, the LIA’s new president

Hat-trick of new agents for Litmus Furniture Litmus Furniture, sole agent for German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann in the UK and Ireland, has appointed three new agents. New agents Darren McKenna, Kieron Friel and Barney Dibben will look after existing and new business for Wiemann across Ireland and in the Midlands. Appointed as principal Irish agent, Darren will be covering the whole of the north of Ireland, down to Dublin in the south. He will be supported by Kieron Friel in the south.

Barney, who joined the team back in January, has replaced retiree Des Gwilliam covering West Midlands and central Wales. Litmus Furniture MD Simon Hewitt says: “I’m delighted to welcome Darren and Kieron to the Litmus Furniture team looking after Wiemann across all of Ireland and am impressed with the fast start they have made with customers. Along with Barney Dibben, who joined our team in January of this year, they are helping drive the Wiemann brand forward in the UK & Ireland.”

Online registration opens for the 2016 Bed Show

Peter Scott, CEO of Fern-Howard Lighting, was welcomed as Lighting Industry Association (LIA) president by departing president, Alasdair McRury, MD of Holophane Europe, during the LIA’s Annual Lunch held on 10th May. Peter will aid the LIA and its continued developments to support its members and UK lighting industry. Including what may possibly have the most far-reaching effect on the industry – The Academy – which will bring all of the relevant training providers together under a single umbrella, ensuring a consistent levels of quality and a central point of access. Peter explains: “It is a great honour to have been elected president of the LIA and I am committed to building on the successes and continued good works laid down by the LIA Council of Management and retiring president, Alasdair McRury. “Coming from the modest size lighting company of Fern-Howard reaffirms that the LIA can be represented by any size company and from any segment of the lighting industry. “Access and delivery of exceptional learning programs and the official opening of the Lighting Industry Academy are my objectives during 2016, along with encouraging all LIA Members to get involved with us and their association.” As LIA president, Peter chairs the 22-strong Council of Management, segmented into the three constituencies of lamps, luminaires and components thus ensuring the LIA’s governing body retains a balanced representation of the membership. Meeting regularly, the Council members share their time, experience and expertise to help develop LIA policies that are aimed at supporting good quality and a vibrant, competitive UK lighting industry.

ScS CFO steps down ScS has confirmed that, following a successful hand-over period, CFO Ron Turnbull will step down from its board today before departing from the company on 12th August. As previously announced, new CFO Chris Muir joined the company on 4th April. CEO, David Knight, says: “We would all like to extend our sincere thanks to Ron. His contribution over the past 12 years has been significant and he has played a key role in helping us re-establish ScS as a major player in UK furniture retailing. We wish him the very best for the future.”

The Bed Show 2016 has opened its online registration for its annual two day exhibition – the only bed-specific exhibition in the UK. Organised by the National Bed Federation, the Bed Show has been running since 2010 and has fast becoming a must-visit for anyone involved in the UK bed industry throughout the supply chain. The September show is firmly established in the trade calendar and continues in the same format – two days at the Telford International Centre – opening Tuesday 9am-5.30pm and Wednesday 9am4pm on the 20th and 21st September. It remains a NBF member exhibitor show.

NBF executive director Jessica Alexander says: “We are delighted with the level of support we’ve received again for our seventh show with over 80 brands signed up for this year. Whether it’s big industry names, small niche players or key component suppliers, there will be something for everyone.” Parking and entry are free for visitors, and Telford International Centre is easily accessible from all parts of the UK. Once again there will be free refreshment vouchers and on the night of the first day of the Bed Show, a sparkling gala dinner and the 2016 Bed Industry Awards.

Praise for Silentnight in House of Commons Silentnight was heralded as a shining example of a manufacturing success story by Prime Minister David Cameron speaking in the House of Commons last month, also praising the leading bed maker’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme. He was joined by Andrew Stephenson, Conservative MP for Pendle, who visited the Silentnight headquarters in Lancashire during National Apprentice Week in March this year. Andrew said: “I recently visited Silentnight in Barnoldswick, whose award-winning apprenticeship scheme has now created 44 full-time jobs. Will the Prime Minister join me in congratulating Silentnight on the success of their scheme, which has helped the company expand and allowed them recently to award all of their 1100 employees with an additional £250 thank you bonus?” David Cameron responded: “Well I am happy

to join my honourable friend in congratulating Silentnight, I remember visiting it with him in 2014. Back then they employed 800 people, they now employ 1100 people. That is a good example of business expanding under this government. They are big backers of apprenticeships.” Cameron visited Silentnight back in May 2014 as part of a tour of leading UK manufacturers, acknowledging the bed maker then for its product innovation and commitment to quality. Speaking about Cameron’s comments, Steve Freeman, MD at Silentnight, says: “It is wonderful to see this generous recognition of the strides forward that the business has made over the past few years. A bold strategy focusing on product innovation, quality, service, and most importantly, investing in both our current and future workforce, has cemented our position as a market leader and we continue to strive towards future excellence.”

Several store openings for dwell Contemporary furniture retailer dwell is moving from strength to strength as it continues its nationwide expansion, opening several new concept stores this month, in Chester, Speke, Preston and Bolton. The openings will take the number of dwell’s UK stores to 15, with further nationwide expansion planned throughout the year. Creating seven new jobs in the area, the 4500ft² Chester store is situated at Chaser Court, Greyhound Park, managed by Liam Clarke. It offers free parking facilities and a

Click & Collect point. The similarly-sized Speke store, situated on New Mersey Retail Park, will be managed by Jonathan Pugh, the Preston store, located on Mariners Way, by Daniel Murphy, and the Bolton store, on Middlebrook Retail Park, by Gemma Allen. Dwell CEO and founder Aamir Ahmad comments: “We are confident and optimistic about the future of dwell. Strong sales and healthy margins are encouraging and we are looking forward to continuing on this trajectory in 2016.”

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NEWS

Ikea to open new order Parker Knoll opens new facility Last month, many of the country’s most influential and collection point furniture retailers gathered in Nottinghamshire Home furnishing company Ikea has revealed plans to open its first Order and Collection Point in London at Westfield Stratford City. The new Order and Collection Point will also be the company’s first unit to open inside a UK shopping centre. Ikea’s Westfield Stratford City Order and Collection Point, expected to open in the summer, is a new format for Ikea and it has been designed to bring the Ikea home furnishing range and expertise closer to more customers. Acting primarily as a planning studio to plan and order more complex purchases such as kitchens, wardrobes and sofas, the Ikea Westfield Stratford City Order and Collection Point will also feature the Ikea roomsets, providing inspiration and ideas for the home and expert co-workers offering home furnishing knowledge and advice. Ikea Order and Collection development manager, Jack Jackson, says: “We are really excited to be bringing this new Ikea format to Westfield Stratford City in London. It is our first Order and Collection Point in London as well as in a major shopping Centre location in the UK and this marks an important milestone in making our products and services available to more customers.” The new Order and Collection Point will be located within the Westfield Stratford City development and the unit will also be connected to a shopper’s car park offering a convenient option to collect ordered products by car. The Order and Collection Point will not carry the full product range to take home but customers will be able to order from the full range for home delivery or for collection at the collection point. In addition a small range of the markethall items will be available for customers to take home on the day of their visit. As part of its expansion plans to make IKEA more accessible to many more people, the company is testing a number of similar Order and Collection Points across the UK. The first Order and Collection Point opened in Norwich in November last year, the second one opened in Aberdeen on 12th May and a third unit is planned for Birmingham City Centre later this summer.

AHF to open at Lakeside next month Retailer AHF Furniture & Carpets will open a new store on the Lakeside Retail Park, Thurrock, on Friday 17th June. “AHF are extremely pleased to announce the opening of a new store on the hugely successful Lakeside Retail Park in Thurrock,” comments MD Matt Hesketh. “The new store follows on from our incredibly successful openings in Northampton and Hayes last year. “The investment of the business in this new store comes after a very successful year last year which saw sales growth jump by over 30% to over £29m with underlying LFL sale seeing a doubledigit increases to March 2016. “The business continues to look for new store opportunities that will support the growth strategy of the business.”

to witness the opening of a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for British upholstery brand, Parker Knoll. Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Group and liveryman of the Furniture Makers’ Company, cut the ribbon alongside chairman of Ashfield Council, councillor Glenys Christina Maxwell, to officially recognise the opening. Due to the increase in demand, Parker Knoll outgrew its previous operation in Riddings, Derbyshire and looked for a nearby site in Nottinghamshire that would allow the brand to design and build a new facility to meet its exact specifications. Parker Knoll Castlewood is an impressive 100,000ft² purpose-built premises combining a single-storey factory and two-storey office space. Thanks to investment in new machinery and an integrated computer system as well as improvements to the working environment and culture, Parker Knoll has successfully increased productivity in all areas of the business. The opening was attended by Parker Knoll’s

staff, including the brand’s skilled craftsmen and women, as well as independent retailers including Furniture Village and Arighi Bianchi. The day included tours of the new facility, informal lunch and official ribbon cutting. Donna Bellingham, commercial director at Parker Knoll, commented: “We are grateful to Stephen McPartland MP for opening our new facility and thrilled so many of our retailers joined us to celebrate the event. “The day allowed the team to demonstrate our commitment to developing our offering, exploring new manufacturing techniques whilst sustaining the handmade craftsmanship that Parker Knoll is celebrated for.”

Wayfair outlines revenue growth in Q1 Boston-based global online retailer Wayfair has announced direct retail revenue growth of growth of $342.5m, up 92.7% YOY to $711.8m, in Q1, and total net reveune growth of $323m, up 76.1% YOY to $747.3m. Losses of $41.2m were revealed, yet gross profit was $179.1m – or 24% of total net revenue. “We are excited to report yet another quarter of exceptional revenue growth as we continue to take about 40% of the US online dollar growth in our categories in the last 12 months,” says Niraj Shah, CEO, co-founder and co-chairman. “We are seeing tremendous traction with both new customer growth and repeat purchases as we focus on leveraging technology and innovation to reinvent the way customers shop for home and build a truly differentiated retail experience. “From expanding selection across key categories such as housewares and home improvement to

introducing specialised service teams to guide customers through complex purchases, we are strengthening our leadership position as the number one place to shop for home. “We are also now beginning to make great strides in Europe and Canada as we ramp up our marketing efforts in those new markets. “Overall, we could not be more enthusiastic about our long-term growth and profit potential.” Globally, Wayfair now boasts 6.1 million active customers – up 68.9% YOY. In Q1, repeat customers placed 55.4% of total orders, compared to 53.9% in Q1 2015, placing 1.7 million orders - an increase of 71.4% YOY. Average order value was $238, up from $206 YOY. A significant 38.6% of total orders delivered for Wayfair’s Direct Retail business were placed via a mobile device, up from 33.8% in Q1 2015.

Kingstown achieves AIS Gold Standard Award Whilst exhibiting at the AIS Show last month, Kingstown Furniture was presented with an AIS Gold Standard award. Kingstown came third in a long list of suppliers and showed how it is achieving its aim to continue to be a leading manufacturer of ready-assembled furniture. The Gold Standard award is a coveted accolade for AIS suppliers and consists of a mixture of AIS evaluations and member feedback. Each year members grade a supplier in various aspects of product quality, performance and service. This is coupled with ongoing service statistics given by members throughout the year and an evaluation by AIS of a suppliers level of support for the group and

its members. Only the highest scoring suppliers are awarded a Gold Standard Award. In addition, AIS holds a vote by members for their supplier of the year. These votes also contribute to the Gold Standard award, and the highest three in terms of votes are awarded 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the supplier of the year award. Richard Sharp, Kingstown MD, says: “This award shows how hard the staff at Kingstown work to ensure our customers receive the best possible service. I thank the staff and want to assure everyone we will continue to carry on the hard work and hopefully achieve first position next year.”

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END OF LINE SECONDS RETURNS

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 MFA.BID

EX-DISPLAY OLD STOCK PROTOTYPES

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NEWS

New Master for The Furniture Makers’ Company The Furniture Makers’ Company, the furnishing industry’s charity, has announced that Ben Burbidge, MD of Burbidge & Son, has been installed as the new Master. The annual installation ceremony took place on Monday 9th May 2016 at St Mary-le-Bow Church in the City of London, followed by a celebratory dinner at Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. More than 230 members of the furniture industry were in attendance at the installation dinner and were joined by dignitaries including the Lord Mayor of London and Lady Mayoress. Ben, who succeeds David Dewing as Master, says: “The Furniture Makers’ Company’s vision resonates deeply with me and I feel honoured to

have been given the chance to lead this wonderful organisation for the next 12 months. “I would like my year to be about the pleasures of fellowship. I want to see our membership grow significantly in the year ahead, through new Freemen joining and Freemen becoming Liverymen. For such an active and relevant organisation, we should all be doing more to encourage the people we know in the industry to join us.” During his installation speech, the new Master spoke about his forthcoming charity bike ride, which will see him and around 30 other people from the industry cycle 450 miles from London to Bordeaux, France, from 11-17th September 2016. The team of cyclists are hoping to raise £50,000 for the charity.

New Furniture Makers’ Company Master, Ben Burbidge

Decorex announces design theme

Oak Furniture Land’s 70th store

Interior design exhibition Decorex, taking place at Syon Park, London from 18th-21st September, will explore the roots of design as its theme this year. Examining the origins of design, which continue to define and shape the future of the industry, Decorex partnered established names with emerging designers to mark the start of this year’s campaign. One of the first destinations to open the 2016 London Design Festival, Decorex will explore the theme through a series of installations and its seminar programme. Visitors to the show will see how design is built on heritage, constantly evolving to incorporate new techniques and materials.

Oak Furniture Land opened its first store in Manchester – its 70th nationwide – on Saturday 23rd April. The 17,000ft² store has created seven new local jobs and is located at the recently-developed White City Retail Park, Old Trafford. The new Manchester superstore also features a Sofa Store concession. Paul Burgham, director of retail operations, says: “We’re delighted to open our first store in Manchester and our 70th in the country. The North-west has always been an important region for us going all the way back to 2010 when we opened our second-ever store in Bolton. The Manchester store joins our existing Bolton and Oldham stores in the Greater Manchester area.”

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Causes for concern OTHER

29%

05%

12%

SERV ICE

OTHER

DELIVERY COMPLAINTS

28556 (42%)

8277 (12%)

Infographic created by wholesaler Manchester Furniture Supplies (www.manchesterfurnituresupplies.co.uk)

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42%

ODS LTY GO FAU

The Retail Ombudsman says: “Managing customer expectations in relation to delivery times and being clear up front in relation to their returns rights is vitally important. We receive a high level of complaints where the consumers complain about delivery times or where they claim that the bespoke furniture they have received is not what they ordered – usually linked to the size or colour. All of these points should be clearly recorded in writing at the point of purchase so there is a clear record of what has been agreed.”

12%

RETURNS

With over 15,000 members in the UK – the bulk of which are independent retailers – specialist Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider the Retail Ombudsman handles a huge number of consumer complaints, its specialist teams trained to handle sector-specific issues arising from buyer-seller transactions. But in what areas do these complaints arise?

Total complaints: 67,898

DELIVE RY C OM PLA INT S

SERVICE

RETURNS

3129 (05%)

19630 (29%) FAULTY GOODS 8306 (12%)

· Statistics correct as of 8.4.16, recoding totals across the retail sector since the Retail Ombudsman’s inception in January 2015

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FRANK HUDSON

Introducing, Kielder

View our full collection online

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Honest and solid, no wonder Kielder is named after a unique British forest. The collection is crafted from beautiful solid oak, using the planked and jointed build method to create defined lines in a contemporary and fresh design. Kielder consists of a dining, living and bedroom collection. Featuring handmade brass handles, the range has a mellowed oak finish with white hues.

01795 439159 www.gallerydirect.co.uk

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INTERVIEW The Retail Ombudsman

Settlement in store There’s a new Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) player in town, which aims to bring assurance to sellers and buyers in the UK retail sector. Despite being just over a year old, the Retail Ombudsman, a Government-approved service provider staffed by some 100 employees, already boasts a 15,000-strong roster of retail members. Chief executive – and chief ombudsman – of the service, Dean Dunham, tells Furniture News why his ADR provider is the right choice for furniture retailers …

Launched to the UK public in January last year, the Retail Ombudsman was driven by members of the Government who recognised that with the introduction of the new Consumer Rights Act that year there would emerge far greater demand for ADR in the retail sector. The reform, which became law last October, brought together eight pieces of legislation and promised enhanced consumer rights – including the implementation of a 30-day time period in which to return faulty goods and receive a full refund, plus replacement rights for faulty digital content. Former business secretary Vince Cable described it as “the biggest shakeup of consumer law for a generation”. The need for an intermediary to settle disputes between retailer and customer was clear. “The Government’s vision was to support the consumer laws, and, apart from The Furniture Ombudsman, we were the first ADR scheme retailers had ever seen,” says Dean, a barrister and solicitor advocate who boasts over 17 years’ experience in consumer law. Following its launch, the not-for-profit organisation has therefore become the dominant ADR provider in the sector. Its substantial employee base, led by a team of lawyers and advisers, is divided into specialist complaint-handling teams dedicated to individual sectors – such as online business, clothing, and

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department stores. It was the latter that first called for the Retail Ombudsman to take a more active interest in the furniture trade. “We weren’t originally going to do furniture, in part due to the presence of the existing ombudsman, but a new division evolved due to pressure from a lot of our department store members,” says Dean, “many of which stocked furniture themselves and felt the area demanded our attention.” Furniture has since become a “very important area” for the Retail Ombudsman. From colour complaints to maintenance issues, furniture retail is replete with grey areas when it comes to achieving a balance between good customer service and problematic purchasers. “We are a nation of internet lawyers,” says Dean, “and people get a lot wrong! But honestly, we didn’t realise how many retailers were selling furniture – and how many complaints there are in this sector.” A team of eight complaint handlers is now dedicated to handling the ombudsman’s furniture enquiries. More often than not, says Dean, disputes emerging from this free consumer helpline are quelled before being taken any further, and those which enter an ADR process overwhelmingly tend to find in favour of the seller. Although difficult to enforce, part of the ADR agreement even precludes the customer from taking to social media to criticise the

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The Retail Ombudsman INTERVIEW

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Dean Dunham

retailer in question. “It’s greatly beneficial for independent retailers to be members,” says Dean. Independents – those with five stores or fewer, which make up around 90% of the Retail Ombudsman’s membership. Membership fees for independent retailers start from just £100 plus VAT per year. If independent retailers meet particular criteria, they can achieve accredited membership status for an additional £100 plus VAT per year, and open up opportunities for potentially more customers and revenue. These members are allowed to display a gold tick of approval, plus the ombudsman’s logo on their websites and merchandising. “This is proving extremely popular with retailers,” says Dean. “There are thousands of small furniture retailers and many thousands more springing up online, which presents the consumer with a problem – who can I trust? Many take the easy option of opting to shop instead at the more recognisable high street shops. “This has always been frustrating for smaller retailers, many of which have excellent customer care policies – except the customer doesn’t know it. When the customer sees the Retail Ombudsman’s gold tick, they will know they can trust the retailer as much as the biggest names on the high street.” Accredited member status reassures the consumer that the retailer has fair returns and complaints policies, that their VAT status and contact details have been verified, and their website

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“We are a nation of internet lawyers, and people get a lot wrong!” checked. “We have a Trading Standards officer seconded to us one day a week who redrafts our members’ published terms and conditions to make them legally compliant, fair and easy to understand,” says Dean. Of course, the principal concern for the retailer in instances of disagreement is preserving the customer’s favour throughout the process. Emerging victorious from an ADR adjudication means little if that customer is lost for life. “At the Retail Ombudsman, we strive to work in partnership with our members, and work hard to preserve the relationship between them and their customers,” says Dean. “Crucially, though, it’s a matter of integrity. Our job is to be independent, and make sure anything that comes out of this office is the right decision.” T 020 3540 8063 E accredited@theretailombudsman.org.uk W theretailombudsman.org.uk

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INTERVIEW Housing Units

The customer comes first Housing Units is a home furnishings store based in Failsworth, Manchester, offering its valued customers more than the typical retail experience. Victoria Noakes spoke to CEO Nick Fox to discover more about the history of the company, as well as its philosophy and future goals ...

Linara

Tell us about the foundation of Housing Units The business was originally founded in 1947. My father, Harry Fox, joined 43 years ago becoming a shareholder and later completing a buy-out of the business. As we approach the company’s 70th birthday – which Harry is now chairman of – we are proud of its continuous growth and prosperity throughout numerous recessions and turbulent financial times. I’m surrounded by a fantastic directorial team – Stuart Fox, our MD, Jeff Hughes, our buying director, and Richard Newson, our financial director. Now one of the largest home furnishing companies in the UK, Housing Units has proven that a business founded in 1947 is more than capable of thriving in 2016.

Housing Units’ CEO Nick Fox

What is the inspiration behind the business? Housing Units customers and employees are at the forefront of every business decision we make. From the construction of a dedicated logistics and administration centre to its numerous instore expansions, we’ve listened to feedback from our customer base and acted upon it to become a premier destination for home furnishings. The company knows that its staff are its strongest asset, and as a result, is always on the lookout for new talent to supplement the existing team, with hard work recognised through promotion and regular incentives. We understand that happy customers and fulfilled staff will not only provide a positive experience for both, but will ultimately result in stronger financial growth.

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INTERVIEW Housing Units

Valentina

What are the company’s aims? We strive to make our customers’ experience a personal one, from the moment they are welcomed by our famous doormen to the moment they receive their delivery. Making our customers feel welcome and well looked after every step of the way is what makes for a magical shopping experience. We also aim to inspire our customers by displaying items in fantastic inspirational settings. What sets Housing Units apart from its competitors? The store prides itself on providing a full shopping experience as opposed to just a place to buy goods, and it is a popular destination for days out for people of all ages. Regular in-store events take place, including cooking demonstrations from the likes of Ken Hom and free children’s storytelling which takes place each fortnight. At Christmas, Housing Units transforms into a winter wonderland complete with a now infamous Christmas department and Santa’s Grotto. For those needing mid-shop refreshments, or even just a place to meet friends, Housing Units has proven itself to be the ideal location thanks to its two in-store dining venues. The Wickentree is a fully licensed restaurant offering everything from English breakfasts to champagne afternoon tea. For those looking for something more casual, The Hollinwood provides the perfect setting for sandwiches, cakes and coffee.

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“We strive to make our customers’ experience a personal one, from the moment they are welcomed by our famous doormen to the moment they receive their delivery” Tell us about your product offering Spread over two five-acre sites, the business consists of purposebuilt stores featuring 26 departments and a large distribution and administration centre. The stores provide over 120,000ft² of home furniture and interior design ideas all displayed in fabulous inspirational settings, 30,000 different products, 500 free parking spaces and 300 friendly staff. Housing Units offers a comprehensive after-care service with its own fleet of vehicles and fully-trained staff responsible for delivering purchases safely and efficiently to their homes. A team of specialist customer care consultants co-ordinate with customers to arrange the most convenient delivery slot and are on hand to answer any queries they have. What developments are currently under way within the business? This year we are undertaking a £2m building project to increase our offering and add further value to our customers’ shopping experience with us. The project will involve additional >>>

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INTERVIEW Housing Units

furniture retail space and building of a third on-site restaurant to cater for growing demand for fine and casual dining at the store. Recent appointments of a retail director and newly-created role of multi-channel director will thrust Housing Units forward. The expansion and new appointments mark a new exciting chapter for us. How does Housing Units address the needs of a rapidly changing market? The retail market is constantly changing along with customer preferences and demand. The buying team attend regular shows both home and abroad to keep abreast of the upcoming trends within retail. We use this knowledge alongside feedback from our customers to develop and steer our business decisions. What is the biggest issue the company is currently facing? A huge area of change for us has been the move to online

shopping. The number of consumers now choosing to browse and buy online from the comfort of their home is increasing year on year, so we have had to adapt accordingly. Nevertheless, we still have a strong loyal customer base who prefer the shopping experience at the store. After all, you can’t treat yourself to a coffee or bite for lunch with your friends whilst sat behind your laptop screen! We have big plans on how we will integrate technology in-store to improve the overall customer experience as many customers travel, sometimes from far and wide, to enjoy our stores. What does Housing Units have in the pipeline for the near future? As we approach our 70th anniversary, we have no plans of slowing down. With this year’s business investment into the store, our plans are to continue to grow by maintaining the highest levels of customer service and by responding to our customers’ needs. W housingunits.co.uk

Housing Units’ Manchester-based retail store

The retailer’s distribution centre

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The retailer’s delivery fleet

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INTERVIEW Westbridge Furniture

Flying the flag for British upholstery Westbridge Furniture operates out of four UK production sites occupying in excess of 400,000ft² of manufacturing and office space, employing just over 900 people who manufacture and service over 7500 pieces of upholstery per week. Furniture News questioned Nichola Bell, sales director for independents, to find out more about the business’ background and current activity ...

When was Westbridge Furniture founded, and where is it based? Westbridge Furniture Designs was founded in 2005 by the current team of directors and CEO Stephen Hampton. It is part of the Belfield Furnishing Group.Based in North Wales, Westbridge has four factories manufacturing upholstery. What kind of products does the company offer? As we have such a diverse number of customers, our product has to reflect the needs of each customer. We have a team of designers dedicated to the development of new product for the Independent market. We appreciate the complexity of the market and the cost implications of dealing with many suppliers. Therefore we have created three ranges offering our customers the choice of good, better and best in terms of price point style and specification. I guess you could call us a one stop shop. What is the company’s goal? To offer well made British upholstery, inspired by the latest trends and to be the choice of supplier for innovation and design. Our main aim is to continue to grow with our key customers and to be

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the first to market with new design ideas and innovations. What makes Westbridge stand out from its competition? We have a fantastic team of designers who follow worldwide trends and inspirations allowing us to offer our customers designs to specifically suit their market and budget. What is your target demographic? We have the design resource that produces product suitable for all levels of the market. Which of your products are most popular with customers? We launched a number of new products at the January Furniture Show this year. The introduction of our leather/fabric Vintage range was very popular along with new our new models, Sophia and Brodey from our Westbridge range and the sumptuous Radley from our Spirit collection. What is the biggest thing happening within the business currently? We are very pleased to announce the opening of our new

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Westbridge Furniture INTERVIEW

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Blighty

Sophia

showroom dedicated entirely to our independent customers. We realise the importance of providing a relaxed and comfortable environment so that our customers can spend uninterrupted time selecting their next displays. It also provides a perfect facility for the Westbridge Training Academy. It is recognised that sales staff genuinely benefit from visiting their suppliers and seeing first hand the product being made. Candidates will benefit from meeting their daily contacts and be able to follow their order from start to finish in the manufacturing process. We are very proud of our accredited testing facility – also referred to as the torture chamber by some candidates already – this facility gives the candidates a unique insight into the way our products are tested and quantifies our quality guarentees. All of our customers are very welcome to visit our new showroom or book places on the training days by prior arrangement with their area sales managers. How does the company keep up to date with evolving trends? We are very fortunate to have the largest in-house design resource in the UK who travel worldwide following trends and work with

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Georgie

Heirloom

international retailers who are the centres of excellence in furniture retail. This allows us to be up-to-date with the fashion and trends of our industry. What trends are you experiencing at the moment? We have seen a huge resurgence in deep-buttoned models along with a desire for compact city living designs. What is the greatest challenge affecting the business? The customers’ drive for more choice provides us with a challenge and also an opportunity. It creates complexity within the manufacturing process but is something we have been manging well for a number of years. What does the future hold for Westbridge Furniture? Driven by customer demand, we are currently expanding into the upholstered beds and recliner market, offering a wide choice of fabrics made to order, not currently available through traditional routes to market. W westbridgefurniture.com

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EVENTS Salone del Mobile

Review Salone del Mobile 2016 As is to be expected from this world-class design festival, Salone del Mobile passed in a riot of colour and activity, from the gargantuan halls of the Rho Milan Fairgrounds, to the quirkiest of neighbourhoods throughout the city.

1 Artek – Kaari Collection by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec 2 Bolon

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This year’s edition saw an unprecedented 372,151 attendees across the duration of Salone del Mobile. Milano, with 67% of those attendees from foreign destinations – emphasising the strong international pull of the festival, and the crucial importance of exports as a crucial segment. From a trend perspective, there was a clear leaning towards multi-use or modular designs – particularly in terms of furniture, but also within the bathroom sector. Some took compact living spaces as their inspiration, emphasising the benefits of spacesaving multifunctional furniture solutions, while others emphasised the opportunity for consumers or designers to customise and adapt their products to suit. In line with this reassessment of function, many brands took the opportunity to revaluate classic

designs, isolating certain aspects and fusing them with unusual material combinations – metal and wood, or precious stones for example – or reproducing them in high performing plastics. Undulating, rounded and smooth shapes or lines also seemed prominent, particularly with regards to dining and occasional furniture, as well as lighting. The trend towards marble fed well into these designs, its smooth aesthetic and intricate mottlings lending it perfectly to a softer look. Though the show’s highlights were many, here are just a few of our top picks and observations ... Designed by architectural practice, Kuehn Malvezzi, Artek’s booth invited visitors to discover Alvar Aalto’s wood-bending experiments. Alvar Aalto’s iconic bentwood furniture, the Kaari Collection by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, and Ilmari Tapiovaara’s Kiki Collection, upholstered in a >>>

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EVENTS Salone del Mobile

3 Campeggi – Slalom 4 GENERIC, by Philippe Starck for Kartell 5 Pedrali 6 DEDON

brand new fabric were all on display. Swedish design company Bolon brought its brand new flooring collection, Bolon By You, to Milan. With a stand designed by designers Doshi Levien, Bolon made their seventh appearance at the fair a memorable one. Offering six patterns – Weave, Geometric, Dot, Lace, Grid and Stripe – the overriding concept behind Bolon By You is the multifarious visual identities it is able to create. Tapping into the notable trend towards modular furniture, Campeggi displayed a number of innovative designs on its stand. Designed in collaboration with Giulio Manzoni, Slalom – in particular – epitomised this notion of flexibility and adaptation. With a few simple adjustments, Slalom can be transformed from a large sofa with chaise longue, into a bed with headboard and footboard. DEDON’s jungle-themed stand this year captured the outdoor furniture brand’s sense of fun. Created in collaboration with internationally renowned interior and industrial designer, Werner Aisslinger,

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DEDON JUNGALOW is the brand’s first collaboration not only with Aisslinger but with acclaimed art director, Mirko Borsche, who created the leafy collage that covered several walls of the stand. Pedrali, meanwhile, presented four new collections at its stand this year, which centred around urban living. The Dome collection, for example recalls the traditional bistrot chair with curved silhouettes, while the Vic collection of upholstered armchairs features classic, elegant shapes. Kartell’s booth took the opportunity to present a more philosophical perspective on design, calling upon designers to share their thoughts and visions through visuals and audio, alongside a showcase of their designs for Kartell. Among the designers involved were Antonio Citterio, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola. Visit Salone del Mobile’s website for informatiom about next year’s edition, which will take place between 4-9th April 2017. W salonemilano.it

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EVENTS Manchester Furnitrure Show

Preview Manchester ups its game Italian design, German engineering and Eastern flair will mix with UK skills and expertise at this year’s Manchester Furniture Show, taking place from 17-19th July at Manchester Central.

This year’s Manchester Furniture Show will be an event full of new and trend-setting designs produced by some of the best manufacturers from around the world. Italian giant the Camel Group joins the Show from its North-East Italian manufacturing base. It is bringing a selection of its dining and bedroom cabinet collections, together with samples from its leather and fabric sofa and chair collections. The Camel Group is joining fellow Italian companies New Trend and Mini Divani and their stands will be full of Italian chic and sharpedged design. Showing clean-lined German cabinet engineering at its best will be Nolte Mobel and Rauch Moebelwerke – experts at producing slick and desirable wardrobe and bedroom cabinet systems that glide open and close with ease. They will both introduce new designs in high-gloss veneers, glass and formed synthetics, all designed with the UK market in mind. Closer to home, Irish companies VIDA Living and Derry’s are launching new designs at the show. VIDA Living has been designing and supplying clean-lined contemporary furniture for 34 years and will bring new marble dining collections and sofabeds. Derry’s will show a selection of its comprehensive collections with a focus on furniture and decorative items for the hotel and leisure industry. From much further afield come exhibitors from China – Skyline and Hydeline. Both design and

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manufacture leather and fabric sofas and chairs in styles ranging from traditional to modern. Also from the Far East come Global Home and Indian Hub. Global Home are launching new cabinet collections in a variety of woods and finishes, simply styled and with plenty of choice. A completely different look will be found on the Indian Hub stand. From its base in Jodhpur, the company produces eye-catching rustic furniture made from hardwoods including teak and mango. As well as great designs from international companies on show there will be new launches from some of the best UK manufacturers and suppliers. Wade will introduce two new models, Camden and Pandora. Westbridge will present its new compact living designs as well as new models in its Elements and Westbridge Vintage collections. In cabinets, Mark Webster Designs is introducing Bordeaux – a grey painted dining collection along with accompanying upholstery. The company will also introduce new pieces in its best-selling dark stained Chaucer range. Baker is introducing several new ranges, including the rich dark Austin bedroom, which offers plenty of storage. There will also be new launches for many other major UK brands including Lebus, Buoyant, Gallery Direct, Ashley Manor, Whitemeadow, Wood Brothers, Furmanac, Kingstown, Devonshire Pine & Oak, Corndell, Rowico, Scan Thor UK, Shankar, CIMC, Hookes Interiors, Heartlands, Kettle, Keen and Alpha Designs. W manchesterfurnitureshow.com

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MF0375 Hospitality Interiors 297x216

19 July 7 1 L A R T N E C R NCHESTE

MA

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2016

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EVENTS Home

Preview Home to prove its design credentials Home makes a welcome return at Top Drawer this autumn, presenting a professionallyedited selection of design-led products for indoor and outdoor spaces. Covering everything from tableware to furniture, fabrics, lighting and tableware, the show has been steadily growing since its inception in 2012, proving a ďŹ rm favourite with a discerning audience of international buyers.

With a unique and inspiring selection of handpicked exhibitors from quintessentially British brands to some of Europe’s most directional design houses, the diversity of products on offer is tailored to satisfy the needs of professional buyers. An impressive selection of high-quality products in a range of contemporary styles from modern to classic enables retailers to source unique accessories to complement their product ranges and design professionals to complete the most demanding of projects, and with many brands already supplying the world’s leading retailers, hotels and restaurants, this professional event guarantees to deliver the goods. The show team and Home panel of trusted

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advisors, composed of leading experts from the likes of Selfridges, Benjamin West, Steamer Trading, John Lewis, Pedlars and Aria, understand that quality, style and originality is everything in the world of interiors. For this reason, they have selected the best names to participate, ensuring that visitors will leave inspired this season. Held in London Olympia from 11-13th September, the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of Top Drawer will present about 1000 exhibitors across home, gift, fashion and craft. Vibrant, eye-catching, informative and above all commercial, this unique trade show is a mustattend for UK and international buyers alike. W topdrawer.co.uk/home

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Furnitur


11—13 September 2016 Olympia, London

HOME Experience the beautifully curated world of Home at Top Drawer, London’s international event for creative retailers. Discover a carefully edited, global cross-section of products from the finest brands and designers. REGISTER NOW topdrawer.co.uk/home

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EVENTS Tendence

Preview Tendence’s international appeal Distinguished by future-oriented designs and trends, Tendence, the annual international consumer goods fair, opens its doors from 27th-30th August 2016 in Frankfurt am Main.

Annually, over 1100 international exhibitors and brands come together to launch new products, creating a platform for trade visitors to find unusual picks for the coming season. The journey through halls of the latest products from both the Giving and Living sectors makes for an inspiring trip to Frankfurt in August. In the Living section, exhibitors present everything from the world of modern interior design, via trendy home accessories, to seasonal decoration ideas. In Hall 9.0, furnishing concepts with high-quality furniture, textiles, lighting and home accessories can be found. The product group Pure & Elegant includes Daff, Goodwill, Henry Dean, Fink, Pad

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Home Design Concept, Philippi, Raumgestalt, Rosendahl, Sompex and Umbra. Furnishing and decorating ideas for the home and garden remain in Hall 8.0 under the new name Lovely Home. There, exhibitors such as Boltze, Exotica Cor Mulder, House Doctor, Hübsch, Overbeck & Friends, Räder, Rice and Wohnmanufactur Grünberger will show their latest collections. Also to be found in Hall 8.0 is the Seasonal Decoration product group with companies such as Kaemingk, Kaheku, DPI, Edelman, Gasper and Tel International. Discounted tickets can be ordered on the Tendence website now. W messefrankfurt.com

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DU: 01.05.2016

“new

GB

27 – 30. 8. 2016 fresh.new.ideas.

means for me innovative and exciting ideas that enable me to make the shopping experience more enticing for my customers.

62834-001_TE_Allgemein_Furniture_news_216x297_GB • FOGRA 39 • CMYK • mr: 13.05.2016

” Dirk Bieler, Branch Manager, Retail

Innovations, trends and insights. International and inspiring. Tendence 2016. Be there! fresh-new-ideas.com info@uk.messefrankfurt.com Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 83

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RESOURCES GFK Quarterly

THE AUTHOR

Anthony Creaby manages British retail homewares coverage at global data analyst GfK, which employs around 13,000 market researchers across more than 100 countries. E anthony.creaby@gfk.com

GfK market analysis – Q1 Research body GfK has returned to the UK homewares market. Compiled using EPOS data from GfK’s retailer leader panel, and covering a host of sectors including textiles, furniture and home accessories, the GfK homewares report offers valuable insight into today’s retail landscape. Each quarter, Furniture News will present a summary of GfK’s findings, tracking sales trends across key subsectors. This month, Anthony Creaby analyses Q1 2016 …

Now we have reached the end of Q1 2016 it allows us the chance to understand how the furniture market has performed thus far. At a top line level we can see the overall furniture market grew by 4.3% in value terms and 10.5% in volume. This was achieved when we compare the first three months of 2016 to those of the previous year. When looking at each of the months in isolation, the performance of products is very interesting. March, for example saw value up 9.6% and a volume increase of a very impressive 17%. The fact that the Easter 2016 Bank Holiday sales were included in March – whereas Easter 2015 fell into April – is likely to be a significant contributor to this. When delving a little deeper into the data we can see that all areas which combine to provide us with our total furniture figure – upholstered, living/dining room, home office, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and outdoor living – are in growth when looking at both a

monthly and quarterly comparison. Home office furniture – office desks, office chairs, filing storage cabinets and other home office furniture – was the strongest performer in value terms, up 14.6%. When we interrogate the data further we can see that the biggest driver behind this was filing/storage cabinets, which are showing an increase of 30% alone. January 2016 recorded the highest total sales value, as expected due to the sales season – however, it is interesting to see that this is up 1% on January 2015. This trend has continued throughout February (+4.3%) and March (+9.6%). It will be interesting to see if this uplift is continued through the rest of 2016. When analysing the furniture sector it is prudent to note the performance of the highest-value furniture sector, that of bedroom furniture. This has seen value growth of nearly 5.5% in Q1 YOY, with the key catalysts being divans

“March saw value up 9.6% and a volume increase of a very impressive 17%. The fact that the Easter 2016 Bank Holiday sales were included in March – whereas Easter 2015 fell into April – is likely to be a significant contributor to this”

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(+12%) and mattresses (+13%). However, in contrast, bunk beds have been in decline to the tune of -8% value and -9.8% in volume during Q1 2016. To conclude in this area of the market, an interesting deduction can be made when focusing on beds, excluding divans (covering bedsteads, wall/folding wardrobe beds, day beds and bed frames). Although the market is in value growth of +3.8%, when volume sales are studied we witness a decline of -2%. This indicates that consumers are willing to spend more on this purchase – a fact which is backed up by our findings of an average price increase of 5.8%. The final area which has performed particularly well is garden furniture. As expected at this time of the year, this area is in significant growth of 17.3%, with garden benches, outdoor lighting and garden structures amongst other areas contributing largely to this. It will be intriguing to see how this develops as we move towards the summer months. The question now is whether the sturdy overall market growth we have seen in the furniture sector can continue into Q2, when the impact of an early 2016 Easter Bank Holiday and better weather will be evident

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RESOURCES Leadership traps

THE AUTHOR

Shweta Jhajharia, principal coach and founder of The London Coaching Group, is a multi-award-winning business coach, and is recognised both by external bodies and industry awards panels as one of the foremost in her field. W londoncoachinggroup.com

The six most common leadership traps Effective leadership is one of the most difficult skills to master. However, it is an essential aspect of a positive, effective and profitable working culture. However, explains Shweta Jhajharia, there are several pitfalls into which it is all too easy for business owners and managers to fall …

As a business leader, you’re in a position of high visibility and you set the tone for the rest of the organisation. Your employees look to you for guidance and support. Therefore, it’s important to arm yourself with the right tools and skills to be the leader your business deserves. In my experience as principal coach at The London Coaching Group, I have found that there are six common pitfalls that many business leaders fall into: 1. The do-it-myself pit One of the keys to effective leadership is your ability to empower your employees with the opportunity to prove themselves through their work. Whenever you are faced with work to do, ask yourself if you doing this activity is adding more value than if your employees were to do it. Do not let old habits make you a micromanager. To be an effective leader, you need to relinquish control of everyday tasks, and focus on more strategic and visionary activities. 2. The no-vision deadfall Many business leaders are so engrossed in their daily work they think they don’t have time to set goals and create a vision. Goals are important as they give employees direction and confidence in the company.

Goals also help you steer the business and stay on course. It’s also really important to identify what your personal goals are. Almost every business leader I know becomes 10 times more motivated when they can clearly see how their business goals contribute to their personal goals. Take time to complete a personal goals template, available as a free download from The London Coaching Group website. Invite team members to your quarterly strategic planning sessions – this will give them both ownership and accountability. 3. The too-busy-for-you cage One of your most important tasks is managing your team. This not only means getting people to do their job, but also giving them the opportunity to come to you with their concerns, questions, and opinions. Without your employees, your business is nothing. Show them that you value their contribution by being as available for them as possible. In addition to set, frequent meetings with them, ensure they have a channel where they can leave you messages and communicate with you directly. 4. The so-serious snare You and your employees spend around a third of your waking hours at work, so make sure

“Let your employees know that the communication is a two-way street. Information fed to you through your employees could very well save your business”

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it’s an enjoyable environment to be in. This could be small things such as an afternoon tea once in a while, or celebrating big wins with a shared bottle of champagne. Whatever it is, be sure to show your workforce that you are a boss that employees can love and their colleagues are people they can have fun with. 5. The quick-fix leghold When a problem crops up, you usually have a choice between a quick fix or a longer and more sustainable solution. Do not get caught in the trap of constantly choosing the former – or you run the risk of repeatedly having to put out fires. 6. The lack-in-communication net It is vital that your workforce is constantly kept up to date with the latest information about the business. Whether that’s announcing a new hire, explaining why someone has left, or notifying about a systems change, ensure there is a clear channel for staff to learn about what’s going on. Let your employees know that the communication is a two-way street. Information fed to you through your employees could very well save your business. Beware of these six common traps which frequently snare unsuspecting business owners and managers. If you find yourself caught, make a conscious effort to change your behaviour. If the working culture in your business isn’t ideal, take a look in the mirror – change usually needs to start at the top

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RESOURCES Maximising online US

THE AUTHOR

Kevin Cundiff is the vice-president of retail for Fortegra, a single-source insurance services company that, through a network of subsidiaries and preferred partners, offers a range of credit protection, warranty, and specialty W fortegra.com

How furniture retailers can turn the online tide Online practices have revolutionised retail, but many furniture retailers have failed to evolve, leaving them at a severe disadvantage. Kevin Cundiff draws on several findings from the US market to suggest how the industry might be able to catch up with its counterparts …

Target Millennials, and ease up on Boomers For years, furniture retailers have pinned their hopes of the future on the Baby Boomer generation. As this large-and-in-charge demographic aged, they were expected to buy furniture to fill their empty nests. But one industry watch report found these predictions were off base. Instead, Boomers have been frugal when it comes to home furnishings. And when they have bought furniture, they’ve often selected inexpensive, ‘disposable’ items from stores like Ikea. The good news? Change is in the air. In the next decade, 18-34 year-old Millennials will displace Baby Boomers as the biggest consumer buying group. To win their business, invest in speed – including quick customer service and fast fulfilment systems.

more than just selling products. It requires furniture retailers to sell a whole new philosophy of furniture buying.

Use the internet as a superior sales channel In the early days of e-commerce, furniture retailers were limited by the type and size of merchandise that could reasonably be sold online. Shipping was cost prohibitive for some consumers, fulfilment was notoriously slow, and stockroom logistics created challenges for retailers who dealt almost exclusively in big-box items. Today, brands have found ways to circumvent these issues. But, unfortunately, there’s still a perception that furniture shouldn’t be purchased online. Despite it being a tremendous resource for consumers and retailers alike, some continue to resist purchasing or selling furniture via the web. As an industry, furniture retailers have limited their digital potential. And as a result, many furniture retailers aren’t very good at selling their products online. Overcoming consumers’ desire to touch and feel a piece of furniture before buying it can require some creative marketing strategies, and calls for

Personalise the customer experience Customer relationships aren’t one size fits all. Instead of a generic blanket approach, furniture retailers can consider creating personalised experiences. Tailored messaging that reflects a customer’s individual brand experience will increase engagement. How can furniture retailers pull this off? Prompt for a review on a purchase, recommend products that pair well with items they’ve bought in the past, or provide content to support a purchase.

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Get on board with mobile Today, mobile has reached near universal importance across consumer segments. But mobile is especially critical to the growth of the furniture retail industry, where US smartphone searches for the category grew 47% YOY in 2014. While more furniture retailers have dipped their toes into mobile by deploying basic store apps, few are using the full scope of mobile marketing tools at their disposal. By taking advantage of these tools, furniture retailers have the potential to appeal to a more tech-savvy consumer base.

Leverage consumer loyalty programmes Many brands offer loyalty programmes, but – unsurprisingly – most of them aren’t furniture retailers. These programmes engage first-time users by promoting memorable best-in-class benefits – like free shipping – and offering those benefits with every purchase. And loyalty programmes can also increase profitability by lowering customer churn rate.

Use more social media, more intentionally The furniture industry hasn’t traditionally used social media to reach target audiences. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms carry great weight with Millennials, who use their social media presence to influence the buying behaviours of others. Social media is a proven performer when it comes to consumer conversions. But Facebook has nothing on Instagram, which boasts the most engagement and the highest conversion from browser to shopper. 92% of brands that post an average of 5.5 times a week on the photo and video sharing platform increase their customer base. And there are countless ways social media can boost a furniture brand – such as offering followers VIP access, like an early heads-up on limited-time offers. Rewarding shares about recent purchases can also help furniture retailers incentivise social engagement. Make in-store technology modernisation a priority Research shows we only have seven seconds to make a strong first impression. Unfortunately, many furniture retailers are failing the first impression test simply by using outdated in-store infrastructure. Although some retailers are making strides, as a whole the industry has neglected to modernise processes, from tracking inventory to filling out sales paperwork. With many furniture retailers only recently installing computers on the sales floor, the industry moves slower than its retail counterparts. The ‘why’ behind the furniture industry’s old-school rep and antiquated approach to marketing and sales isn’t an easy question to answer. But if the furniture industry is open to adapting, it’ll be positioned to take on the next decade with ease

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Some people were just For over ten years Serene has been recognised for its huge range of quality bedsteads, daybeds, sofa beds and headboards - a diverse portfolio of designs in a wide variety of material combinations that include metal, fabric, hevea wood, faux leather and oak. There is something for every taste, budget and home, unparalleled choice backed by fast turnaround on orders and high quality customer service.

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thought we about beds. What might be news to some is that it no longer stops at the bedroom. A touch of Serene can be sprinkled throughout the home with the arrival of inspired recliner, dining and occasional chair collections of design-led, affordable furniture. We are proud to now be building on our success of the past ten years by making inroads in to new areas of the home furnishing market. Contact us today for copies of all our brochures and start thinking of Serene as being more than just beds.

To request our brochures call 0121 505 0270 or email sales@serene.co.uk

FURNISHINGS

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PROFILE Serene

A long-established, leading supplier of beds, headboards, sofa beds and daybeds, Serene’s venture in to new areas of the home furnishings market has proved a great success and continues in 2016 with new designs and new collections.

Serene’s continued growth Serene’s occasional chair collection was launched to a positive reception at this year’s January Furniture Show. Comprising 13 accent chairs with striking colourways and individual styles, the collection combines aspects of the traditional and contemporary to ensure there is something for every taste, budget and home. Its unveiling in January followed the successful launch of Serene Living’s recliner and dining collections and forms part of a plan laid out by Serene’s founder, Tasleem Tasab, to enter Serene into new areas of the home furnishings market. He says: “We continue to successfully utilise the operational systems and knowledge that have positioned Serene as a leading supplier for the bedroom to now present Serene as a one-stop-supplier of design-led products for the wider, modern day home.” Evie is one of the collection’s contemporary-styled models. A curved-back tub design, Evie is comfortable as well as good looking. Available in five fashionable colours, it is a chair tailored for modern living. There is something to suit everyone in the new occasional chair collection, the Stirling armchair being an ideal example of this – blending time-honoured style with hints of the modern to present an eye-catching design. Punctuated with studded stitching and elegant legs, the Stirling design is available in three neutral tones. To add to occasional chairs, the extended dining collection for 2016 also includes

Evie

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Stirling silver accent chair occasional furniture. Sideboards, coffee and lamp tables have been launched to sit alongside Serene’s dining furniture or to simply extend the desired look in to the wider home, alongside its occasional chairs and

motion furniture. All new lines are in stock and the new occasional chairs and dining collection brochures are now available. W serene.co.uk

Finchley

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Over 100 Years of Results & Profits!

“I am following up on the recent Lynch Sales event held in de Gruchy to say thanks for a great result, beating our sales and gross margin targets as well as coming in under budget on Marketing!” Neville Moore • Managing Director de Gruchy, St. Helier • 10th May 2016

“We appreciate we are a very small business and that as an income earner for Lynch we were never going to compare to the higher turnover companies that you have successfully worked with. However at no point in the whole process were we ever made to feel small or unimportant. On the contrary every avenue and detail was entered into in meticulous detail to ensure the success of the event.” Alan & Clive Brooks and the Clements Team Clements, Watford • 4th May 2016

“….. when you want a job doing to the highest standards delivering top results you need to have the best people around you to help.” Andy Burgess • Managing Director Furniture & Bedding Superstore • 11th April 2016

To learn more, call Gareth Price today for a complete outline, including a copy of our easy-to-understand, one-page contract, or visit www.LynchSales.co.uk

Contact Gareth Price Tel: 07974 209761 www.LynchSales.co.uk Copyright 2016 Lynch Brothers Licensing Corporation

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PROFILE Seconique

Seconique was established in 1986, making this year its 30th anniversary. Today, the business continues to move from strength to strength...

30 years on, still going strong Boston

Originally operating from a 15,000ft2 warehouse and a small shop in Wolverhampton, Seconique has developed and grown into one of the UK’s largest independent importers and wholesalers of flatpack furniture. It now operates from a 300,000ft² warehouse, offices and showroom. The success of the company has been and still is today due to the same fundamental principles of the founders, which is to offer customers a comprehensive product range, first-class service and great value for money without compromising on quality. The range of products has seen many changes over the years to keep up with current trends and to satisfy customer demand. Some of the company’s early pieces such as the Albany bunk bed, antique pine bedroom, and the Oakleigh and Ashmore furniture still feature in Seconique’s catalogues and are timeless classics. In 2003, Seconique introduced 11 products to launch the Corona range. The original pieces have now grown to 130 items and covers living room, dining room and bedroom selections. With new designs, finishes and improvements to the existing range, and related Panama and Tortilla lines, Seconique continues to lead the field. Nowhere are the

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Rimini

company’s fundamental principles more clearly defined than in the Corona range by Seconique – the original and arguably still the best. The Charles bedroom range has also been a success story along with the introduction of Prado beds, Henley glass dining set and occasional items, and the Cambourne which offers pieces for the bedroom, living room, hallway and home office. The Tempo tub chairs and sofas have recently seen the introduction of a popular selection of colours. Dining sets will be amongst the new items

to be launched at the Manchester Furniture Show in July, which includes Rimini with features such as a white top and an oak colour frame, Boston with star configuration legs as well as Julian and grey Oxford. The bedroom collection includes an extension to the newly-launched Lisbon range, the Felix low sleeper, Panama grey, white and antique mid sleeper and the Georgia wooden sleigh bed which is available in grey or white. Seconique will be exhibiting on stand C11. W seconique.co.uk

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BEDS & BEDR0OM

SleepShaper Gold 2000 pocket, The Foam Company

Grace, Slumberland

ecoCosy, The Shire Bed Company

Andorra, Wiemann

The SleepShaper Gold range of beds and mattresses from The Foam Company (01235 514240) features ground-breaking Vystex foam, incorporating V-Max technology for improved airflow. Manufactured in the UK, exclusively for The Foam Company, this foam has gone through extensive thermal testing to show that Vystex is able to dissipate heat 47% quicker than standard memory foam. Cooler than standard memory foam at 70 kilos – compared to most memory foams of 40-50 kilos – it is also of a far superior quality. There are five mattresses in the range. The Gold Firm features 7cm Vystex and a 13cm high density foam core. The Gold Embrace has a luxurious soft feel and the Gold 1000, 1500 and 2000 pocket sprung matresses all have a Vystex sleeping surface and come with divans and co-ordinating contemporary headboards. Slumberland (www.slumberland.co.uk) has become the first bed and mattress company to be awarded Mumsnet’s ‘Best’ awards for its Serene and Grace mattresses. Slumberland has received impressive praise and five-star reviews from Mumsnet reviewers, which

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are renowned for their honest, direct, but trustworthy appraisal of products. Since launching its ecoShire bedbugbanishing mattresses with EcoShield technology, The Shire Bed Company (01924 439898) has made its cosiest ecoShire bed yet. The ecoCosy handmade mattress has 3000 pocket springs, allowing comfortable sleep across the entire surface of the mattress, providing the support and pressure-relief the body needs. With natural fillings and Tencel in the finish as well as air vents and flag-stitched handles as standard, the top of the range ecoShire mattress will be easy on the body as well as sensibly priced. The range also includes the ecoGrand, ecoChampion, ecoComfy and the ecoRest. The Shire Bed Company produces high quality beds, mattresses and divan bases and supplies nationally and internationally to major retailers and the contract sector including education, care and hospitality. Andorra from German bedroom specialist Wiemann (01482 635283), caters for more traditional tastes, using a combination of dark rustic oak and champagne finishes. The

range comes with a British-style bedframe with feature rounded legs and stylish wardrobes in a choice of sliding or hinged doors with storage drawers below. The collection also offers a comprehensive selection of bedroom pieces such as bedside units, night cabinets, storage chests, plus lighting options. Other optional extras include: mattress height adjustment adapters, dressing benches and mirrors as well as underbed storage. All this comes with Wiemann’s customary attention to detail in quality and highlyrespected sales support, including nationwide home delivery and installation. Innovative bedmaker Matza (01924 458699) has teamed Outlast smart fabric with its own creation, Zero Gravity foam, to form an impressive combination. Outlast is well known for its temperature regulation properties, thanks to its clever use of phase change materials which proactively manages heat and moisture in textiles. Matza has added it to Zero Gravity and thousands of pocket springs to create mattresses which are a fusion unlike anything else on the market. >>>

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5 ESSENTIAL WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR SALES AND PROFIT

• ADVERTISING – Most advertising does not work, so if

49

yours isn’t, stop wasting your money now and re-design your advertising campaigns using a benefits-orientated-style. Call Greenwood for effective copywriting know-how.

YOUR SALES • PRODUCTS – Be ruthless with your precious floor space. SUCCESS STRATEGY If a product or collection is not pulling its weight after being

Growing Business?

5 ESSENTIAL WAYS TOreplace it with a given a fair chance to shine, then clear it and better performing line.YOUR Test and measure the selling potential MAXIMISE SALES AND PROFIT of all your products in a Greenwood Sale.

• ADVERTISING – Most advertising does not work very well, so if yours isn’t, stop wasting your money now. Don’t blame SELLING SKILLS Get good at selling. Most retailers the media, blame the-message. Re-design your advertising campaigns using a benefits-orientated-style. Call Greenwood for don’t bother with a proper sales process or sales training. The effective copywriting know-how.

successful ones do! Invest time and money in quality sales • PRODUCTS – Be ruthless with your precious retail space.sales If know-how. Call Greenwood to arrange an effective a product or collection is not pulling its weight after being given training course.

Finger On The Pulse?

a fair chance to shine, then clear it and replace it with a better performing line. Test and measure the selling potential of all your products in – a Greenwood Sale.competition to find out COMPETITION Check your

what Now over 470 Furniture Retailers, turning over £420,000,000 they are offering.SKILLS Avoid- Get all-out price wars. Be suredon’t to out-do • SELLING good at selling. Most retailers annually, enjoy the benefits of the Retailsystem employ a proper program for big ticket your competition onretail thesales mosttraining relevant beneficial USP’s goods. The most successful ones do. Invest time and money including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood Call us to discuss how we can help run your stores & ecommerce websites in quality sales know-how. Call Greenwood to arrange an more efficiently and profitably - a complete Multi Channel solution to mystery shop competitors. effective salesyour course for your team. Tel: 0131 440 7607 info@retailsystem.com www.retailsystem.com

•COMPETITION – Check your competition to find out what PROMOTION – Promote your business they are offering. Avoid all-out price wars. Beeffectively. sure to out- Every do your competition on the most relevant beneficial points good retailer from Tesco to Harrod’s does. Consider using a including choice, quality, value and service. Call Greenwood to ‘Greenwood’ sales promotion mystery shop your competitors.to increase sales, turn stock into

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

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FIND OUT MORE Take a lookABOUT at our website or call us nowSALES... on 01625 521010, GREENWOOD or, send an e mail enquiry, and we’ll gladly call you to Take a look at our website or call us now on 01565 650101, discuss or,the exciting possibilities we can offer send an e mail enquiry, and we’ll gladly call you to you, discuss the exciting without possibilitiesobligation. we can offer you, without obligation.

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BEDS & BEDROOM

Aquarius 3000, Matza

Verve, Sweet Dreams

Stamford Bedroom, Kettle Interiors

Matza MD Asif Ayub says: “Our mattresses are different. We have taken the best of everything and engineered it into what we believe is the perfect sleep solution.” Zero Gravity was created when Asif and his bedmaking team were unhappy at the performance of other foams available to them. Asif continues: “Memory foam has heat issues and it can be difficult to change sleeping positions without it feeling like a battle, but it offers useful comfort properties which we wanted to keep. We felt that latex wasn’t comfortable enough, but is very responsive to movement. “We experimented, taking the properties we wanted and came up with Zero Gravity. It is the perfect fusion of memory foam and latex, harnessing the very best of foam technology and giving sink-in support while providing a responsive yet weightless sleeping experience.” Asif believes that Zero Gravity will become the essential ingredient for all future mattresses – and it is already used by his family’s long-established bedmaking business, Highgate Beds.

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Titanic, Bluebone

Matza mattresses are selling well through independents such as Cousins Furniture, as Matthew Shotton, retail director for Cousins Furniture, explains: “Customers really like the comfort of the mattresses with their high spring count, mixture of natural fillings and the added feature of the Outlast cover and that they are completely different to anything else that we sell.” Sweet Dreams’ (01282 830033) adjustable range comprises a total of eight models – four beds from the Adjustable collection, and adjustable bases and mattresses an option to four upholstered bed frames, including Ambience and Verve surround-sound beds and two TV beds, Ella and Griffin. The Sweet Dreams adjustable offer provides a choice of three mattresses – Dreamatic in supersoft bultex with knitted cover, the 100% foam Viscomatic mattress and the damask, pocket spring Supreme. The mattresses come with a five-stage action, remote control and optional massage unit. There is a choice of platform, deluxe leg or fabric-upholstered base with the four beds in the adjustable range. Drawers are available to the platform base. All adjustable models are

British made. The Stamford Bedroom collection from Kettle Interiors (01536 444960) brings great value oak for homes of all sizes and offers items to create a striking bedroom suite. Now available with special discounts and terms for display sets, Stamford Bedroom uses an oak and oak veneer construction to deliver great value, with each piece finished in a rustic edge. Featuring drop metal handles and contemporary lines, it is a well-balanced collection that will work well in contemporary and traditional interiors. With 17 items to choose from, including an array of chests and wardrobes, the Stamford Bedroom collection is stocked in the UK and available with fast delivery, free from just £500. A striking bedroom display from Bluebone (0161 330 8959), the Titanic range is an exclusive range of quality furniture made from recycled boat wood. Every piece is unique and shows different colours and grain. The range features a headboard, tall cabinet, three- and six-drawer chests and sideboard. A media unit, trunk table, coffee table and desk are available in the same design to >>>

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The first mattress to be awarded Mumsnet best...

The Serene.

2016

“The comfiest bed I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping in...” “It looks so stylish and feels so comfortable and luxurious, it’s like being cuddled every night.” - Mumsnet reviewer

Discover more about what Mumsnet had to say at www.slumberland.co.uk FN_327 V15.indd 51

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BEDS & BEDROOM

Vividus, Hästens

Cordelia, Serene

Faye, Serene

Katherine, Serene

match. Swedish bed company Hästens (www. hastens.com) has launched the impressive quality Vividus bed, handmade bespoke to order by skilled and dedicated artisans. The bed uses only natural materials and takes over 320 hours of traditional craftsmanship. Using skills acquired over generations and without time, material or budget constraints, over a three year period Hästens created Vividus. Each part of Vividus has been made with care, from the hand-sewn layers of horsehair and cotton to the traditionally hand-tied bolster springs – all of which are adapted to fit each specific customer’s requirements. The craftsmen nurture Hästens beds from raw materials into something restrained and striking but also functional. The mattress is stitched together with a step stitching

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technique, which keeps the seams separated, allowing the mattress to become flexible and soft. The bed frame is made of redwood pine from the north of Sweden, with14 different colour and grid options available. In Serene’s (www.serene.co.uk) Fabric Collection, a striking headend is a prominent design feature of the Cordelia ottoman, available with a striking palette of fabric colours with four different feet options. This model provides substantial storage in the base and is a versatile and comfortable addition to the bedroom. The Cordelia ottoman is available in three colours – duck egg, latte and ruby – and three sizes – 135cm, 150cm and 180cm. Katherine is another addition to the popular Fabric Collection that presents the firmness and quality of a Serene bedstead, coupled with plentiful room in the base for

clutter-free living. Easily recognisable with an impressive 1.5m head-end that has a slight slant for good posture when leaning back in bed, Katherine is available in three fabric tones –charcoal, linen and pearl – and will make for a focal point in the bedroom in any one of its three sizes – 135cm, 150cm and 180cm. Serene’s Faye bedstead is a classic contemporary design combing style with craftsmanship. Subtle rolled curves contrast well with sharp lines and soft fabric, making Faye an elegant and comfortable addition to the bedroom. Modern feet help seal the look of this eye-catching new model in Serene’s Fabric Collection, in which there is something for every taste, budget and home. Faye is available in three sizes – 135cm, 150cm and 180cm – and three colourways – gold, lilac and steel

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NEW

Pillow Top 1500 pressure relieving pocket springs

Our new collection of beautiful beds, mattresses, headboards and bases are designed to appeal to everyday lifestyles. The Modern Living Collection is built to last and offers the ultimate in relaxation and comfort. The range is backed up with extensive marketing support to drive customers into your store.

For more information about the Modern Living Collection, please contact enquiries@deluxe-beds.co.uk or call 01484 427 373.

www.deluxe-beds.co.uk

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BEDS & BEDROOM Feature Focus – Dreamworks Beds

Feature Focus Dreamworks Beds Whilst it started life as a mattress company, Dreamworks Beds is fast evolving into a recognised British designer and manufacturer of quality hand-made upholstered furniture. Furniture News speaks to business development director James Hudson …

Tell us about your bedroom product offer Dreamworks Beds are soon to launch two new mattress ranges: the Natural Collection – Hand Tufted; and the Natural Collection – Quilted. These mattresses focus on using natural wool, and we have sourced some really exciting raw materials from round the world, including, of course, British wool, but also Pashmina and Cashgora. What are your historic and current bestsellers, and why are they so popular? Dreamworks Beds are well known for making great quality but affordable pocket sprung mattresses – customers are often surprised that they are getting so much in the mattress for the price, manufactured to order in two weeks. Maybe that’s why we have won the AIS Gold Standard award four years running for quality and service! What current trends are you experiencing in this product area? Without giving too much away, we are seeing a move towards natural sustainable materials. This is why we have introduced a sheep logo on our new collections, for customers to identify a quality, naturally-made product. Have customer preferences in this area changed much over time? I think customers’ expectations are rising, and fashions also change – previously more European-style mattresses, employing memory foam, were in vogue, but I think the tables are turning and customers want traditional mattress construction. We do, however, also offer a pure latex mattress for those who prefer this. What are the key issues affecting your best-seller at a retail level? I think the key issues facing our best-selling product is branding. We are a relativity small mattress producer in the West Country that has always focused on quality rather than marketing – we make a great product but maybe we don’t promote ourselves enough. The brand is something we are currently working on, however. I do know that our clients who buy our mattresses do extremely well with them.

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Natural Collection (hand tufted)

“Previously, more European-style mattresses, employing memory foam, were in vogue, but I think the tables are turning and customers want traditional mattress construction” … and at a supply level? Well, as we offer order to delivery within 10 working days, I don’t think supply is a problem to our loyal customer base. What are your observations on how best to retail this product? We have promoted the use of natural products in our latest mattress collections, and this will be apparent when you see them. It’s a new direction for us, and we are not going to be hiding our great products from our wider customer audience – we want everyone to enjoy sleeping on Dreamworks Beds mattresses. What are your personal preferences in this area? My personal taste is to sleep on a new Natural Collection mattress made by Dreamworks Beds – product testing is very important! T 01373 859913 W dreamworksbeds.com

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ASHF- From £149 4’6 - 5’0 Two More Styles Available

TEL - 01785 250888 FAX - 01785 241888 E - SALES@WHOLESALEBEDS.CO.UK

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So Here’s Your Answer!

Contract Quality Beds

BER30H - From £69 Hammered Silver

MOD - From £39 Also in Antique Pine

SKID - From £54.50 3’0 - 4’0 - 4’6

MODBUNK - From £99 Also in White

CUB - From £49 Hammered Silver 3’0 - 4’0 - 4’6 - 5’0

TEL - 01785 250888 FAX - 01785 241888 E - SALES@WHOLESALEBEDS.CO.UK

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LIVING ROOM

LG, Kettle Interiors

Athena, Flair Rugs

Fading World, Louis de Poortere

Carnival, Flair Rugs

With special display discounts, the LG collection from Kettle Interiors (01536 444960) makes an ideal addition to any store looking for a versatile and quality oak furniture range. Featuring soft-close drawers for a premium touch, LG is quickly establishing itself within the Kettle Interiors portfolio. Featuring 36 items including stand-out features such as impressive refectory tables, display cabinets and a great selection of occasional pieces including three different TV units, LG is ideal for family homes. Styled to suit traditional interiors, the LG collection’s classic disposition makes a statement and differentiates each item from more contemporary lines, making it a great addition to stores looking to widen their offering. Stocked in the UK and with fast delivery, this new collection is fast turning into one of the supplier’s key ranges.

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Louis de Poortere (www.louisdepoortere. com) has developed its popular Fading World collection to include five new colours, each created to meet the needs of the archetypal modern living space. Tuned to incorporate looks of the moment, including greys and silvers, the updated Fading World collection plays as much on its colour as it does its intricate medallion design, helping to elevate interiors to new heights. White Pepper, Black Pepper, Salt & Pepper and King of Spices all fall within this subtle yet trendy bracket, although there is an option for colour with red Aleppo Pepper. As ever the case with Louis de Poortere, to choose from Fading World is to choose from a collection of quality – this time premium cotton chenille the preferred fibre, with a flatweave construction and use of jacquard wilton looms further enhancing the rug’s touch and feel. The end result is a surface

with multiple layers of texture, available in Louis de Poortere’s nine staple stock sizes. A high performer for a number of years, Fading World is set to maintain its popularity with its five new hues, all of which debuted at this year’s Buying Groups National Flooring Show. Fading World continues as the company’s flagship range, supported by 2016 additions Mad Men and Mosaiq, as well as Vintage, Cameo, Silver Lining and BoBohemian collections. Leading rug manufacturer Flair Rugs (01457 850660) has invested in a diverse consumer PR campaign in order to support its retailers and to increase awareness of its extensive product collections among homeowners across the country. “PR is an incredibly important aspect of any business strategy, and we view it as a way of generating genuine excitement about our products and real selling leads,” >>>

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says Gareth Davies, UK sales and marketing director at Flair Rugs. “As a result of cultivating relationships with key media in the home interest sector, both nationally, regionally and online, we expect to secure fantastic coverage which should lead to an increase in enquiry levels for our retailers, with members of the public interested in learning about Flair and the rugs on offer.” Working in conjunction with a leading interiors PR agency, Flair has already seen featured coverage in widely-read national titles, meaning potential new customers have been introduced to products from the brand. Flair is also set to feature in high-profile interiors titles such as House Beautiful, Good Homes and Period Ideas over the coming months, while appearing on prominent online blogs as the importance of digital presence continues to grow. “Our commitment to raising our profile through PR channels proves our dedication to supporting our stockists, and this is something that is set to continue throughout 2016 and beyond,” adds Gareth. “Thanks to our hugely extensive portfolio spanning a number of the latest looks, early response from the press has been positive, and we expect this reaction to strengthen with Flair holding a design to meet almost any feature or scheme.”

The latest addition to the Flair portfolio is the Athena collection. Much like Flair’s other shaggy success stories, Wisp, Nordic and Sumptuous, Athena is plentiful to the touch as well as the eye. This is in a large part achieved through a generous 5cm pile height, offering a denser, more luxurious end effect than many of its polypropylene rivals. It is available in seven colourways, from on-trend silver and charcoal to the bolder teal and red. Gareth says: “We are delighted to present Athena to our customers with its extra dense pile, and can’t wait to see the effect these rugs will have on interiors of both a modern and traditional nature. Like much of the Flair range, Athena also offers easy-clean and stain resistant credentials, making it a purchase where style and practicality go hand in hand.” Athena is suitable for hectic family homes, although this takes nothing away from its aesthetics. Boasting softness to compete with wool or polyester, Athena is heavyweight polypropylene that plays as much on its dense pile as its varying hues. Top of the range model Knightsbridge continues to impress for Sweet Dreams (01282 830033). Formerly sold under the Comfort Zone Sofas name, the wide range of British-made upholstery is now part of the Sweet Dreams collection. >>>

Knightsbridge, Sweet Dreams

Aerofoam is a foam converter and bespoke cushion manufacturer

We can supp ly sofas in any fabric

York

Brampton

£599 +VAT

£499 +VAT

Bespoke handcrafted sofas, manufactured to specifcation • Over 30 models - classic, modern & traditional

Importers of italian leather sofas & and manufactures of fine bespoke upholstery

W

Koala

£595 +VAT

Sarah

Italian leather • In black, chocolate or cream • In stock now for immediate delivery

T: 01254 54244 • M: 07890 566 927 • E: hfssofas@gmail.com HFS Upholstery Ltd, Rosewood House, Rosewood Business Park, St James Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 8ET

Agents required in all areas

HFS Half Page Advert.indd 1

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TRADE SALES hotel owner

ONES TO WATCH

interior design

2016

One of the Leading Suppliers of Beds & Mattresses with

FREE FAST DELIVERY ACROSS THE UK We can supply you and your business with; • Mattresses • Bed Frames • Divans • Pillows & more

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Elegant Knightsbridge, in a traditional 3–2–1 format, features luxury Duratech fibre to the seat and back cushions. The front castor feet, in a choice of brass or chrome finish, confer quality looks to match the high specification. Sweet Dreams manufactures its Britishmade upholstery to order at premises in Lancashire and delivery is within 10 working days. Aerofoam (020 8204 8411) is a foam converter and bespoke cushion manufacturer which supplies middle- to top-end furniture manufacturers. Its respectable reputation has been built over 60 years, ensuring that individual requirements have been delivered. The company’s in-depth product knowledge results in high-quality products at cost-effective prices. Aerofoam is an approved supplier to many high-profile companies in the sofa and seating, interior design, manufacturing, upholstery, retail and hotelier sectors. “In line with our successful policy of introducing new lines frequently we have added new ranges of lighting, upholstery, doggy door stops and occasional furniture in steel chrome with glass and a new range of wall art,” says Febland (www.febland.co.uk) MD Tony Febland. “If Simman Febland had been around today

he would not have recognised the items which we showed at the NEC in January. He started the company in 1952 with a few ceramic lines, mainly from Italy and Spain.” Crest JMT Leather (www.crestleather.com) provides its customers with a wide range of high-quality finished leather hides, with first-class service and extensive knowledge of product, as well as next-day delivery within the UK. Crest JMT Leather is part of the Crest Leather group, a global producer of finished leather with tanneries in Italy, Brazil and Thailand. The company controls all stages of production so as to ensure high-quality finished product for its customers. The company also offers a bespoke service for its customers who wish to order leather outside of its permanent collections direct from its tannery in Italy. Crest JMT Leather offers its customers a large number of options when it comes to finished leather, both on European and Brazilian hides. Coupled with its bespoke service, there is a wide choice of combinations of colour and texture. The business is constantly expanding its range and its reach into new markets, and invests heavily in research and development to ensure it keeps up with the latest trends

Crest JMT Leather’s warehouse

Traforata small throne chair, Febland

QUALITY EUROPEAN HARDWOOD (BEECH AND OAK) CHAIRS ALL AVAILABLE FROM STOCK FINISHING SERVICES AVAILABLE EMAIL OR CALL US TO REQUEST A BROCHURE AND PRICELISTLARGE OR SMALL QUANTITIES DISCOUNT FOR COLLECTION Please visit our website to see our full ranges WWW.MANDPCHAIRS.CO.UK All enquiries to: Mike Hodgson – mikehodgson@gmx.com

Call: 07802 648383 or Paul Hodgson – paul.holroyd.hodgson@gmail.com

Call: 07469 819520

M&P Chairs Advert.indd 1

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Alpha D


ALPHA D E S I G N S

The Manchester Furniture Show, Main Hall, Stand D18

ALPHA DESIGNS UPHOLSTERY LIMITED T: 01902 492937 F: 01902 493700 E: sales@alpha-designs.co.uk Unit 1, Stag Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 7HZ FN_327 V15.indd 631 Alpha Designs.indd

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The LG Collection Capture the essence of tradition with this dining and occasional classic style oak. Featuring soft close drawers throughout.

Discounts and terms available for displays

Call now on

01536 444960

The DG Collection Bring the appeal of painted furniture with contrasting oak tops for a true twist on country style. Metal & wood handles supplied.

Discounts and terms available for displays

Call now on

01536 444960

NEW WEBSITE WITH LIVE STOCK UPDATES Spring/Summer 2016 Brochure & Price List now available. Call for your copy www.kettleinteriorsagencies.com Container FN_327 V15.indd 64

Stockist

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Stamford Bedroom Accommodate apartments, starter homes and family residences in this oak and oak veneer collection with a warm glow and rustic edge.

Discounts and terms available for displays

Call now on

01536 444960

The AB Collection Striking aged-effect oak and industrial looks make this collection unique. Soft close drawers and doors throughout.

Discounts and terms available for displays

Call now on

01536 444960

NEW WEBSITE WITH LIVE STOCK UPDATES Spring/Summer 2016 Brochure & Price List now available. Call for your copy www.kettleinteriorsagencies.com Container FN_327 V15.indd 65

Stockist

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DINING ROOM

Hamilton, Core Products

The Hamilton collection from Core Products (01738 630555) offers a great value option for living and dining rooms. The collection incorporates a full range of dining, occasional and storage pieces, all of which are made from natural ash veneer finished in a hardwearing mellow lacquer complemented with ash convex handles. A selection of compact dining tables and chairs which are ideal for small homes further enhance this range. Each Hamilton piece

Frame, Wood Bros

is supplied ready to assemble either in the home or store and features Core Products’ trademark dovetail drawers. All of Core Products’ extensive range is featured in its current brochure or on its trade-only website. Retailers can check stock availability and order online for delivery to store or direct to customer usually within seven working days or with a next day delivery option and no minimum order.

Wood Bros (02190 469241) offers a variety of extending dining tables to suit all occasions and room sizes. Hint and Frame collections offer a more contemporary look, mixing wood and paint finishes and combined with a new fabric swatch. Hint has been particularly popular for more compact houses and flats. Chatsworth is a classic country oak range with simple fielded panels and rustic ironmongery

Latex, a gift of nature Natural latex, the milk of the tropical rubber tree (Hevea Brasiliensis), is a natural and inexhaustible raw material. Every year the rubber trees neutralize over 90 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). A forest with rubber trees has the same air purifying characteristics as a tropical rain forest.

V

isi Natural latex products guarantee: durin t us B e d Sho g the • Optimal ventilation Stand w 2016 • Excellent durability F37 • Even pressure-distribution • Hygienic and healthy microclimate • Unequalled elasticity and perfect body support • Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-dust mite characteristics

www.latexco.com

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DESIGNER One Year On at New Designers

Zephyr Furniture, Rebecca Chan

Foya, Sarah Christensen

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Transmute side table, Francesca Rossi

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Spirit of London London’s New Designers exhibition has become a valuable platform for aspiring creatives, and is set to bring a strong complement of furniture and furnishings designs when it returns to Islington’s Business Design Centre this summer. The One Year On section of the show, featuring 65 exhibitors, presents work from young entrepreneurs in their first year of business … One Year On covers all disciplines, from textiles, jewellery and ceramics to furniture and illustration, featuring designers selected by an independent panel of industry experts. All exhibited work is available to purchase or commission, so visitors can buy directly from designers at the show. Designer Rheanna Lingham, owner and founder of Shoreditch store Luna & Curious, returns as curator for One Year On 2016. “My experience of working with such talented new designers last year was invigorating, so to be able to do it again is an honour,” she says. “2016 sees a brilliant new crop of designers with fresh ideas, accomplished using new technologies and traditional craftsmanship. “I was struck by how many of the exhibitors are creating works that are so

demanding in time and skill. We have embroideries that are intensely intricate and ceramics that are built up with paperthin layers of clay that demand immense concentration and talent. “We also have a number of designers that are concerned with issues of waste and have created businesses developed on zerowaste theories. From knitwear to homeware and furniture, these designers are taking responsibility for their material usage. “This show really is a must-see for the sheer array of fantastic work, but also to hope that a morsel of the enthusiasm and excitement of these designers may rub off on us,” says Rheanna. New Designers 2016 runs from from 29th June to 2nd July, and then from 6-9th July. W newdesigners.com

“This show really is a must-see for the sheer array of fantastic work, but also to hope that a morsel of the enthusiasm and excitement of these designers may rub off on us”

Fold desk, Ili Design’s Danny Halls

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Coffee table, Joel Haran

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DESIGNER In Design – Charles Dedman

Charles Dedman is a furniture designer-maker whose products are minimal in their form and honest to their manufacture. He mixes traditional skills with modern techniques and places emphasis on longevity in his pieces.

In Design: Charles Dedman, Turner Carver Chair “I produce contemporary, honest furniture, taking an evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach to design”

Training: Charles studied for an Art & Design Foundation Diploma in 3D Design and a BA (Hons) in Product and Furniture Design at Kingston University, then studied Furniture Making at Chichester College. Achievements: Charles received a first place award for Best Furniture for his Turner Carver Chair at the New Forest Trust Show last year, and a second place award for Craftsmanship at the same show. E charlesdedman.co.uk

“The Turner Carver Chair is handmade from prime British Oak, and has lathe-turned spindles, a seamless steambent armrest and a beautifully-shaped solid seat”

“The chair ties in well with my love for Scandinavian design and culture”

“Steambending is a great technique with many benefits, mainly that you can achieve both organic and engineered components without the need for toxic adhesives and complex tooling”

“I evolved the construction and visual weight of the chair’s prototype to a single dowel profile and repetition of the same joint”

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WWFS


Best in the UK

WFS Ltd Exclusive designs for 2016! Top quality pieces to suit all tastes

Worldwide Furniture Source 198-202 Breck Road, Liverpool, L5 6PX T: 0151 263 5392 E: wwfsltd@gmail.com www.wwfsltd.com

FN_327 V15.indd 71 1 WWFS Advert V2.indd

Our West Midlands Distibutor

Rainbow Upholstery Unit 1-4 Marlow Street, Rowley Regis, West Midlands, B65 0AY T: 0121 561 5386 E: martin@rainbowupholstery.co.uk

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bluebone

Looking for something different? Unique and Exclusive Designs, Industrial, Retro & Vintage Furniture and Accessories, Bestselling Painted Provence with bespoke options, Retro Oak

UK River Mill II, Park Road, Dukinfield Cheshire SK16 5PD. TEL.: 0161-330 8959, FAX.: 0161-330 8949 E-mail: sales@bluebone.co.uk

Northern Ireland 3 Main St, Ballynahinch, Co.Down BT24 8DN TEL.: 028 9756 1812, FAX.: 028 9756 4435 E-mail: sales@bluebone.co.uk

Deluxe Beds is a family-run business, manufacturing beds, mattresses, bases and headboards from their mill in the heart of the Yorkshire Pennines. As a top UK bed manufacturer, we are always looking to grow our company. See how you can join our team below!

Sales agent required

SALES DIRECTOR Extensive sales history and good knowledge of varied software programmes required. The candidate will supervise our sales team and liaise with our customers; therefore, excellent interpersonal skills and telephone manner are highly desirable.

SALES AGENT - LONDON AREA Experienced candidate with good knowledge of the industry required for sales position in the London area. Must be confident and have excellent customer relationship skills.

PRODUCTION MANAGER Previous industry experience as well as strong managerial skills required. The applicant will be expected to become an active part of the multi-cultural workforce by improving productivity and quality across all staff members. A good knowledge of health & safety issues is essential. Competitive rate of pay and pension scheme available. To apply, please send your CV by post or email to: Deluxe Beds Ltd, Back Beacon St, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD2 2RS careers@deluxe-beds.co.uk

Glenwood Furniture Ltd has been Manufacturing Furniture for the Ireland and UK Market for over 35 years our unique heatproof surfaces make our dining range not only good to look at but practical to use. We are looking for an agent for Dining, Occasional, Office & Bedroom Furniture in the South East, North England. The role will involve Building relationships with existing customers and developing new business.

OUR BRANDS

www.deluxe-beds.co.uk

Please send your CV to the Manager pearsemcaree@gmail.com or call him on 00353 86 3884384 for further information.

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Sales Agent Required.

Covering Scotland.

Would you like to be part of something exciting? Here at Serene Furnishings we are now looking for an enthusiastic, entrepreneurially minded sales agent to represent Serene Beds and Serene Living in Scotland. This is an exciting time in the life of the Serene business, already established as a leading supplier of beds, headboards, daybeds and sofa beds throughout the UK and now successfully making inroads in to new areas of the home furnishing market with new collections that include highly attractive recliner, dining and occasional ranges of design-led, quality furniture.

The successful applicant will have the ability to effectively service and grow an existing customer base in Scotland, whilst having the contacts, drive and initiative to develop new business for both Beds and Living. We require a wellconnected agent who has a wealth of experience in this industry and on the geographical territory as well. If you think you have what it takes to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to become part of the Serene team, please email your interest and CV in the first instance to opportunities@serene.co.uk

FURNISHINGS

www.serene.co.uk

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Further Reading On the web this month:

Do you have a story to share? To contribute, call the editorial desk on 01424 776105 or email victoria@gearingmediagroup.com

The Furniture News website is constantly updated with fresh stories. Visit www.furniturenews.net to access the latest content, or sign up to the twice-weekly newsletter

Are you looking to place product before the UK’s buyers? To advertise or submit product advertorials, call the sales team on 01424 776100, or email sam@gearingmediagroup.com or trisha@gearingmediagroup.com. Do you wish to receive a copy of the magazine every month? You can subscribe to receive the magazine monthly by emailing subscriptions@gearingmediagroup.com. On the move? To read issues of the magazine on your mobile device, you can download the updated Furniture News app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

News: January Furniture Show’s largest hall bolstered

Keep up to date You can also sign up to receive free access to the digital edition each month, as well as the twice-weekly Furniture News e-newsletter, at www.furniturenews.net/magazine – or email sam@gearingmediagroup to be signed up automatically. Don’t forget to follow the Furniture News Twitter feeds, @FurnitureNewsED and @Victoria_FNmag, to keep up with the latest news and opinions from the team.

Events: EFE’s recent edition concludes on positive note

Furniture News is an invaluable resource for those operating in the UK domestic furniture and furnishings sector – but it’s just one of the titles published by Gearing Media Group.

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British

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| July

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Those involved in the contract furnishings market should take a look at Hospitality Interiors magazine (www.hospitality-interiors.net), while anyone seeking furniture manufacturing machinery or supplies should check out Furniture Production (www.furnitureproduction.net).

In next month’s issue:

Manchester Furniture Show preview plus Showtime! Dining, Bedroom, Living, Furnisher and Trade Services product features

FN_327 V15.inddJun7416.indd 1 Further Reading

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Profile for Gearing Media Group Ltd

Furniture News 327  

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

Furniture News 327  

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade