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This month: Meet Nathan’s new designer Howat & Hutchinson interviewed Steinhoff’s lean improvement story

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

September 2016

Sealy’s Pocket Teramo 1400 – a Which? Best Buy for 2016

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The Carpet Specialists

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“Important as it is to take a fresh perspective, proponents of change should expect to face some resistance”

Comment In business, we’re continually advised to think outside the box and develop approaches our competitors haven’t even considered. We’re encouraged to unshackle our minds and explore new directions by looking at neighbouring industries for inspiration, or by taking a break from routine (walking the dog is the approached favoured by designer Ian Cull, interviewed on p128). Actually following through these creative urges is rarely simple. Important as it is to take a fresh perspective, proponents of change should expect to face some resistance – particularly when leaving their box means climbing into another. The conflict is evident in the increasingly blurred boundary between the trade and the consumer – much of it necessitated/ facilitated by the internet – which sometimes sees manufacturers dipping their toes in retail. The latest to do so is Sofa Brands International – the purveyor of G Plan Upholstery, Parker Knoll and Duresta – which is opening a showroom in Chiswick this month to serve as a flagship for its new ominchannel line, The Lounge Co. The concept is being delivered in partnership with independent stockists around the country, each of which will enjoy a share of the digital orders registered within their catchment. Following in the footsteps of a number of the sector’s online giants, The Lounge Co’s showroom will help lead and legitimise the new upholstery brand’s activity both on and offline. In theory, it’s a win-win activity for both manufacturer and stockist. There was a time when a supplier threatening to overstep

its boundaries would be deterred by a collective hiss from its customers, but today’s market realities increasingly demand the removal of traditional barriers. The new rules of selling have created opportunities for disruptive businesses in every sector, and sometimes retaining market share means fighting fire with fire. The onus will be on the supplier to inform and reassure its stockists of its intentions at every step, but the benefits can be substantial. A considered and well-implemented consumer showroom can bring a brand to life. It can lead by example, offering an inspirational retail template. It can help focus and drive online activity. In the best-case scenario, it can become an invaluable marketing platform that generates sales for all parties. Sometimes, thinking outside the box is not enough, and it becomes necessary to remove it altogether – just don’t expect an easy ride.

Paul Farley Paul Farley, editor T 01424 776101 E Twitter @FurnitureNewsED


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This month: Meet Nathan’s new designer Howat & Hutchinson interviewed Steinhoff’s lean improvement story

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

September 2016

Partner Comment

William Knight explains how 100% Design is poised to reflect the UK design community on the global stage

18 News 28 Interviews Sealy’s Pocket Teramo 1400 – a Which? Best Buy for 2016

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Sealy ( promises new models and surprise guests at this month’s Bed Show (p110)

This month, Furniture News speaks to retailers Howat & Hutchinson and Sofas by Saxon, plus e-tailer My Furniture

40 Events

Editor Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

Featuring a report from New Designers, plus previews of Top Drawer, Long Point, 100% Design, Autumn Furniture Show and January Furniture Show

Deputy editor Victoria Noakes 01424 776105 Twitter @Victoria_FNmag

58 Resources

Advertising manager Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Deputy advertising manager Trisha Fletcher 01424 776100 Production manager James Ash 01424 775304 Deputy production manager Katie Bate Production assistant Stephanie Reading Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108

Howat & Hutchinson (28)

Kevin Cundiff explains four ways in which a salesperson can guarantee rejection

60 Profiles

Significant investment at Steinhoff’s bed factory in Huntingdon has seen a reversal of fortunes – Furniture News investigates

64 Manchester Furniture Show Review

Discover the summer product launches and feedback from the show in this exhaustive report

Steinhoff UK Bedding Group (60)

Proofreader Keith Fitz-Hugh Editorial director John Legg 01424 776104 Publisher Nigel Gearing Accounts Wendy Williams 01424 774982 Subscriptions 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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William Knight 100% Design is fast approaching – in this comment article, the show’s director explains how the event aims to set standards on an international level


Sofas by Saxon (32) Matthew Pope (135)

92 Out & About

This month’s gallery celebrates the Furniture Newssponsored drinks party at the Manchester show

Kevin Cundiff Kevin, the vice-president of retail for Fortegra, a singlesource insurance services company, explains how salespeople can sabotage their chances of securing a sales


96 Dining Room 100 Beds & Bedroom 118 Living Room

Rob Scarlett In the latest of an exclusive interview series exploring how the industry’s working designers balance creative and commercial pressures, Rob interrogates Ian Cull

New products, plus a closer look at Fibreline, the upholstery fillings specialist best known for its Encore cushion brand

125 Furnisher 128 Designer

Rob Scarlett meets Ian Cull, as the designer prepares to embark on a new project for Nathan Furniture, while In Design dissects Matthew Pope’s Addax sofa

144 Last Word Richard Naylor (144)

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Steinhoff UK Bedding Group’s Richard Naylor reveals his background and business beliefs

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Yet another reason to choose Mammoth Awarded honours of commendation by NHS Innovations North So you can now add ‘Award winning innovators in comfort’ to the list of reasons to have Mammoth on your shop floor.

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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



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



Giving it 100% “By its nature, design is an international business sector, with ideas, people, goods and services travelling around the world” And so September – and London Design Festival – is with us once more. As the attention of the design world again shifts its focus to the UK, we find ourselves in extraordinary times. Though the Government (at the time of writing) is yet to formally begin the process of negotiation to leave the European Union, at this year’s festival, conversations will inevitably turn towards the potential implications of June’s momentous decision. 100% Design is the UK’s largest design trade fair and the commercial heart of London Design Festival. Exhibitors and visitors come from the UK, EU and beyond. By its nature, design is an international business sector, with ideas, people, goods and services travelling around the world. Last year’s 100% Design attracted over 26,000 professional visitors from all around the world with a spending power exceeding £3.4b, and we know it is important to make the case as an industry for the positive steps that Government should be pushing for in the months ahead. ‘The design industry and Brexit’ is just one of the outstanding talks taking place at 100% Design this year, and it’s worth having a look at the extensive programme in advance of your visit to make the most of this. We’ve partnered with our new neighbours, the Design Museum, to curate this year’s talks. The programme combines agenda-setting panel discussions, daily trend reports from leading forecasters and keynotes from the great and good of the design world with a fantastic preview of what visitors can expect when the Design Museum opens its doors to the public in November. The geography of the festival shifts each year. Alongside the addition of a new fair, LuxuryMade, the opening of the museum further bolsters the strength of the Kensington area’s design offer, and I know this will continue to grow in future years. Since becoming show director of 100% Design, much of my focus has been on creating the optimum experience for both exhibitors and visitors within which to do business – both face to face across a range of spaces at the show, but also online. Hence 100% Design’s partnership with eporta, the key platform for interiors sourcing, which allows visitors to save their favourite designers, view exhibitor catalogues, navigate the show and get quotes, making it easier than ever for buyers to keep records of suppliers they meet. This focus is also reflected in this year’s theme of ‘experience’. This will be explored across the show through specially commissioned installations, immersive experiences and sensory experiments. Visitors can physically engage with the latest product innovations, establish new business relationships and network with design professionals. I’m confident that the experience of this year’s 100% Design will offer one of the best editions of our iconic show to date, and reflect the importance of ideas in the UK and how they relate to the wider world. I look forward to seeing you there.

Media 10’s William Knight is the show director of 100% Design (, the UK’s biggest contemporary design trade event, and of Clerkenwell Design Week (, one of Europe’s most vibrant design festivals.

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come and browse a broad range of products perfectly suited to the uk market Brussels Furniture Fair is an easily navigable, welcoming fair with a friendly atmosphere and a different range from the fairs in the UK. International exhibitors show their extensive collections on impressive stands.

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NEWS Retail

DFS confident of continued growth DFS has reported a continued strong performance in its H2, with revenue up 7% YoY, and up 7% for the whole financial year. In light of this, the retailer expects to deliver a record performance this year, with results towards the upper end of expectations. Growth initiatives include a measured programme of store expansion in the UK and overseas, retail space release, continued development of its omnichannel proposition and constant enhancement of the product range. Revenue growth has benefited from the contributions of the Sofa Workshop and Dwell subsidiaries. The group has established a successful store-in-store concept for Dwell to occupy store warehousing space converted for retail use in the DFS estate, which has led to a decision to accelerate the retail space conversion programme and Customer Distribution Centre (CDC) openings – 11 of which are now operational, with a further eight expected to open by the end of the next financial year. DFS says that the initiative is likely to generate incremental profits when compared with conversion of that space to retailing of beds and dining furniture. The group’s trading since the referendum result has not indicated any weakening of demand, but admits that the six weeks since 23rd June is too short a period to make a meaningful assessment of future trends. It says that store sales densities, scale of operations and a highly flexible cost base provide resilience against weaker trading conditions, relative to the retail sector. Furthermore, vertical integration provided by its inhouse UK manufacturing operations limits currency exposure.

Dreams staff cycle for fostering charity Last month, 12 Dreams staff members embarked on an 88-mile bike ride, visiting eight stores in eight hours, in aid of Dreams’ charity partner, The Fostering Network – a UK fostering charity that aims to improve the lives of children living in foster care. The ride – led by Dreams CEO Mike Logue – began at Dreams’ ‘Bedquarters’ in High Wycombe. The number eight theme was driven by the fact that the ride took place on the anniversary of Dreams’ Replace Every Eight marketing campaign.

Oak Furniture Land opens in Salisbury The new 14,000ft2 store, located on Southampton Road Retail Park, features a concession, and has created seven new local jobs. Jason Davis, South-west regional manager, says: “Our Wiltshire customers have been loyal to us and we are proud to have made a major investment in the new Salisbury store to provide local shoppers with even more furniture choice and make shopping with us easier.” On average, the hardwood furniture retailer has opened a new store each month for the past three years.

Sterling buys Forrest Furnishing Following the retirement of its owner Ken Forrest, Glasgow retailer Forrest Furnishing has been bought by Sterling Furniture. According to Herald Scotland, the deal creates a £60m business that employs 600 staff – Forrest employs 65 of these. Its MD Graham Spurr is to continue running the business. Forrest’s profits grew after it sold its Macdonald Furniture Galleries showroom, refurbishing its remaining store on South Street with the proceeds.’s latest London showroom Situated in the historic railway arches of Burrell Street, Southwark, Bankside is’s fifth UK showroom and the third site in London, linking the recently-opened space in Islington and the original Chelsea showroom. Emma Jenkins, chief marketing officer, says: “Bankside is a very exciting addition to our expanding portfolio of showrooms and we‘re thrilled to bring to this lively district. The new space is located in a magnificent bare-brick railway arch which is full of charm and character. Fantastic transport links provide easy access to our unique sofa-buying experience.”

John Lewis Victoria Gate to open in October Retail property developer Hammerson has confirmed that Victoria Gate, its £165m development in Leeds – including anchor tenant John Lewis – will open its doors on 20th October. Victoria Gate will become part of the new 53,400m2 Victoria Estate shopping district, which also includes Leeds’ Victoria Quarter arcades. The scheme is currently 74% pre-let. Robin Dobson, director retail development at Hammerson, says: “Ideally timed for pre-Christmas

trade, we are delighted to bring this new and iconic retail destination – one that is set to be the largest premium retail and leisure destination outside of London – to Leeds.” James Prince, head of branch at John Lewis Leeds, adds: “I can’t wait for John Lewis Leeds to open its doors for the first time. It’s our most service- and experiential-led shop to date, as we continue to offer more for customers that can’t be replicated online.”

Carpetright signs brand ambassador Carpetright has appointed Lucy Alexander as its new brand ambassador. A TV property expert and broadcast presenter for the last 13 years, and boasting over 25 years’ experience in property development, Lucy has long dispensed property and interiors advice to those looking to transform their homes for sale.

She says: “As someone who has invested so much time and energy in property over the years, whether it’s researching, building, renovating, developing or decorating, I’m delighted to be able to share my ideas and advice with customers who are trying to get the right look and feel for their homes.”

Heal’s Discovers winners announced Now in its 12th year, Heal’s Discovers promotes the work of emerging design talent. This year’s winners, with their winning designs under the Home Office theme, were: Tim Summers, with his compact, fold-out Flip Desk; Ola Studio, whose range of stationery was inspired by Heal’s archive

designs and the famous Cecil Brewer staircase; and Will Baugh, with his Bracket office tidy. Having worked closely with Heal’s product and design team, each will launch their designs as part of this year’s London Design Festival before they go on sale in store.

John Lewis champions local suppliers John Lewis has announced an initiative designed enhance its support of local UK suppliers and manufacturers. The Locally Made project will see the retailer bring together locally-designed and made products from across the country in a dedicated area in its shops. The project will launch in John Lewis Leeds in October, which will stock over 120 products from 11 local suppliers, all of which are based within a 30-mile radius. Over the following months, stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Cardiff will also increase their range of locally made products, followed by new shops opening next year in Oxford and Westfield London.

The project is being executed in partnership with The Great British Exchange, which launched in 2014 and sources artisan products from designers, makers, businesses and factories across the UK. Anna Rigby, head of buying for Home Accessories and Gifts at John Lewis, says: “We know that our customers are interested in the provenance of products and as a British retailer, we’re proud to support British design and quality by sourcing locally. Our Made Locally campaign, in partnership with The Great British Exchange, will help us strengthen our existing local supplier base and inevitably champion more British designers and manufacturers.”

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NEWS Events

Back to the South-west Decorex promises diverse seminar programme This year’s South West Furniture Show, which takes place at The Sedgmoor Auction Centre, Bridgwater from 13-15th September, will be “bigger than ever”, reports the chairman of the organising body, SWFMARF, Patrick Gulliford. Now in its seventh year, the show, which is run by agents and representatives covering the Southwest and Wales regions, boasts exhibitors including Alstons, Furnico, Sherborne, Salus and Celebrity. “Extended floor space will attract small and large retailers alike,” says Patrick. “The show’s easy-to-reach destination and late-night opening means buyers will not have to take extended time away from their businesses to buy speciallypromoted products for the all-important autumn/ winter sale period.”

Decorex International, coming to London’s Syon park from 18th-21st this month, promises a diverse selection of talks on industry topics, taking place in the show’s Seminar Theatre, sponsored by LuxDeco. Highlights include: the editor of House & Garden magazine, Hatta Byng, in conversation with Christine Van Der Hurd, founder and creative director of design studio, Vanderhurd; Applied arts and design critic, Corinne Julius, will host a panel discussion on designing future heritage alongside Sean Sutcliffe, Sebastian Cox and Suzy Hoodless; while interior designer, Ben Pentreath, will host a talk on English houses, focused on his new book; Giles Kime of Country Life will host an interactive panel discussion with some of the

country’s key designers including Tim Gosling, Campbell Thompson, Joanna Wood and Sally Storey, exploring what defines British interior design and where it is going in the luxury market; Lucio Longoni and Chris Haslam will discuss The Future of Retailing; and the evolution of the bath and emerging trends will be explored by Giles Kime with the co-founder of Waterworks, Barbara Sallick, and interior designer Nina Campbell. On the Wednesday, ColourHive, the team behind Mix Magazine, will give an in-depth talk on Colour and Material Trends for Autumn/Winter 2017/18, which will explore how these trends inform colour choices, inspire design concepts and influence material and surface applications for the decorative market.

Todd Bracher to create Das Haus US designer Todd Bracher has been nominated as the guest of honour for imm cologne’s Das Haus – Interiors on Stage. This prominent design event at the imm cologne international interiors show envisages, in the form of a simulated house, how contemporary home life can look – through the eyes of a young but already influential designer. Todd Bracher is considered one of the leading names in the young American design scene. From his Brooklyn-based studio, he collaborates

with leading design brands from around the world, including Cappellini, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller, Humanscale, Issey Miyake, Swarovski, Zanotta and 3M. “Why do we choose a particular lifestyle?” asks Todd as he sets out his intentions for his house in Cologne: “We want to question our conception of what makes contemporary living by rethinking the principles that define the home and asking ourselves if they meet the requirements of the world today.”

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Back to bed Collating data principally from 2014, the second National Bed Federation (NBF) End of Life (EoL) Mattress Report, produced by environmental consultant Oakdene Hollins, reveals an upward trend in recycling rates, indicating a 20% increase in recycling rates by local authorities – 27% by manufacturers and 10% by retailers. Tony Lisanti, group chief executive of the Airsprung Furniture Group and chair of the NBF Recycling Group, says: “Amongst our aims is to work with the recycling industry to ultimately be in a position whereby the NBF will endorse a network of mattress recyclers that conforms to an audited code of practice.”

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NEWS Industry

Furniture Makers welcomes new members The British Furniture Manufacturers’ (BFM) MD, Jackie Bazeley, has been appointed to the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers as an assistant to the court. Jackie is now one of five women on the court, bringing the total number of members to 36. Jackie says: “I have been involved with the industry charity for 13 years. Being elected to serve on the court is a particular honour and I am delighted with the opportunity.” Throughout her time with the charity, Jackie has served on the membership committee as well as the student events committee (now redundant) and is currently on the training and education committee. The charity also welcomed bed manufacturer Hypnos Beds as its latest corporate member. Ben Burbidge, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “Our corporate members are of the greatest importance to us – and to the future of furnishing. All members, individual or corporate, are invited to participate in the many events in the city livery calendar, which are great for networking, entertaining, as well as having fun.”

Belgian suppliers tour UK retailers In July, Belgian Furniture Industry export association BelgoFurn embarked upon a trade mission to the UK to strengthen ties between suppliers and retailers. Led by BelgoFurn’s Bernard Deheegher, the manufacturer delegation, which comprised representatives from BSM, D&D Furniture, De Zetel, Theuns MTE and Vincent Sheppard, visited AIS’ headquarters in Shirley, plus Cookes Furniture, Housing Units, Ponsford, Rodgers of York and Barker & Stonehouse. According to Bernard, the visit gave the Belgians the opportunity to learn more about the character of UK retail, as well as present their own collections on a one-to-one basis. “It was interesting for the suppliers to see how their collections are presented in their UK stockists’ showrooms,” says Bernard, who is planning to take another delegation around selected stores in Scotland in October. A number of BelgoFurn’s members will exhibit at Furniture China, Shanghai, this month – Bernard promises UK visitors traditional Belgian refreshments – as well as at Meubelbeurs, Brussels.

NBF joins TFO The National Bed Federation (NBF) has joined The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) as an affiliate member, pledging its ongoing commitment to helping the industry improve. Jessica Alexander, NBF executive director, says: “In a world where the traditional roles of manufacturer and retailer are becoming increasingly blurred and consumers are increasingly demanding, this closer relationship will enable us to make sure we give our members and the many consumers who contact us the right information and advice about their rights and obligations.”

Charity football tournament results The Furniture Makers’ Company’s annual five-aside football tournament, the Sealy Cup, saw nine teams from companies from across the furnishing industry, including Burbidge, BrightHouse, Celtheath, Cabinet Maker, Hypnos, Lebus and Welcome Furniture, compete at the Powerleague Derby Soccerdome in July. Ultimately, a team consisting of staff from retailer BrightHouse and supplier Welcome Furniture were named champions. Andy Lunt from BrightHouse was awarded Player of the Tournament. In addition to the tournament, each team was able to play an eight-minute game against Burnley FC’s Vintage Clarets, a team of ex-professional football players captained by midfielder John Deary. Ben Burbidge, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The annual Sealy Cup has established itself as an enjoyable day for furnishing industry employees to take part in while raising vital funds and awareness of what the charity does.”

Holly Venning, brand marketing manager at Sealy, says: “The tournament was certainly the best one yet! It’s always a great day and it’s fantastic to see so many people from across the industry getting involved. We’re delighted that the Clarets took part again this year, they definitely had a lot of fun! We, as ever, are extremely pleased to support such a worthwhile charity which does a lot for the industry.”

DFS chairman to head BRC Richard Baker, chairman of DFS, is to take the reins as chair of the retail industry’s trade association, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) this autumn. Richard, already on the BRC board, will start his term of office on 1st September when Sir Charlie Mayfield stands down after a two-year term. Richard is the chairman of DFS, a long-standing member of the BRC, and Whitbread, owner of Costa. He also holds various board and advisory roles with international companies including

Aimia (owners of the Nectar Card) and Advent International. He was previously chief executive of (Alliance) Boots Group Plc from 2003 to 2007, and prior to that was COO at Asda Group Plc. Richard says: “The BRC has a strong track record of championing the needs of British retailers – small, medium and large. A backdrop of unprecedented transformation in the industry and many external uncertainties provides a real opportunity to influence the future.”

Young professionals complete training course Six young professionals have completed The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Young Professional Industry Experience (YPIE) course this year. Launched in 2014 and principally sponsored by the January Furniture Show, the YPIE course brings together some of the brightest young talent in the furnishing industry to take part in an intensive three-week learning programme. The group was given access to all areas of the furniture industry supply chain, learning about raw materials and components, the complexity of manufacturing, buying criteria, pricing, marketing and merchandising, through to consumer law, aftersales and customer service. During a presentation at Furniture Makers’ Hall in July, the group outlined the key concepts learned from the programme to representatives of the companies visited, as well as other industry figures. They also discussed the challenges companies in the industry need to overcome, such as environmental factors, consumer buying habits, imports and exports, skills shortages and technical innovation. To support the delegates’ continued development, The Furniture Makers’ Company will offer each of this year’s YPIE group the opportunity to be paired with one of its members to act as a mentor. Laraine Janes, director of the January Furniture

Show, comments: “The course is an excellent opportunity for budding industry professionals to experience a variety of areas across the furniture industry supply chain and we were proud to support it. We’ve been in this industry for a number of years and we are always keen to support new talent.”

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NEWS Suppliers

Harrison Spinks appoints head of business change

Harrison Spinks has appointed a head of business change in order to help achieve the company’s vision to double its turnover within the next five years. Andrew Salkeld has joined with more than 10 years’ experience in finance and business management, allowing him to bring a wealth of knowledge in corporate strategy, financial management and business intelligence to the role. Andrew says: “I look forward to being a part of the team over the coming months and years, developing a sustainable growth strategy that not only outlines how the company can continue to innovate and grow successfully, but also how each Harrison Spinks employee can help contribute to the overall vision of where we see the business in the future.” Prior to joining, Andrew worked as an independent business consultant for a number of start-up companies. Now he is looking to bring the start-up ethos of innovation, market disruption and commitment to Harrison Spinks.

Vogue Beds’ new Midlands agent Tony Divito has joined Vogue Beds Group and Limelight Beds as the sales agent covering the East and West Midlands area. Having spent 30 years in the upholstery market, and having held directorships with Bridgnorth Upholstery, Ultra Furniture, Corinth Designs, Designers Choice and more, Tony boasts a wealth of market knowledge. In 2014, he started selling dining and bedroom furniture from the Far East, and then went on to become an agent for Vogue Beds and Limelight Beds. National sales manager James Appleyard comments: “Tony has already made impressive additions to the Vogue and Limelight portfolio of retailers. This has been possible through the experience Tony has with his years of dealing with upholstery buyers, and this is already paying dividends in the bed departments.”

Staff movement at Sweet Dreams Ian Stewart has taken over responsibility for Sweet Dreams’ sales in the North-east, following the retirement of Malcolm Willis. Ian has worked in a number of industry roles since 1971, including positions with House of Fraser, Steelux of London, Sealy UK, LPK, Gola Furniture, Julian Bowen, Dura Beds, and Gradi, which he still holds, together with Newbridge Street Bedding Centre in Newcastle for Times Beds. Ian says: “I am absolutely delighted to join Sweet Dreams which has a fantastic infrastructure in place and a phenomenal product mix. I have big ambitions for the turnover in my North-east region.” Nick Williams, who now has responsibility for Sweet Dreams’ 11-strong team of sales agents, was promoted to sales manager in April this year. Nick began working with the company three years ago, with responsibility for developing key accounts. His major success in securing new chains such as Next and Dunelm Mill, alongside buying group AIS and other key accounts, has helped deliver substantial business growth for the company. Nick says: “Sweet Dreams has become a major success story in terms of growth over the last three years, and I’m delighted to be part of the team that’s delivering that.”

Ian Stewart

Nick Williams

Libra rolls out new retail concept After successfully establishing retail concepts in some of the UK’s leading furniture stores, Libra is inviting all of its stockists to benefit from a dedicated in-store Libra shop. The Libra retail concept sees the brand’s team of experts work with a stockist to create a bespoke visual merchandising solution that has now been proven to boost likefor-like turnover on a per m2 basis. MD Paul McLaughlin says: “Consumers are

becoming increasingly aware of Libra, recognising us as a brand that sources and designs the very best products from across the globe, and a name that is synonymous with quality craftsmanship. “In an ongoing effort to champion these values as well as support our stockists, we wanted to provide retailers with the opportunity to work with us to create coherent displays that are not only stunning but are commercially beneficial.”

Silentnight maintains strong growth This year Silentnight celebrates its 70th year as a bed manufacturer. In its last financial year (ending January 30th 2016) the company recorded a record sales performance across its Silentnight, Sealy and Rest Assured brands, with total net sales reaching £137.5m (up 10% YoY) and operating profit performance growing to £8.3m (up 26% YoY). MD Steve Freeman says: “The major driver

behind our sales and profit achievement is our business vision, which we developed and launched across our company – to be the home of the most trusted sleep brands. This vision has helped us to engage and energise every colleague across all departments with total focus on marketleading quality – first-class customer service and continuous innovation.”

Serene appoints sales director Serene Furnishings has appointed Alan Weir as sales director. Alan joins at a time of growth for Serene, which has recently seen the Midlands-based firm, long established as a bed supplier, expand into new areas with dining, recliner and occasional chair collections. Having worked for names such as Jaycee, Stag, Ducal, Parker Knoll and Silentnight, Alan brings 40 years of experience from furniture retail and manufacturing to his new role – the last nine spent as national sales manager for Relaxateeze and, for a short while, G Plan Cabinets.

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24/7 Management. You can order our Autumn/Winter 2016 introductions, along with all furniture and Wicker Merchant goods on our brand new website. With secure access, live stock updates and a payment gateway, this really is 24/7 account management.

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INTERVIEW Sallyanne Hutchinson, Howat & Hutchinson

Howat & Hutchinson’s refreshed identity Homeware, accessories and gifts brand Howat & Hutchinson started life in 2004 as Leather & Lavender, founded merely as a hobby. The company has evolved over the last 12 years into a thriving, vibrant brand offering inspiration for anyone with a love of interiors, and has undergone a major rebranding this year. Co-owner Sallyanne Hutchinson gives Victoria Noakes a closer look into the business ...

The idea for luxury homeware retailer Howat & Hutchinson came about as a result of co-owner Sallyanne Hutchinson’s hobby of importing leather and cowhide homeware items and selling them at Christmas fairs and markets. In 2004, Sallyanne took over the running of a small arm of the family business – then named Leather & Lavender – sourcing a range of top quality leather and cowhide goods from Italy, India and Morocco and trading at fairs throughout the UK. When Sallyanne’s childhood friend – former BBC journalist Jo Howat – expressed a shared love for luxury homeware, the pair decided to join forces and take the business to the next level. Jo brought a different set of skills to the table, with her interest in online retailing taking the business in a new direction. 2012 saw the launch of a new website, and the birth of brand L&L, which aimed to expand the reach of Leather & Lavender not only in the UK, but in Europe, the US and beyond. The company was now able to operate as a fully-functioning web retailer, supported by a bigger stockholding, a new warehouse, branded products and packaging. Howat & Hutchinson offers a selection of practical yet stylish homewares, storage solutions, gifts and desk accessories made

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from high quality leather and cowhide. The collection of striking, hand-finished pieces is ideal for adding a finishing touch to the bedroom, bathroom, living or office space. Products range from tray tables, footstools and umbrella stands to photo frames, trunks and storage baskets. Sallyanne and Jo design their own products from start to finish, from developing the concepts to selecting the materials that they will be made from. “The fact that every new product we add to the range has been conceived, designed and manufactured to our specifications makes us stand out from the crowd. Jo and I source the bolts of leather, work with the designers on the concept and then rigorously road-test the samples personally and in our own homes before launching it to our customers,” explains Sallyanne. This year, the retailer has seen a total rebranding, with Sallyanne and Jo deciding to rename the company Howat & Hutchinson in order to coincide with the launch of a fresh new website – with heightened user experience, easy-to-navigate product pages and quick and easy purchasing functionality. The company is enjoying a growing and loyal customer base, and aims to cater to the diverse needs of the modern online

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Sallyanne Hutchinson, Howat & Hutchinson INTERVIEW



Desk and office collection

Co-founders Jo Howat and Sallyanne Hutchinson

Parker trunk Butler tray table

shopper with its inspirational, striking website and a high level of customer service. “The rebrand and launch of our new ecommerce website is definitely something we’re really excited about. It marks a turning point in the business, and will help us to move into new territories. Our goal is to increase the number of retailers we are stocked in throughout the UK, as well as increasing our online sales,” Sallyanne states. “The ways in which consumers purchase is constantly evolving. This had a big influence over us expanding our online offering, to ensure we’re constantly meeting demands. We work hard to keep on top of trends to deliver the best quality products available in the interiors market.” Two trends that Sallyanne and Jo are particularly interested in this year are the return of the fireplace and using bathrooms as living spaces. According to Sallyanne, making the hearth the heart of the home has never been more popular, with a noticeable rise in people arranging their furniture to complement their fireplace. “Framing this focal point has also started to catch on, with many homeowners choosing to specifically style this interior feature. A pair of our Butler tray tables act as the perfect framing >>>

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INTERVIEW Sallyanne Hutchinson, Howat & Hutchinson

Hampstead leather console table

Ledbury leather umbrella stand Parker trunk set

pieces for fireplaces, and can be accompanied by a couple of lamps, a few photo frames and a book,” explains Sallyanne. “When it comes to transforming a bathroom into a living space, a big trend this year is creating a peaceful and calming oasis. By adding luxurious, textured touches alongside porcelainware and tiles, a real statement can be made. Our Hoxton footstool in natural cowhide can double up as somewhere to perch or pile towels, and our Pria vanity pots and Maisie make-up brush pots in soft ivory add a clean but decadent feel.” Amidst the state of uncertainty in the marketplace following Brexit, Sallyanne remains optimistic, with ambitious plans moving forwards – namely expanding the three main areas of the business – retail, wholesale and interior design. “Like all businesses, we’re waiting to see how Brexit will affect the market. But our loyal customer base and the new supporters that we’re attracting proves that people will continue to want beautiful things for their homes, whatever is happening in the world of politics! In the short term, we are hoping to take advantage of the weaker pound to help us in our push to satisfy demand from customers abroad,” she says. The launch of Howat & Hutchinson’s new website has helped significantly in attracting retailers, and the business is broadening its selected base of UK stockists. What’s more, the company is also in the midst of planning a campaign targeted specifically at interior designers in the UK and overseas to bolster the design side of the business. It’s safe to say that the future looks bright for Howat & Hutchinson, and theirs is certainly a name to watch out for. W

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Hoxton tan cowhide footstool

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When it comes to the best places under the holiday sun and quality we Germans have no humour.

We are close to your markets and thus always close to you: Rauch Furniture UK GmbH 路 86, High Street 路 Evesham, Worcs. WR 11 4 EU Telephone 01386 41333 路 Fax 01386 765065 路

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INTERVIEW Matt Deighton, Sofas by Saxon

Sofas by Saxon’s traditional appeal Sofas by Saxon is a sofa and chair retailer which hand-crafts every piece of furniture it sells in its own workshop. Each item is fashioned by time-served upholsterers, seamstresses and cutters, many of whom have grown up with the business. MD Matt Deighton gives Furniture News further insight into the workings of the company ...

Tell us about the history of Sofas by Saxon Sofas by Saxon was originally founded in 1982 by Mr and Mrs Jolly, who are still involved with the running of the company today. The company’s showroom and factory are based in Bolton, Lancashire where our experienced team handcraft leather and fabric furniture. The original founders were inspired to create high-quality, handmade British furniture which is built to last. Since establishing the business, they have developed a growing company that

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currently employs over 70 craftsman and women from the local area. What products do you offer? We offer traditionally handmade leather and fabric furniture – including sofas, chairs, sofa beds and footstools – which is made in-house by our very own team of talented craftsmen and women. Our sofa and chair frames are made from solid beech hardwood, using traditional joints, strengthened corners and robust suspension, plus buttons and studs are all individually hand-tacked. For our leather, we source only entire

cowhides from the best Italian tanneries. Our fabrics include sumptuous wools, tweeds and linens woven and finished in Britain, and velvet from Italy. What makes you stand out from the competition? As all of our products are made from scratch in our Bolton factory, we’re able to offer a bespoke service. Our customers have the option to customise existing styles, or they can even commission an original piece of furniture which we can design exclusively to fit their specifications.

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Matt Deighton, Sofas by Saxon INTERVIEW



What are the aims of the business? Sofas by Saxon’s primary goal is to produce handmade British furniture of the highest quality. Everything from our traditional manufacturing process to the superior quality of materials we work with ensures that each piece we create is long lasting.

phones and tablets has resulted in a rise of mobile browsing. These technology updates makes accessing the internet from anywhere easy and convenient for users. It is vital that websites keep up to date with these changes and ensure their content is responsive and optimised to be functional on all platforms.

Tell us about the business’ recent activities We have recently rebranded from Saxon Leather to Sofas by Saxon, alongside the introduction of a new brochure including new photography of our entire range. The rebranding has also allowed us to introduce fabric into our range for the first time since our company began.

How does your website offer a heightened user experience? Our new website now allows customers to view every piece of furniture within our extensive collection in over 130 different leathers and fabrics. Often customers find it difficult to imagine what a sofa or chair would look like in a certain colour – our website takes away this worry and has proven to be very popular. We’ve also produced videos of each style to allow our customers to see our furniture from all angles.

How do you address the needs of a changing market? We continuously monitor the economic climate in order to judge the mood of the global economy and how it is perceived by the consumer. This allows us to keep up to date with changes in the market. What trends are you seeing? The ever-increasing popularity of smart

What’s ahead for Sofas by Saxon? With all our recent developments, we’ve certainly got a busy time ahead of us! Watch this space! W

Chesterfield Belgravia Matt Deighton


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Home Inc. Wholesalers of Premium Indoor Furniture Ranges to the Trade Following the launch of our new Laurent ranges in Black and White High Gloss, plus the addition of console tables and square dining tables across the existing ranges, we have refreshed our website with some additional images. This investment also included refreshing the on-line checkout to make this a smoother process, but if you prefer we will continue to take orders by email. We have also updated our pdf reference brochure with these changes. Both versions, with and without prices, are available to download from the site. Alternatively, contact us at the details below and we will be happy to send one to you.

Northern Showroom - 696 Oldham Road, Failsworth, Manchester M35 9FB Southern Showroom - East Duck Lees Lane, Enfield EN3 7SR Please contact Alistair on: 0800 772 0807 or Furniture News 330 Home Inc.indd 1 V6.indd 34

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16 09:41

Clickthrough > My Furniture INTERVIEW



This month, the homewares website in the spotlight is – Furniture News explores the practices and philosophies behind the enterprise …

Clickthrough > My Furniture Dimitri Pappas, director

Why visit your website? My Furniture offers the latest trends and designs in furniture, high quality, five star customer service and very quick free delivery, at extremely competitive prices. How did you enter the industry? There are three partners in the business – we were neighbours and friends. Each of us have had different career paths. I come from the world of telecoms and another worked within the furnishing industry. He suggested we pool our resources and talents to start an online furniture business, and I laughed! I’m not laughing now though, as in just a few years we have turned it into a very successful business. Who is your e-commerce hero? has to be the one for me. They represent everything we want to be known for – common sense, good prices, great customer service and a wide product range. Describe a typical working day A typical working day starts early about 5am (from home), mainly because many of our suppliers are in the Far East and we have to include them, otherwise tasks tend to drift inside the week. Also, the morning is when I can do my planned tasks rather than dealing with any day-to-day issues that arise. I then leave for the office to arrive at 9am and deal with the everyday tasks, from late inbound containers to new designs, packaging suppliers and expensive accountants! We are not yet large enough to be able to afford specialists in every field, so we are all able to cover most jobs. I usually don’t leave the office until about 6.30pm but I always keep an eye on my phone after that, mainly checking on the evening sales or any negative feedback that may require quick response and attention. Which part of your job would you prefer to avoid? Dealing with complaints is definitely the one part of my job that I do have the luxury

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to be able to avoid these days. We don’t get many complaints, but as with any online business we get customers that for one reason or other can be unhappy, on the phone or email, mainly due to courier or delivery issues. It is a very hard situation to be in, especially when it is not our fault, but we try to resolve any complaints fast. What has been your greatest challenge? The roots of the company were on eBay and third-party websites, and my greatest challenge was creating an independent online furniture company from these humble beginnings. It is much harder to create demand as an independent website compared with an Amazon or eBay store. This is rapidly changing though, and our website sales now far exceed the total combined turnover on third-party websites. However, we haven’t turned our back on third-party websites as they were an important stepping stone in the development of our business. How much do you invest in making your site more visible? In the internet sea, marketing is sometimes the only tool you have if you want to stand out. Yes, we do have organic growth and a large amount of returning customers, but the bigger part of growth comes from marketing, without a doubt. They say you have to put 10% of your profits into marketing – I think for an online company without much physical presence, 10% is the absolute minimum! There are many ways to spend money on marketing, but we have found that social media marketing represents very good value for money for us, as it is still relatively in its infancy. How might the relationship between online and physical retail develop? Physical presence is important, especially in the world of furniture. On many occasions it is a deal breaker, especially for the higher ticket items. There is no picture that

can show the feel and comfort of a sofa. However, I think that the high street will be under increasing pressure from online retailers as time goes by. A lot of them are overpriced because they have to finance expensive city centre locations. Equally, online retailers need to have showrooms where people can touch the products. We currently have one showroom attached to our warehouse in Nottingham, and are in the planning stages of opening our first London showroom in 2017. What are your growth plans? This is the exciting part of being in business! Our website is now live in Sweden, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with the US coming online next year. We have had a very positive response to our products through Amazon in Europe, so we are now focusing on offering our full range there too. This involves making deals with many local companies, couriers and other businesses in their respective countries. What advice would you offer aspiring e-tailers? Treat every customer like they are the first one – they will keep coming back, and will recommend you to their friends and family

Snapshot: My Furniture offers designer furniture at affordable prices Launched: 2013 SKUs: 500, but with thousands with all the variations it offers through its upholstery team Unique monthly visitors: 100,000

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EVENTS New Designers

Review Graduation ceremony New Designers returned to Islington’s BDC this summer to host the cream of the UK’s graduate design crop. At 31 years of age, the show is a well-established launchpad for creatives, and this year’s edition saw over 3000 emerging talents engage an industry audience of around 15,000. Furniture News reports …

1 Graduates gather for the fair’s awards ceremony (image courtesy of Mark Cocksedge)

Few exhibitions rival the youthful enthusiasm on display at New Designers. Chiefly comprising finalyear portfolios from colleges and universities across the nation, the show is a unique recruitment and promotional opportunity for its student exhibitors, and has been responsible for introducing many of them to the commercial world over the years. The multi-disciplinary show is divided into two parts, which tend to straddle the end of June and the start of July. The latter features a strong furniture component, with students from established institutions in the field including Bucks New, Nottingham Trent and Sheffield Hallam universities rubbing shoulders with the likes of Plymouth, Northumbria, Edinburgh Napier, Brighton and Sussex universities, and Stratford’s Building Crafts College. The specialist BA Furniture course at High Wycombe’s Bucks New University is shortly to be

subsumed into a wider design curriculum, but its New Designers swansong is impressive. Presenting projects developed alongside industry partners Ercol, Heal’s, and the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation, highlights include Pip Jay King’s Nidum table triplet and Jack Hazell’s industrial wardrobe. “We are proud of our vehement championing of a process of design through making,” comments course leader Fiona Davidson. “In a world where empirical design skills are too often neglected in favour of the seductive and often naive or inappropriate use of CAD skills alone, Bucks’ BA Furniture students are well placed to succeed – they know how to make things.” This hands-on approach is evident across the floor, and within the One Year On feature, a curated selection of over 60 entrepreneurs in their first year of business. Furniture News’ June and July issues featured


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New Designers EVENTS






the work of two of the participants – cabinetmaker Charles Dedman and artist Sarah Christensen. Sarah, whose eye-catching contemporary Foya cabinet combines yellow acrylic and fumed oak, explains how she quit her previous day job to pursue a freelance design career. Indeed, throughout the fair, the students present are under no illusion that a life in the creative industries is going to be easy. Whilst some of the more glamorous stands are paid for by the institutions represented, many others are funded by the students themselves. Either way, the attitude of the majority of exhibitors tends towards genial openness – these young designers are well aware that, in a way, they are selling themselves as much as their products. As such, there’s a palpable energy throughout the show despite the high temperatures outside the building. The participants recognise the importance of putting themselves in front of so many influential visitors, and are thankful of the opportunities that New Designers provides – and those lucky enough to be recognised as winners of the event’s various awards enjoy even greater fame. Camberwell College of Arts’ Selce Studio wins the John Lewis Award for Design and Innovation for its

parallel slots system and shelving design, a simple modular system designed to adapt to any interior, netting the team £1000 and the opportunity to meet the retailer’s head office team to discuss their product and design ambitions. Matthew Pope of Nottingham Trent University wins the show’s 100% Design Award for Addax, a funky modular sofa with interchangeable sections. The prize is exhibition space within the Emerging Brands section of 100% Design 2016. He responds: “I can’t believe this is happening, it has given me the drive and resolve to pursue a career in furnituremaking.” Addax features in this month’s In Design feature Isobel Dennis, director of show organiser Upper Street Events, sums up the show’s overall contribution: “New Designers remains the UK’s most important exhibition for emerging design. It is imperative that we continue to nurture the future talent that comes through UK’s art and design education, so that Britain’s world-leading creative industries can continue to flourish.” Next year’s New Designers will take place from 29th June to 1st July (Part 1), and from 6-8th July (Part 2). W

2 Series F by Alex Gay, a 3D Design student at Plymouth University, features a novel textile opening panel 3 Pip Jay King’s Nidum table triplet (Bucks New University) 4 Jack Hazell’s industrial wardrobe (Bucks New University)

“There’s a palpable energy throughout the show despite the high temperatures outside the building”

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EVENTS Top Drawer | Home

Preview A carefully curated edit for Top Drawer | Home Top UK and international design-led brands are preparing exclusive, striking new launches for Top Drawer | Home autumn/winter 2016, to provide creative ideas for inspired retailers.

Bed & Philosophy

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Design and quality will shine through all four Top Drawer worlds this year, with the latest products on display from hundreds of exceptional UK and international brands across Home, Gift, Fashion, and – for the first time at the autumn/winter edition – Craft. From the quintessentially British to Europe’s most directional labels, each has been chosen for its outstanding design and originality. With an expertly-curated pick of some of the best products and brands, all showing in Top Drawer’s striking contemporary spaces, Top Drawer is the destination that creative retailers go to source everything for the season ahead – all in the heart of London, the hub for one of the world’s most vibrant creative communities. In the Home arena, which is 30% bigger than last autumn, visitors can expect to see new homewares, furniture and lighting from Alessi, Also Home, Au Maison, Black+Blum, Canvas Home, Forma House, Garding Trading, Leonardo, Makers & Merchants, Make International, Stelton, Skandium and Umbra and many others, including first time exhibitors Bed & Philosophy, Edito, Erstwhile, Nuf Nuf, Vanilla Fly and Yod & Co. Responding to the increasing demand for high quality artisanal items with provenance, Craft makes its debut at the autumn edition this year. Following its successful introduction and three-year run at the spring edition of Top Drawer, this curated presentation of handmade products will become a bi-annual feature of the autumn event. Talented makers from a broad range of disciplines have been carefully selected to show their wares. Covering ceramics, glass, metalwork, furniture,

textiles, woodwork, prints, fashion and jewellery, there will be a wide array of unique and handmade pieces on offer. Spotted also makes a welcome return to Top Drawer. Curated by design journalist Charlotte Abrahams, this section introduces buyers and press to specially-selected fresh new talent, whose market-ready products will be on show for the first time. New for autumn/winter 2016 is the UK Debut trails. UK Debut will highlight Top Drawer’s commitment to introducing its visitors to the new and best of worldwide design talent – a trail where visitors will discover international names that have not exhibited in the UK before. Firm favourites Product GB and Eco Trail will also return to Top Drawer, led respectively by House & Garden features director, David Nicholls, and architect, designer and TV presenter, Oliver Heath. These two features enable buyers and press to seek out products made using materials sourced in the UK and designed and produced locally – and those with strong ethical and eco credentials. This impressive line up of carefully selected exclusive brands and new products makes the autumn/winter16 edition of Top Drawer | Home one not to miss. Held at London Olympia from 11-13th September, this light-filled contemporary backdrop offers comfortable spaces and a relaxed environment in which to source products, meet designers and stay ahead of the trends. Buyers can register for a free pass, and will find full event information on the Top Drawer website. W

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Come and meet the NEW Horatio family...



We would like to introduce you to the new Horatio family of pocket sprung beds. This collection of nine pocket sprung beds offers exceptional value for money as well as exceptional levels of comfort. To take advantage of these great new collections... Visit us at the NBF on Stand G50

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EVENTS Long Point

Preview Long Eaton’s showrooms are open for business The Long Eaton Guild’ Autumn Long Point exhibition returns the Derbyshire town from 1214th this month to present some of the best UK-manufactured furniture available …

Malibu, Wiemann

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Showrooms around the town will be open from 9am-6pm daily, presenting new upholstery and cabinet furniture, often within aspirational setting environments. John Sankey is offering visitors the chance to explore its newly-refurbished workshops, while Celebrity will launch a new all-action suite, Melton. Baker Furniture will be present with its Little Tree Furniture collections and new Portobello dining range, and Alexander & James will present its impressive Autumn Collection. Other exhibitors include Iain James Furniture,

Henderson Russell, Duresta, Collins and Hayes, Parker Knoll, Wade Upholstery, Carlton Furniture and Wiemann. All retail and bona fide interior designers are welcome to attend, but may be expected to present their business card upon entry to each showroom. The event’s organiser has negotiated a special rate of £40 per night including breakfast at the nearby Risley Hall Hotel for visitors booking through the exhibition helpline. T 07902 032101 W

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? Autumn Long Point – Collins and Hayes EVENTS



Collins and Hayes looks to the future Collins and Hayes is approaching this month’s Long Point exhibition with typical vigour, introducing new models and PoS material from its revamped showroom on the ground floor of Harrington Mill. In the meantime, Furniture News discovers how the next chapter of the brand’s evolution is shaping up …

! New stools complement Collins and Hayes’ offer 2 AIS exclusive, Semper


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The progressive upholstery brand continues to go from strength to strength, as an increasing number of retailers embrace its lively, contemporary concept. As well as new fabrics – including velvets and wool – and an updated leather offer, this show season sees the company further refine its new generation of sofas and chairs. “We’re starting to present the products we launched in the last two years in new product combinations,” says MD Matt O’Flynn. “One of the nicest things about the Collins and Hayes range is the breadth of designs we offer, and it’s becoming clear that we can achieve anything within our range of styles – there’s so much scope inherent in our product. That our portfolio boasts such variety is great for independents, who can truly offer their customers something different.” As well as the AIS-exclusive Semper – a modern, plinth-mounted chaise, which debuted at the buying group’s private show last month – Collins and Hayes will unveil Dalston, a feather-filled model with a high back and arms, designed to cocoon the user in comfort. These launches will join the rest of the company’s current range at Long Point, and Dalston will also feature on the company’s stand at next month’s Minerva showcase, the Autumn Furniture Show. This strong exhibition presence reflects the confidence with which Collins and Hayes is ploughing its own furrow – a characteristic appreciated by larger stockists such as Stokers, Christopher Pratts and Fenwick, recently opening display galleries in a number of their stores. On top of this, the company was named UK Manufacturer

of the Year in Interiors Monthly magazine’s latest awards. It’s a strength that is only set to be magnified now the company is owned by luxury brand specialist Wessex Bristol. “From our point of view it’s largely business as usual under our new owners,” confirms Matt, “but our stockists will increasingly benefit from the greater emphasis we’ll be placing on designing exclusive lines for their market segments, as well as marketing.” New launches will be thoroughly supported by PoS and social media. “We’re becoming much more active in the consumer space,” says Matt, “helping prime the market for new developments and drive footfall into stores.” Matt would be the first to admit that Collins and Hayes’ approach to elegant contemporary style challenges the UK’s established design norms more than most, but admits that there’s a fine balance to be achieved. “Constant product and brand development makes your proposition more interesting, and keeps the market fresh,” he says. “My approach is to keep looking and listening, and not be afraid to change. That said, if something hits the groove – as we’re seeing happen more and more often – we’re making it work harder through marketing and diversification. “The new approach we brought to the market two years ago is definitely hitting the mark with stockists and consumers all over the country, and, under our new owner, we’re ready to take our market presence to the next level.” W


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Horst A perfectly formed slender arm curves around the back of the frame giving a generous seating area of soft and sumptuous cushions. Twin stitching detail on the arm makes this a very stylish must have. made in England

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The high arm, high back acts as a ‘cocoon’ encompassing a soft, generously filled feather interior to maximum those chill out moments. The mixed scatter back cushions add endless comfort as well as a chance to mix up your own personalised look Dalston

See us at the following exhibitions - AIS, Autumn Long Point and Minerva


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Emden Architecturally inspired, this sculptured frame with softly covered low arms surrounding snug high back cushions and soft seats is a pleasure to relax in. Extra large, large and medium sofas have 3 seat and 3 back cushions. made in England

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Our range of sofa companion stools offers a useful choice of sizes, shapes and styles. Fixed or loose cover, storage, leg height and cushion top options provide variety in look as well as lifestyle requirements. Stools

See us at the following exhibitions - AIS, Autumn Long Point and Minerva


Relentless Elegance View our fabulous range at our showroom in East Sussex, and at our trade showroom in Long Eaton, by appointment made in England

Furniture News 330 V6.indd 49

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? 100% Design EVENTS



Preview The design trade’s destination 100% Design, the UK’s largest design trade show, returns to Olympia London from 21st24rd this month …

1 Altar Furniture 2 Ebb & Flow 3 Pad Home


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100% Design forms the commercial heart of London Design Festival. Here, national and international exhibitors will present ideas, products and innovations for the domestic, workplace and built environments, alongside a focus on emerging brands. This year sees the staging of the 22nd edition of the show, and reflecting its focus on inspiration, this year’s theme is experience, which will be explored through various installations and sensory experiments. Talks with 100% Design will be curated by the Design Museum as part of its ‘on loan’ campaign, with activity around Kensington until the museum opens there on 24th November. The programme, which features the likes of Ron Arad, Asif Khan and Afroditi Krassa, will explore trends in contemporary practice, and the future of design. Making its debut at London Design Festival 2016 is LuxuryMade, a show dedicated to contemporary decorative interiors. Staged alongside 100% Design close to the site of the Design Museum, it is the latest addition to the area’s burgeoning design offer. The longest-running of 100% Design’s five sections, Interiors, will present leading international brands exhibiting everything from furniture and lighting to fabrics and accessories. New exhibitors include German furniture specialist Axel Veit, veteran glass-maker B&S Glass Industries, and lighting and furniture studio Industville. Other exhibitors include: Pad Home, which will launch new products and ranges including selections from Ibride and Leff Amsterdam; eccentric British designer Mineheart; and lighting companies Designheure, Original BTC and Dowsing and Reynolds. A special feature, Design London, will take centre stage. Consisting of a carefully-edited group of

fewer than 15 brands, Design London will highlight some of the best in design manufacturing, with each company chosen to complement one another as contributors to London’s reputation as the design capital of the world. Brands exhibiting include Stockholm-based Massproductions and hand-made sustainable furniture specialist Adventures in Furniture. Meanwhile, Emerging Brands, 100% Design’s platform committed to uncovering fresh ideas from new talent, features: Hedesign, introducing its lamp and coat rack collections to the UK; rug and pillow designer RedNoir; interior print designer Mairi Helena; glass and vinyl illustrator Sarah Brown; lifestyle brand Elizabeth James Art; and chair designer Se7e. W



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EVENTS Autumn Furniture Show

Preview Buying group assists with seasonal sourcing After enjoying record attendance at its members-only show in May, the Minerva Furnishers Guild is looking forward to its larger autumn show, and invites all members of the trade to Telford’s International Centre for the third year running.

Organised by an independent buying group for independent retailers, the fully-booked event features a broad spectrum of well-known UK brands, combined with international elements – a one-stop-shop event open to all furniture retailers, all under one roof. As usual, although prominence is given to the buying group’s preferred suppliers, several specially-selected guest exhibitors will also be present. “The show has come on a great deal,” says Minerva’s group business manager, Roy Beagent, “ultimately thanks to its suitability. It’s the only major furniture exhibition taking place at this time of year, and the timing is superb. In most instances, orders can be placed for deliveries ahead of the all-

Furniture News 330 V6.indd 52

important January sales period, and, in some cases, even in time for Christmas.” As a buying group, Minerva prides itself on offering its retail members a straightforward, helpful service, without putting any pressure on them to buy. Members enjoy access to exclusive products, specific container offers, and the support of a well-established network of contemporaries at the mid-to-high-end of furniture retail. Registration – open now via the website – is increasingly well managed, ensuring that only bona fide members of the trade can access the event. The show opens from 9am-5pm on 11th October, and from 9am-4.30pm on the 12th. T 01249 716195 W

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V1 TAFS - Furniture Retailer flyer 216 x 297_Layout 1 08/08/2016 13:21 Page 2



join us for the 3rd autumn furniture show over 60 leading brands in one place… a must attend event for all furniture retailers Exhibitors include: Alpha Designs ● Alstons ● Anbercraft ● Ancient Mariner ● Antika ● Arc Art Forma ● Ashley Manor ● Ashwood Designs ● Azevido ● Baker Furniture ● Balmoral Furniture Bentley Designs ● Bespoke Upholstery ● BilliB ● Blue Poppy Art ● Bluebone ● Breasley Beds Buoyant Upholstery ● Carlton Furniture ● Celebrity Furniture ● Chelsom ● Cintique Collins & Hayes ● Creation Retailer ● Danalight ● Doyle's Commercial Body Building ● Dormeo Duresta ● Enashaw ● Fortune Woods ● Furniture Link ● Furniture Origins ● Gascoigne Designs Gplan Upholstery ● Greenapple ● Greendale Carpets & Flooring ● Harrison Brothers ● Helderr Heritage House ● HTL ● Hypnos ● Jual Furnishings ● Kettle Interiors ● Lebus Upholstery Ludwik ● Luminess ● New Trend Concepts ● One Home ● Parker Knoll ● Pelcorte ● Pharmore Pownall & Hampson ● Qualita ● Rauch ● Relyon ● Retail Systems ● Scanthor United Kingdom Sherborne Upholstery ● Sitbest ● Somnus ● Steinhoff Beds ● Vale Upholstery ● Verikon VIDA Living ● Vintage Sofa ● Welcome Furniture ● Wiemann Yeoman Upholstery ● ZigZag

Tuesday 11th October 9.00am - 5.00pm Wednesday 12th October 9.00am - 4.30pm

An event from

For further details and to register please visit The International Centre, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 4JH Furniture News 330 V6.indd 53

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EVENTS January Furniture Show

Preview January event promises even more Bigger is better – especially when it comes to the UK’s leading furniture and furnishing exhibition. With more stand space and more exhibitors for 2017, the January Furniture Show will feature everything from cabinet furniture, upholstery and beds to soft furnishings, flooring and giftware across the five packed halls.

1 Daro 2 Whitemeadow 3 ercol

The four-day show – which runs from Sunday 22nd until Wednesday 25th January at the Birmingham NEC – is a must-attend event for those involved in the furniture industry. There are over 280 already confirmed exhibitors for the 2017 show including Parker Knoll, Baker Furniture, Libra, Whitemeadow, Duresta, Willis & Gambier, Gallery Direct – including Frank Hudson and Dreamworks – Westbridge, Alstons, Dar Lighting and ercol, as well as new sign-ups Ekornes and Malini. The next edition will see Hall 5 as the major destination hall, offering its strongest selection of commercial leaders for years. Hall 4 boasts leading UK and international cabinet brands, while Hall 3 will be the place to visit for furnishing accessories. Hall 2 will be the centre for international


contemporary furniture, while Hall 1 remains a destination hall for high-end exclusive ranges. Show director Laraine Janes says: “We are excited that the calibre of companies exhibiting is particularly high for 2017 and that visitors to the show will have the best experience. “We had 85% of 2016 exhibitors sign up for next year on the spot. The show has become such a success in the past two years that it is now an integral marketing tool for any furniture and furnishings business. We have had to increase hall space by 10% to accommodate the new enquiries and, laying strong foundations for the future of the show, we have just signed a seven-year deal with the NEC which underlines the centre’s confidence in its future.” W



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RESOURCES How to sabotage a sale


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 underwriting solutions. W

Four times you’ll experience sales rejection Nobody likes getting rejected. We’ve all experienced it – we’ve also all figured out ways to avoid it. According to Kevin Cundiff, when it comes to customers, there are four ways a salesperson can guarantee rejection, which can easily be avoided …

1. Focusing on price instead of value Many salespeople fail to understand the difference between price and value. While they might seem similar at first, they’re actually two very different things. Sticking to a customer’s price point is important, but it’s not the only thing that matters. If you offer a customer a product that solves a distinct problem, and it’s something they’ve been trying to find for quite a while – or maybe that they didn’t even know they needed – that’s pretty valuable. When needs are met, price tends to matter a little bit less. On the flipside, if you push a product that has little-to-no benefit, your customer is bound to walk out of the store empty handed regardless of the price – bad news for both of you. Pressuring customers to buy worthless items is more likely to annoy them, and push them away from buying something they might actually want. Not to mention this kind of behaviour can do serious damage to any existing or potential brand loyalty.

2. Avoiding the budget conversation Speaking of price, you should never start pushing a sale until you’ve addressed a customer’s budget. Sure, it can feel a little awkward, but until you know what a customer is willing to spend, your tried-andtrue sales tactics won’t do much good. Think of your customer’s budget as a map. It can point you in the right direction as you promote various products, and it can help them find what they’re looking for at a price that makes sense. Of course, there’ll always be opportunities for upsells, add-ons, and showcasing higherpriced products – but unless you know where your customer stands on budget, you’ll have a hard time leading them to the sale. If you push the customer too hard on an item that’s above their price point, you could once again be pushing them out the door – or worse, to a competitor. 3. Being impatient about getting to checkout A salesperson who runs to the till before the customer has actually committed always

“You should never start pushing a sale until you’ve addressed a customer’s budget. Sure, it can feel a little awkward, but until you know what a customer is willing to spend, your tried-and-true sales tactics won’t do much good”

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throws up a red flag. Read your customer’s body language and verbal cues to get a sense of where they are in the sales process. Yes, most customers require a bit of coaxing and warming up before they’ll let you into their circle. The sooner you can start building trust – proving that you’re there to help and not to force a sale – the better off you’ll both be. Once that trust is built, you won’t have to drag them to the checkout kicking and screaming. 4. Letting ‘no’ be the final answer It’s easy to let ‘no’ end the discussion. However, checking in with the customer a second time might magically turn that ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. You don’t want the customer to live happily ever after with someone else’s product, right? Put on your game face and ask for the sale again. In sales, a ‘no’ is rarely a cold, hard, set-instone ‘no’. Again, demonstrate your patience here and discover the real story. Establish rapport and you’ll usually find a way to solve a customer’s problem, which should encourage them to respond more positively. By recognising these mis-steps, you can avoid a sales dilemma that ends with losing a sale, or even losing a customer. Steer clear of these interactions and show rejection the door instead

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PROFILE Steinhoff UK Bedding Group

Being owned by an investor doesn’t mean funding comes easily – so Steinhoff’s UK team discovered when they began redeveloping the former Hilding Anders factory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, to meet modern demand. Furniture News visited the facility – now responsible for producing the Slumberland and Myer’s brands – to see how lean manufacturing principles have helped return the site to profit …

Thoroughly modern mattresses

Steinhoff has invested £2.2m in a new delivery fleet

Steinhoff UK Bedding Group is set to reveal that its Huntingdon site made a seven-figure profit last year – an upswing of over £5.5m from the £4.5m loss recorded the previous year, a turnaround all the more remarkable given the state in which its previous owner left it. Marketing, design and development director Richard Naylor puts it plainly: “The business had been decimated by Hilding Anders, and the effort necessary to rebuild it and safeguard the factory, brands and jobs here over the last three years has been considerable.” Upon the acquisition, the factory – originally owned by Jonathan and Rodney Myers – comprised a mix of disparate manufacturing types, says Richard, and had fallen a long way behind the sector’s leaders. With discerning customers including the likes of M&S, Mothercare and Laura Ashley, plus a raft of independents – not to mention ownlabel output, and the principal stockist, Steinhoff’s own Bensons for Beds, “the hardest of our customers to please, and our harshest critic, funnily enough” – Steinhoff UK Bedding Group had to make some serious changes. One might think that the South African parent company’s vast financial heft would make this task relatively straightforward, but

“We have an insight into the operating practices of some of the best European manufacturers”

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Richard says that the investor requires as much persuasion as an outside backer might, and the factory’s team had to work doubly hard to earn its support. “Steinhoff are in it for the long term,” he says, “but you have to prove you’ll make money before you get the investment.” To date, that investment has been considerable, including £1m spent on the building – most recently in the form of a 50% enlargement of the loading dock – and £400,000 in new machinery, from quilters to sewing machines. The scale of the project is immense. Huntingdon turns out the bulk of Steinhoff’s UK bed product, whilst the more bespoke models of the independent-only Relyon brand are produced in the company’s more hands-on facility in Wellington, Somerset. Together, these factories are capable of producing up to 15,000 mattresses a week during peak periods. The company’s mattresses, divans and headboards are generally made to order, necessitating a manufacturing process of epic proportions. Simply overcoming the physical limitations of Huntingdon required significant effort from the outset, says Richard. “With all manufacturing sites, you’d ideally like to start with a big rectangle – just put things in one end, and have them come out the other,” he says. “The reality is that this is a 1960’s building – you have to work with what you’ve got.” Lean manufacturing efficiencies, brought to bear by general

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Steinhoff UK Bedding Group PROFILE manager Mark Duff (formerly of Multiyork) and operations manager Matthew Richardson, have been crucial in maximising output potential. Most lean principles are common sense measures, admits Mark, but it takes an experienced and perceptive team to identify where money can be best spent. Streamlining throughput – from material deliveries, storage and loading to waste extraction – with Matthew’s help, Mark is always looking out for an opportunity to implement better working practices, and smarter ways to utilise energy and space at the factory. Developments include a new warehouse facility, which helps ensure consistent the maintenance of four-week lead times for all stockists (“the biggest mistake this industry makes is favouring the big customer”, says Richard). The warehouse is principally used to store materials, which are sourced locally when possible, and always through British companies. “For every retailer these days, the pressure is immense for on-time, complete delivery,” says Richard. “We have raw material deliveries every day when it’s possible – it’s just another of the economies of scale available to us at this site, and it works for everyone involved.” The factory layout has been thoroughly optimised to encourage product flow, and the bright, clean environment is up there with some of the best in the field. “We have an insight into the operating practices of some of the best European manufacturers,” says Richard – indeed, and by way of example, in July Steinhoff announced an alliance with European bedding leader Grupo Pikolin – “and are looking at implementing some of the more advanced automation practices here.” High standards carry right through the plant, with a focus on ethical practices and sustainability. On top of the standards one would expect at a plc-owned facility, as a supplier to M&S, both Huntongdon and Wellington are subject to the retailer’s stringent Plan A audit, so there’s no room for slacking. The commitment to sustainability means low-energy motors, FSC-certified timbers, dual-flush toilets, sustainable energy tarriffs, intelligent lighting systems, and a preference for natural materials. The company’s work with retailers such as M&S ensures the same high standards benefit its independent customers – and it’s clear from the factory’s set-up that they enjoy a great deal of Steinhoff’s focus. For example, supporting the ongoing plant developments is a new Mercedes distribution fleet, a £2.2m investment which includes 12 bespoke trailers with rear-steering axles, specifically designed to access those harder-to-reach delivery areas many independents are lumbered with. Beforehand, thanks to their high emission ratings, some of the vehicles couldn’t even enter London – now Steinhoff boasts a branded fleet that’s one of the most fuel efficient in the industry, and plans to invest a further £1m in 31 additional trailers in 2017. This catalogue of developments make it easy to overlook a real asset

Mattress border stitching

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Brand new Last year’s Bed Show saw the group focus on increased value through its Myers and Slumberland brands, and sales have grown in the wake of the marketing push. “To win back market share you have to take a very defined approach to how you use your brands,” says Richard. “Slumberland has gone back in, and is more expensive, but it’s been a hard-fought increase – there’s been considerable investment in PoS support and digital marketing, with more on the way.” The brand is now active on Twitter and Facebook, driving engagement through competitions, many run in partnership with stockists. Myer’s has become the company’s classic value-added proposition, lifting it significantly from its Hilding Anders days. The brand now focuses primarily on high value pocket sprung models, all of which come with a full five- or eight-year guarantee. Equally, a full eight-year brand guarantee accompanies every thoroughly-tested Relyon, Slumberland and Dunlopillo mattress, reflecting the manufacturer’s confidence that they will survive the industry-recommended life cycle. The group will unveil its latest models at the Bed Show this month, from stands F70, G50 and G60. that has survived the acquisition, and which continues to make the business’ success possible – its workforce. Employing anything from 260 people during off-peak periods to upwards of 400 at full capacity, Huntingdon does not want for able workers. Populated by many long-serving individuals – one team member in deliveries boasts 47 years of service, having followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both of whom served the company for upwards of 40 years apiece. Employee retention is taken seriously by the new senior management team, which has implemented mentoring programmes to help the most promising individuals rise through the ranks. It’s clear that Huntingdon has benefited greatly from material investment in the last three years, but the significant turnaround that’s taken place here can be attributed as much to the wisdom and creativity of the on-site team. The last 12 months in particular have seen the site become a healthy, profitable business – which would not have been possible without modernising it to such an extent. With Steinhoff’s house now in order, its customers can be even more confident in the quality of product and service on offer. This stable of valued bed brands is in good hands indeed. W W

The loading bays are currently being expanded

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On the back of their hugely successful Portland Range, Flexiload Asia have launched the new Grand

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The economic backdrop to this summer’s Manchester Furniture Show meant the event faced an uphill struggle before it even opened. Furniture News discovers how the UK’s second-largest furniture show fared in these circumstances …

Manchester holds its ground In the wake of a slow season for many retailers, coupled with political uncertainty and the likelihood of price rises in the wake of the referendum – plus an M6 closure on the Monday of the show which resulted in some buyers being delayed or altering their plans – this year’s show remarkably attracted even more visitors. According to the event’s organiser, almost 5000 visitors – “a number very slightly higher than those in 2015” – were treated to a plethora of new products from well-established brands and younger companies. Westbridge, Baker, Furmanac, Rauch, Gallery Direct, Whitemeadow, Nolte, and Furniture Origins were amongst those who reported betterthan-expected sales at the three-day event, and all have confirmed they will be present next year. In fact, the organiser reports that over half the exhibition space at

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next year’s event had been secured by the show’s close. Business development director at Gallery Direct, James Hudson, comments: “The open space feel worked well for Gallery. Ranges launched in January were viewed with fresh eyes which resulted in good orders – in fact we took far more orders than last year and we are delighted.” James Stevenson, Baker’s sales director, says: “Our new product has been really well received, we’ve had really good orders and we will be back next year.” Stronger in appearance than previous editions thanks to everimproving stand presentations, the event proved a typically amiable meeting place for the UK furniture industry, giving larger players a chance to reassert their offers, and giving new companies an opportunity to catch the attention of buyers. >>>

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The cafe at this year’s show had a country fair feel

Vida Living

Sofa Source


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Ancient Mariner

Kingstown (0333 014 3750) launched its modern and on-trend bedroom range, Arden – which offers three versions of wardrobe – at the Manchester Furniture Show. The wardrobes come in bi-fold, hinged and sliders with the sliders having an option of a mirror. There is also a wide range of chests and carcass colours that come in Swiss elm and Finlandia pine. Door colours available are Tristan grey and Cashmere gloss, and the door design is made from high-quality acrylic with a high-gloss finish. The contrasting carcass and edging give the collection a luxury feel, plus the handles are made from solid wood and colour-matched to the carcass. Arden comes with linen interiors and draw wraps and metal drawer runners for easy-glide action. The show provided an opportunity to view Corndell’s (01993 776545) newly-launched Annecy Dining pieces and additions to the successful Annecy Bedroom range. Fairford – the company’s strong oak dining range – now includes trestle tables and a bench, plus a striking hutch adds depth to the collection.

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Carlton Furniture

Global Furniture Alliance (01291 645099) featured a selection of models with emphasis made on vintage-inspired accent pieces, displayed in a variety of supple leathers and plaid fabrics. The company’s new premium swivel recliner collection – Zedre By GFA – is made up of four innovative designs, with quality Scandinavian hardware and adjustable neck mechanisms in an array of contemporary full and semi-aniline leathers. Value Mark Furniture’s (01387 253897) large occasional and dining offers saw several new introductions, including the Lewis collection in black apricot high-gloss, married with chrome and black glass. The company’s impressive offering of lighting, art, accessories and compact marble dining sets made for an eye-catching stand at the show. Carlton Furniture (0115 942 2700) launched its fresh Industrial range, featuring products with a wire-brushed distressed finish, making the most of the natural grain of the wood. A combination of iron, stone and geometric designs gives an industrial, vintage

edge without losing any comfort. New additions especially for Manchester from Ancient Mariner (01254 820600) included the unique Metro range, made from solid mango wood, and the Country range, with a rustic look, whilst Ashley Manor (01384 486800) displayed some of its most strikingly-designed collections to date, tailored to modern, luxury living. Heritage fabrics in indulgent damasks meet modern natural weaves in the company’s new pieces, creating an effective blend of styles to suit a range of homes. The Children’s Bedroom Company (01373 455220) impressed with its new contemporary painted bedroom range, its Inspiration oak bedroom range and new additions to its children’s ranges. Heartlands (0121 565 6750) presented a diverse offering of several new highgloss dining sets together with matching occasional furniture, in addition to displaying its popular electric motion leather recliner ranges and an extensive range of new fabric beds. >>>

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DG Dining, Kettle Interiors

Oak bed from Kettle Interiors’ Bed Collection

Kettle Interiors (01536 444960, sales@ launched the Bed Collection, bringing retailers a selection of styles available in natural oak and painted finishes, in a range of sizes. Offering five designs, the Bed Collection works alongside the supplier’s oak and painted furniture, or as an addition to a retailer’s divan and mattress line-up. The range covers contemporary and traditional looks, in sizes from 3-5ft. After the successful launch of the DG bedroom collection late last year, Kettle Interiors has taken the same formula and applied it to living and dining furniture to create the aptly-named DG Dining collection. Also launched at the show, this painted collection features contrasting oak tops with classic styling cues, and each piece is supplied with a choice of chrome-effect or wooden handles. The range comprises 21 different items including three extending dining tables and a

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Bora, Arthauss

variety of sideboards and living pieces. Arthauss Furniture ( was established in 2013. From day one, the company knew it wanted to offer its customers something distinctive, focusing on contemporary and fresh designs as well as keen prices. Arthauss made its debut at this year’s Manchester Furniture Show, and the company’s fold-away bed, Concept, received an enthusiastic reception at the event. Concept is an innovative space-saving bed highly sought after by homeowners with limited bedroom and studio flat space. It provides a sleeping area without taking up the valuable living space. Arthauss also offers a wide variety of sofa beds – each containing generous bedding storage compartments. Arthauss’ offer adapts to customers’ needs – small spaces force smart storage solutions. The company’s exclusively-designed sliding door wardrobe range is growing dynamically,

Arti, Arthauss

and sizes vary from 120cm up to 270cm width. Arthauss also offers matching bedroom furniture sets, plus new lines of living room and modern children’s furniture products are constantly being added. All products are created for self assembly and are delivered flat-packed for greater ease and comfort of transporting. The BFM ( reports a successful show. On each day, the association’s consultants were available to provide expert advice on a range of industry topics, including employment law, timber regulations, export and health and safety. MD Jackie Bazeley says: “We had an excellent first-ever Manchester Furniture Show! Visitor figures to our stand were great, with many new membership enquiries as well as some positive feedback and support for our work. “We couldn’t be more delighted with the results.” >>>

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Inspired Heights Collection, TCS The Carpet Specialists

An area of growth for TCS is its recentlyintroduced TCS The Carpet Specialists (01524 840177, division. Going from strength to strength with better-than-expected growth in all areas since its launch in 2014, the company is continually tweaking its ranges, and this year sees the introduction of six ranges, which will be launched from stand C63 at The Flooring

Show, taking place in Harrowgate from 1820th this month. MD Thomas Small will be present to meet customers old and new. The concept of TCS The Carpet Specialists was designed from the ground up, with both independent flooring and furniture retailers in mind. The company has been working on space-saving market PoS which will hold all the TCS Inspired collections – the ability to offer cut lengths means furniture retailers can

enter this significant market, with no stock to be stored and very low entry costs combining to offer another revenue stream. All of these ranges in addition to the existing ones are available now, and stocked in 4m and 5m. TCS has increased its warehousing space, and as such its roll capacity allows it to hold larger stocks. The company now boasts three warehousing facilities – two in the UK and one in Ireland. >>>

Established in 1999 and based in Nottingham, Carlton Furniture is a family run business who pride themselves on quality and excellent design. Not only do they offer a fantastic range of bespoke dining chairs but beautifully handcrafted dining furniture. Their solid oak collections, run from the traditional Rustic Manor which boasts a rich rustic oak and is hand finished for that extra touch of quality, to the new and more modern Portland collection. The Portland uses a combination of raised grain wood, metal and stone. These elements combined with geometric designs give an industrial, vintage look without compromising on comfort and usability.

All their solid oak ranges can be expertly painted using a selection of the prestigious Farrow & Ball paint, along with their extensive collection of British wools and fine Italian leathers to choose from, each piece really will be uniquely yours. • T: 0115 9422 700 Carlton Furniture Ltd, Nottingham NG7 2GA

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Always looking for new and innovative items, this year Carlton will also be launching their new Barkington dining table. The table has a choice of two table top sizes, which by keeping the natural edge of the wood, enhances the natural feel and utilises the natural grain. The Barkington is available with 3 versions of legs; forged steel cross leg, solid oak trestle leg and a solid oak cross leg. All of which can be purchased separately to the table top allowing you to show your customers the full choice available.

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Mattressgard Betterlife, Staingard

Flair Rugs’ vibrant stand

Flair Rugs

Mattressgard Deluxe, Staingard

Furniture care product and services supplier Staingard (01244 888658, www. launched Mattressgard, a new range that brings together mattress protectors and associated bedding products, providing retailers with an opportunity to increase profit whilst helping customers protect their mattress and create a healthy, hygienic sleeping environment. In Mattressgard, retailers have access to an unrivalled range of fabrics, sizes and colours, all held in stock in the UK ready for rapid dispatch. Whether the customer requires quilted protectors or the more contemporary and increasingly popular fitted sheet styles, the range meets every demand. Produced in a range of materials, including cotton, polyester or the new-age Tencel fabric, all products can be supplied as waterproof or non-waterproof. In addition, Staingard introduced its unique

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Sleepcool product, exclusively produced for the Mattressgard range. Sleepcool features the unique Thermic system, that, when activated, helps regulate body temperature. All packaging can be tailored to retailer requirements, and eye-catching PoS units are available to create demand in store. Rug manufacturer Flair Rugs (01457 850660, unveiled a series of new collections and looks on its vibrant stand. Flair welcomed guests to a new era for the company, greeting familiar faces and new friends with an array of updates to its portfolio of wool, acrylic, cotton, polyester, polypropylene and natural fibre rugs. Sales and marketing director Gareth Davies says: “We’ve been delighted with the outcome of the Manchester Furniture Show, which proved an excellent opportunity to enhance exisiting partnerships while looking

to reach out to new customers. We are very fortunate that our new introductions have helped us do just that, autumn/winter 2016 holding plenty of promise for Flair and its retailers as an exciting season looms.” Garnering most interest were new collections Persia and Venice. Persia introduces Eastern design to the home in six unique hues, offering intricate patterning interspersed with bursts of accent colour for a real antique flavour. This rug employs soft polypropylene for an impressive feel, enhanced by backing that steers away from jute for extra forgiveness. Sister collection, Venice, is similarly constructed, and is presented in two shaggy designs, Imperial and Plazzo. With its pile height variation, Venice boasts texture like no other – mixing high shaggy and low loop pile, Venice achieves a soft feel that is usually reserved for more care-intensive fibres. >>>

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Kent Plus, from Rauch’s “Dialog” range

Leno, from Rauch’s “Pack’s” range

Boston dining, Seconique

German bedroom specialist Rauch (01386 41333, displayed 15 ranges, comprising wardrobes retailing from £149 to £2000 and revealing the sheer breadth of the manufacturer’s one-stop-shop across its four price-determined ranges. Despite the event’s political and economic backdrop, Rauch reported increased turnover. “Attending or displaying at a furniture show in the shadow of a Brexit shock is uncharted territory, but frankly there is no other measure,” says area sales manager Carina Kunkel. The head of Rauch Furniture’s UK office, Brian Westman, adds: “There is

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much uncertainty – and understandably, caution – about the coming months or years, depending on one’s point of view, when considering the market. As a German company supplying the UK, we understand these concerns, but as a representative trading partner looking across the English Channel we can say that no matter how our political representatives’ negotiations proceed on exiting the EU, we expect to continue to expand our UK business.” According to Rauch, visitor attendance to its stand on the first day in particular was “excellent”, some customers making the trip specifically to see the company’s latest

offers. The stand’s theme was certainly on trend, black, grey and more earthy colours accentuated by notes of “bling”. Every model was taken up. “Although turnover was up, the attendance overall may have been down,” admits the company. “Given our opening statement, that is understandable. However, the quality of presentation at the exhibition was excellent, and there is always much to see at the Manchester Furniture Show – and so, for next year, we are voting ‘in’ again!” Seconique (0121 506 4888, www. enjoyed a positive response to its new lines and additions. >>>

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Alpha Designs Upholstery

Amongst the bestsellers were the dining sets, including: the Boston, which features an attractive star-effect leg frame and includes four ladder-back chairs; the Rimini, with a white top and rubberwood frame, accompanied by four grey linen-look fabric chairs; and the Julian table, which has a white top with beech legs, and comes with a choice of white, grey or black stacking chairs which are sold in pairs and can be mixed and matched. The Corona bedroom range saw the addition of a one-door wardrobe alongside a number of grey pieces including a two-door wardrobe, dressing table and a selection of chests. Corona dining was not forgotten, and was bolstered by the addition of a grey 5ft dining set with distressed wax pine top, which complements the existing grey occasional pieces. There was also a new four-door sideboard with one drawer, which is now the largest sideboard available from Seconique. Many new beds were also added to the company’s extensive collection. To carry

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through the current trendy grey theme, the Georgia sleigh bed and Monaco high-foot end have been designed to match the grey Corona bedroom range, while the Panama mid-sleeper bed, available in white, grey or antique pine, also proved popular. Seconique’s sofa collection has been expanded to include the Ashley two- and three-seat sofas and a single chair in grey linen-look fabric with contrasting light grey buttons. The colour selection within the Tempo two-seater sofa range saw the addition of red, blue and grey linen-look fabrics, which co-ordinate well with the company’s tub chair offer. Alpha Designs Upholstery (01902 492937) reported its best performance to date, opening a good number of new accounts and enjoying strong support from existing customers. Alpha presented a sophisticated variety of new and established contemporary sofas and chairs across an exceptionally well-dressed stand. “We chose to show our best-selling models again, because we’re able to say with

Corona bedroom in grey, Seconique even more confidence that we have products that work for a whole range of independent customers,” says the company’s Charlotte Floate. Alpha also exhibited new models and fabrics. The company’s ongoing bestseller, Halley, remained the top performer, followed closely by Warwick, a new compact fixed-back range, and Twist, another new development with a chunky arm, featuring soft ribbed fabric. Next year the event will return to Manchester Central from 16-18th July 2017. W

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XYZ Agencies is a family-run manufacturer based in Nottingham, producing a comprehensive range of upholstery, and servicing over 300 retailers and specifiers.

XYZ’s broad offering Ascot round table

Lovat three-seat sofa

On the eve of its 10th anniversary, XYZ completed a challenging move into new premises in Trowell, Nottinghamshire. The new location comprises a 21,000ft² warehouse with ample container storage space over a 1.5 acre site. Over the past nine years XYZ has become a market leader in the supply of occasional and tub chairs, offering one of the largest stock ranges in the UK. Over time, the company has expanded its portfolio to include a variety of sofas, dining chairs and beds. XYZ attributes its success to the diversity of its offer – ranging from a keenly-priced collection produced in Poland for the middle market, to a higher-end range manufactured within its own facility in Nottingham.

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The mid-price range is marketed under the XYZ brand, supported by its Polish production facilities. The company supplies its own designs to a variety of groups, as well as a stock range to independent retailers. The higher-end product range, which is entirely produced in Nottingham, is promoted under the growing Paulus & Brown brand. The company prides itself on exceeding customer expectations, and is willing to go the extra mile to ensure the process – from ordering to delivery – is efficient and as personable as possible. XYZ has a closeknit team with traditional values and is passionate about what it does. W W

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Westbridge Furniture Designs approached the show with confidence, presenting new designs with a focus on apartment living across an attractive stand.

Warm reception for Westbridge’s compact offer


“Due to its relaxed atmosphere, ease of access and professional organisation, we always enjoy exhibiting at the Manchester Furniture Show,” says sales director Nichola Bell, “and this year did not disappoint! Even though the show ran across probably the three hottest days of the year, we were delighted that so many retailers visited.” Alongside a strong complement of Westbridge models – including the latest from its Heritage leather and fabric ranges, Heirloom, Explorer and Georgie – the company put its new Elements range front and centre, with a new fabric offer. “We see Elements as the funky younger sister brand in relation to Westbridge,” says Nichola, “offering fantastic bursts of colour with fun and exciting accent fabrics. Our fabric designer Jo Butters certainly did us proud, with many commenting that it was our best Elements offering to date.” The event was a baptism of fire for Westbridge’s newest designer, Rob Chadwick, whose team created a welcoming backdrop for his new designs across the large stand. Responding to customer demand, the focus of the bulk of new products was compact apartment living. “The idea that bigger is better may be a myth – so many people are looking for stylish smaller sofas,” says Nichola. “On this basis we introduced four new ranges that concentrate on overall width without compromising on seating capacity. Combined with our new fabric, this fun and vibrant collection proved the show’s best seller.” Leading the way was Edgar, a compact three-seater sofa in a mix of wool blend, velvets and cotton weave fabrics. Also new was Felix, a

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Felix sofa range with a corner option – featuring attractive arm detail, this versatile model looks good in every fabric offered by Westbridge, says Nichola. “As trend dictates that grey is the new beige, the Morgan in a new graphite story also proved popular,” she adds. “It’s a great combination of simple style and interesting fabric textures.” All of the new ranges comprise five sizes of sofa plus an armchair and matching accent chair, and are available to view in Westbridge’s dedicated showroom in North Wales. T 01352 714131 W

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Arncliffe sofa and chair

The Manchester Show saw Wood Bros launch four upholstery designs and unveil a collaboration with Moon, a Yorkshire-based mill that also values trust, family, heritage, quality and craftsmanship …

Wood Bros expands horizons with new 100% wools This year saw the launch of four compact sofa and accent chair designs – Malham, Arncliffe, Ripley and Pickering. Malham comprises a sofa and accent chair that features a traditional English rolled arm, a lugged piped seat cushion, a comfortable deep sit and relaxed back. Arncliffe comprises a sofa and accent chair, and is in the style of a gentleman’s smoking chair, offering piped scroll arms and a curvaceous back with scroll arms. Next is the Ripley, which also comprises

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sofa and accent chair, and has piped scrolled arms with a tapered frame and comfortable deep seat. Finally, there is the Pickering chair, a stylish and feminine accent chair with flowing arms that link through to the back, which features pleating and buttoning details as well as an enveloping back shape. Each design features turned legs that can be finished in any of the current Wood Bros furniture timber colours. The new designs have been paired with a

collection of 100% wool fabrics from English woollen mill, Moon. Wood Bros and Moon are both family companies which share a long English heritage and a passion for design. Herbert Wood founded Wood Bros in London in 1924, and the company still prides itself on the craftsmanship and quality of its furniture and upholstery. Similarly, Abraham Moon was unique in being the first to develop the fully vertical mill in 1837, producing British-made fabric collections for both the home and high fashion.

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Wood Bros MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW REVIEW Moon’s mill is based in Guiseley, Yorkshire, and there it combines tradition and progress when manufacturing natural fibres such as wool, cashmere, silk and linen. The raw wool fibres – colourfast, and naturally stain- and fire-resistant – are dyed and blended to create a melange of complementary hues which are woven into furnishing and apparel fabrics. Moon fabrics can be found in castles, stately homes, hotels and homes all over the world – Moon fabrics are even present in the foyer of the Oval Office of the White House. Several Moon fabric stories have been created by Wood Bros’ design team to feature upon the new sofa and chair collection. These combine classic fabrics with current colour



trends, and feature a variety of looks. For example, a fresh botanical angle is created by Garden Party, a pretty pastel look is achieved though Brighton Rock, and Cornish Cream Tea features cream and biscuit hues reminiscent of a coastal picnic. Made up of co-ordinated herringbones, plaids, tartans and plains, the new swatch further extends the breadth of consumer choice, and is available on all Wood Bros’ upholstery designs. To complement the sofas, Wood Bros also offers a choice of throws and scatter cushions. T 01920 469241 W W

Pickering chair

Malham chair

Ripley sofa

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Ripley chair

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Bluebone Imports launched three ranges at the show, incorporating designs for the bedroom, dining and living room, and combining style and practicality …

Stylish fusions strengthen Bluebone’s offer


Bluebone’s new twist on painted furniture features classic design with on-trend colours, new techniques and eye-catching features. The Storm Grey collection brings traditional charm and clean lines together with panelled doors, framed drawers and contemporary drawer pulls. The sand-coloured tops show the attractive grain of the timber while offering a protected and clean surface. Bluebone has given its popular Painted Provence a new fresh look by combining it with soft-brushed whitewashed tops to create Cottonwood, the company’s newest two-toned range. The new look makes it easier to pair Bluebone’s white or French grey pieces with other looks, increasing their commercial value. Cottonwood comprises a full bedroom range in two different looks, plus a dining range and living room furniture. Further expanding upon its success in the field of industrial furniture, Bluebone also presented new pieces in its Re-Engineered range. Its cross-leg tables with soft-brushed reclaimed tops are simple statement pieces that offer a lighter touch than the masculine look often associated with the industrial style. Meanwhile, Bluebone’s Titanic bedroom – in which timber salvaged from old boats is used to create retro and mid-century furniture – is gaining traction. The company has now extended this range to include a full bedroom offer, and further developments are in the pipeline. T 0161 330 8959 W

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This year’s show saw Nick Tuck, director of the UK subsidiary of Swedish supplier Rowico, pass the baton to business director Caroline Henchcliffe. Furniture News was keen to hear about her approach …

Defining Rowico’s path First, a little about yourself please, Caroline I come from a background of sales and marketing, working across a variety of sectors including manufacturing solutions. I’ve spent the last 10 years in the home industry, operating from various perspectives across manufacture, wholesale and retail, developing business strategy and managing large teams. My work has seen me deal with national and independent retailers including Debenhams, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Leekes, Homebase, Homebird and Jarrolds. Since I joined Rowico at the start of the year I’ve helped run the UK business – which

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is currently seeing double digit increases in turnover – and developed strategies to achieve further growth. How does Rowico’s UK subsidiary operate with regards to the parent company? Whilst we’re a subsidiary of Rowico AB, established in 1971, the product range is designed and sourced specifically for the UK market, creating unique market appeal. The company adds the extensive experience of its international team and strengths in design, sourcing, logistics and infrastructure to the in-depth local market knowledge of our team in the UK.

Caroline Henchcliffe

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“I can see the global brand capitalising on these foundations, delivering fresh designs tailored to UK tastes” Nick Tuck spent the last five years developing a unique brand and style at Rowico UK, using innovative products and leading designs to build niche market appeal. In the future, I can see the global brand capitalising on these foundations, delivering fresh designs tailored to UK tastes.


Purbeck bedroom

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How did you approach this year’s Manchester show? We have long used Manchester Furniture Show as a platform for new product launches, and a chance to give our best sellers further exposure. Since I joined, we’ve been designing and developing our industrial collection, Lowry, and adding a bedroom collection to our bestselling Purbeck range. Lowry living and dining consists of 11 products. Inspired by metal and wood trends, and taking note of our industrial heritage, its name inspired by L S Lowry, the famous industrial artist who was born in Manchester. It boasts an aged driftwood finish, complemented by metal bases and styled with metal-framed chairs. Purbeck has become our fastest-selling new range. Comprising reclaimed distressed driftwood with cream painted highlights, Purbeck couples rustic charm with innovative design. The highlight of the new bedroom collection is the magnificent king-size sleigh bed, a feature for any bedroom. Both Lowry and Purbeck bedroom were well received in Manchester, and we look forward to seeing the collections delivered to retailers over the coming weeks. In all, we saw a large number of our

customers, and welcomed potential new ones. It was Nick’s last furniture show, and the show organisers Theresa and Larraine took the opportunity to say goodbye to him at a champagne lunch on our stand – we all wish him a long and happy retirement! Can you offer any further details of the products in the pipeline? We already have new products in development for launch at the January Furniture Show – the initial samples will be through early next month. Rowico UK uses our in-house design teams in Sweden and China to ensure we focus on product trends whilst keeping a close watch on the needs of the UK consumer. Rowico UK is known for innovation within the reclaimed, time-worn style, and this successful product strategy will continue with additions to existing ranges and complete new collections. What are the biggest challenges you face, and how do you plan to tackle them? Rowico UK has seen rapid growth, which itself brings challenges. Product development, maintaining consistent stock supply, and ensuring we work as a team offering the best customer service … these have always been our key objectives, and will remain so. We are currently recruiting additional customer management support, and we’re expanding our product development team. We’re also doubling our warehouse space. It’s an exciting time for Rowico. W

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In 2015 a fledgling enterprise scheme aimed at helping local disadvantaged young people learn new skills – and potentially pursue a future in the furniture industry – occupied a small stand at the Manchester Furniture Show. The stand and the students on it were a hit, attracting attention from exhibitors and visitors – but what were the long-term benefits?

A year of transformation Entitled Transformers, the stand featured small indoor and outdoor furniture pieces including bookcases, CD storage units, benches and coffee tables made by the students taking part in the scheme. All of the items were crafted from broken and discarded furniture, which had been either donated or left in vacated council properties. Using the skills they had gained on the scheme and their own inventiveness, the students upcycled the unusable furniture to create new pieces with a new purpose and a fresh look. The enterprise scheme was set up by City West Housing Trust, a member of the ForViva community group, in October 2014, and was partially funded by RBS. Its aim was to help up to 20 young people to become self-employed by giving them the skills needed to source, upcycle and sell furniture. Each student would undertake a 12-week course to learn basic business and practical skills. So, one year on, what has happened to Transformers and its students, and how did having a stand at the Manchester Furniture Show help them? According to course leader and qualified business adviser Eric McBean, the stand was a catalyst for many of the students and the success of the project. Two of the students who showed their work last year have gone on to open a furniture shop in Salford, selling upcycled furniture >>>

The Transformers team at last year’s show, with show director Theresa Raymond

Off the back of the scheme, Jade Wheatland and Liam Barlow received a grant for their furniture upcycling business, J&L Up-cyclers


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The scheme sees unusable furniture recreated

at affordable prices. Some of the materials and pieces they use are supplied by contacts made at the show. Another student is in full-time employment with a trade visitor to the show. In addition, several companies that exhibited in 2015 have become regular suppliers of seconds or damaged items to Transformers, giving the latest students items to upcycle with their newly-gained skills. “The Manchester Furniture Show played a vital role in developing the confidence of our young students,” says Eric McBean. “From the show we attracted suppliers of furniture and materials – exhibitors shared contacts, and one visitor offered job opportunities within their furniture manufacturing factory.” The funding from RBS was intended to achieve one business startup and assist 20 young people in learning new skills and joining a career path. The scheme was more successful than that, seeing

two business starts and helping over 60 students, who still receive ongoing support. Unfortunately, the funding was not permanent. Says Eric: “We would like to do this all over again, however RBS no longer fund these projects so we have to look further afield to make it possible. We would be happy to share our case studies and social accounts that demonstrate that, for every £1 invested, we return £5.04 in social value, and would welcome any investment from members of the furniture industry.” Manchester Furniture Show director Laraine Janes comments: “We are delighted that from a small stand at Manchester last year so many good things have come. It would be wonderful if this scheme and other schemes like it could be funded and produce new talents for our industry in the future.” E


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OUT & ABOUT Manchester Furniture Show

Event: Manchester Furniture Show’s exhibitor drinks party, sponsored by Furniture News Location: Manchester Central’s foyer and adjoining terrace Date: Monday 18th July Lowdown: Each year, Furniture News, the show’s official media partner, provides drinks for the second of two exhibitor parties (the first is sponsored by the event’s organiser). This edition saw the sun shine down on Manchester, prompting the majority of revellers to take to the terrace to enjoy a warm evening of cool refreshments following the day’s trading

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Manchester Furniture Show OUT & ABOUT

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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


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LIVING 26/08/2016 11:50

DINING ROOM M&P Chairs (M&P,, an importer and wholesale distributor of European beech and oak chairs, recently teamed up with a pair of local furniture manufacturers to offer standard and bespoke bench seating, dining tables, coffee tables, sideboards and dressers to complement its existing chair range. Available on good lead times, these new products are already proving popular, the company reports. In addition, M&P Chairs’ finishers offer a wide range of wax, lacquer and paint finishes – recently, the company has noticed growing demand for paint and lacquer contrast schemes using darker-coloured paints in particular

M&P Chairs now sells dining furniture

M&P Chairs

Now Available - Splendid Dining Tables, Chairs And Benches


Please visit our website to see our full ranges - WWW.MANDPCHAIRS.CO.UK All enquiries to: Mike Hodgson – • Call: or Paul Hodgson – • Call:

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Wiemann’s showrooms in Harlow, Essex

Wiemann open the doors to two new UK trade showrooms in a year which sees record sales and exciting new product developments for the German bedroom manufacturer …

Two new UK showrooms to show off Wiemann 2016 has been kind to Wiemann. UK sales have been increasing steadily – not least because of a really positive reaction from retailers and consumers to a host of new product launches, but also because of the hard work and effort going on behind the scenes to deliver a service that’s the best it can be. 2016 success stories include: the innovative walk-in wardrobe concept, Multiplus, only 110mm deep; Malibu, which offers an ingenious split sliding door with drawer combination; a stylish and comprehensive value range, Imola, in exciting new finishes Champagne and Nocce; and the semi-solid wood range, Kentucky, with the clean and natural appeal of planked solid oak door fronts combined with white glass. Also recently introduced is a brand new interior finish for its core ranges, Treeline, chosen to complement today’s current palette of door and carcase finishes.

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“All Wiemann’s products, whether premium or value, are made in the same factory, with the same quality standards and attention to detail,” says Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agents in the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture. Great products are half the battle – but the team behind Wiemann knows great service is just as important. “We never forget that we must make dealing with us as easy and trouble-free as possible,” says Simon. Customers can keep track of orders via the Wiemann online portal. Then there’s the company’s renowned Home Delivery and Installation option – available nationwide, and throughout Ireland. Says Simon: “We strengthened our HDI operations during 2015, increasing capacity and capability so we can deliver more and deliver better.” Full training is provided for all customers’ sale staff so they understand how the products work and can maximise the sale

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For more information, visit

Wiemann’s Long Eaton showroom at Harrington Mills



opportunities they offer – plus there is plenty of marketing support in the form of PoS, brochures, CDs of all images and a UK website, which has just been overhauled and relaunched. Although Wiemann exhibits each year at the January Furniture Show, Minerva and AIS events – and from time to time at the South West and Scottish shows – retailers have the opportunity to view products ‘in the flesh’ at any time they choose at the company’s two permanent showrooms in the South-east and the Midlands. Both showrooms have moved to new locations this year. Wiemann was invited to set up in the prestigious four-storey Long Eaton furniture showrooms, Harrington Mill, in mid-2015, and enjoyed exhibiting for the first time at last year’s Autumn Long Point exhibition on the third floor. This year, however, they have relocated to a permanent spot on the first floor, sharing the space with Carlton Furniture. Six to seven

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ranges will be on display here and, while these will be changed regularly, they are likely to reflect the relatively upmarket flavour associated with Long Eaton. Meanwhile, further south, Wiemann has moved its extensive trade showroom from Edmonton to Harlow. Signs Furniture continues to provide the facility, this time within its Bedrooms 4 You outlet. Here, 170m2 of space enables 12 ranges to be displayed, plus the two generic chest storage collections, Miro and Tokio. “We are delighted to be supporting the UK market, now with two permanent homes,” says Wiemann’s export manager, Kai Schwenke. “Having these central and accessible places to showcase our products all year round and provide facilities for training is seen as very beneficial to ensuring our profile in the UK remains strong.” The next Long Point exhibition is being held on the 12-14th September.

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Marlow, Gallery Direct

Mitcham mirror, Gallery Direct

So far this year, The Shire Bed Company ( has already invested nearly three quarters of a million pounds in restructuring its principal manufacturing facility in Dewsbury, Yorkshire. Two new pink delivery vehicles complemented the company’s alreadyextensive fleet of multi-coloured vehicles, while investment continued with over £100k in the purchase of a new automatic, all-inone border, handle and label machine for its mattresses. The upcoming purchase of an additional site will bring its total investment to nearly £2.5m – and there are plans for further investment. The initial expansion saw an increase in size from 30,000 to 47,000ft2 and has already

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Shire Beds’ eco Champion

created work for an additional 20 staff. Marketing director Fara Butt, says: “It’s been a really busy year so far. With the initial stage of the expansion now complete, the extra space means we have been able to start manufacture of the new Roll and Rest collection which we will be launching at the Bed Show. With business growing, the continuing investments allow us to offer our customers a more comprehensive selection of products.” At Autumn Fair, taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 4-7th this month, Gallery Direct (01795 439159, www. will present its new collection of mirrors, which was also on display at the Manchester Furniture Show. The first of the new ranges offers striking

Pocket Shire, The Shire Bed Company

feature and accent mirror frames using handcrafted mosaic and crackle glass. Another is based heavily on the antique brass/bronze metallic look – these mirrors, with their warmer palette and refined shapes, offer a more sophisticated evolution of the industrial look. Alongside these collections, Gallery will offer customers the opportunity to purchase end of season lines in its Really Big Sale. This stock clearance is necessary to make way for new designs – including several furniture ranges – which Gallery will be launching at the January Furniture Show. The sale offers the opportunity to purchase designs at up to half their regular prices. Visit the team at Autumn Fair in hall 2, stand C03-B04. >>>

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The UK’s ‘numero uno’ for vacuum packed mattresses

The Bed Show Stand F50, Hall 2

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Faye, Serene


Lillian Ottoman, Serene


le s

Ag en t






Several years ago, fabric was an emerging trend in the beds market – which Serene’s (0121 505 0270, founder and MD Tasleem Tasab identified and capitalised upon, launching an inspired Fabric Collection of beds and headboards that today stands as one of the company’s bestsellers. At the heart of its continued success is a succession of strong designs offering something for the most modern and traditional of homes, coupled with an evermore attractive palette of colours. Tasleem and his creative team place huge emphasis on selecting fabrics that are

durable and tactile in nature, and colours that enhance the fabric weave and stitching. Colour choice also plays an important role in enhancing individual designs – soft, neutral tones, pastels and bold colours all have a different effect on the lines, shape and proportions of a bed. Visitors to this year’s January Furniture Shows will have seen new Fabric Collection models launched to meet consumer demand. Ottomans feature strongly in the Fabric Collection for 2016 – stylish solutions for clutter-free bedrooms that feature substantial storage capacity.

Examples include the Faye bedstead, which combines subtle curves with soft fabric and contemporary styled feet. Faye is available in gold, lilac and steel, in three sizes – 135, 150 and 180cm. Another example is the Lillian Ottoman, which boasts all the positive attributes of a quality bedstead, but with a spacious floating floor and more than ample storage in the base. Like Faye, Lillian comes in three sizes, and is available in three fabric tones – fudge, pearl and steel. Four wood finish options for the legs complete the look. >>>



KENSINGTON - available in Grey & Natural Stone NEW

FREYA - painted wooden ottoman NEW

MAYFAIR - available in Silver & Natural Stone NEW

SOHO - available in Stone & Grey NEW

STIRLING - available in multiple colours

OXFORD - available in Silver & Natural Stone NEW


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Many more colours and sizes available

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Corona Whitewash, Core Products

For a bright, fresh take on a proven favourite, Core Products’ (01738 630555) Corona bedroom furniture in a white-washed finish offers a fresh take on a proven favourite range. The combination of South American style blended with this new finish creates a striking look. This range has been specially developed to capture the current trend for washed-effect wood finishes. Being a wax finish, it still allows the beauty of the solid pine to show through whilst providing an easy to clean and maintain finish. Metal drop handles and complementing stud detailing complete the look, whilst the construction features real dovetail drawers and raised and fielded panel doors along

Revitalise vacuum-packed rolled mattress, The Foam Company

with Core’s renowned level of component engineering. Price is a consideration too, and Corona’s Whitewash collection offers good value for solid wood furniture. All the pieces in the Corona Whitewash collection are generously proportioned and offer ideal storage opportunities – whether wardrobes, chests, bedsides or bookcases, there is plenty on offer. All of Core’s products ranges are warehoused in the UK and there is the option to have goods delivered direct to the customer or to a store with a choice of delivery services, including next-day with no minimum order requirement. The Foam Company (01235 514240)

has introduced two new mattresses to its Revitalise portfolio. The recently-rebranded Revitalise vacuumpacked range now includes the Ultra 500 and 700. There are now eight mattresses in the Revitalise range, comprising the new 25cmdeep Ultra 500 and 700, along with 20cmdeep mattresses Revitalise 250, 500 and 700. Two rolled pocket mattresses and bunk bed mattresses complete the range. Revitalise mattesses can also be combined with products from the SleepShaper Classics and Gold collections. The Foam Company is an innovator in foam, memory foam and latex products based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. >>>

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RA 280

Our Heritage Collection offers affordable luxury and exquisite style and has been awarded Good Housekeeping Institute approval for the 3rd year running! To find your nearest leading independent retailer visit

Furniture News 330News V6.indd 105 RA 2800 Furniture advert.indd 1

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Octaspring, Dormeo

As part of its constant growth and development plan, Dormeo (www.dormeo. has launched a new design cover for the luxury Octaspring mattress range. The new covers have two distinctive modern designs that now separates the pure Memory Octaspring ranges from the Hybrid models. Combinations of Octaspring technology and traditional materials like pocket springs and latex make it easier to identify different models on the shop floor and make purchasing decisions for end consumers faster. The new top cover is made from award-winning Superstretch fabric, that can stretch up to 50% more in each direction than traditional fabric, which greatly benefits in

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Pocket 2000, Mammoth

adding additional comfort to the mattress, bringing out the cradling sensation of Octaspring memory foam springs. Dormeo has also added a new-generation environmentally-friendly Ecofresh antiallergenic protection, made from natural probiotic ingredients, that helps protect the mattress from allergens, dust mites and bacteria in a new and natural way. A couple of new practical features have also been added to the covers, like a completely removable top part of the cover – which can be washed without removing the entire cover, plus built-in handles that help in moving the mattress, discreetly hidden under the mattress when not in use.

UK mattress and upholstery brand Mammoth ( is bringing the ‘science of comfort’ to the 2016 Bed Show. Known for its unique medical grade foam, the company will present its proven core range as well as a new model, new divans and colour swatches. The Bed Show follows Mammoth winning an NHS award for innovation in pressure relief – contributing to its strong story and selling points for retailers. John Tuton, founder and MD, says: “Our innovation and strong focus on the science of comfort has now been recognised by the NHS which further reinforces the success of our healthcare-led approach”

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Sealy has continued to hit headlines this year with a host of high-profile accolades for its pocketsprung Teramo 1400 mattress.

Teramo triumphs again

Which? Best Buy, Sealy’s Teramo 1400

The most recent recognition for Sealy’s Teramo 1400 mattress came from consumer champion Which?. Having tested the Teramo 1400 against 28 other products, including a host of other mattresses and pocket sprung models, Teramo 1400 was named a Best Buy after it scored the highest, and was hailed the “best mattress tested in years” by the panel for the second year running. Which? praised the Teramo 1400 as the most durable mattress it has ever seen, and a choice which will remain in great condition, lasting its owner many years. The review by the iconic body stated that Teramo will “still be in great condition and able to support your body well even after years of use. Unlike some mattresses, it doesn’t sag or become

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less firm over time”. The mattress was also commended for its softness and the solid support it provides, with the tests revealing that it is very easy to turn over on, while being stable enough to not disturb a partner. The report also highlighted the model’s breathable materials – Sealy’s Smart Fibres and Eco-friendly Tencel – which make for a cool sleep environment. This news follows a positive review by The Independent, which said “the pocket sprung mattress is outstanding, providing good support for all sleepers”. The Daily Mail also included the product in a mattress round-up feature entitled “What mattress is right for you?”, commenting “this will support your body for many years”.

Teramo 1400 continues to be a firm favourite, and with a seal of approval from critically-acclaimed industry bodies, confirms its superiority within the bed and mattress market. With Sealy’s mission to help customers sleep well, the Teramo 1400, alongside other mattress models, are helping sports personalities all around the UK to get a better night’s sleep through its World of Sport campaign. Sporting stars including former heavyweight champion, David Haye and British Olympic athlete snowboarder, Zoe Gillings-Brier, are just two of many who are all benefiting from a restful sleep thanks to Sealy. W

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FURNITURE NEWS HYBRID AD EVOLUTION.qxp_Layout 1 8/10/16 9:41 AM Page 3

When launched, Sealy’s revolutionary Hybrid Collection was hailed as the most innovative development in bed technology in years. Well, it doesn’t stop there. Hybrid has evolved. Come and see the

THE NEW HYBRID COLLECTION on Stand A40 at Telford, along with all our new ranges PLUS our special guest on Tuesday, cricket legend Phil Tufnell.

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Starting from humble beginnings in 2004, Kaydian has built a reputation for supplying quality products together with excellent service, which has seen business increase steadily year on year.

Kaydian’s winning combination of service and quality

Barnard TV Ottoman in Silver Crushed Velvet With a turnover of £8m in 2015 and on track to achieve a further 20% growth in 2016, Kaydian’s success, according to directors Richard Jeffrey and Neville Boyd, is down to having an excellent team, quality products, building good customer relations and providing an outstanding aftersales service. Specialising in a range of ottoman storage beds, TV beds and static beds, Kaydian are constantly looking for new innovations to include within the range, introducing a full media bed in 2015 and a complete automated lift ottoman storage bed this year.

Furniture News 330 V2.indd V6.indd 1 112 Kaydian Advertorial

Kaydian’s warehouse and distribution team

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ADVERTORIAL Neville Boyd said: “Kaydian is now recognised as an up-and-coming brand within the bed frame sector, and this is down to the quality of the product and the company’s ability to respond quickly to current market trends by introducing new products.” Backing up its sales and administration functions from new offices at Newcastle upon Tyne, investment in new technology – assisting the sales order process and providing automated procedures to keep customers notified of order processing – has improved customer satisfaction a great deal. A new purpose-built, fully-racked distribution centre in Alfreton, Derbyshire, has meant tremendous improvement in the storage and dispatch of product. The tailor-made three-high racked storage system allows high-volume stockholding for continued product availability, giving customers confidence in the supply of Kaydian bedsteads.

Three-high racked storage system

New showroom facility

Lanchester Ottoman

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With the growing demand for shorter lead times, faster delivery timeframes are being achieved within the normal delivery service Kaydian offer, and a comprehensive range of delivery options – including Direct Home Delivery and Next Day Delivery – are proving popular with customers. A two-man delivery to the customer’s room of choice, plus white-glove delivery with an option for full product installation, further enhances the options stockists can offer. A brand new showroom has been created at the Derbyshire operation to display the current bedstead range, which includes exclusive models for container orders. The facility is open to all Kaydian customers. For further information on the product range, or to book a showroom appointment, please contact the sales office on 0191 2712118. +44 (0) 191 271 2118 www.

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BEDS & BEDROOM Sweet Dreams

Lancashire manufacturer Sweet Dreams is set to add to – and refresh – several collections at the Bed Show, taking place from 20th-21st of this month at Telford International Centre.

Luxury divans lead Sweet Dreams’ rollout Box pillowtop, part of the Royal Pillowtop collection

The company’s premier luxury collection, Royal Pillowtop, launched in 2015, will see the addition of four new models featuring a box pillowtop. These beds extend the comfort of pillowtops to the very edge of the mattress, in a stylish new design. The pillowtops incorporate quality fillings such as memory foam, and the mattresses feature pocket springs manufactured by Sweet Dreams. The bases are supplied in a plain modern fabric with bumper bar and shepherd castors, and come in three sizes – double, king and superking – with drawers and ottoman options. These divans are expected to be the major attraction of the manufacturer’s 2016 Bed Show display. The Pocket Air collection, launched in 2014, has been refreshed throughout, with a new look focusing on contemporary fabrics. These beds have an alternate arrangement of full-size and shorter springs for a flexible, uplifting feel. Meanwhile, the Enchanted collection now offers a choice of cream or grey bases in each of the eight models. Featuring encapsulated spring mattresses, Enchanted beds sport a removable soft knit mattress, and luxury fillings such as silk and cashmere. Other divan collections, such as the perennially popular Pocket Spring, will see the introduction of further models, such as the Luxury Latex 2000. With latex across the full sleeping surface of the bed and a spring count of 2000, the divan joins the extensive range of beds in this collection. Like Sweet Dreams’ Enchanted range, bedsteads from the Pocket Spring collection come in five sizes with full storage options. Other collections, including Sleepzone and Ortho, will also see new models added.

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Luxury Latex 2000, from the Pocket Spring collection

There will also be a favourite on show from Sweet Dreams’ collection of fabric-upholstered beds, which are made in Sweet Dreams’ Lancashire factories. Renoir will be shown sporting self-covered buttons in the headboard and footend. Many other new models, including additions to the children’s, sofa bed and upholstery collections, will be included in the new brochure, available from stand J30 at the Bed Show. T 01282 830033 W

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Baa Stools

The Wicker Merchant offers retailers a new, on-trend revenue stream

Luxury sheepskin furniture and accessories supplier Baa Stool (01824 790882, is exhibiting at Autumn Fair on stand 3G01 this month. The company’s star product, the Baa Stool, is a handmade hardwood footstool with a removable British sheepskin cover. All styles of Baa Stool are available in natural shades and a range of dyed fashion colours. “We’re bringing the market something completely different,” says MD Michelle Bartleet-Greavey, who founded the business in 2013. “We call it ‘style with a smile’. “Sheepskin is the perfect choice of cover for a footstool. Wool resists spills, dries very quickly and is mildew-resistant. It is naturally fire retardant, resists static, dirt and dust, is hypo-allergenic, renewable and sustainable.” Inspired by the sheep that surround the company’s rural workshop in North Wales,

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the product – which also includes hairpin leg stools and Lambshades, a range of sheepskin lampshades – is quirky yet practical. Michelle founded the company after being made redundant in 2011. Despite her scepticism, a chance encounter with a fortune teller – which saw her “surrounded by pin cushions, needles and chairs” – planted the seed that a future in upholstery might be for her. Two weeks later she began training with the Association of Master Upholsterers, and one year into the course she set up her own business, North Wales Upholstery. Each Baa Stool is created using a mix of modern and traditional methods, resulting in a range of contemporary furniture that complements both modern and period interiors. Already featured in furniture, interiors, DIY, homeware and garden centre stores

Lambshade, by Baa Stool

throughout the country, The Wicker Merchant (01536 444960, sales@ is quickly establishing itself as a go-to supplier of highvalue wicker storage and furniture. With a choice of 91 different items – ranging from baskets through laundry, log and pet houses to storage units and furniture – the collection is ideal for retailers looking to add another revenue stream to existing lines, capturing the popularity of craft and heritage styles. Using high quality wicker in a range of weave styles, and holding every item in the UK, The Wicker Merchant offers fast nationwide despatch, with a range of smaller items available as parcels. Larger items can be enjoyed with free delivery from values of £300, and the company offers a 10% discount for all orders in excess of £2500

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Producing a range of fillings for use in upholstered furniture cushions – most notably under the Encore brand – Fibreline has offered manufacturers a vital service for over 30 years, and its momentum shows no sign of slowing. Furniture News speaks to MD Richard Prudhoe, who joined the business in 1992 as a sales rep …

Supporting the upholstery industry Encore-filled cushions offer a high level of comfort

Fibreline was founded by current chairman John Prudhoe in 1982. John, who had worked in the foam industry to supply the furniture industry for 20 years, recognised the potential of carded fibre back cushions in upholstered furniture, and set up Fibreline in a small mill in Keighley, Bradford, to fulfil that demand. In 1990, the company purchased a 30,000ft2 factory in Keighley, enabling it to increase capacity, and since then production has grown to include feather cushions and converted foam products. Fibreline now operates from a site that offers some 70,000ft2 of production space. As well as standard fillings, Fibreline aims offer innovative combination products, such as Encore and Springcore, offering customers – and their stockists – an attractive USP. “We try to be proactive and anticipate trends, as people’s tastes and requirements are constantly changing,” says Richard. “Our in-house development team comes up with new designs and products very quickly – which is an invaluable strength given today’s ever-shorter lead times.”

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Fibreline increased its sewing capacity last year, and is currently undergoing its latest factory reorganisation programme to improve layout and production efficiencies. According to Richard, the company aims to reinvest 30% of its profits each year, helping ensure it is set up to take on tomorrow’s challenges as they emerge. “Although the industry appears to be pretty stable at the moment, we are facing shortages in the allocation of foam from our suppliers due to chemical shortages,” says Richard. “This is presenting the whole supply industry with difficulties which look like they could go on for months rather than weeks. “On a more general note, the industry faces huge challenges in terms of labour cost and availability. Fibreline have been involved in developing new apprenticeships for the industry, and we hope to start utilising these in the months to come. In an industry that is labour intensive and difficult to automate, rising labour costs will be an increasingly important issue over the coming years, so I’m glad we’re doing something to anticipate that problem.

Richard Prudhoe

“At Fibreline, we try to stick to several objectives regarding quality, service and innovation – I’m confident that if we stick to these, we’ll prosper, and help our customers do so too.” T 01535 606846 W

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Quality Leather Sofas at Affordable Prices...

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Divania International make buying wholesale sofas as simple as it gets

San Francisco

3RR+2RR, Chaise (R), Recliner Corner Group Available in a wide range of colours.


hen it comes to value and service in the wholesale leather suite market - Divania International are Scotland’s pioneering trade suppliers, delivering goods to retailers and customers in the UK. They carry every model in stock which leads to smooth and quick transactions, so with only 24 hours’ notice, they can have

your suite ready for collection or delivery. Divania’s manager Lorraine Cavers said “Getting a wholesale suite can be a frustrating waiting game, but with Divania

International’s stock system, it’s now possible for retailers to have the suite within days or even delivered directly to customers using our white glove option. This labour saving service is very convenient to retailers as it simplifies the delivery while pleasing customers with short lead times.” She added “With the white glove service, we arrange a two man delivery of your order directly to your customer and will unwrap and dispose of all waste. We want your customers to feel at ease and well taken care of, so we have made buying a suite from us simple as it gets.” It doesn’t end there. For peace of mind, Divania also provide a free 3 year Staingard warranty so you can rest easy knowing that your suite is covered for a huge range of defects and accidental


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Full and half containers available on request

damage such as: Defects to frames caused by breakage or becoming warped; Defects of mechanical or electric recliners and components; Bending and breakage of metal components; Broken zips; castors, and buttons; Separation of seams and stitching; Lifting or peeling of the hide on leather furniture and even Loss of resilience to foam and fibre interiors. Divania International cater for all sizes of retailers, from small shops to large enterprises, with full containers available on request. Whether it’s a one man operation or multistore operation, Divania pride themselves on problem-free retailing from start to finish and with their friendly helpful staff, it makes the whole process effortless. The warehouse is

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Discount available on orders over 6 qty

conveniently located in central Scotland, only 1 minute off the M74 motorway in Larkhall, making collections simple too. So if you’re looking for service and value for money as standard, contact Divania International today and find out how easy it is to have designer sofas at highly competitive prices.

You can find Divania International’s range of suites and services online at www. or contact them by phone on 01698 883001.



With only 24 hours notice you can have immediate next day pick up. Our aim is to carry stock so you don’t have to, we strive to stay within 14 days delivery.

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FURNISHER Portugal’s Envy Lighting (, reports that its high quality ceramic table and floor lamps have made a significant impact in the UK since their launch in 2012, seeing continual YoY growth in both volume and the number of stockists. Retailers such as Andersons of Inverurie, Arthur Llewellyn-Jenkins, Arighi Bianchi, Mia

Stanza and Stokers Fine Furniture have all benefited from Envy’s contemporary designs, with models such as the Arche, Bilba, Carea, Daims and Pyra offering variety and quality for the discerning consumer. Having survived the somewhat lean summer months, the Febland Group (01253 600600, is preparing itself for the opportunities presented by

Envy Lighting

Glassware accessories, Febland Group

Autumn Fair this month. “Autumn Fair is a good indicator of the direction a gift, furniture and lighting company should be moving,” says owner Tony Febland. “Caught between the appetite for more bling or solid oak cabinets, we err to the trend of too many rather than too few new lines. Also, we have had to wrestle with our suppliers to maintain prices at a level that enables us to sell lines in decent quantities and push us over the bar of competitive delivery and ocean freight charges.” Edel Telenzo (01422 374417, has launched its most space-saving yet inspiring PoS platform to date to spearhead the launch of its new Rugs and Runners collection. The Rugs and Runners box is practical in size and striking in appearance. While customers can choose a bespoke rug using any of Edel Telenzo’s broadloom carpets featured on its PoS, there is also an option to include up to six A4 folders of the company’s most popular wall-to-wall designs within the box. The concept is ideal for interior designers and retailers who do not have access to one of the Edel Telenzo stands, but want to present the concept to potential customers. Combined with a broad selection of edge finishes, the wool rugs feature odourless >>>




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Ceneva backing for improved stability and fire resistance, and an additional anti-slip layer. UK sales director Mark Rooney says: “This PoS introduction allows us to showcase our bespoke service at its best with a beautiful box that we’re sure customers will take an instant shine to. A great addition for retailers due to its compact nature, these boxes enhance the appeal of Edel Telenzo carpet, with customers able to select a design and edging to suit, in quick and simple fashion.” Included within the box are eight rug samples and an A4 book to show the 88 edging options available as part of this tailored service. The 5cm edging is available in leather, felt and linen materials, while an understated 1cm finish can be achieved with cotton edges. The PoS is initially available in limited supply. To support the roll-out of its dedicated UK Stock Collection, Granorte (01785 711131, has introduced a striking new PoS unit. Offering floors and walls backed by a new 48-hour delivery service, the 0.4m2 PoS houses 54 different products, ranging from original, luxury vinyl and recycled leather cork floors, to wall tiles, the carefully designed and compact unit offers retailers the opportunity to add something new to the shop floor. Granorte’s Paulo Rocha explains: “Over the last year we have been working hard on

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a new concept that would offer UK flooring retailers the opportunity to take advantage of the growing demand in cork floors and walls. “Following extensive research, it became clear that we needed to settle on a core product mix that offers our retail partners the service levels that today’s consumers demand, and have this housed in the UK for immediate delivery. We now have this in place, and as part of this package we are also delighted to unveil a new PoS unit that really highlights the aesthetic and performance benefits of cork.” The stand features strong visuals that promote cork walls and floors as natural and sustainable, while also highlighting the practical benefits that include thermal insulation, acoustic absorption and underfoot comfort

Rugs and Runners PoS box, Edel Telenzo

Granorte’s new PoS

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Tel: +44 (0) 1706 643 121

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DESIGNER Rob Scarlett Meets … Ian Cull

meets ... Rob Scarlett Ian Cull

Design underpins this industry, regardless of one’s place in the market. While creating something from nothing can appear to be the province of high-end European designers, the UK has a core of solid, hard-working creative professionals that keep the industry alive. In this exclusive series, Rob Scarlett goes in search of the unsung heroes of the industry to find out what makes them tick. This month, Rob meets the newest designer to make his mark on Nathan Furniture, Ian Cull … On Ian Ian is a freelance designer, working as Ian Cull Lifestyle Product Design. With an office in Salford and a studio and workshop in Brinscall, Lancashire, he specialises in developing a wide range of products with manufacturers across the UK, Europe and the Far East. Ian studied at the University of Salford, where he earned a BSc (Hons) in Product Design & Development. W Ian Cull

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What was the most valuable part of your education? Three years studying at university taught me a great deal of common sense and how to work as part of a team. Although it also gave me a great introduction to product design, it wasn’t until I started working that my real education began. What was your first design job? I was extremely lucky to land a design job immediately after I graduated. I worked for a large packaging company in Birmingham developing the Pinch Pull bag dispensing

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Rob Scarlett Meets … Ian Cull DESIGNER

Where might I have heard your name before? I spent over a decade working within inhouse design teams, so the vast majority of the products I’ve designed carry their brand names. More recently as a freelancer I designed a range of products for Stil Furniture that were launched in 2013. What are you working on right now? I’m working on a number of different projects currently, including an exciting new collaboration with Nathan Furniture.

On design How do you mentally prepare yourself for work each day? I take the dog for a walk! As well as giving me a bit of exercise each day it means I’m away from my workspace and it helps to focus my mind on the day’s tasks.

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“I’m passionate about hardware, materials and manufacturing processes, and I love working directly with the people producing my designs”

system as part of a small team of young designers. The system was embraced and installed by all the major supermarkets, and the job taught me a lot about working in a fast-paced industry, dealing with both customers and suppliers. In fact, the system is still in use today!

Unity coat hook


A blank sheet of paper can be daunting – what inspires you to fill it? I like solving problems. My background in product design perhaps means I tackle projects from a slightly different angle. One common theme that runs through my work is maximising the functionality and usefulness of a product – I constantly question why a product works as it does, and how it can potentially be redesigned to offer more to the end user. I’m passionate about hardware, materials and manufacturing processes, and I love working directly with the people producing my designs. We often compromise designs to make them commercial – how do you maintain your quality despite such pressures? It may sound like too simple an answer, but it is incredibly important to fully understand your clients’ requirements. Budgets, timescales, materials, logistics, etc – all have a bearing on the end product, way before aesthetics come into play. My desire to do things differently (hopefully) ensures that I maintain a level of quality throughout everything I do. Which area of your work do you enjoy the most – and the least? Design can be an extremely frustrating occupation! I absolutely love the creative >>>

Tall bookcase workstation, from the Stil Furniture Scribe collection

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Z 130


DESIGNER Rob Scarlett Meets … Ian Cull

“Budgets, timescales, materials, logistics, etc – all have a bearing on the end product, way before aesthetics come into play”

Unity small fabric shelf

aspect of what I do and I’m always extremely excited to see my designs in physical form for the first time. As a freelancer I miss working within a team on a day-to-day basis, but establishing close relationships with my clients goes some way to overcoming that issue. On days where there is no-one around to bounce ideas off, I have been known to discuss designs with Mitch, our six-year-old collie! Describe one of your favourite designs, and explain why it inspires you I really admire Dieter Rams’ work, and his 606 Universal Shelving System is a personal favourite of mine. Perhaps it’s because it is an industrial designer’s take on furniture, but I absolutely adore the modular aspect, the materials used, the functionality and the fact that absolutely every aspect of the product – from design to production to installation and delivery – has been thought about thoroughly. Which is your favourite designer retailer, and what is it doing right? I’d have to say John Lewis. I have experience with them both as a supplier and a consumer

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and I think they treat design with a great deal of respect. They communicate design and quality to their customers in a great way and, combined with a very well-considered product offer, this helps to differentiate them from other retailers.

On today’s furniture market Sum up today’s UK domestic furniture design in three words … On the up. What aspects of it make you despair? And, conversely, hopeful? A lack of differentiation frustrates me – companies offering “me too” products attracting consumers on a price-only basis. I despair when I see out-and-out copies of already established designs. Thankfully, today’s consumer is increasingly designaware, and this is helping designers and manufacturers push things on a little in terms of design, style and product offer. Do you feel that the industry adequately supports designers? Yes and no. Without question, all of the

companies I work with as a freelancer appreciate the role design plays in differentiating them from the competition, but I have also had first-hand experience of design being viewed as an unnecessary cost. Furniture manufacturers are increasingly attributing designers’ names to their collections, which has to be a positive for all designers out there. The industry – manufacturers and suppliers – have now realised that a designer is an essential part of their business model, which is great, but we still don’t give recognition and support to designers and design in the same way as the fashion industry does. What’s the last design that really caught your eye? A fibreglass and solid wood upholstered chair designed by a product design student at Staffordshire University for their final project. Not only was the design well thought out and executed, but the passion they demonstrated for furniture design as a whole was extremely refreshing. I’ve given a couple of guest lectures at ‘Staffs’ over recent years and I’m pleased >>> that I was able to communicate my

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Home In


Home Inc. Premium Indoor Furniture for the Trade - Exclusive Designs - Fully Assembled - Free Delivery on Orders Over ÂŁ750 - Free Next Day Collection from our Warehouse - Direct Containers Option Proud to announce new console tables and square dining tables to give wider variety in our ranges If interested contact our Northern Showroom: 696 Oldham Road, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 9FB or Southern Showroom: East Duck, Lees Lane, Enfield, EN3 7SR Please contact Alistair on: 0800 772 0807 or Furniture News 3301 V6.indd 131 Home Incv2.indd

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DESIGNER Rob Scarlett Meets … Ian Cull

own passion for the industry to at least one student! What’s the future of furniture design? Not an easy question to answer. I suppose it depends very much on the individual market sectors within our industry. Price will always be a factor at one end of the market, and as a result I don’t think that there’s a great deal that design and designers can offer at this level. Economic uncertainty is always worrying for a designer, but hopefully consumers’ increasing awareness of design and an interest in a design’s provenance – spurred on by a resurgence in arts and crafts – coupled with environmental issues and an increasing need for sustainability, means there are interesting times ahead.

On the industry Which industry event or platform gives a designer the best step up? I have to say that I’ve always been a little underwhelmed by mainstream events here in the UK. Our capital city embraces design the best, with events such as London Design Fair, Tent and Clerkenwell Design Week. I’ve visited imm cologne, Stockholm Furniture Fair and Maison et Objet in Paris, and at all three it just feels like design is a little more at home in these mainstream overseas environments than it is at the UK’s more commercial gatherings.

“On days where there is no-one around to bounce ideas off, I have been known to discuss designs with Mitch, our six-year-old collie!”

Side table, part of the Kontur collection, Stil Furniture What design website do you visit most often? I receive daily emails from a number of design journals, and I find Designboom one of the most enlightening. Its daily digest comes in around lunchtime and it covers everything from architecture to craft to transport, and of course furniture. What’s the biggest challenge you face? Having enough time to get everything that is in my head down on paper!

Console table, Stil Furniture’s Kontur collection How do you think the industry views designers? In an increasingly positive light. What advice would you give to young designers just starting out in the industry? Stick at it. Learn. End each day knowing more than you did at the start. Be passionate about your subject. Be different, and be yourself. Don’t take things too seriously!

Rob reflects …


D “I start my day in exactly the same way! Walking the dog is a great way to wake yourself up and blow out the cobwebs before getting in the office. Sometimes my six-month old comes along too so my wife can get a little more sleep! “It will be interesting to see how Brexit affects the lives of designers. Uncertainty is not great in our profession, and as Ian points out, when “design [is] viewed as an unnecessary cost” creatives are often the first cost saver to be implemented. “This was definitely the case for me in the last recession – albeit somewhat delayed after the initial crash. Work dried up as businesses decided to just sell what they had rather than risk new investment.

Fortunately, I managed to weather the storm of what I now refer to as ‘the bad year’ and actually turned some of the negatives into positives. “This kind of adversity forces you to reevaluate your pricing structure, and made me a lot more open to flexibility in terms of how I charge out my time. During that period I speculatively designed the Brunel range for Heal’s, which continues to be their best seller to this day. “If Brexit causes further financial uncertainty then it’s my feeling that designers will have a rough time along with everyone else – particularly if you are freelance. However, I hope that the trend towards more designer promotion in the

middle market continues, and that we’re viewed as the vital resource we are. “Long live the designer!”


Scarlett Design was established in early 2010 by Rob Scarlett, who began his career when he was named the 2003 Young Designer of the Year. Subsequently, Rob has played a key role in the design teams of some of the best-known businesses in the UK furniture industry, including Willis & Gambier, Nathan Furniture, Mark Webster, Yinihome and Skano. He has also enjoyed success with ranges launched through retailers such as Heal’s, Marks & Spencer, Furniture Village and John Lewis. W






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In Design – Matthew Pope DESIGNER



Matthew Pope created the modular Addax sofa as part of his degree in Furniture and Product Design at Nottingham Trent University, before displaying it at New Designers this summer, where it went on to win the show’s 100% Design Award …

In Design: Addax, Matthew Pope “I believe design should help the user – form follows function – and, to strengthen the emotional connection with a product, the user must be engaged through the whole process”

“Addax is a modular sofa that comes apart easily to allow the customer to move and change the sections”

“The covers are removable, so if the customer wants to clean or change to a different fabric, it is quick and easy”

Training: Matthew’s design education began with GCSE D&T Resistant Materials at Backwell School, where he had the freedom to create his own briefs for the first time. “I decided to really push myself and make an electric guitar,” he says, “even though I have never played or had a clue what do. This was a massive undertaking, but this is how I have worked through university – trying to push myself and learn new things.” At A Level Matthew took creative subjects such as Art & Design, Photography, DT Resistant Materials and DT Product Design. Following that, he completed an Art Foundation course at Weston University, before going on to take a BA Degree in Furniture and Product Design at Nottingham Trent University. Here, Addax was the result of a 12-week long design and prototyping project.

“The modular design of Addax allows the customer to fully customise each section with their own fabrics, to create a unique and exciting piece of furniture in an individual style”

Achievements: At New Designers 2016, Addax won the 100% design award, granting Matthew free exhibition space within the Emerging Brands section of the show, taking place at London’s Olympia this month.

“Due to its simple design, the frames are easy to construct and cost effective to make”


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FEATURE LAST WORD subRichard headingNaylor

Richard Naylor Marketing, design and development director, Steinhoff UK Bedding Group The Steinhoff Bedding Group consists of two manufacturing sites in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Wellington, Somerset, and produces white label mattresses, divans, headboards and pillows as well as products under the Dunlopillo, Myer’s, Relyon, Slumberland and Staples brands.

How did you enter the trade? I entered the bed trade in 2004, when I was approached by Chris Tattersall, the then sales director, to join Relyon. I had been working for Kesterport for three years and had developed a good knowledge of the overall furniture trade through them, and this was a good career step for me. Who was your inspiration? Definitely my father, John. He pushed me hard and made me understand that hard work always gives you results. He was a farmer and intentionally had me working in the fields from an early age to teach me the values of a hard day’s graft. His life mantra was work hard and play hard, which I fully subscribe to now. What was your career high point? It has to be either meeting HM Queen Elizabeth II or winning the 2012 Olympic Village mattress contract, which was the largest single order and delivery contract for beds and mattresses in UK history. To be honest, I have been privileged to be involved in a number of high points, but the latter two really stick out for me because they are events which are unlikely to happen again. … and low point? I am not going to pull any punches here. It was definitely working for Hilding Anders when they owned Horatio Myer’s & Co. I have never experienced such a disjointed company

“The 2012 Olympic Village mattress contract was the largest single order and delivery contract for beds and mattresses in UK history” – they were clueless on their direction and understanding of the UK bedding market. … and the turning point? I would argue that when I was asked to join the Steinhoff team as a director was a turning point because of the sheer enormity of the role. These types of roles within our industry are few and far between, and I genuinely feel excited on a daily basis about the potential that our business has and the part my role plays in shaping our future success. Describe a typical working day Honestly, every day is different, as new opportunities are presented to me frequently by our commercial teams – but I do get up every day thinking I love my job. No two days are ever the same, particularly as I work across multiple manufacturing sites with differing brands and a host of different product types. I am really geeky about sleep comfort, and particularly enjoy discovering new technologies and developing the marketing assets around them. If you had to start over, you’d probably pursue which career? I was lucky enough to enjoy a rugby career which saw me represent my country and play

“Hilding Anders when they owned Horatio Myer’s & Co … I have never experienced such a disjointed company – they were clueless on their direction and understanding of the UK bedding market”

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for the Leicester Tigers amongst achieving other honours. If I could pursue another career away from beds, it would definitely be as a professional rugby player in the modern era. Rugby is a great team game that is very competitive, and I admire the complete dedication the players have. I am still pals with an ex-Tigers player who is now the head performance analyst for the New Zealand All Blacks, and you would not believe the level of professional discipline they employ. What date on the business calendar do you most look forward to? Without sounding too cliché, I think all business days are important as we are all trying to grow our companies within a very competitive marketplace. However, I did very much enjoy the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers’ Big Shots clay pigeon event this year, where I won best novice gun. And of course, I very much look forward to the NBF Bed Show in September – who doesn’t?! What is the most important issue affecting your business right now? It has to be Brexit and the effect it has had on the strength of the pound compared to other currencies – in particular, the strength of the dollar on our suppliers’ raw material prices. For example, almost all tick manufacturers buy their yarns in dollars, and because the dollar has strengthened against both the pound and euro, it makes the cost of producing tick more costly. Consequently, we have had to change our buying strategy to

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Richard Naylor LAST WORD

help mitigate the effect of volatile currency markets. This, and market confidence, will be the biggest challenge for our industry pre and post Brexit. What company do you most look up to? I have always loved Apple, but then again who doesn’t? I also like to keep abreast of what Lego are doing because they are so very good at what they do. I also take a keen interest in marketing campaigns that are outside of our industry because it helps keep my thinking fresh. I particularly liked the Dollar Shave Club campaign on social media, which was really effective at building their brand. It clearly worked because they have just sold to Unilever for $1b! What would you most like to change about yourself? I suffered a few injuries playing rugby and have had surgery as a consequence. If I could change anything, it would be to make those injuries disappear, as I still love playing sport and competing and have recently taken up

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paragliding and road cycling – which are both challenging when your body is not 100%.

considerable over the coming years, and this is a very enjoyable process to be part of.

What do you enjoy most about working in the trade? I think we are lucky to work in such an interesting area of business, and I am grateful to Steinhoff for understanding the opportunities that remain within our sector. Their investment in innovation, research and development surrounding sleep will be

Leave us with an industry anecdote or a few words of wisdom please! Well I do have a few stories, but I am pretty sure they are not for public consumption. I do like the saying ‘find opportunity in every room’, and as such I always try to maximise commercial activities for our business whenever I can

Career digest

Quick fire

2001 – National sales manager, Kesterport

Classic or modern? I am a big fan of Ray and Charles Eames, so my answer is classic modern

2004 – Senior key account manager, Relyon 2010 – National account manager, Horatio Myer & Co 2012 – Commercial director/head of marketing, Harrison Spinks Beds 2015 – Marketing, design and development director, Steinhoff UK Bedding Group

Bond or Bourne? Bond all the way. Who dreams of becoming Jason Bourne? No one. I rest my case Snakes or sharks? Sharks, because I grew up with Jaws and I have not seen a snake-themed film that has scared me as much as that did when I first saw it!

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Further Reading On the web this month: The Furniture News website is constantly updated with fresh stories. Visit to access the latest content, or sign up to the twice-weekly newsletter

Do you have a story to share? To contribute, call the editorial desk on 01424 776105 or email Are you looking to place product before the UK’s buyers? To advertise or submit product information, call the sales team on 01424 776100, or email or Do you wish to receive a copy of the magazine every month? You can subscribe to receive the magazine monthly by emailing

Resources: Four benefits customers cannot obtain online

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, via the specific links at – or email sam@gearingmediagroup to be manually signed up for the digital services. 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.

Trends: U Wood’s guitar stand and the Lindisfarne frontman

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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Those involved in the contract furnishings market should take a look at Hospitality Interiors magazine (, while anyone seeking furniture manufacturing machinery or supplies should check out Furniture Production (

In next month’s issue:

Early September show reports | Trade Services Kevin Cundiff explores the Millennial mindset | Karyn Limond’s storage solution

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Profile for Gearing Media Group Ltd

Furniture News #330  

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade

Furniture News #330  

The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade