Furniture News #336

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The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade #336 Mar 2017 |

Crest Leather supplies leather for domestic and commercial furniture applications

INSIDE OUT Bridgman brings home trends outdoors

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THE SHOW MUST GO ON An extensive review of the January Furniture Show

STATISTICAL DIGEST FIRA outlines the UK furniture industry trends

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t last month’s Spring Fair exhibition, retail consultant Mary Portas delivered an inspiring keynote speech on the challenges facing independent retailers – and, more importantly, covered the opportunities available to them, and suggested how these businesses might thrive in today’s marketplace. Whilst acknowledging the difficulties that issues such as increased taxes and business rates are currently causing retailers large and small, it was, in particular, Mary’s focus on what indie retailers can do to differentiate themselves and grow that struck a chord. A key take-home of the talk was how important it is for independent stores to create an all-round ‘destination’ experience, and make the most of the personal touch that smaller shops can offer customers. By combining social interaction with experienced staff, and being able to connect with the customer on a human level, retailers can set themselves apart from the crowd and gain the consumer’s trust. Of real pertinence were Mary’s comments on the emotional connection that people have with homeware products, and the need to connect the product with the people that enter the store. She said that shops which focus less on the brand itself and more on the back story of the business and the product are much more likely to successfully gel with the consumer. Some of the main mistakes made by independent retailers include a lack of identification of what makes them different from their competition, and getting completely consumed by the day-today routine of running of a busy store, suggested Mary, who cited the value of retailers taking a step back and finding the time to put energy into thinking creatively and on a deeper level about the development of the business, other than just in terms of product and sales. In addition, the need for

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a focus on the type of service a business wants to provide was made clear. Mary added that independent retailers should seriously consider was the necessity of an online presence, and viewing this an an extension of their business rather than a separate entity altogether. In addition, certain difficulties that online businesses themselves face - namely the lack of support and advice and a feeling of isolation - were addressed, with the suggestion that the creation of a type of online forum for these retailers could provide a beneficial solution. In fact, the crucial role that a strong sense of community plays in terms of the whole retail sector was stressed, highlighting the old adage of ‘strength in numbers’. The key to the continued evolution and success of independent retailers, then, seems to be for businesses to focus their attention on their longterm goals and define a clear and original path of progression, whilst working to provide a unique and engaging offer relevant to the modern-day consumer. With competition from larger and multiple stores growing continually stronger, surely it can’t hurt for indie retailers to occasionally take some time to revisit these primary factors – no matter how obvious they may seem?

Victoria Noakes Editor designate T 01424 776105 E Twitter @Victoria_FNmag

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4 | Contents


Editor-in-chief Paul Farley


Partner Comment

Jackie Bazeley, MD of the British Furniture Manufacturers, discusses the impact the increase of the living wage will have on businesses

01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED Editor designate





Victoria Noakes 01424 776105 Twitter @Victoria_FNmag Advertising manager Sam Horscroft 01424 776100 Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Advertising executive Fiona Jefferies 01424 776100

Victoria Noakes speaks to Robert Bridgman, MD of luxury home and garden furniture retailer Bridgman. to discover more about the business that is renowned for its design and quality Graeme Mills (136) Twitter @FurnitureNewsAD Production manager James Ash 01424 775304 Deputy production manager Katie Bate Production assistant

Robert Bridgman (18)


The Furniture Awards


An in-depth look at the winners of The Furniture Awards 2017 – discover the qualities that made the judges choose this year's winners and highly commended suppliers at the January Furniture Show

Stephanie Reading Digital production assistant Nathan Khan Copy administrator Steve Merrick 01424 776108


Featuring a review of last month’s Spring Fair and a preview of Tendence, taking place in Frankfurt this summer 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 2017 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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Terence Conran (134)

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Contents | 5



The essential guide to the UK domestic furniture and furnishings trade #336 Mar 2017 |

Crest Leather supplies leather for domestic and commercial furniture applications

INSIDE OUT Bridgman brings home trends outdoors

THE SHOW MUST GO ON An extensive review of the January Furniture Show

STATISTICAL DIGEST FIRA outlines the UK furniture industry trends

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27/02/2017 11:02

Read about how Crest Leather manufactures its leading upholstery lines on p64 (





Including FIRA’s latest statistical digest summarising the UK industry trends, plus articles on how businesses can make their website marketing ready and how to add value and build trust



Beds & Bedroom

Living Room

Classic Furniture, Steens, Crest Leather and Hastens are under the spotlight January Furniture Show (86)


Jackie Bazeley, MD, BFM


Incorporating updates from Dunlopillo, Breasley, Sealy, Silentnight and more Spring Fair (36)


86 January Furniture Show Review

Dr Pete Beele, technical development manager, FIRA


A comprehensive review of the big show

136 Last Word

Graeme Mills, director of performance at Mammoth, answers Furniture News’ questions about his career history and work and life philosophy

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Paul Avins, author, The Authority Guide series

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TO ORDER YOUR 700 PAGE CATALOGUE CONTACT ELSTEAD LIGHTING TODAY • • 01420 82377 • Elstead House, Mill Lane, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2QJ

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Partner Comment | 7

Tipping point?


rom 1st April the living wage is increasing. Workers who are 25 and over will be guaranteed a weekly wage averaging £7.50 per hour over the working week/month, whatever their pay period is. The current average hourly wage is £7.20 per hour. On top of this – and just six months from the last increase in October – the National Minimum Wage (NMW) (for those aged 21-25 years of age) will rise again, from £6.95 to £7.05, to bring it in line with the annual date for increases in the National Living Wage (NLW), so both in future will go up in April each year. The plan for the NLW is that it should rise to over £9 per hour by the end of this parliament (May 2020). Such a steep rise inevitably has a direct effect on company pay structures and skills differentials. Add this to the increasing burden which pension auto-enrolment puts on employers, along with the new apprenticeship levy for larger employers (those with an annual pay bill of more than £3m), and it’s not hard to see why many are feeling the pressure. And it doesn’t end there. Since Brexit, the weakness of sterling has fed through to raise raw material prices across all subsectors. Upholstery manufacturers in particular have been hit hard by foam chemical supply shortages as well, which has seen the price of foam rise since Brexit by in excess of 20% for many. The cumulative effect is certain to take its toll on factory gate prices in 2017. A BFM wage survey, conducted in December 2016 and covering nearly 5000 employees across the sector, shows real cause for concern and highlights the growing list of additional obligations putting a strain on companies. When asked what factors, if any, were influencing their ability to increase wages, raw material price rises topped the list of grievances, with 80% of companies taking part in the survey citing this as a barrier.

Next biggest concern was the NLW, which 67% of companies mentioned. 50% also regarded pension auto-enrolment as a significant factor, while 30% expressed concern over the new apprenticeship levy (which represented the majority of the larger employers in the sample). 20% attributed other business factors as affecting 2017 wage decisions. Of those companies taking part, 63% said the NLW would increase overall wage costs, while two thirds (66%) also felt it would reduce pay differentials. Maintaining pay differentials is likely to cause many employers further headaches, as it is an additional hidden cost to them in terms of adjusting other wages accordingly. The combined effect of increasing costs led to a quarter of the companies taking part in the BFM survey to state that they had definitely decided not to make any wage award in 2017. A further 22% were undecided. Over the past year the furniture sector has fared pretty well, showing a rise in output of 4.5% in the first 11 months of 2016 (latest data) compared to the same period in 2015. However, there are obvious concerns when too many financial responsibilities are passed on to employers, in terms of the negative impact this could potentially have on competitiveness and employment levels. Ultimately, only time will tell what the full and eventual outcome may be.

Jackie Bazeley is MD of the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM,, a trade association that has represented the interests of the industry for more than 65 years

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10 | News

BFM warns of looming skills shortage UK furniture manufacturers face serious resource problems if restrictions are placed on the movement of labour to the UK from other EU countries as a result of Brexit, reports the BFM, which has conducted a survey of companies accounting for an estimated 9% of total production employees across the industry, which shows that 34% of employees are nonUK nationals from the EU. Half the businesses surveyed predicted that if curbs were placed on this source of labour, the industry’s skills shortages would worsen – notably among upholsterers, sewers, frame assemblers and wood machinists. Of the 50 companies that took part in the survey, 52% said they relied on the skills of non-UK EU labour. Some even suggested that any restrictions on accessing this workforce could result in moving more or part of

production abroad. The sector that expressed most concern was upholstery, particularly among larger volume producers, some of which employ fewer UK nationals than migrant EU labour. In-house training, together with apprentice recruitment, was in the plans of most businesses faced with possible labour restrictions, particularly among larger employers soon to be affected by the Apprentice Levy (from April this year). Also worrying employers was having a ready supply of skilled labour to enable businesses to perform efficiently and meet fluctuating needs. There was clear concern about recruiting British workers of quality, interested in working in a factory environment. Multiskilling was suggested as one way to meet a skills gap.

Reportedly, 36% of the sample is already experiencing problems in recruiting and/ or retaining EU labour from outside the UK, with some evidence that Romanian and Polish workers were returning home. The survey also asked companies how long it would take to adequately train replacement labour. Responses varied dependent on the level of skill required and local labour availability. The most common replies were up to six months (42%), followed by up to 12 months (25%). One third of the sample considered 18 months or more would be necessary. The findings will now be presented to the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) with a view to putting a case to Government about the industry's concerns to foster and retain the skills it needs to function.

The Apprenticeship Levy explored The Furniture Makers’ Company is organising a conference to inform the UK furnishing industry about the implications of the forthcoming Apprenticeship Levy and wider educational issues affecting the sector. The Apprenticeship Levy comes into effect on 6th April, and is part of the Government’s commitment to creating three million apprenticeships in England by 2020. The levy requires all employers operating in the UK with an annual pay bill of more than £3m to spend 0.5% of the total to help fund apprenticeships. Chaired by Gary Baker, MD of CD UK, the conference will attempt to demystify the levy and educate businesses as to how they can

FIRA works to raise awareness In order to help manufacturers and suppliers understand their obligations to flammability regulations and standards, FIRA International is hosting a series of flammability courses covering the requirements for upholstered furniture for domestic and contract use. Taking place at FIRA’s facilities in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, the one-day courses will run on 16th March, 12th July and 15th November. FIRA has also released details of its 2017 EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) training programme, which aims to promote regulatory compliance. The course will be held on 13th March, and will be repeated on 12th June, at the same venue.

access funding to develop their workforce by working with recognised training centres and colleges. Other sessions will focus on promoting the industry to young people, and the development of the Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard. Charles Vernon, training and education chairman at The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “With the Apprenticeship Levy launching this April, it is imperative that companies don’t see it as just another tax, but embrace it as an opportunity to further the skills of new and existing employees.” The Bridging the Gap conference will take place at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London on

Thursday 18th May. Tickets cost £45+VAT. The Furniture Makers’ Company is also calling for entries for a new award that will recognise the efforts and career progression of apprentices working in the furnishing industry. The Apprentice Award is open to anyone studying and working towards a retail, manufacture or service apprenticeship at a UK furnishing company. Companies are invited to nominate apprentices working within their business who have made exceptional progress and demonstrated a commitment to pursuing a career in the furnishing industry. The deadline for applications is 19th May.

New appointments at Mammoth Mattress and upholstery designer Mammoth has made a double appointment of nonexecutive directors. Graeme Mills and Paul Sutherland will be working with the Mammoth team as director of performance and director of innovation, respectively. Both positions will work closely with the whole Mammoth team to integrate sound business practices and strategies to continue the company’s growth in the bed and upholstery industries, as well as working to open up new global business opportunities for the North-east-based health and wellbeing group. Both Paul and Graeme have worked with Mammoth in various capacities since the company was launched at retail in 2011. Graeme has taken on the responsibility of developing Mammoth’s staff. He will work

Graeme Mills and Paul Sutherland with the current team while attracting new talent. Paul will deliver strategies for growth, seeking to optimise opportunities within the bed and upholstery industries as well as opening up new prospects. “Mammoth is determined to maintain its ability to respond quickly and practically in support of our valued retailers,” explains John Tuton, founder and MD of Mammoth.

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12 | News

Shire Beds agrees sponsorship deal

As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, The Shire Bed Company has agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with Leeds Rhinos for the coming Rugby League season. Fara Butt, Shire’s marketing director, says: “As keen supporters of the local community we are very proud to be a partner of Leeds Rhinos. Our passion for Yorkshire makes this an excellent match for us. Team Shire are looking forward to the season ahead and cheering on team Rhinos.” The company is already a major sponsor of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Wigan Warriors signs Sealy deal

March is National Bed Month The National Bed Federation (NBF) is calling all bed retailers and manufacturers to take note of this year’s National Bed Month (NBM) campaign by taking advantage of a free downloadable toolkit. Taking place throughout this month, the national awareness campaign promotes the health benefits to consumers of buying a new bed, made by an NBF-approved member. Simon Williams, NBF marketing manager, says: “This is an ideal opportunity for bed retailers to push new bed sales throughout the month, plus manufacturers can use these free tools to encourage their retail contacts

to get on board with the campaign – as we have free downloadable kits on our website available for everyone.”

DFS issues positive trading update DFS has reported “good sales growth” for the first half of the current financial year, with gross sales in the 26 weeks to 28th January 2017 up by 7% YoY. As anticipated, DFS saw some impact on product margins from adverse foreign exchange movements, and recognises that this year the retailing of furniture in the UK

faces an increased risk of a market slowdown given the uncertain outlook for consumer confidence. However, thanks to its "resilient" operating model, the retailer believes it is well positioned to weather these pressures while continually growing its UK market share.

Pushing the boat out The BFM has announced the winner of the first ‘most production-friendly’ category at this year’s annual Heico Design Awards. Second-year upholstery student Robert Davey was awarded the prize for his chair which, with the back down, became a long-

nosed speedboat. Robert also took a runners’ up prize in the overall competition, which sets students the challenge of creating a chair design inspired by Heico’s range of furniture and upholstery products.

Hästens opens new retail outlets Sealy UK has announced a new sponsorship deal with the 2016 Super League Champions, Wigan Warriors. The partnership, an expansion of the bed giant’s logo appearing on the Warriors’ shirts at Old Trafford on Grand Final day last season, underlines Sealy’s commitment to its ongoing World of Sport campaign, which recognises the link between great quality sleep, and sporting excellence. Sealy has already provided beds to all the players, helping them rest and recover ahead of the new season. Over the coming year, the company will work closely with the players to ensure all their sleep needs are attended to, as well as driving brand awareness among the club’s extensive fan base.

Bed specialist Hästens has announced three new outlets across the UK as part of its brand expansion outside of London. The sales outlets sit within branches of Cookes Furniture, Dorset and Birmingham, and Midfurn, Warwickshire. The Midfurn store will display the exclusive Luxuria and Auroria beds, alongside a small selection of accessories, whilst Cookes will offer the Luxuria, Auroria and Proferia. Each store has a dedicated Hästens specialist on hand. Oliver Bowen, UK manager at Hästens, says: “Each store reflects the exclusive and bespoke experience that is essential to the Hästens charm, and we are excited to continue to make and develop our beds that have led us to global recognition.”

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14 | News

ScS shapes senior team ScS Group has confirmed two key appointments to support its future growth and expansion plans. The group’s long-serving merchandise controller, Simon Nicholson, has been appointed to the new role of ScS furniture buyer director, while Paul Burke joins the business as ScS sales director, responsible for

Emma enters UK mattress market

its 100 retail stores. Having joined the group almost 30 years ago, Simon has worked closely with chief executive David Knight on product selection and development. The appointment sees him take full responsibility for this area, while exploring opportunities to develop the product offering.

Paul will work closely with MD Kevin Royal to ensure retail strategies are delivered to maximise sales and group profits, while meeting customer needs and satisfaction. He has over 30 years’ experience of managing retail businesses and teams, working for the likes of MFI, Homestyle and Harveys.

Simba closes latest investment round Simba Sleep, which produces the Simba Hybrid bed in a box, has closed its latest investment round, having raised £9m. The investment takes the total raised so far to £17.5m. Simba Sleep reports that it has sold 45,000 mattresses since February 2016. The brand plans to roll out in 34 countries over the next 18 months, equating to a new territory every two weeks.

CEO and co-founder of Simba Sleep, James Cox, tells Furniture News: “This third round of investment, complemented by repeat orders, consistently outstanding consumer reviews and significantly lower return rates (less than 7%) in comparison to other brands, will hopefully cement our market leader position, as we roll out an exciting suite of tech-enabled sleep products throughout 2017.”

Shire Beds named Yorkshire award finalist The latest start-up to enter the UK mattress market, Emma Mattress, has launched a hybrid mattress which has already performed well in Europe. Having sold more than 40,000 mattresses in Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Poland and France, Emma’s UK-manufactured mattress offers four key components – an optimised combination of a decompressing Hypersoft-layer, pressure-relieving pocket springs, viscoelastic memory foam and a supporting layer of cold foam. Founder Max Laarmann states that he aims to revolutionise how people purchase their mattress. “It is the market leader in the one-fits-all mattress segment in Germany,” he says, “and we hope to achieve the same success in the UK.”

The Shire Bed Company has been named as a 2017 Yorkshire Business Masters award finalist. The Yorkshire Business Awards offer an opportunity to recognise and showcase the achievements and success of businesses in the region. The medium business category is for those that have demonstrated outstanding development and growth in performance. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Shire Beds has become one of the most successful bed manufacturers in West Yorkshire. Since it was established in 1977, the business has more than trebled in size and now employs 70 people. In the last year alone it has expanded its Dewsbury site from 30,000 square feet to over 100,000 square feet, representing a total investment in 2016 of nearly £2.5m. The company’s latest expansion is

underway for a brand new head office and showroom, with plans in place for a number of exciting activities to commemorate its anniversary and celebrate the opening of this modern development. Fara Butt, sales and marketing director at Shire Beds, says: “We are proud of our Yorkshire roots and delighted to be a business award finalist. We have had an extremely busy 12 months and this accolade is testament to the whole Shire Beds team, who work hard to make the company what it is today.” editor, Alex Turner, says: “The shortlisted businesses gave compelling reasons to be chosen, demonstrating growth, innovation and a passion for what they do.” The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on 30th March at The Queens Hotel, Leeds.

Dual role for Gallery Direct manager One-stop interior products supplier Gallery Direct has appointed James Hudson as its sales director, alongside his role as business development director for furniture. James comments: “I’m thrilled to be given the position of sales director, but delighted that I can also retain my role putting together our furniture collections, which I love! “Furniture has been a key part of my life

for so long, it’s great that I can still utilise my design skills and knowledge. "The combination of the two jobs will keep me busy (and the title is rather long, sales and business development director), but I’m always up for a challenge, and with my enthusiasm, experience and work ethic, I’m confident that I can balance the two roles and deliver the results required for both.”

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The Manufacturing Guild Mark has been the mark of excellence, distinguishing Britain’s top furnishing manufacturers, since 1993. Retailers, specifiers, distributors and customers sourcing and buying furniture from an MGM holder can rest easy knowing that the company has achieved exemplary standards. Sponsored by:

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16 | News

CIFF (Guangzhou) sets up export zones The 39th CIFF (Guangzhou), which will take place across two phases on 18th-21st and 28th-31st March, has established new ‘export zones’ to help overseas visitors improve sourcing efficiency and focus on their favourite products. CIFF is introducing a Dining & Living Room Furniture for Export section, in halls 6.1-8.1 in Area A of the China Import & Export Fair Complex, and Sofa for Export in halls 12.1 -13.1 in Area B) during Phase 1. Over a total 30,000m2, the Dining & Living Room Furniture for Export will host such brands such as Landbond, J&C, Huaya, Donghong, Xinsheng, Haoxin, Fuhe and Evs. Over a total area of 20,000m2, the Sofa for Export will host brands such as K-Motion, Zhenbei, Desheng, Henglin, Asiama, Meiyi and MLM. The 2016 show reportedly attracted 3868 exhibitors and 168,881 visitors, and the show’s organiser expects to exceed these levels in 2017. Under the theme Better Life, Better Work, CIFF is set to optimise exhibitor and visitor experience.

Runner Margaret Adeoye joins Sealy campaign Sealy UK has teamed up with British Olympian and Linford Christie protégée, Margaret Adeoye, to support her as she competes at the highest level. Making her Olympic debut at the London 2012 Olympics representing Great Britain in the 200m, Margaret is no stranger to the demands of training and performing under extreme pressure time and time again. More recently, Margaret joined Team GB in Rio and is now in training for the inaugural Nitro Athletics series in Melbourne, where she will represent her country once again in the 200m under the guidance of Olympic champion, Linford Christie. As a self-confessed “terrible sleeper”, Margaret has been gifted a Sealy Navarro 1400 mattress in a bid to improve her sleeping patterns. Margaret says: “Now that I’m sleeping better, I feel better prepared to tackle even the most challenging of training sessions. Since sleeping on a Sealy everything seems to be going well, and I have no complaints what-so-ever. You really can’t beat that fresh feeling in the morning from a good night’s sleep, and I’m looking forward to many more nights of great quality rest!”

Margaret Adeoye Neil Robison, Sealy UK marketing director, comments: “Margaret has an incredibly promising future ahead of her and we’re delighted to be part of it by providing her with the comfort and support of a Sealy mattress. Her dedication and determination, coupled with the excellent guidance from a world champion stand her in good stead for success in 2017.” With her involvement in Sealy’s World of Sport, Margaret joins a number of leading sportsmen and women, including British snowboarding champion, Zoe Gillings-Brier, Rugby League champions, Wigan Warriors, and boxer, Frank Bruno MBE. The initiative was launched to promote deeper sleep and the wealth of benefits this has on sporting performance.

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HOME IMPROVEMENT Research from home services marketplace shows that, on average, almost a quarter of homeowners are planning to spend more this year on home improvements in at least one area of the home. The percentage of people planning a YoY spending increase varies according to area: Plentific’s Stephen Jury comments: “Our statistics illustrate the growing shift in demand for home improvements across the UK. One thing’s for sure – tradesmen are going to be busy in 2017.”

Infographic created by wholesaler Manchester Furniture Supplies (

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18 | Interview

Luxury living inside and out Founded by Peter Bridgman in the 70s, luxury home and garden furniture retailer Bridgman is celebrating four decades in the industry this year. Victoria Noakes speaks to commercial director Robert Bridgman to discover more about the business that has become renowned for its design, comfort and quality ... Words: Victoria Noakes

Robert Bridgman

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ith a focus on luxury home and garden furniture to help maximise space, retailer Bridgman was first established in Enfield in 1977. The business has traded out of the same head office and warehouse complex since 1983, where it has 7000m2 of storage space, making logistics fast and hassle free. Bridgman is 100% vertically aligned, designing, manufacturing and supplying all product lines to maintain control of the whole supply chain. “If you’re looking for luxury home and garden furniture that will stand the test of time, Bridgman has you covered. We are well-known throughout Europe and the Middle East for the quality of our products, and have over 25 home and garden furniture collections, each offering a unique style,” says Robert, the third generation Bridgman to work in the company. “Our aim is to inspire customers to think big and maximise their space. Gone are the days when choice was limited to a few major suppliers. Anything is possible, and that motto helps ensure that we’re on trend, supplying furniture that looks

Evesham modular sofa set with waterproof cushions

great and will last for decades.” Over the years, Bridgman has led the way with innovative new materials, manufacturing techniques and original designs. In 2003, the business was one of the first in Britain to focus on rattan garden furniture, followed shortly by its exclusive fully-waterproof cushions. Bridgman’s highly-skilled craftsmen uphold the standard of the business’ products, and the company’s confidence in its pieces is clear in the industryleading guarantees it offers. As a familyrun company, Bridgman is focused on offering all its customers exceptional service and support, whether they purchase online, over the phone or through one of its six showrooms.

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Interview | 19

Evesham dining table and armchairs

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These showrooms, based in Enfield, Winchester in Hampshire, Walton-onThames in Surrey, Wilmslow in Cheshire, Old Amersham in Buckinghamshire, and Sevenoaks in Kent, all feature a thoughtfully-curated selection of Bridgman’s dining, bedroom and living collections, plus garden and conservatory rattan, teak and aluminium furniture offerings. As well as running its own showrooms, Bridgman also collaborates with carefully-selected partners across the UK, so that customers have more opportunity to see the products firsthand before making a purchase. The company also maintains partnerships with exclusive homewares brands >>>

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20 | Interview

Mayfair dining table and chairs

Sun loungers and Lodge rectangular dining table with six stacking armchairs

Evesham double sun lounger with side table

“Britain has always been a nation of garden lovers, but now with the plethora of gardening shows on TV and latest innovations in outdoor materials, styles that were previously confined to indoors are creeping their way outside”

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Jewel day bed

Villeroy & Boch, George Jensen and Voyage Maison to offer striking accessories to complement its furniture ranges. When asked about the trends the company is experiencing at the moment, Robert states that the lines between indoors and outdoors are becoming increasingly blurred. “Britain has always been a nation of garden lovers, but now with the plethora of gardening shows on TV and latest innovations in outdoor materials, styles that were previously confined to indoors are creeping their way outside,” he states. “As a company we’re very in-tune with the latest interior trends, and we use colour to much greater effect than in previous years. As an example, we now have 12 different waterproof cushion colour options, including Pistachio, which was inspired by Greenery, the Pantone colour of 2017.” To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Bridgman has launched three new collections of luxury outdoor furniture. One of which, limited-edition The

Jewel, is a fully-waterproof outdoor day bed with waterproof cushions, and has garnered much attention from customers, and impressive follow-up orders. Looking forward, Bridgman’s aim is to continue to offer its customers the quality and service that they have come to expect from the business, whilst staying ahead of the game in terms of materials and production techniques. Robert asserts that by getting feedback from customers, scouring the global marketplace and partnering with some of the world’s best manufacturers, Bridgman will persist in bringing products to the market in a fast, fresh and reliable way. He concludes: “We’re so proud to have been in this industry for 40 years and would like to thank all the customers and suppliers that we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. Watch this space to find out about the exciting things we have planned for the future.” W

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Go global Are you looking to develop business overseas? The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) is a 20-yearold association comprising the leading trade publications – based on editorial quality and circulation – from 19 countries worldwide. Its aim is to assist its members, and their advertisers, to better communicate with foreign markets. When promoting or seeking information from abroad, the IAFP network is the one to trust. Furniture News has been the UK member publication since 2012, and has since helped its readers and advertisers reach high-quality foreign information, contacts and readership. Contact Samantha Horscroft on (+44)1424 776100 to find out more.

Member publications

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Best in

Introducing the winning ranges








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n show

from a successful January exhibition








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24 | The Furniture Awards 2017

The results are in – this year’s edition of The Furniture Awards have identified a strong complement of winning suppliers, all of them responsible for bringing some of the best new product to this year’s January Furniture Show.

Champions of industry Towards the end of 2014, Furniture News, in collaboration with the organisers of the debut January Furniture Show, created The Furniture Awards, to recognise the best new products launched at the event. Three years – and three successful shows – later, The Furniture Awards has become one of the event’s most loved features. Evolving from a focus on pricing to a more general celebration of those suppliers deemed to have brought the strongest, most commercial designs to the event, the awards have gathered momentum with each edition. This year’s crop of entries was harder to adjudicate than ever, but the panel of retail and design experts was more than up to the task. It comprised: Malcolm Walker, director of buying for Furniture Village; Diana Celella, award-winning interior designer and president-elect of the Society of British and International Design (SBID); Rob Scarlett, furniture designer; and Royce Clark, MD of Grampian Furnishers. “This year’s edition of The Furniture Awards unearthed a truly impressive selection of winners,” comments Paul Farley, award co-ordinator and chair of the judging panel.

“These stand-out suppliers have proved their ability to deliver first-class, on-trend furniture, overflowing with commercial appeal.” Event director Theresa Raymond adds: “Anyone thinking that the furniture industry continually churns out the same old thing would have been in for a shock if they saw the entries for the 2017 Furniture Awards. This year more than ever, they proved that there is skill, diversity and flair in our industry, and that all of that can be combined with great practical purpose. “I know that the judges deliberated carefully to select the winners, and judging wasn’t an easy task with the quality of entries, but it was a pleasure to present the awards to the very deserving winners.” The winners will now be able to employ The Furniture Awards branding across their marketing and PoS, helping lend their new releases even greater distinction this year. Over the following pages, Furniture News looks at the winners of each category in depth, and reveals a few of the thoughts behind the judges’ decisions … W

This year’s judges, Malcolm Walker, Diana Celella, Rob Scarlett and Royce Clark

Judges Diana Celella and Rob Scarlett hear about Evanyrouse's dining concept

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“This year more than ever, The Furniture Awards proved that there is skill, diversity and flair in our industry, and that all of that can be combined with great practical purpose”

AWARDS 04/07/2017 14:06

Spotting the

s r a t s

of the show



AWARDS 2017 Winners

Bedroom Category Winner: concept me, Nolte MĂśbel Highly Commended: Dartmoor, Cottonsafe Natural Mattress Living Category Winner: Gatsby, Tetrad Highly Commended: BB, Asiades HK Dining Category Winner: Brunel, Bentley Designs Highly Commended: Varzzy Stories, Evanyrouse Decor Category Winner: New Jersey Print, Flair Rugs

Thanks to everyone who entered this year’s competition! Look out for details of how to enter next year at

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26 | The Furniture Awards 2017

The Furniture Awards 2017: Bedroom Category Winner: Nolte Möbel Founded in 1955, Nolte Möbel is a leading German manufacturer of wardrobes and bedroom furniture. Able to produce commercial lines in bulk, as well as bespoke processes when required, Nolte’s success is based on the continuous development of innovative yet functional designs – and its new bedroom system, concept me, distils a huge selection of cabinets and finish options into one easy-to-understand format. “Above all, we considered what makes people unique and often seek unusual or individual products,” says MD Steffen Urbschat. “People today no longer like to conform to a predefined model. They want furniture that adapts with them, something that reflects the challenges of their life situations, both today and in the future. This applies in general terms but also to the details. Individuality and character are the core values of concept me.” Indeed, “Let your creative spirit run wild,” reads the product blurb, and as much as the trade has heard that refrain from manufacturers before, concept me makes good on its promise of flexibility – multiple surface, size and handle options cater to the demands of traditional, purist and eclectic customers, adapting to their individual needs rather than setting out a prescriptive stall. From single pieces to full rooms, three, easily-configurable styles provide a basis for a virtually limitless range of combinations, offering cabinets, wardrobe accessories, beds, dressers and bedsides. The wardrobe, for example, is available in seven body colours and 17 front designs, while the free-standing bedside chests come in three widths and four heights. “We not only asked ourselves how people would like their bedroom to look but, above all, how they want to live in it,” says Steffen. Concept me is backed by Nolte’s 10-year warranty, and employs both FSC- and PEFC-certified materials. W

1 concept me 2 From left: Theresa Raymond; Nolte Möbel sales director Michael Tattersall; Nolte’s export manager, Marc Balcerowicz; Paul Farley; and Laraine Janes


“It offers a one-stop shop for a retailer’s bedroom department. You could sell anybody exactly what they wanted from just three displays”

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What the judges said The judges felt that concept me offers a clear, flexible and well-delivered solution to bespoke bedroom planning that simplifies an often complex buying process from start to finish. “It’s all well and good developing a concept, but many companies will just come up with a name and then won’t follow it through. In concept me, Nolte have completely simplified the German bedroom furniture concept.” “From a commercial POV, it looks great – it’s set out well, they’ve got all the fashion colours right … overall, it’s a great mix.” “It offers a one-stop shop for a retailer’s bedroom department. You could sell anybody exactly what they wanted from just three displays, and your sales staff wouldn’t have to spend hours with each customer.”


Highly Commended: Bedroom Category Dartmoor, Cottonsafe Natural Mattress Backed by a passionate story of natural materials, the innovative, sustainable and undeniably comfortable Cottonsafe mattress range, manufactured in Devon, was deemed well worthy of praise. Featuring a unique natural material which combines organic cotton and wool and surpasses even contract-grade fire regulations.Using natural locally-sourced materials including hand-teased Dartmoor wool, silk and horsehair, the collection of hand side-stitched Cottonsafe mattresses is stitched into three depths of pocket spring with hemp – without the use of glues, adhesives or foam. These luxury mattresses are supplied at a variety of price points, reportedly far keener than the comparable models available on the market. W




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28 | The Furniture Awards 2017

The Furniture Awards 2017: Living Category Winner: Tetrad Established in 1968, Tetrad is known globally for its high-quality upholstery. Coupling enduring hardwood frames with a variety of suspension options, in fabric or leather, Tetrad’s portfolio is unique, sometimes quirky, and quintessentially British in flavour. The Gatsby, a sharp, comfortable pinstripe sofa, offers a wealth of marketing potential, from its British origins to the Ralph Lauren fabrics that adorn it. Comprising a glued and dowelled FSC-certified frame and hand-cut tailored fabrics, Gatsby offers a deep scatter back with feather-filled interiors, in all-natural fabrics. Made in the UK to short lead times, Gatsby is available with a choice of covers. Manufactured in Lancashire, Gatsby is part of Tetrad’s exclusive Signature collection, which ties in thematically with (and employs) a highly-commercial range of Ralph Lauren fabrics. W

1 The Gatsby 2 From left: Theresa Raymond; Tetrad UK director Janus Cooper; Paul Farley; and Laraine Janes


“Relaxed glamour is really marketable right now, and this is eminently fashionable. The Ralph Lauren fabrics add a great marketing opportunity”

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What the judges said The judges felt that this well-tailored, sophisticated take on modern glamour hits the trend for Twenties style head-on. “It’s a beautifully-shaped sofa, and very comfortable. If you look closely, there’s some real subtlety to it, too – the way the arm drops away, the way the pinstripes line up – there’s loads you could do with it.” “Relaxed glamour is really marketable right now, and this is eminently fashionable. The Ralph Lauren fabrics add a great marketing opportunity – it’s a very clever angle.” “Tetrad is not just a British brand, but a British brand that tries to be different. There’s not many companies that try as hard as they do to be original.”


Highly Commended: Living Category BB lounge chair, Asiades HK Working with modern fabrics, stainless steel and wood, Asiades designs and develops contemporary living and dining furniture from Apeldoorn in The Netherlands, which it then manufactures in Asia – the company’s back office is based in Surabaya, Java. The vintage-modern BB lounge chair boasts elegance, strong fabrics and a favourable sit, while representing impressive value. On-trend coloured fabrics, combined with a delicate frame sporting a touch of bronze, the BB lounge chair boasts a pleasurable sit and a range of colours, representing a youthful update of an established style. W




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30 | The Furniture Awards 2017

The Furniture Awards 2017: Dining Category Winner: Bentley Designs Established in 1988, Bentley Designs has grown to be one of the leading UK suppliers of quality wooden dining, lounge and bedroom cabinet furniture. Its complete range comprises four individual collections, delivered from a strong manufacturing base in Vietnam via one of the industry’s strongest logistical operations. The contemporary Brunel range consists mainly of dining pieces including an elliptical table and swivelling chairs along with various occasionals including a circular lamp table and semi-elliptical console. Brunel fuses linear precision with geometrics, utilising a two-tone finish of chalked oak and gunmetal-painted beech – a combination of qualities which is noticeably missing from the majority of high-volume collections. “Paramount to the brief was commercial viability and high quality design,” comments designer Ray Davies, “whilst adding novelty to encourage interactive enjoyment by the consumer, through swivelling chairs. Brunel is an attention-grabber that will attract an audience appreciative of exciting, on-trend furniture with a little dose of fun designed in – without any compromise to functionality.” W

1 Brunel 2 From left: Theresa Raymond; Paul Farley; Bentley Designs’ director Rif Lalani; Bentley design manager Ray Davies; and Laraine Janes


“It’s market-ready, and, at that price point, you’re going to get fashion into a home that doesn’t have fashion”

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The Furniture Awards 2017 | 31

What the judges said Winning for the third year in a row, Bentley impressed the judges with its high-value entry. “From its design and finish to marketing and selling, the whole range has been comprehensively thought through.” “It’s market-ready, and, at that price point, you’re going to get fashion into a home that doesn’t have fashion.” “Every year Bentley seem to push the boundaries. To get that level of washed finish out of such a production-led operation is fantastic.”


Highly Commended: Dining Category Varzzy Stories, Evanyrouse UK sales and distribution manager Claire Petrie discovered the Evanyrouse brand in Portugal, and has worked hard to translate its Varzzy Stories furniture concept for a UK audience. Placing the choice of tabletop colour and finish in the customer’s hands, Varzzy Stories boasts strong designs, innovative directions and the potential to create some truly impressive results. A bespoke tabletop design concept that offers unique designs and surfaces in wood, high gloss and ceramics, the brand delivers sizes, styles and an ease of action to suit any buyer seeking a high-quality, individually-defined dining solution. W




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32 | The Furniture Awards 2017

The Furniture Awards 2017: Decor Category Winner: Flair Rugs Derbyshire-based rug specialist Flair Rugs was established in 1984, and has become a leading supplier of rugs to the interiors and flooring sectors. The company supplies over 1800 rug sizes and styles in a wide selection of designs, colours and sizes. On trend and promising mainstream appeal, New Jersey Print offers fashion at an affordable price, allowing for the easy creation of a furnishing centrepiece. New Jersey Print, in its Birds and Peacock forms, is an interpretation of birds’ colour displays and pearlescent feather effects. Few natural forms provide such style versatility – having established a firm presence in home accessories, bird motifs and feather interpretations are now committed to fabrics, and reflected in this collection of acrylic chenille rugs, which provide a distinctive watercolour quality. Available in 120 x 170cm and 160 x 230cm sizes, this competitively-priced rug features a lavish and flexible design, certain areas of which are highlighted with a stand-out gloss effect. Sales and marketing director Gareth Davies comments: “Our in-house design team deserve all the credit coming their way, and this award demonstrates the part they play in keeping us at the tip of the trend curve.” W


1 Birds 2 From left: Paul Farley; Flair Rugs’ sales and marketing director, Gareth Davies; Laraine Janes; and Theresa Raymond


What the judges said The judges agreed that the design would appeal to most people, and will likely prove highly sellable this year. “It’s on-trend, edgy and affordable, offering value-price fashion.” “A high-end feel for a great price.” “Put a grey sofa on it, add some mulberry cushions, and you’ve got an easy furnishing solution, whilst still being a little bit adventurous.”



“It’s on-trend, edgy and affordable, offering value-price fashion”

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AWARDS 04/07/2017 14:06


the revolution starts here...


T: 0044 7810 748 605 E-mail:

Sinooak.indd 1

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34 | The Furniture Awards 2017

Narrowly missing out on the top spots were the remaining shortlisted entries, each a strong candidate in its own right, and a further reflection of the quality and breadth of product on display at this year’s January Furniture Show …

Pipped at the post 1









1 Zoe, Nicoletti Home (Living)

4 Rugs & Runners, Edel Telenzo (Decor)

7 Zig Zag by Fiona Howard, Think Rugs (Decor)

2 Mustique, Gallery Direct (Dining)

5 Pero, Ercol Furniture (Living)

8 Sita, Wiemann (Bedroom)

3 Elle, Willis & Gambier (Bedroom)

6 Pluto, Qualita (Dining)

9 Brando, Premier Housewares (Living)

Do you think you have what it takes to be a star at next year’s January Furniture Show? Keep an eye open for details of The Furniture Awards 2018 later this year, plus examples of this year’s award in action …

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Watch this space

AWARDS 04/07/2017 14:07



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36 | Events


SPRING FAIR PUTS THE HOME UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT 2500 exhibitors presented their home and gift wares at last month’s Spring Fair, with the event’s home sector incorporating more international brands than ever before.


his year’s edition of Spring Fair presented the largest home product selection in its history, enabling independent retailers, department store buyers, garden centres and online retailers to source the latest home living products. The home section of the show featured brands that take inspiration from all over the world, in particular Scandinavia. The Scandinavian hygge trend of simplistic, cosy living was presented by the trend’s leading brands that exhibited exclusively at Spring Fair, including Madam Stolz, Hubsch, Nordal and Kreafunk. Buyers found textiles, furniture, interior and outdoor accessories, as well as soft furnishings in the home sector. International brands including Chic Antique, Flam and Luce Byclassy, Light & Living and Baroque International presented an array of customised lampshades, vintage furniture and renaissance style decorations. Plus, over 40 companies featured in the Summerhouse section, including names such as One World Trading, Stone the Crows and Libra Authentic Models captured the attention of visitors with its historical reproductions, such as hand-built airplane models and nostalgic games and kits for children as

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well as complete furniture collections, whilst Loxton Lighting impressed with its selection of paper lanterns, tiffany desk lamps and metal shades – which are available in a range of colours and designs, from traditional to modern. Clarke & Clarke presented an impressive range of vibrant, fashionled fabrics, cushions and wallcoverings in on-trend colours and designs, plus Mindy Brownes Interiors presented a collection inspired by heritage, travel and classic influences, made up of occasional furniture, lighting, mirrors, clocks, accessories and tableware. Ian Mankin illustrated what it does best, with its stylish interpretations of natural and traditional fabrics in a simple yet timeless palette of colours. The company’s latest collection of home accessories, made with British woven fabric from its own Lancashire mill, included cotton and lambswool throws, cushions, doorstops and more. London Ornaments displayed its striking offering of unique decorative ornaments and furniture for the home and garden in a vintage style. Its collection is made up of lanterns, lighting, mirrors, clocks, furniture and storage, decorative accessories and gifts. Other leading names in home products such as Coach House, Wilde Java, McGowan and Rutherford, Voyage Maison, Hill Interiors and Pacific Lifestyle were also present at the event, displaying a varied product assortment, made up of lamps, country dining chairs, wall clocks and dressers. The next edition of Spring Fair will be held from 4-8th February at Birmingham’s NEC. W

04/07/2017 14:07




n o d e t i r a t t s u l h as o v e r e




easyturn in three easy moves 1. Unzip the easyturn mattress top 2. Flip it over 3. Zip it back up again. Done. Top quality beds such as ours tend to be more generous with the fillings. This makes for a great sleep but adds to the weight of the mattress, making turnability a real issue for many customers. The standard answer to this is to make the mattress no-turn, which consequently can affect longevity. Well, we’ve turned convention on its head with the ingenious easyturn system. This clever design keeps most of the weight in one section, making the layer that actually needs turning much more manageable. Three models were launched at the Bed Show; we’re sure once you try easyturn you’ll never want to turn back to those pre-revolution days.

new from

Even more innovation

Hush-a-Bye Beds, Canal Road, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 8RL T: 01225 779135 W:

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38 | Events


TENDENCE TO ATTRACT THE EUROPEAN MARKET Countless new products for furnishing, living and giving will be on show at Frankfurt's Tendence from 2427th June this year.


ith a significantly broader product spectrum and new dates ahead of all other autumn order fairs, Tendence offers the European retail trade an exclusive overview of innovations for the coming half of the year. Under the motto, Two Seasons, One Date, it is also the meeting place for all bulk-buying and international channels of distribution and sales. Last year 22,742 visitors from 79 countries visited the fair to discover some of the latest products and innovations from the home, furnishing, decoration, gifts, jewellery and fashion sector. Over 940 companies exhibited in 2016 and around 80% of the space has already been rebooked. “Our aim was and is unequivocal: growth in terms of both new exhibitors and new visitor target groups, and we have very nearly achieved this goal. Hall 8.0 with the seasonal decorations and lovely home segments is already overbooked,” says Philipp Ferger, group show director for Tendence. “The growth strategy is also proving

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a success in the home-textiles segment, and the outdoor product group is also flourishing. In a nutshell, we are on the right track.” Thanks to the new dates at the end of June, it is now possible for Tendence to occupy new halls. In the interest of visitors and an improved trade fair experience, Messe Frankfurt has made more space available and introduced a new hall configuration with six halls – 8.0, 9.0, 9.1, 10.1, 11.0 and 11.1 – in use. The Trend Hall (11.0), is the setting for trending gifts and design-oriented table and kitchen accessories, as well as gourmet gifts. In the Pure & Elegant segment in hall 9.0, functional, timeless and modern-puristic home design meets classic and elegant furnishing concepts with high-grade furniture, textiles and home accessories. Classic and decorative gift ideas are located in the Gift Classics segment in hall 9.1, while furnishing and decorating ideas for the house and garden are to be found in the Lovely Home and Seasonal Decoration segments in hall 8.0. W

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DU: 15.02.2017

be first. 24 – 27. 6. 2017

From 2017, the latest international product ideas from the home and gift sectors for the autumn / winter and spring / summer seasons will celebrate their premiere in June.

new date

Further details at: Tel. +44 (0) 14 83 48 39 83

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04/07/2017 14:07

64667-010_TE_allg_FurnitureNews_196x277 • FOGRA 39 • CMYK • tg: 13.02.2017

new seasons ahead.












The NR Collection With a white paint finish and flag pattern grey lime-washed oak tops, this collection embraces classic country style. A nod towards French provincial style and with brass effect handles, it’s a fabulous way to add traditional glamour to the home.

Large TV Cabinet £99.99

Side Table £55.00

Small Wide Bookcase £85.00

Mainland UK Orders Kettle Interiors Agencies

Container FN 336 Pages v3.indd 40

Nest of Tables £59.99

Ireland Orders Decor Furniture Ltd 028 3844 6000 I ROI Dedicated: 01 9014285

01536 444960 D I S P L A Y

Coffee Table £89.99

D I S C O U N T S Stockist


Container prices illustrated

Telephone Table £59.99

Featuring flag pattern grey limewash oak tops

Wholesale 04/07/2017 14:07








The NT Collection In a natural oak finish and with Danish style influences, this collection captures the trend for Scandinavian interior style, made for today’s UK homes. Featuring a choice of wood or metal handles, this is a range for those serious about making their home a stylish place to be.

Corner TV Cabinet £75.00

Large Cupboard £79.99

Lamp Table £49.99

Console Table £65.00

Mainland UK Orders Kettle Interiors Agencies

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Wine Cabinet £85.00

Ireland Orders Decor Furniture Ltd 028 3844 6000 I ROI Dedicated: 01 9014285

01536 444960 D I S P L A Y

Small Wide Boockase £79.99

Supplied with metal and wood knobs

D I S C O U N T S Stockist


Container prices illustrated

Container prices illustrated



Wholesale 04/07/2017 14:07

42 | Resources

FIRA’s latest statistical digest provides a summary of how the UK furniture industry performed to the end of 2015, inspecting data from Government bodies such as the Office for National Statistics, HM Customs and Revenue and Communities and Local Government to identify the sector’s underlying manufacturing and spending trends.

FIRA outlines the UK industry trends Published in November last year, the report covers 2012-15, and includes some estimates for 2016. Although the timeframe is limited to publicly-available data, FIRA’s digest provides one of the clearest pictures of the industry available. Covering areas such as national economic trends, the structure of the UK furniture manufacturing industry and trading relationships with the rest of the world, the report delivers figures across contract, office and domestic subsectors. Key findings of the latest report include:

National economic trends

Average weekly internet sales for household goods, 2014-2016,

* At the end of 2008 total net unsecured lending, having increased on a regular basis over previous years, started to fall, bottoming out at £207,092m in June 2012. Since then it has increased with lending at the end of 2015 being 9.3% higher than at the end of 2014.

sourced from the ONS (not seasonally adjusted)

* Some of this increase in lending was attributable to credit cards (3.9% from 2014 to 2015) although this was significantly smaller than the increase of 7.4% from 2013 to 2014. * Total outstanding lending, including that secured by individuals and housing associations on dwellings, peaked at £1548b in 2015. This was 3.5% higher at the end of 2015 than at the end of 2014. * This greater rate of increase in total lending has been driven by lending secured on dwellings which increased by 2.4% from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015, whereas in the previous year the increase was only 1.5%. * At the end of 2015 lending secured on dwellings reached £1285b and preliminary data for 2016 show that this figure increased to £1305b by June of that year.

“There has been greater consumer demand, as indicated by the retail figures. In addition, there has been renewed commercial development over the last few years”

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Turnover of UK furniture manufacturers, 2012-2015

* The number of dwellings starts in the UK almost halved between 2007/8 and 2008/9. Since then they had continued to increase gradually, but over the period 2011 to 2013 starts fell by over 10,000 compared with 2010/11. This decline reversed significantly in 2013/14 with starts increasing by 35,090 (28%) compared with the previous year. Starts in 2014/15 reached 171,850. However, this was only an increase of 9750, which equated to a 6% increase YoY. “One of the Government’s drivers for 2017 is the continued revival of the new homes market, including support for a significant number of affordable homes,” comments Peter. “It is not my main area of expertise, and the experts appear to be divided, with some feeling the uncertainty around Brexit will slow the market and others feeling that buyers may take advantage of continued low interest rates. No-one seems to know for sure. “The Telegraph suggested that the housing market

04/07/2017 14:07

Resources | 43

in 2016 fluctuated and was not as buoyant as might have been expected, and it is anticipated that, while housing has rebounded more strongly than expected after the Brexit referendum, the level of transactions has dropped, and growth in 2017 may be notably slower than in 2016. Others have higher hopes for the next 12 months, as the market adjusts to the ‘new normal’ and takes advantage of low interest rates.” * The total number of property transactions above £40,000 reached 1.3 million. However, the increase from 2014 to 2015 was considerably smaller (0.7%) than the YoY increases for the previous two years, which were just under 14%. * Total consumer expenditure in the UK increased between 2012 and 2015 to £1136b (just over a 7% increase). The most significant growth in expenditure over this period occurred in net tourism at 53%, followed by clothing and footwear, which increased by 16%. * Expenditure on furnishings, household goods and house maintenance increased from 2012 to 2015 by 14%, with the majority of this growth attributable to the period 2014 to 2015, where increase in expenditure over the year was 6%. * Consumer expenditure on furniture and furnishings was £16.2b in 2015 and exceeded all other spend in the furnishings, household goods and house maintenance sector. This represented a 33% increase from 2012, with consistent YoY growth at between 9% and 12%.

Furniture industry trends * Total provisional furniture manufacturing turnover in 2015 was just under £8b, which was 7.1% higher than the previous year and 20.8% higher than in 2012. * Furniture manufacturing in 2012 equated to 1.28% of the UK’s total manufacturing turnover, whereas in 2015 this had increased to 1.55%. “On the surface the reason for this change is quite simple – there has been greater consumer demand, as indicated by the retail figures,” says Peter. “In addition, there has been renewed commercial development over the last few years. However, I am not privy to what makes the consumer to decide to spend, and spend on furniture. “Consumer lending was relatively static for a few years, but more recently has increased YoY. Clearly they felt confident enough to borrow to purchase items (such as furniture, which tends to be sold via credit agreements). Also, remember that much of this data is from 2015 (pre-Brexit vote). “Having said that, predictions for 2016’s results suggest another increase in furniture manufacturer turnover – possibly by as much as 6 or 7%, but I wouldn’t bet my mortgage on this until firmer data is released mid-way through 2017. “ * The total number of registered furniture manufacturers in 2015 was 5998.


* Furniture and furnishings retail sales in 2016 have continued to increase, with first and second quarter consumer expenditures being respectively 3.6% and 2.4% higher than for the equivalent periods in 2015. * Household textiles expenditure also exhibited a massive increase from 2012 to 2015 (37%), followed by small electric household appliances at 27%. * The greatest reductions in expenditure from 2012 to 2015 were in furniture and furnishings repair (58%) and carpets and floorcoverings (18%).

Number of UK furniture manufacturing enterprises, 2012-2015

* Within the retail sector furniture and furnishings repair spend, having reached £59m in 2012 – which represented a significant recovery after a very tough year in 2010 – dropped to only £25m in 2015, although anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise and the true value may be hidden within other statistics. * The household goods sector has seen a marked increase in internet sales, with YoY growth in September 2016 equating to 44.4% (compared with September 2015). This value of £61.3m per week equates to 10.4% of retail sales in the sector and 6.6% of UK retail sales in total.

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Average employment in UK furniture manufacturing, 2012-2015

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44 | Resources * Provisional data for UK furniture manufacturing indicates a 7% decrease in average employment numbers from 2012 to 2015 (86,000 to 80,000). “The employment figures are less reliable than they used to be,” Peter clarifies. “There are indications that net CAPEX for the sector has increased over recent years, which might suggest investment in plant and machinery, but I don’t know whether automation is a major contributory factor to this decrease – this would require a much more in-depth analysis. “There are other, simpler reasons for increased turnover with fewer employees too, such as price increases.”

Number of furniture manufacturers in turnover bands by region, sourced from the ONS

* Despite 2015 turnover being valued at almost 1.3% of the total for UK manufacturing, the furniture sector employed 3.2% of all UK manufacturing personnel, which is estimated to have equated to 2.4% of the UK manufacturing wage bill. * The office and shop furniture sector (predominantly contract) saw an 18% increase in turnover from 2012 to 2015, reaching £2.3b. * Turnover in the kitchen sector having fallen from a high of £1.7b in 2008 to a low of £1.1b in 2011 has since recovered. It increased to £1.6b in 2015, although these provisional estimates suggest a drop of 5% compared with the previous year. * The mattress subsector has historically been relatively stable compared to its counterparts, but over recent years has exhibited substantial growth. Turnover went from £0.56b in 2012 to £0.75b in 2015 (33% increase), with an increase of 13% from 2014 to 2015. “Mattress imports as a percentage of the home markets are comparatively low (12% in 2015, dropping from 13% in 2014), which shows that UK manufacturers have a good grip on the market,” comments Peter. “Perhaps the recent NBF campaigns to ensure that its members follow an audited Code of Practice is finding traction with retailers and distributors.” * The ‘other furniture’ subsector accounts for 47% of the industry’s total turnover and, as such, has a large influence on the overall performance figures for the whole sector. Any recovery in turnover here tends to reflect the overall position for the sector. * Time series data indicates that in recent years 2010 was the best year for the ‘other furniture’ subsector in terms of turnover, peaking at £3.4b. However, over subsequent years, turnover continued to decrease, dropping to a low of £2.9b in 2012. Since 2012 there has been a slow recovery and in 2015 turnover reached £3.3b, which represented a 14% increase over that period. More recently, from 2014 to 2015, there was a provisional 9% increase in turnover, which was the most significant YoY growth for some time.

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Number of furniture manufacturers in employee bands by region (2016), sourced from the ONS

* The retail figure for furniture and furnishings repair was £25m in 2015 which reflected a continued reduction in consumer expenditure since 2012. However, this doesn’t mirror manufacturing data for furniture and furnishings repair which show that, since 2012, turnover increased YoY up to £193m in 2014. Unfortunately, preliminary data for 2015 indicated a turnover reduction back to £165m. * The industry continues to be dominated by micro and SMEs, with only 285 companies (4.6%) operating at turnovers in excess of £5m. 130 companies turned over more than £10m in 2016. These numbers are slightly higher than the previous year, which indicates that some of the larger companies have continued to grow. In fact, there has been growth in the number of companies within each turnover category above and including £500,000 to £1m, which is another indicator that growth in manufacturing turnover is attributable to the development of existing companies rather than new entrants into the market. * 82.5% of companies turned over less than £1m and the largest percentage of companies were in the £100k-£250k turnover band (30.4%). * In the office and shop sector the number of smaller companies was lower than for the other sectors, with 66.9% of companies turning over less than £1m, and in the ‘other furniture’ sector it was slightly higher >>> at 86.7%.

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46 | Resources * The mattress sector was significantly different as it had proportionately more large organisations, with only 48.3% of companies turning over less than £1m. * There was a significant proportion of extremely small companies within the sector, with 56.8% of organisations operating at turnovers of less than £250,000 (comprising 25 fewer companies than the previous year).

International trade * Imports of furniture into the UK in 2015 increased to almost £5.4b compared with the previous year’s figure of £4.8b. The prediction for 2016, based on October 2016 trade data to date, is that this figure could reach £5.8b.

2015 furniture exports from the UK

* The majority of these imports originated from China (£1.8b), its share being 33% of all furniture received into the UK. * Italy remained the second largest 2015 furniture exporter to the UK, with its share of total imports into the UK remaining at 11%. * The value of 2015 imports from the EC was £2.6b, an increase on the previous year when it was £2.3b. * Data shows that furniture exports have gradually increased in recent years (with some minor fluctuations) from £830m in 2012 to £1b in 2015. This figure for 2015 is an improvement of 7% on the previous year. * The prediction for 2016 (based on October 2016’s trade figures) is that exports will continue to increase and could reach £1.12b. * Exports to the Republic of Ireland have increased significantly over recent years. In 2015, it received 20% of all furniture exports, compared with 19% the previous year, and 17% the year before that. This equated to £205m in 2015. “The RoI has always been the favoured export market,” says Peter.,“but, in real terms, we need to put this in context – total exports were a little over £200m (£25m up on the previous year) – which is small compared to the total UK manufacturing turnover of £8b. “I couldn’t put this down to a decline in manufacturing in RoI, as they also exported more to the UK in 2015 than in 2014 – thus the trade gap remained similar, at around £140m for both years.”

“Uncertainties over the impact of Brexit make it harder to predict how the industry will fare over the next few years”

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2015 furniture imports into the UK

* Whilst the UK has traditionally targeted its exports at the Irish Republic and the US, the US, France and Germany were each recipients of 10% of UK furniture exports. * Trade with leading European nations continued to be the other main source of export income, and the main trade destinations were similar to those in 2014. Exports to the EC totalled £630m in 2015, an increase of £99m, with Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy being the primary recipients. * The negative trade gap continued to widen, with increases in imports outstripping any small increases in exports. It reached £4.4b in 2015 and could exceed £4.7b by the end of 2016. “12 months ago the digest flagged a worrying trend of an ever-widening trade gap between import and export data, and this trend has continued,” says Pete. “2015 saw imports of furniture into the UK increasing to almost £5.4b, compared with the 2014 figure of £4.8b. Notably, the prediction for 2016, based on October 2016 trade data to date, is that this figure could reach £5.8b – a £1b increase in just 24 months.” * Whilst exports to European countries are a positive asset, the reality is that many of these countries continued to export more to the UK than vice versa. This status, along with that for many other products, will impact on any Brexit-associated trade negotiations. * The main positive trade gap, as in previous years, was with the RoI. This gap was £141m.


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48 | Resources Whilst exports increased by £31m over the year, these were cancelled out by imports to the same value. * After this there was a number of countries with which the UK benefited from much smaller positive trade gaps in 2015, starting with the UAE and the US at £22m, followed by Saudi Arabia at £18m. “The latest figures provide some cause for optimism,” concludes Peter. “A YoY manufacturing turnover increase from 2014 to 2015 of 7%, proceeded by a similar prospective percentage increase from 2015 to 2016, is good news in anyone’s book, and furniture appears to be outperforming many other manufacturing sectors in percentage growth terms. “However, uncertainties over the impact of Brexit make it harder to predict how the industry will fare over the next few years. Europe is a net exporter of furniture to the UK and I would have thought that it would be in its own interests to ensure that beneficial trade arrangements are in place.

THE AUTHOR Dr Peter Beele is the technical development manager at FIRA. The full report is available free to FIRA members, and for £1000 otherwise. W

UK furniture trade figures 2011 to 2016, based on an extrapolation of the latest set of results up to, and including, October 2016

“Should this happen, then the impact on exports would also probably be minimal. However, there are many other financial implications of Brexit which may filter down to consumers and the disposable income in their pockets, and I don’t know how this will pan out. “I’ll certainly be watching with keen interest, and the Furniture Industry Research Association will continue to support members, and the wider furniture industry, through our knowledge, information and research.” All findings and summaries in this article are subject to copyright, being issued by FIRA International, the exclusive service provider to the FIRA association.


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50 | Resources

Is your website an enabler or a barrier to your marketing efforts? According to Mike Murray, having a web presence is the bare minimum required in today’s ecommerce-dominated world, and how you optimise that presence will make a big difference – not only to your bottom line but to your company’s reputation among consumers and the industry as a whole …


Last month I talked about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is critically important if you want your company to be one of the top-ranking suggested web pages for relevant search terms on Google. Posting back-links in web forums and other so-called ‘black hat tactics’ will get you penalised by Google. Instead, use your product web pages to answer real questions that consumers are asking, such as ‘What is the best bed for back pain?’ But which other web pages should you be paying special attention to? Judges use it to fact-check award entries, and event organisers to write their brochure blurb – your About Us web page is often a first port of call for marketing-related site visitors. It also gives you a platform to share your company history and to communicate your mission, ethos and values to your customer base and suppliers. Keep it succinct, and think about presentation. A monologue about every single step of your company’s evolution looks and feels like a dense block of text. Presenting your key milestones – when you opened/ moved premises, launched a new service, won an award etc – as a timeline graphic or in a video is a lot more user-friendly. Your About Us page should also set out your Unique Selling Points (USPs) – what is it that differentiates you from your competitors? You may have heard the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’. Don’t tell your visitors that you give ‘great customer service’, show them that you do by spelling out what specific services you offer. At Land of Beds we’ve emphasised our free delivery, removal and recycling, and product assembly options, as well as interest-free credit and expert advice. If you have won an award, add the award logo to your About Us page and to your homepage (as well as to your email signature and social media profiles). Awards are external third-party recognition for a job well done. They inspire confidence. A news page and/or company blog gives you dedicated space on your site to keep communicating

THE AUTHOR Mike Murray is the MD of Land of Beds, a thirdgeneration family-run retailer based in Helsby, Cheshire. W

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“Reviewing your About Us page, launching a newsfeed and sharing your content through social media are all great marketing strategies” developments in your business. This can be everything from new personnel appointments and product launches to event previews and lifestyle articles. Post links to this content on social media to encourage people to visit your website. You can also use this space to host content for your suppliers, such as guest blogs, strengthening marketing relationships. Adding social media follow buttons to your website advertises the fact that you have an active presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. This helps you to grow your social media following, making it easier for people to connect and communicate with you. Social media share and link buttons allow people to share your content on their own social media feeds, increasing the reach and impact of your marketing messages. According to BrightLocal’s annual Local Review Consumer Survey, 92% of consumers now read online reviews. Consumers say they trust online reviews more than an expert view or celebrity endorsement. To put it another way, if you don’t have the functionality on your website for customers to leave and read reviews, you are at a huge disadvantage during the information-gathering stage of the purchasing cycle. At Land of Beds, we have invested in video buying guides, which are embedded into the product pages of our website. Videos under one minute in length enjoy 80% viewer retention compared to 60% for videos that are two-to-three minutes long. The lesson is to use your time wisely! When you optimise your videos on YouTube – adding weblinks back to your product pages – and advertise them via social media, they become even more powerful marketing tools. In summary, reviewing your About Us page, launching a newsfeed and sharing your content through social media are all great marketing strategies. For truly transformative results, invest in SEO, facilitate online reviews and increase your use of video content!

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52 | Resources

The digital world has changed how customers research products and companies, writes Paul Avins in his follow-up to last month's column. By the time customers enter a store, they are often 90% of the way through their buying journey. However, selling has not moved with the times to focus on adding value and building trust – this is the final 10% you need to work on to make the sale and keep your business healthy …


Researchers from the University of Houston, the Singapore Management University and Department of Management Science and Systems, State University of New York found that: trust was the strongest predictor of a consumer’s purchase intention; followed by perceived benefit of the product or service; followed by level of personal risk, based on financial investment So, trust is the number one predictor of intention to buy – assuming of course they are interested in the product you have to offer and it solves a problem for them. In fact, what you typically find in selling situations is that the buyers are asking a number of key questions when they are making their decision on a furniture product. First off they will look at the actual product you in front of them, and ask: will it deliver a real solution to a problem I have in my home?; does it have the right features and functions to improve my life?; is this company going to be a good partner for us to go back to?; and do I trust their salesperson as a trusted adviser, offering value and expertise, not just trying to push their products onto us? What I find fascinating is that the benefits of the product will only sway a prospect’s intention to buy if they think there is a low risk of loss and that the benefits outweigh the perceived risk. This is all down to how, as a salesperson, you communicate with them during your sales process. So, you may be thinking this is all really great, but how do you then build trust with potential customers? Over the last 14 years I have developed a three-part framework for helping train companies, that I like to

THE AUTHOR Paul Avins is author of The Authority Guide to Trusted Selling series, published by SRA Books as part of the Authority Guides series. W

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“The benefits of the product will only sway a prospect’s intention to buy if they think there is a low risk of loss and that the benefits outweigh the perceived risk” call the Triangle of Trust. Part one is all about the trust your potential customer has in the company. Do they trust the brand? Is your showroom smart and professional? Does your website build trust and offer valuable advice, or just push product offers? Is your car park signage smart? Part two is about the trust customers have in your product’s ability to deliver the solution and feeling they are looking for. After all, we all buy emotionally and justify our purchases afterwards with the reasons why we needed it. This is where product demonstrations work well to build trust, together with guarantees, warranties or the ability for people to try in their home before they purchase. Part three is all about the trust customers have in you or your salespeople. This one area actually accounts for over 50% of the purchasing decision. However, it is where most companies invest the least time, money and energy to improve. In my view this is such a missed opportunity. Does the salesperson look professional? One client of mine stopped his team dressing down on a weekend, and sales went up 20%! Does the salesperson have great product knowledge so they can answer my questions with facts and insight? Do they ask me lots of questions to really understand what I am looking for or just assume what I want and push what they think I need onto me? So my question to you is what three things can you do now to build a more trusted sales experience for your customers? After all, you get paid for what you get done, as I like to say to clients.

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54 | Profile


THE CHURCH OF CLASSIC As this year’s January Furniture Show drew to a close, Classic Furniture’s team reflected on a job well done. With orders up YoY and a warm reception to its new launches, the company returned to its Lincolnshire headquarters, yet again pleased with having reached new heights. This month, Furniture News looks at how the wholesaler manages to maintain its impressive trajectory … “It was our best show yet by a long shot,” enthuses MD David Rippin. On a sizeable stand towards the rear of hall 5 – which proved a popular destination for a good number of the show’s visitors, and a strong anchor for the neighbouring exhibitors – Classic put forward its strongest offer yet. From Portland, Classic’s one-range-fits-all entry-level solution which now spans bedroom, dining, living, home

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office and kitchen, and is available in four finish and three handle options, the display went on to encompass the various collections that augment the core offer. Chief amongst these were the champions of Classic’s newlydefined Heirloom brand, a broad collection of classic, rustic, industrial and vintage ranges which feature recycled, reclaimed and painted materials in varying degrees. The surprise star of

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Profile | 55


Classic’s collections are on permanent display in the company’s expanded showrooms

these turned out to be Loft, a bedroom range sporting tactile finishes and a playful mix of coloured timber drawer fronts. Then there was Classic’s contemporary offer, a broad church that includes the popular Malmo collection, alongside a solid variety of marble- and glass-topped dining tables, and a plethora of seating options. Taking centre stage was Floreat, a modular living/dining oak-veneered range that puts a new spin on a popular European look, which has been created by British designer – and regular Furniture News contributor – Rob Scarlett. Amongst it all were examples of the more traditional styles that used to define the bulk of Classic’s offer, now just one element within a confident – and eminently commercial – mix. “It’s definitely our strongest offer to date,” says David, who took cues from the company’s at-home show last November when curating the selection presented on the stand. Contrary to some competitors’ displays, the majority of ranges present on the stand are already in stock, ready for rapid dispatch. “I believe companies should only launch product that’s been tested and fulfils a tangible requirement,” he notes, “so they can move forward in concert with their stockists, and

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support them all the way. How can retailers place their trust in a product if it’s clear that their supplier isn’t sure of it? I have the utmost faith in everything we’re now offering right now, and it certainly helps that we took a few months to cement the selection.” Having proved its reliability time and again over its 28year history, Classic Furniture has grown from a one-man cabinetmaking and antique furniture restoration outfit to become one of the principal wholesalers of cabinet furniture to the UK and RoI. The team’s natural honesty has helped the business develop partnerships with a huge number of retailers, who enjoy a stronger choice of product and improved support services with each passing year. “Many people used to think of us as a delivery company – albeit a very competent one,” admits David. “Over time, they learned to trust our fulfilment promises and straightforward approach to costs, and our approaches improved at the same time. Today, Classic Furniture is so much more.” David explains how Classic’s sales team now covers the entirety of Great Britain, and is fast making inroads >>>

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56 | Profile

Classic runs an extensive delivery fleet

Classic’s Binbrook headquarters, plus the expansion in the background

Classic’s stand at the recent January Furniture Show

into the Irish market. He reflects on the company’s recentlyexpanded warehouse and showroom facility in Binbrook, and its growing vehicle fleet. He points to the imminent launch of a significantly-updated website, and the development of branding and PoS materials designed to support the company’s ranges right through to purchase. Despite its success, Classic Furniture refuses to stand still, yet there’s never any sense of the anxiety and uncertainty that usually accompanies such ambitions. As a company, Classic

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Huge warehouse capacity reinforces the trust Classic’s stockists have in their supplier

comes across as quietly confident in its methods and direction, and perhaps it’s this perceived capability that draws so many retailers to trust in it for their cabinet furniture fulfilment. Indeed, Classic Furniture has become the sole cabinet supply partner of many of these. In a market that increasingly demands consolidation, this may be one of the instances in which the idiom ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ does not apply. T 01472 398280 W

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58 | Profile

Softline bedroom

HEIGHTENED OFFERING AND NEW DEVELOPMENTS FOR STEENS The January Furniture Show is an essential part of Steens’ yearly activities, providing an ideal opportunity to present new and updated products. The company also made an important announcement about its new Irish distributor at the event. Steens presented new ranges introduced in 2016 with additional options and finishes at the January Furniture Show. These new ranges were introduced in August, and now retailers can take advantage of readily-available stocks and PoS materials. As with all Steens’ ranges, these can be delivered into retailers’ stock or dropshipped directly to the consumer. As there is no middleman and the company produces all the ranges in-house, retailers are provided with strong value for

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European-produced furniture. Kids' furniture is a major part of Steens’ offering, and an updated and expanded Steens For Kids range was on display. This included a new grey finish and the introduction of a triple bunk. At the show, Steens displayed what it considers to be the largest children’s bed ever produced. Accessories also continue to be an important part of Steens’ story, and a number of new designs were launched.

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On the Steens stand

New internationally-focused products include the Skyline Hallway range and the updated popular Z Up sliding door modular robe system with its many features and options, maximising space utilisation. For Steens, the January Furniture Show was mainly about showing the new ranges introduced throughout 2016 combined with a number of new finishes and individual pieces, which will define the direction for the first half of this year. In the second half, the company expects kids' furniture to be a major development focus. Apart from new products, this will also be about the company enhancing its service offering. Steens has begun a new partnership with a Danish carrier providing guaranteed twiceweekly collections from the factory into the UK. This will ensure lead times are kept to a minimum. Steens has also appointed Décor Ltd its exclusive sales and distribution partner for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The company has for some time been reviewing how best to serve and support its customers in these regions. It became obvious early on in this review that the best way

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forward was to find a partner with extensive experience and knowledge of these markets. Steens was looking for a distributor able to provide customers an exceptional level of service based on prompt and reliable deliveries from stock held locally. Having considered a number of options, Décor was an obvious choice. Steens will retain its sales manager for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Chris Lester, who will work closely with Décor to support and develop sales with existing and new customers. However, the main point of contact for all orders, deliveries and support will be the Décor team. The team will be touch with stockists in the near future regarding product ranges, pricing, deliveries and key contacts. Steens will be increasing the ranges it stocks in the UK, and in doing so, will expand its next-day delivery offer. This service has proven to be successful, and the company will be uniquely positioned as one of the only EU-based furniture manufacturers to have all its ranges also stocked in the UK. W

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64 | Profile

Crest Leather can supply a range of colours of leather

THE ONE-STOP SHOP FOR LUXURY LEATHER Crest JMT Leather is a global producer of high-quality leathers for contract and domestic upholstery applications. It owns and operates its own tannery in Vestenanova, Italy, which allows the business to ensure strict quality control at all stages of production, whilst utilising local and traditional skills to ensure its leathers meet the most demanding of requests. Crest Leather, boasting tanneries in Italy, Thailand and Brazil, is a UK-based tanning group with Italian DNA. Its newest plant is in Italy, whilst its largest is in Brazil, and the business is constantly expanding into new markets. Crest keeps up to date with market trends, and is enjoying continued growth. Crest reports that its cowhide is sourced from reputable slaughterhouses. The leather is a by-product of the meat industry, as the animals are not reared for leather initially, but for meat. Flexibility is offered to customers, with as little as one cowhide or as many as 1000 available to purchase at one time. The company’s tanneries are regulated and reputable chemicals are used, says Crest. Arizono is the Italian centre of leathermaking, having been awarded a certification for excellence. Shipments are straight from Italy, therefore orders can be turned around from processing to bespoke in four weeks. The company expanded in 2005, with the Brazilian plant opening the same year. Over 700 employees work in Parana, the Brazilian tannery and plant, and the team continues to consolidate and build on that growth. There are four different production stages involved in the production of high quality leathers – raw hide, wet blue, crust and finished leather. The raw materials are cheaper and more readily available in Brazil, and the Brazilian processing plant takes the raw hide through the wet blue and crust stage. The leather is then transferred to the finishing plant in Thailand. Crest is committed to improving its environmental stance, and during the past year has focused a lot of attention on this area. During 2006, the company was awarded ISO 14001 certification for its tannery in Italy, one of the highest

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standards of environmental management. The business endeavours to continously reduce the environmental impact of all of its activities, and it maintains strictly-regulated procedures designed to minimise any potential damage to the environment, which are updated and monitored regularly. As part of its ongoing commitment to improved environmental reponsibility, Crest also signed up to the Leather Working Group, an industry-led initiative being facilitiated by the BLC Leather Technology Centre. This initiative brings together many leading retailers, tanners and brands from around the world to promote sustainable and appropriate envionmental business practices within the leather industry. Following guidelines set out by the Carbon Trust, the business is also ensuring that it is doing everything possible to prevent or recycle waste in its offices and warehouses. Crest believes it is not only the big gestures that matter, so it is looking at the impact of everything it does and uses – from the lightbulbs in its offices to the transportation methods it uses to deliver its goods. Maintaining quality is important to Crest, and that is why it tans its leathers in an ISO 9001 environment. Crest also works hard to make sure that it also provides a high level of customer service. The business’ sales teams are knowledgeable in all aspects of leather and leather production, and can help with varied professional requirements. According to Crest, there is a noticable trend in buyers and manufacturers moving away from vinyl and using leather, due to its longer life expectancy. W

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66 | Profile


Oliver Bowen

FACILITATING HEALTHY SLEEP Hästens is a premium Swedish manufacturer specialising in handcrafted all-natural beds of unmatched quality. Founded by Pehr Adolf Janson in 1852, Hästens is a sixth generation family-owned business, still based in the small Swedish town of Koping. Hästens is proud to be not only the oldest bed manufacturer in Sweden, but also Purveyor to the Royal Swedish Court since 1952. Wholesale manager for UK and Ireland, Oliver Bowen, provides further insight into the business. What does Hästens offer? Our product offering consists of an extensive collection of divan beds, frame beds and adjustable beds, as well as a variety of headboards, down products, bed linen and personal accessories – thus making it possible for our clients to mix and match and create their perfect sleeping environment. In addition, since all our beds are made to order, our clients can customize their chosen model according to their particular requirements in terms of size, tension, colour and special features. What is the inspiration behind the company? What has always driven Hästens is the passion for sleep and the benefits it brings to the body and mind. Our vision is to raise awareness about the importance sleep has as part of a healthy lifestyle; in short, to make the world better through sleep. What sets Hästens apart? We are in a very niche position in the market. We provide sustainable products which meet the expectations of the most demanding clientele. Despite the fast-paced world we live in, we are still committed to creating our beds by hand, using carefully sourced materials, ensuring the utmost quality and attention to detail. What are the company’s aims? What we aim to provide our customers with is the ultimate sleep environment, one custom-made to suit particular requirements, with no harmful chemicals used, and no static electricity or trapped moisture, thus allowing for proper rest so that the body and brain can perform better during the day. Tell us about Hästens’ recent developments

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There is always something happening at Hästens. We rely heavily on our innovative spirit, and we constantly develop not just new products and ranges, but also ways to improve our existing beds and accessories. One example of that last year was the way we further explored and consequently relaunched our most exclusive product – the Vividus. For this year we have other surprises in store! How does the company address the needs of a changing market? We are increasingly flexible in our approach towards customers and markets. Our communication has evolved, as has our store concept, while our very products have a bespoke quality. All the while never compromising on our core values and philosophy. What trends are Hästens currently experiencing? The modern customer is far better informed than ever before – interested in and responsive to the way the goods on the market are being produced, and actively pursuing a better quality lifestyle usually through healthy diets and exercise. What challenges are Hästens facing right now? While the UK is still an emerging market for us, we see that as more of an opportunity rather than a challenge – an opportunity to increase our brand awareness and further solidify our presence in the near term. What are the company’s future plans? It is an exciting time for Hästens as the company is in process of further expansion throughout its existing territories. We look forward to welcoming new partners into our growing family. W

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High-end baby furniture brand Boori has appointed leading two-man delivery specialist ArrowXL (www. to handle all future deliveries. ArrowXL will also provide warehousing at its centre in Enfield and delivering via the Platinum Home Delivery service to customers UK-wide. The company expects to deliver and assemble nursery furniture purchased online or through a growing list of prestige UK retailers that stock the Boori brand. Specially trained two-man teams will deliver Boori’s high-value products to customers, offering six-daya-week delivery as well as a host of in-home services including unpacking, assembling and positioning baby bedroom furniture into the nursery. Adam Jones, ArrowXL’s business development director, says: “We are excited to be working with Boori, as our Platinum service enables us to demonstrate everything that is best about ArrowXL. It’s designed for high-value products requiring a more specialist highend service, providing enhanced face-to-face customer contact in the customer’s home which in turn reinforces the Boori brand.” Customers can also take advantage of ArrowXL’s live order tracking service called AskAxl. This live online web app is designed to bring convenience, choice and certainty of delivery for customers purchasing

Boori Provence Convertible Plus collection

larger items. AskAxl provides the customer with visual progress tracking of their delivery vehicle and delivery timeslots which dynamically reduce to just 30 minutes on the day of delivery. Becky Green, Boori customer services manager, says: “AskAxl provides the names of the crew who will perform the delivery, which means expectant parents know who will be coming into their house into the most special room they are creating, the nursery. With the timeslot reducing to just 30 mins, parents can see precisely when their delivery will happen.” ArrowXL delivers 14,000 products to more than 7000 homes every day.

HANDRCAFTED ELEGANCE AND STYLE Deluxe Beds not only make luxurious mattresses to sink into every night, we also design and manufacture our own fabulous range of headboards and bases. We continually source the most up to date, on trend colours of fabrics to ensure your bed looks and feels beautiful in your bedroom. For more information, or to become a stockist, please contact our team on +44 1484 427 373, or email;

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SINGLES from £19.00 DOUBLES from £29.00

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72 | Beds & Bedroom


DUNLOPILLO’S NATURAL OFFERING In a market dominated by pocket sprung and foam mattresses, Dunlopillo, a manufacturer of pure latex mattresses, can offer a natural sleeping environment with a host of unique benefits. A derivative from the sap of rubber trees, natural latex is one of the most eco-friendly mattress fillings and a premium natural foam alternative for the health conscious and green buyers alike. With anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties, the unique manufacturing process of Dunlopillo latex ensures all the characteristics of natural latex are embodied within the innovative Dunlopillo mattresses. This provides a naturally healthy sleeping environment which is inherently dust-mite resistant – beneficial for allergy sufferers and for those who suffer from hay fever, asthma and respiratory problems. The unique open-cell structure of Dunlopillo latex means it is naturally breathable and does not have the associated heat issues of memory foam. The microscopic air bubbles promote constant air circulation and natural movement throughout the night helps to ventilate the mattress, keeping the bed at a comfortable temperature. Through its elasticity, Dunlopillo latex offers ‘progressive comfort’ by adapting and contouring to individual profiles and movements and will recover its shape immediately when

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pressure is removed. This means for those who dislike the moulding and sinking feeling in memory foam, latex can offer a resilient alternative. With healthy sleepers changing their physical posture up to 60 times a night, this responsive nature of latex is an advantage for achieving deep sleep without disturbances. Each mattress in the Dunlopillo Signature Collection is made to a unique specification with a multi-density comfort core arranged in seven targeted support zones to reduce stress on the body’s pressure points. Softer comfort zones within the mattresses have been specially designed to cushion shoulders, hips and heels, whilst firmer support zones help to provide correct alignment of the spine all night. This optimal level of ergonomic support provided by Dunlopillo’s pure latex mattresses is clear to all users and acknowledged by the Which? Best Buy Award for the Dunlopillo Royal Sovereign mattress with a five-star brand comfort rating. The durability of Dunlopillo latex represent a long-term investment and a premium natural sleeping alternative. W

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74 | Beds & Bedroom

Warrington Wolves testing Salus Beds’ Contempo Collection

THE COMPANY OF WOLVES Breasley believes that sleep is one of the most underrated aspects of sports science, with many people limiting themselves to only a few hours under the duvet. Accordingly, the company has been working with rugby league club Warrington Wolves to improve the players’ quality of sleep … The Warrington Wolves’ performance department believes that sleep is one of the easiest areas of the professional athlete’s world to get right. “All these guys are training four to five days a week and playing at least once a week,” says a club spokesperson, “plus with rugby, there are high-intensity physical collisions too. So the optimum amount of quality sleep is essential, and not just the typical seven to eight hours recommended for a normal person – these guys need more. Something like nine to 10 hours a night would be the ideal.” Two years ago, Warrington Wolves began a unique partnership with Breasley, with a focus on improving the senior players’ quality of sleep. Breasley’s technical development team carried out tests on the players using pressure-mapping technology in conjuction with its premium Salus Beds brand. This identified exactly how each player’s weight was distributed across a range of Salus mattresses. The mapping data highlighted the areas where peak pressure was being applied – typically on rugby players this will be the shoulders and hips due to lean tissue mass distribution. Utilising the data, each player was then provided with the correct tension mattress, in line with his own force distribution.

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“A partnership like this between club and company is taking sports science into the field of applied athletes,” adds the club’s spokesperson. “From anecdotal conversations with players it was clear that sleep and recovery from training and games was an area that needed improving, and that’s why we got in touch with Salus Beds. “Through some careful testing and measurement, each one of our players now has a mattress that matches his sleep profile. Talking to the players, we have reduced back, shoulder and hip aches, the boys are sleeping longer but, more importantly, this sleep is now unbroken, so the quality of the sleep is a lot better. The knock-on effect here is a more rejuvenated and rested player coming back into training, and one that is recovering from training and games far better than previously.” Two seasons ago Warrington Wolves finished sixth in the league and did not reach any finals – last season they won the league and reached both the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and Grand Final at Old Trafford. The club explains that the more it understands its athletes and the link with sleep and recovery, the more it believes this to have been a big contributing factor to such a successful year for the Wolves. W

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76 | Beds & Bedroom

Sealy will use the results of the census to help inform its future direction

GLOBAL SLEEP TRENDS REVEALED IN SEALY’S WORLD SLEEP CENSUS Last year, Sealy UK joined forces with Loughborough University’s Clinical Sleep Research Unit, using its connections as one of the world’s leading bed brands to conduct a comprehensive online sleep study. The initiative forms part of Sealy’s long-standing commitment to invest in research and development to introduce new, innovative bed products to market. The worldwide Sleep Census polled more than 15,000 people across five continents with countries including China, South Korea, Australia, South Africa and the UK. Respondents were asked a series of sleep-related questions in an online survey, which ran over the course of six months. The results were then carefully reviewed and evaluated by academics at Loughborough University to paint a picture of how well the world is sleeping, paying particular attention to global sleep trends in the Eastern and Western worlds. The research revealed interesting worldwide insights, including China emerging as the most sleep-medicated country, with one in five adults consuming prescription sleeping tablets. South Korea on the other hand is the least sleep medicated, with fewer than one in 30 people taking prescription sleep medication. China also shows the highest concern about sleep and performance at work – 75% of the Chinese respondents expressed the view that they could work better if they slept better. Conversely, the UK showed the lowest concern about the impact of their sleep at work – with only 42% thinking they could work better if they slept better.

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Overall, it was working people in the four continents who felt as though they didn’t get enough sleep, totalling up the greatest ‘sleep debt’ – the amount of sleep people feel they need, versus the amount of sleep they actually get – in China and South Korea. The sleep debt in the UK - by no means the worst globally – is still significant, with men on average losing 28 minutes a night, with women faring worse, losing an average of 56 minutes each night. Other key findings from the study revealed that while the majority of respondents recognise that seven to eight hours is the optimum amount of sleep they need to perform at their best, 70% confirmed they wake up during the night due to some kind of disturbance. It appears the reasons for this are similar, regardless of whether the respondent is in Shanghai, Sydney or London, with an uncomfortable bed, transport noise, and partner snoring all featuring. The insight generated from the in-depth study will form an integral part of Sealy’s future plans, and will cement its place as an industry leader. W W

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78 | Beds & Bedroom

SILENTNIGHT SUPPORTS NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP WEEK Bed manufacturer Silentnight has announced plans to take on 10 new apprentices in 2017 to mark National Apprenticeship Week, from 6-10th March. The award-winning scheme, now in its sixth year, will see the newly-announced intake join the business in July this year. Silentnight will bring apprentices into key areas of the business, including production, engineering and management, where they will get a taste of their chosen department and the wider business over two years. On successful completion, apprentices are guaranteed a full-time position with the company. The earn while you learn scheme - that prides itself on paying above the National Living Wage - launched in 2011 and has taken on and trained 60 apprentices, 48 of whom have remain within the business. The scheme received praise from David Cameron on a 2014

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visit to Silentnight’s factory, when the then Prime Minister described Silentnight as a "great business", emphasising its investment in UK manufacturing, product innovation and apprenticeships. Training and development manager at Silentnight, Dr Julie Dix, says: “We really recognise the value that apprentices bring to the organisation. "They spend two years here and during that time become an invaluable part of the business, learning on the job and eventually graduating with a nationally recognised qualification

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Beds & Bedroom | 79

Geometric in grey, Studio by Silentnight

ISABEL TOMLINSON (CASE STUDY) Isabel Tomlinson, 19, is a transport services apprentice who joined Silentnight in October 2016. Why did you choose an apprenticeship? I decided to apply for this apprenticeship because I enjoy working, but I also wanted to make sure I got some qualifications and I’d heard this was a really good business to work for. The chance to earn while learning was also a big draw. What does your apprenticeship involve? I work in the transport office where I am planning delivery drivers’ loads, routing their journeys and helping out in the office. Every day is different and there’s always something going on. I love the busy environment. I also attend college where I am studying for a Traffic Office NVQ level 2. What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship? I really enjoy working with my colleagues – it’s a very friendly and supportive place and no day is the same. I also like knowing that I’m gaining qualifications as I go along. Curve in teal, Studio by Silentnight

What do you hope the apprenticeship will lead to? At the moment I am working towards my level 2 qualification. Once I’ve completed the apprenticeship I hope to start studying for my level 3 course and then continue to develop professionally at Silentnight. How do you think the skills and qualifications you are learning will help you in the future? The apprenticeship is allowing me to develop so many new skills and gain qualifications that, I hope, will help me to build a successful career at Silentnight.

and moving into full-time roles within the business. “When people think Silentnight, they automatically think manufacturing, but our apprenticeships cover all areas of the business. This year we plan to take on six apprentices within production, two within the warehouse, one as an engineering apprentice and one onto our junior management scheme.” Manufacturing apprentice Jade Ansell says: “I’ve really grown in confidence since I started the apprenticeship scheme. No day is the same at Silentnight. I’ve worked across all areas of manufacturing and even had the chance to manage a team of

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over 30 people. “It’s great to be earning while I learn, going to college once every two weeks and not getting into any debt. I now know that I want to go down the management route and I’m really looking forward to progressing within the business. I would really recommend the apprenticeship to anyone thinking of applying.” Applications for the scheme open this month and prospective candidates can apply online through Silentnight’s website. W

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NT Living

NR Telephone Table

The Scandi oak NT collection from Kettle Interiors (01536 444960) features Danish design influences in items made for modern UK homes. The collection includes 31 pieces for dining and occasional use. Items such as the Small Fixed Top Table are ideal for smaller properties, and pieces including the 2m Butterfly Extending Table will suit large family homes. With wood and metal handles supplied for a custom touch and a natural-look finish that feels Nordic, this is a collection at the forefront of trend-focused furniture for a mainstream audience. Dining furniture within the NT collection can also be complemented by any of the four luxury styles in the

Upholstered Chair collection. A new range for 2017, the NR collection delivers classic country style, typified by the Telephone Table’s unusual semicircular shape and turned legs. In a white finish and with an unusual flag-pattern limewashed oak top, the NR Telephone Table stands out as a key trend-focused look for the year. Joining a 17-strong line-up for dining and occasional use, it also provides good value. The NR Telephone Table is available as part of mixed orders from UK stocks for fast delivery across the UK. Kettle Interiors is offering a shop floor display discount on all first-time purchases of the collection.

Wood Bros ( launched the Pickering compact sofa and footstool last month to complement the Pickering chair. Available in both the Wood Bros fabric swatch and the 100% wool Moon swatch, the sofa features the tailored buttoning and scroll arms associated with the group. Both sofa and chair provide an enveloping back and comfortable sprung seat. The sofa comes with two scatter cushions. The footstool is an addition to the accent collection and suits all styles.

The Ripley medium sofa is a new, longer design, ideal for those with a little more space. It features traditional, piped scroll arms, a distinctive curved back shape and bun feet. Ripley has a comfortable sit but if a deeper sit is required, a pocket sprung cushion upgrade is available. All upholstery designs include a 10-year guarantee and feet or plinths are available in five standard timber colours. All new designs plus an extended upholstery brochure will be coming out this month.



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86 | January Furniture Show Review

Show of strength The UK’s principal furniture show drew to a close on 25th January, having unveiled the latest in domestic upholstery, cabinet, beds, lighting, flooring, accessories and fabrics from some 500 exhibitors across five halls of the NEC. This month, Furniture News looks back at some of the event's stand-out introductions …


how co-director Laraine Janes sums up the general response: "There’s a significant momentum to the event. Visitors and exhibitors were impressed with the standard of product and presentation, resulting in orders taken at the show reaching record levels. “This has been reflected in the number of rebookings we have received so far. We are already looking forward to a sell-out show in 2018.” The event saw thousands of product launches across every interiors sector, painting a solid picture of retail floors to come. The January Furniture Show presents unrivalled opportunity to assess upcoming market trends, and there was no lack of originality this year. Cabinet saw a more pronounced move away from

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light oak, with acacia, pine, beech and mountain ash, in novel finishes, bringing warm alternatives to the longestablished norm. Industrial and retro flavours have well and truly hit the mainstream, with vintage, upcycled, shabby chic ranges now affordable to all. Shabby chic and retro touches also define the return to slouchy comfort in the upholstery arena, while glitzy glamour and coastal simplicity defined a good deal of the furnishings on offer. Collaborations were a stand-out feature – tie-ups between Whitemeadow and Conran, and Tetrad and Ralph Lauren, for example – while celebrity footballers Bryan Robson and Vinnie Jones made an appearance, on behalf of Mlily and Crown Floors, respectively.

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January Furniture Show Review | 87

Also notable was the upswing in international exhibitors, which brought confident Scandinavian, Italian and German flavours to a much-improved Hall 2. There’s no denying that the event is the essential platform for the bulk of the UK trade. Its steady recovery since it changed hands just over three years ago is a notable achievement – one can only anticipate that the event will continue to prosper under the care of its new owner, Clarion Events. Neil Gaisford, MD of Clarion’s retail division, comments: “The UK market requires a strong show. I’ve been visiting this event for 15 years, and I’ve seen highs and lows, and am now looking forward to overseeing its next chapter.”

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Established show co-director Theresa Raymond is looking forward to delivering the 2018 edition in tandem with Clarion, and says: “This show works. It works for the exhibitors, and it works for the buyers from every sector of the furnishing industry who come to see what’s new and to buy. “Many exhibitors have outdone themselves this year with jaw-dropping stands and a high standard of products. We have received many highly-complimentary comments from buyers who attended the show, and it will be back next year, delivered by the same dedicated team who are committed to making the 2018 show bigger, better and even more successful.” W

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88 | January Furniture Show Review




Alpha Designs Upholstery (www.alphadesignsupholstery. continues to build on its extremely successful product range with the introduction of three new models – Molly, Digby and Arabella – all recently displayed at the January Furniture Show. The show provided a strong platform for presenting new designs and fabrics and was a success for the business. The team was determined to create an inviting

ambience to welcome both new and existing customers to experience an array of the company’s existing bestselling models along with new designs. Sales director Barry Webb says: “I am delighted with both the number of new customers we have welcomed to the business and the positive feedback and further displays gained from existing customers.”

T: 01902 492937 F: 01902 493700 E: Unit 1, Stag Industrial Estate, Oxford Street, Bilston, Wolverhampton WV14 7HZ ALPHA.indd 1

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90 | January Furniture Show Review

Evanyrouse ( is a new brand of dining and living pieces with lively designs, striking colour choices and robust ceramics offered throughout the full collections. Evanyrouse recently picked up the Most Commended – Dining award in The Furniture Awards at the January Furniture Show for its Varzzy Stories collection in its debut year at the event. The company’s designers identified a gap in the dining market for the modern open plan living where consumers are looking for a link between the kitchen and the dining room. Evanyrouse has fused steel with gloss and matt colourways, topped with Italian or Spanish ceramic that is heat-proof and scratch-resistant, so that luxury design can be enjoyed on a daily basis. The brand is now looking to partner with quality retailers that provide an instore experience for their customers, offer first class, on-trend ranges and wish to enjoy being part of an award-winning brand.

The Art Group (0116 284 3645, reports that the show was a “brilliant success”, providing the company with the opportunity to display its latest product offer. With collections from amazing artists such as Sam Toft, Louise Brown, Alyson Fennell, Scott Naismith and Loui Jover, coupled with a range of products comprising everything from canvases, wood and framed prints to bone china mugs, the possibilities for retailers are “endless”. The show also served as a platform for The Art Group to launch its new website.

Rubino, the Signature collection

Connect, the Signature collection

Belgian furniture manufacturer ROM ( introduced a number of new products at this year’s show, including the impressive Signature collection. Featuring a slim silhouette and new comfort technology, Signature brings modern elegance and functionality together to create an innovative range. Now offering even more comfort options, the choice of design, size and functionality is described as second to none, and, thanks to new technology, provides long-lasting comfort. Featuring a newly-updated dual motor mechanism to

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allow for optimum comfort whilst in the reclined position, the Signature collection offers a number of comfort functions, from the fully-reclined relax position, to a glider, which allows the seat depth to be manually extended by up to 20cm. The new Q Box side table also provides a USB port and plugs, as well as additional storage and drawer space. The new Signature collection is ROM’s latest demonstration of how the specialist Belgian furniture manufacturer is able to blend innovative techniques to develop unique, personalised upholstery designs.

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92 | January Furniture Show Review

Lyon living oak

Working with its FSC-registered partners in Denmark and Poland, Furniture To Go ( is constantly bringing new collections into the UK, the latest of which were on display at the January Furniture Show. This was a record-breaking year for Furniture To Go, with sales exceeding all expectations. The company’s Lyon range is a modern collection of living and dining room furniture with a choice of two colourways, one a bright mix of Riviera light oak and white high gloss fronts, and another in contrasting greys. Several of the items in this range come complete with subtle lighting that highlights the geometric shapes. The Toronto contemporary living room collection in white high gloss finish with contrasting oak features in this collection. It incorporates clever concealed Plexi lighting, soft-close doors and drawers, and plenty of internal shelving. Products can be supplied directly from the Furniture To Go UK warehouse to the customer’s home, many of which are stocked for next day delivery.


Painted furniture sector leader Charltons Furniture (www. has not attended the January Furniture Show since 2015, and this year was the company’s first major trade show since its MBO at the beginning of last year. “We have all been working really hard to make January Furniture Show 2017 work for us,” says head of sales at Charltons, Steve Upperton. “We were determined to lead the way forward with new ideas and a fresh vision. With a great reception, new leads and new sales, all of that investment

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M&P Chairs ( exhibited its core range of products at the January Furniture Show and once again, its offerings were well received. The company had less visitors to its stand than last year but wrote more firm business, mostly from new customers. The fact that M&P has worked hard to keep its prices down as much as possible seemed to be well appreciated. Many new suppliers visited the company’s stand and showed the team new and interesting products, and M&P is further researching these opportunities.


has paid off.” Steve was particularly pleased at how well the new Somerdale Collection, with its many paint and finish options, was received. Likewise, Bretagne, with its four new easy-to-understand options - Lacquered, Classic, Kaleidoscope and Unlimited, was also popular. “Our success at the January Furniture Show was built around being able to offer the customer real choice in both new colours and finishes,” says Steve. “The new Monocoat finishes on the Eaton also proved to be a big winner.”

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The Plantation Rug Company (www.plantationrug. launched three ranges – Wilderness, Mosaic and Safari – and found the show successful for the third year running. The main attractions were the new Surprise and Mosaic rugs, while the PoS stand, Designer Box and sample service idea was also well received. The sales team, comprising Chris Hughes and Steve Walton, came away from the show looking forward to the year ahead, and has since been “inundated” with enquiries.

Following its most successful UK trade show to date, Light & Living ( continues to inspire the market with its lighting, accessory and furniture. Keeping abreast of current trends, Light & Living offers everything from rustic to contemporary, modern clean lines to antiqued brass and coppers. With new products launched throughout the year, there is always something new to offer. Customers are also invited to visit Light & Living’s showroom in Alfreton, Derbyshire.

Pigs-may-fly doorstop

Having exhibited at the January Furniture Show and Spring Fair, Febland ( reports that it is encouraged by the optimism of the many buyers its stand attracted. “Everyone liked our LED range and the pigs-mayfly doorstops,” reports a company spokesperson. “Generally, our whole range sold well to both new and established customers, who had the confidence to invest in our bespoke furniture knowing their customers still want quality and variety. “Not everyone wants to shop online, buying a product they have not sampled, smelled and touched – a visit to our showroom can provide all the sensory stimulation you need for your winning lines.”

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BFM MD Jackie Bazeley

British Furniture Manufacturers ( enjoyed a membership boost with 12 new joins and 33 leads at the January Furniture Show. Throughout the show, the trade association’s team was on hand to discuss the wide range of services that it offers to its members and the benefits of membership.

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Lebus JFS Advert artwork 297 x 216 (Sofa) Dec 2016 v2 copy.pdf







Lebus Upholstery Ltd, Queensway Ind Est, Dunlop Way, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, DN16 3RN, United Kingdom

For more information contact:

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t. 01724 407 751


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Danny Deacon and Vinnie Jones on the Crown Floors stand

Award-winning German bedroom furniture manufacturer Wiemann ( is celebrating a positive start to 2017 following a successful January Furniture Show. The exhibition saw Wiemann launch 12 striking new ranges and present more than 20 models, ranging from entry-level to top-quality VIP and semi-solid wood. Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s sole agent in the UK and Ireland, Litmus Furniture, says: “The team were really busy developing our existing client base as well as opening key new customer accounts. “The reaction to all our ranges on display was excellent, with the quality of all our products noted. In particular our new VIP collections, Boston, with statement angled doors and Kansas, a new take on best seller Loft with smooth soft touch opening bi-fold doors, were very well received as well as the gorgeous new simple all-glass bi-fold range, Castello. “We also saw a fantastic debut for Padua, a comprehensive collection of hinged and hinged-combi robe options in timber oak and alpine white, and a great response to the rejuvenated range Miami, in fresh new carcass colour nocce walnut.”


Hydeline ( cemented its position as a market leader in innovative leather recliner features at the recent January Furniture Show. Three new models – Florence, Dallas and Dakota – were launched to present the new Ultimate Comfort package, and received positive reviews and order levels. Combined with impressive comfort levels, these sofas offer high quality and specification. The Ultimate Comfort package includes a Comfort Plus headrest which can be adjusted to the user’s ideal position, plus an adjustable lumbar support function. In addition, two

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The appearance of Vinnie Jones at the show proved a fitting spectacle, marking the official trade launch of the new Deacon Jones by Crown Floors (www. collection. Following widespread media coverage, the Monday afternoon at the January Furniture Show saw the famous football and movie hard man attend to meet visitors, sign autographs and reveal the reasons behind his decision to join forces with friend, Danny Deacon, and Crown Floors. According to the supplier, Vinnie has always had an interest in interiors, and when lifelong friend Danny approached him about a potential collaboration with Crown Floors, he could not refuse, especially when he understood that the final carpet collection could share the same characteristics that had marked out his successful career. Alongside the Deacon Jones by Crown Floors striking double-sided book stand, featuring a near life-size Vinnie Jones for added impact, Crown Floors also used the show to present new collection and PoS updates, all of which are helping Crown Floors to evolve into a leading UK carpet brands.


favourite seating positions can be saved and recalled with the touch of a button. The One-Touch Close function returns the recliner safely to the upright position with a single touch, and the cablefree power option avoids the need for a nearby socket and cables with a rechargeable power pack. The Comfort Plus package is now available on seven models, three of which are available from stock. With Hydeline’s offering from stock now increased to 10 models, 2017 looks to be a year of growth for Hydeline.

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FB collection

W Pouf Daddy supplies a range of furnishings in a wide variety of colours, designs and fabrics

Pouf Daddy ( exhibited at the show with the aim of having a strong retailer base in the UK along with direct business to product specifiers and contract buyers. Pouf Daddy has created a range of ‘flexible furniture’, incorporating a variety of fabrics, colours and designs. The business wants to ensure that retail clients have products that their customers want to buy, good margins, timely deliveries, good service, in-store PoS and marketing support. With products either in stock or with low minimum order quantities for bespoke projects, Pouf Daddy can supply its own designs and fabrics or apply the customers’ own fabric.

Derbyshire-based rug specialist Flair Rugs (01457 850660) had a positive experience at the January Furniture Show, walking away with a win in The Furniture Awards. Taking first place in the Décor category was the New Jersey Print collection. Flair’s committed approach has taken the brand to a new level, with New Jersey Print the stand-out piece of Flair’s offering over the last 12 months. Alongside New Jersey Print was a series of collection additions, none more stark than the improvements made to Simplicity, a stable offering value-driven rug choice that brings quality design to a greater range of budgets. New collections include the silky shaggy polyester of Sparkle, and the trending grey flatweaves found in the hardwearing polypropylene Verona. Also receiving a facelift was the impactful Brights collection, with five new looks introduced in stand-out primary colours. Arguably one of Flair Rugs’ most innovative rug concepts to date, Skyline Gel, a 100% polypropylene ultra-fine weave is proving popular. This collection is packed with practical qualities, resulting in a portfolio for today’s busy lifestyles. Skyline Gel makes use of hardwearing fibre and a Super

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Highland Home is the sister brand of Core Products

Highland Home Furniture (01738 630555) is a brand launched by Core Products at the event, offering a selection of fully assembled wood and painted bedroom, living and dining furniture at great value prices. The FB bedroom collection is made from solid pine with an antique wax finish. Every piece is generously proportioned and supplied with antique metal-effect cup handles. A variety of chests and wardrobes, including compact sizes, are available, along with accessories and bedsteads.

Flair sales and marketing director, Gareth Davies

Skyline Menara

Micro gel non-slip backing, making it suited to all areas of the home – these rugs and runners stick in place, even when residential footfall passes through. The Skyline Gel collection is available in six natural tones, in two alternative weaves – the diamond Petronas, or the perpendicular forms of Pinnacle. There are six sizing options, including two runners at 57 x 230cm and 67 x 300cm. These choices are also safe to lay on underfloor heating, and machine-washable.

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Ending the show on a high After a successful start to the year, with the show being hailed a "roaring achievement" by Highgate Beds and production not slowing, the firm is looking to the next generation of products to keep its momentum high …

Kernow 1500


ighgate Beds’ Zero Gravity technology has entered its second generation, an updated version of its popular range which will see even more comfort and edge-to-edge support enter the portfolio. The biggest sellers at the January Furniture Show were the three new Diplomat mattresses, which come in pocket counts of 1000, 3000 and 5000, lending the Healthopaedic brand extra weight. The Diplomat products boast a combination of Zero Gravity technology and natural fillings. Additionally,

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those presented at the show were double sided, so can be flipped each month, ensuring longevity. The second-generation Zero Gravity range also includes pillows. These have a neck roll to provide added support and pressure relief, promising no heat retention and a sense of weightlessness. The Zero gravity pillow is advertised as “soft and luxurious”, and Highgate firmly believes it will help enable a good night’s sleep when used. The warm reception to the second-generation Zero Gravity products comes as good news to Highgate’s

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Highgate Beds develops a strong range of mattresses suitable for the modern market


Puccini 5000

Production continues apace at Highgate Beds

MD Zahid Ayub, who says: “It was a big leap to take production into pillows, but the risk has paid off – we’re looking at the first batch of sales since launching last month.” Zahid says he had no doubt that the new products would encounter a good response – as the company’s creative developer, he believes wholeheartedly in everything that comes out of Highgate Beds. As well as the additions to Zero Gravity, Highgate Beds is developing a range of contract mattresses. The updated contract source 5 mattresses were launched at

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the show, in the form of a luxurious doubled-sided bed, named Hendrix – the first in a new line of contract beds. While Highgate Beds aims to present new product lines at each show, it is also keen to remain at the forefront of design and style – consequently, by this summer, the chenille base fabrics will no longer be available, making way for better-quality fabrics and the newest shades, such as Ascot, a fabric exclusive to Highgate. T 01924 454678 E

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It can only be…

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New developments from Rauch Bedroom furniture supplier Rauch garnered ample attention at the January Furniture Show, thanks to its impressive stand and striking product offering. The business tells Furniture News what made the event such a positive experience ...

yourJOYce is Rauch’s iPad-based wardrobe configurator

H ow successful was this year's January Furniture Show for Rauch? This year saw Rauch present products on our largest exhibition stand at the NEC to date. The stand was a representation of the considerable expansion in the market in recent years, and we were not disappointed. I think it would be hard to argue that the attendance was not down over previous years, but almost all of our customers or target accounts visited the stand during the show. Due to the success, we have already committed to the 2018 exhibition. 'The January Furniture Show is over and so the January Furniture Show begins', is how we look at this event. What did the company have on display at the show? Rauch have hundreds of ranges and quality possibilities and even on a stand of over 600m²,you can only ever touch the surface.

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It has become evident that many retailers pigeonhole us in a sector with value flat-packed products. It is completely understandable as that is, or has been, our largest sector, but of course Rauch provides four brands covering price points from DIY to high-quality boutique retailers. This year, we decided to flip the presentation and visitors were welcomed by our higher quality products first, rather than our value products which we positioned along the rear of the display. The result was as expected – many more retailers looking for a premium offer at competitive pricing were drawn to the products. We are lucky to have many products that are high sellers, but the customers who know us know these. We do not have to display our current portfolio in much depth – however, this year, we did display several winning combinations again, especially in our quality Dialog and Steffen brands, as customers are increasingly turning their attention to the value these ranges offer.

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yourJOYce offers many choices in colour and style

Additionally, on the stand, we demonstrated the new computer configurator, yourJOYce. What kind of visitor feedback did the company receive? We were extremely happy with the feedback from the attendees. Rauch has worked extremely hard to prepare the products for the market. There are subtle differences between the countries that Rauch supplies and it is important that our UK customers are offered commercial ranges for the British consumers. Although a comment not associated with furniture was used, I was pleased to hear from one of our biggest independent retailers that “there are no lemons on this stand�, referring to his observation that every product had a place and a market. In terms of customer orders, this was confirmed as all of the ranges found favour with our customer portfolio. What trends did you observe in terms of visitor interest? Luckily enough, we have seen a trend towards German furniture! Retailers are increasingly suggesting that sales of smaller pre-assembled bedroom furniture sets, especially solid oak sales at the higher end, are decreasing. With yourJOYce, we do move towards flat painted, brightly colours doors and so we will have an answer to the upcoming colour trend. Tell us about new products and developments presented at the show In a private room within the stand, we demonstrated the new computer configurator yourJOYce, an iPadbased wardrobe configuration and pricing software. The consumer has many choices available in this collection,

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with the current offering being 24 door styles/colours and 15 handles. There are height and width options to consider, even before you then decide how you would like to partition or accessorise your wardrobe. Frankly, the consumer wants the choice but the retail stores need a solution to help the consumer understand the options and the processing department need clarity to ensure the products are ordered correctly. yourJOYce will be launched with a solution based around a studio concept. The software configures the wardrobe choices in real time, delivering visual reference and pricing as the consumer considers different options. In-store display will hold PoS material showing all of the possibilities. In short, yourJOYce offers thousands of retail possibilities in a studio concept, maximising opportunity and minimising confusion. We are looking for retailers to register their interest for the official launch later this year. What are the company’s short-term and long-term plans? We are working today mainly within our long term plan. Rauch has been building on its success now for 17 years and has a long-term strategy for the growth of the business in the UK. We have a few partners that we would like to talk to who may not yet see everything we have to offer and we are looking forward to that. Of course, our short-term plan is the Manchester Furniture Show in July, where we will be exhibiting on stand B43. We will again present new competitive ranges and great designs. W

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“Find your cosy,” suggests Alexander and James Alexander and James presented its latest models – comprising the Baker, Vivienne and Isabel collections – on a typically show-stopping stand in Hall 1 … Baker in leather

Baker in linen


Brand director Michelle Hoines-White, who oversaw the brand’s visual identity at the show, explains how its cover options have evolved this year: “Beautiful new and natural hides in the softest touch and coolest colours join our library of leathers for 2017,” she says. “New velvets, in hot shades from warm gold to marmalade, are richly dense and luxurious in quality, making this our key fabric of the season.” The first of the new models is the Baker, whose distinctive design mixes scale with attention to detail. This handcrafted piece features meticulous buttoning which is eight-way hand tied for enduring comfort. Good looking from every angle and available in versatile corner configurations, Baker is described as “a really sociable” sofa collection. Next is Isabel. Boasting unique design, glamorous styling and all the character of the English eccentric,

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this sumptuous collection blends moonstone greys with soft taupe, and mixes gentle velvet textures with flocked damasks. Elegant, slim arms in soft leathers are hand buttoned and exquisitely detailed, and its deep, soft seats are warm and inviting. Finally, there is the voluptuous Vivienne, a decadent, eight-way hand-tied classic design with an extra-deep seat. “You can really sink into the soft cushions and curl up in style,” says Michelle. The model’s curves extend to its newly-designed legs, which are shapely and smooth. Sales director Steve Morgan comments: “We loved welcoming everyone to the world of A&J at the January Furniture Show 2017, and thank all our retailer friends for making the show such a success – we enjoyed sharing a rosemary G&T with you all!” W

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Fashion is no longer just for our bodies, it's our life. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the interiors we choose. It's our life. It's not where we started: it's where we are now. We mix the old with the new: traditional, rug making weaves with seasonal, ahead-of-the-trend rug collections. The Plantation Rug Company have launched SIX new ranges for Spring/ Summer 2017; Threadbare, Wilderness, Safari, Tiramisu, Mosaic and Metropolis. This follows last year’s launch of two iSense super soft ranges; Secret and Surprise which have taken off in a big way.

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The Plantation Rug Company launched their new POS Stand at the January Furniture Show last year and the success has been phenomenal. The Stand offers 111 options of rugs in ½ square meter of floor space. The company provides a Designer Box for those with less showroom space or interior designers looking to show their clients the feel and colour of a selection of rugs.

For more information on The Plantation Rug Company please contact Chris Hughes, UK Sales Manager on 07970 756581

The Plantation Rug Company is providing Fashion for Floors in their rug design and innovative POS designs and ideas.

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Ashley Manor’s contemporary appeal Ashley Manor brought a touch of modern elegance to this year’s January Furniture Show.



Ashley Manor’s Carrera collection is a soft, modern sofa collection to suit the relaxed home. The generous seats are deep and comfortable and piped details ensure this piece is strikingly finished off. Stylish fabric combinations featuring soft velvet textures in nutmeg and natural fossil shades are contrasted with coppers and platinums in crackle textures. Chaise and open corner options are available. The Studio collection features contemporary design with simple, clean lines – this modern sofa collection is designed for relaxed living. Once again, the generous seats are deep, providing increased comfort. Varied fabric combinations add depth to the collection. A

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multitude of options are available to cater to different lifestyles. In the Shades collection, fresh and stylish sofas feature Italian fabric collections with marble velvets in luxury colour combinations. Piped edged oversized cushions and soft seats accent the clean lines of this modern design. The is the option to create a personalised look, with modular combinations available. Steve Morgan, sales director, says: “Our latest contemporary shapes are warm and inviting with clean lines and stylish fabric combinations – modern sofa stories with flashes of gentle glamour and decadence.” W

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NEW Carrera Collection

Shown above the NEW Carrera Corner Sofa. To see more visit FN 336 Pages v3.indd 110

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AVAX enhances the sleep experience AVAX has successfully developed FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award-winning, innovative, body adaptive mattress collections. The company’s mattresses are reportedly the first in the UK to be certified as ergonomically designed by FIRA. AVAX’s mattresses boast a FIRA award win

AVAX’s Endurance collection features luxury EdgeFortencapsulated mattresses proven to offer comfort and support whilst enhancing the sleep experience. The company’s MindBody collection features comprehensively-researched and independentlyverified High Performance Advanced MediCell ErgoFoam Technology. This technology helps to relieve body pressure points and keep the spine in a natural S-shape whilst providing total body support. The Synergy collection features hand-tufted pocket mattresses with a combination of the company’s pressure-relieving MediCare Minuscle-Tek foam, soft Oelux fibres and pure British wool to enhance the comfort. The mattress side panels are handstitched by experienced team to fortify the mattress edges. The Statement collection features traditionally hand-tufted pocket mattresses with pure British

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wool, mohair, rebound poly cotton and bonded wool rebound. The mattresses are said to promote health and wellbeing, offer ergonomic adaptability, are efficient at air permeability and thermal dissipation and provide structural stability with no body indentation. AVAX’s mattresses are the first in the UK to have won the FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award, plus have two high-quality Sleep Research and Ergonomics Studies conducted on the same mattresses by Professor John Grogor of Hull University and FIRA. A research paper combining sleep and ergonomics studies on these mattresses will be published soon in a peer review international research journal. Olympians, Paralympians, rugby players and other athletes reportedly use AVAX mattresses for rest and recovery. T 01274 870205 E

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Ava S

Colossal X

Thank you for making our January Show 2017 a great success Our research, innovation and technology for your celestial rest, recovery and rejuvenation AVAX has successfully launched the UK’s first-ever FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award-winning, innovative, body adaptive and intelligent mattresses at the January Furniture Show 2017. The elegant designs – in conjunction with proven health and wellbeing benefits – of these comprehensively researched mattresses have immensely impressed one and all who visited the AVAX stand during the show. We have been inundated with new orders, and new enquiries have constantly been streaming in. This is largely due to the independent validation of our mattresses through Sleep Research (Professor John Groeger, Hull University) and Ergonomics Study (FIRA), which gives consumers much-needed confidence. AVAX has developed some of the most advanced technologies to banish sleepless nights, improve the quality of sleep and daytime performance and shepherd the public to celestial sleep by providing excellent comfort and support. AVAX is driven by the inspiration to innovate, and therefore developed High Performance Advanced MediCell ErgoFoam Technology™, Ergobatic® Health Technology, ErgoPlus® Health Technology, EdgeFort®


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Buttress Technology and Pi-Cut Air Dispersion Channels® Technology to offer consumers extremely efficient, pressure-relieving and body-supportive mattresses. AVAX products are endorsed by elite Olympians, Paralympians, rugby players and many sport stars who sleep on our mattresses for their rest, recovery and rejuvenation as part of their training regime. With a fabulous margin opportunity, retailers and stockists will be supported with high-quality PoS materials, excellent aftersales service and short lead time to increase your sales and margin. Seven-times World Champion, five-times Paralympic Gold medallist and multiple world record holder, Hannah Cockroft MBE, says: “The only reason I’m happy to be home is to be back sleeping with my @AVAX mattress. If only I could have taken it to Australia!” #Bliss

Contact us now on 01274 870205 or email to join the revolutionary science to sleep company

British Furniture Manufacturers

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Bluebone’s fresh appeal The Bluebone stand at the January Furniture Show was a hive of activity this year, attracting the attention of numerous visitors.

Mango Lounge

Bluebone’s Soft Industrial look struck a chord with retailers at the show. The concept includes several boutique ranges - Hairpin, Birdcage and Mango Lounge – alongside classic industrial reproductions. All combine the same brushed gunmetal and solid mango to give a commercial finish that fits easily into both contemporary and more traditional showrooms and homes. Aside from the Industrial range, new for 2017 are midcentury pieces, Oslo pale wood tables and Storm and Cottonwood bedroom additions. With furniture stores increasingly looking for lifestyle accessories, Bluebone

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provided a new range of fun oversized sculptures. Patchwork quilts and throws and a new range of wooden buffalo horns were also popular. The new 2017 Stylebook is now available, packed with striking lifestyle photos of all current ranges, and Bluebone continues to launch new product throughout the year. The company’s Live Stock and Online Ordering Facility show new products as soon as they arrive in stock and Bluebone TV and Facebook allow customers to keep up to date with Bluebone’s latest news. W

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Storm Grey



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bluebone Looking for something different? Unique and Exclusive Designs, Industrial, Retro & Vintage Furniture and Accessories, Bestselling Cottonwood, Retro Oak

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Forte establishes its UK presence Forte Furniture, one of Poland’s largest manufacturers of self-assembly furniture, enjoyed another successful show, according to UK sales manager Graham Garrod.

Forte offers items for all areas of the home

Forte supplies a wide range of The company has a dedicated UK-based customer service team

“All our visitors found the new-look exhibition stand very impressive, and were greatly encouraged by the wide range of household furniture that we are offering,” says Graham. Forte has the ability to supply furniture suited to the UK market. From bedrooms, nurseries, living and dining and home offices, Forte offers a swathe of ranges, all supported by an impressive UK-based customer service team. Graham says that clients were also impressed

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furniture to the UK market

with having the option of three different methods of ordering, which gives them the buying flexibility they have come to expect from UK-based companies. “We would like to thank all our many visitors,” says Graham. “We were pleased to welcome many new clients, together with our loyal existing clients, who once again found reasons to expand their Forte offer. We wish them all the very best for 2017!” W

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Unwind, British style... At home in the Cotswolds is our NEW Baker Maxi Sofa Find your cosy at

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Gallery makes an impact Gallery Direct started the year with a bang, as the company launched its new spring/summer 2017 collection at the January Furniture Show. The impressive double-decker stand was one of the highlights of the show, displaying the company’s range of new products, along with a selection from Gallery’s current catalogue.

On Gallery’s stand at the January Furniture Show

The January Furniture Show was a success for Gallery Direct, with record sales being written and a number of new accounts opened. Overall sales were up 24% on last year. James Hudson, sales and business development director, says: “We are delighted with the results from the show. An incredible amount of hard work goes into designing and developing the new products, and planning and preparing for the show. But it is worth it when you achieve fantastic results, and are given such positive comments from customers and industry experts. “All our new products were well received – many clients commented that they thought it was our best new collection of mirrors and accessories for a few years.” A varied selection of new mirrors was offered to suit all tastes and styles of interior, from the elegant Bowman with its simple round wooden frame, to the striking industrial look of the Nixon, and from the sleek Radleys to the rustic charm of the Century. In total, over 50 mirrors were launched, adding to Gallery’s alreadydiverse collection to provide extensive choice. In terms of accessories, there were some impressive additions to the lighting range, along with a new selection of faux plants to add to the current collection which has been popular since its introduction last year. The new textiles and artwork include products featuring

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designs which were hand drawn by the Gallery design team at its head office in Kent. Several new furniture ranges were introduced at the show. Amongst these was Mustique, a dining and living room collection, featuring a striking parquet design. James states: “We felt confident that Mustique would be positively received and so we were delighted when this was proved to be the case – it was our most successful furniture range launch to date. It was so popular that we have already started developing a Mustique bedroom collection!” The launch also featured a new range of stocked upholstery which proved to be a hit, with orders being taken across all the lines. Designed with comfort and style in mind, this unique collection of sofas, armchairs, footstools, and bedsteads in an eye-catching range of fabrics, pays attention to detail. All the new products are featured in Gallery’s spring/ summer 2017 Lookbook, and the whole collection can be seen in the company’s new Design Directory. As well as showing all the individual items, the directory includes six trends pages, Tropical, Monochrome, Minerals, Nörd, Metallic and Artisan, designed to highlight Gallery’s key trends and to give customers inspiration for purchasing and retail displays. W

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NEW products available online now | 01795 439159


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Homestyle extends popular range Following the ongoing success of Homestyle GB’s Bordeaux American white oak range, the company has added new pieces that will appeal to the smaller home owner and fill the gaps within the range. The same traditional construction techniques are used throughout, as well as high-quality American white oak. Bordeaux

Three new dining tables, measuring 5 x 3ft and 6 x 3ft, and a small table that extends from 1200 to 1600mm complement Homestyle’s fabric dining chairs, plus a new corner display unit and a small and large bookcase provide elegant storage. What’s more, a new smaller coffee table measuring 3 x 2ft with two drawers, a corner TV unit, side table with drawer and a multi-purpose occasional cupboard round off the range. According to feedback from customers, the range

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performs well on the shop floor. Homestyle states that if customers start with a couple of small pieces at the beginning, they will soon appreciate the quality and potential that the whole range has to boost sales figures. A sales pack and further information on the Bordeaux, or any of the company’s other ranges including the new Aztec, Cotswold and Moderna ranges launched at the January Furniture Show are available by contacting the sales team. T 01606 556585

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Seconique’s renewed momentum Seconique launched a plethora of new products at the January Furniture Show, covering dining, bedroom and living room items. The positive response the company received has encouraged it to continue its product development programme so it can provide new, striking pieces of quality furniture at competitive prices.

Morton dining

Ludlow bedroom

Seconique’s Ludlow dining set was launched two years ago, and following on from its huge success, the natural progression was to develop a co-ordinating living and bedroom range. The value-for-money collection remains of a high quality with features such as white frames with solid pine oak-coloured tops, brass cup handles and metal runners on the drawers. The range consists of a two-door, two-drawer sideboard, one-drawer bookcase, corner TV unit, lamp table, a nest of two tables and a coffee table with centre drawer. The bedroom range offers a two-door wardrobe, 2+2 drawer chest, three-drawer chest and a bedside cabinet all available in white or grey with plans to extend further in July. Amongst Seconique’s best sellers was the Morton glass dining set. The attractive piece features a table top of 10mm and has oak-coloured heat-wrapped legs which extend under the table. Also supplied are four grey linen fabric chairs with legs to match the table. There is also a coffee, lamp and nest of two quirky three legged tables. Another launch was the Salvador tile top dining table

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Tortilla buffet hutch and dining set

and occasional collection to complement the existing Salvador dining set. This distinctive set is solid pine and finished in wax, boasting attractive carved table legs and panelled tops, and could easily be teamed with Seconique’s Corona range. To keep up with current trends, the company has introduced new buffet dressers to the Tortilla and Corona models in white/grey. With spacious cupboards and generous shelving for plates, ornaments or picture frames, as well as various-sized drawers, the pieces offer impressive storage capacity. Also introduced was the Finley coffee, lamp and nest tables, Riley and Santos dining sets, Hammond and Sherborne footstools and the Ashley and Bailey sofas to name but a few. Seconique would like to extend its thanks to customers old and new for making the January Furniture Show a success, and the company looks forward to seeing customers at the Manchester Furniture Show in July. W

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126 | January Furniture Show Review

XYZ’s refreshed offer With the large shake-up of its collection and fabrics, XYZ sparked a fresh wave of interest in its product offering at the January Furniture Show. XYZ increased its Cocktail and compact chair collections from a choice of 20 options to 51, incorporating designer fabrics as well as its new soft-touch vibrant velvet collection. The company also increased several other lines as well as introducing many new shapes. XYZ offered its largest-ever range at the show, increasing fabric choices on several of its products and offering more colourways. It introduced a striking soft-touch flat velvet in a choice of vibrant and popular colourways. New models this year include Bergan, Boston, Chicago, Cleo, Helsinki, the Marle sofa, the Monaco range, Riga and Vienna.The business’ compact chairs offer high-value seating which is versatile, fitting into any room environment. XYZ’s soft touch velvet has proved popular in the bright colours, as well as the designer cotton prints. XYZ extends its thanks to all of its customers, new and old, for making its 10th anniversary – and this year’s show – memorable and successful. W

XYZ found renewed interest at the January Furniture Show

The company has increased its offering substantially this year

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The Home of Chairs XYZ would like to send a special thank you to all of our customers, new and old, for making this, our 10th anniversary, a record breaking January Furniture Show.

“Our largest collection yet�

Unit 1 Stapleford Road, Trowell, Nottinghamshire. NG9 3PS Tel 01159251389

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Bryan Robson champions MLily Mattress supplier MLily made its presence known at the January Furniture Show, showing off its global partnership with brand giant Manchester United by hosting a sporting legend …

Bryan Robson lines up alongside MLily’s UK team

On the Monday, Manchester United veteran and exEngland captain Bryan Robson made an appearance at the event to show off MLily’s new high-premium product line – the forefront of which is the company’s Dream+ mattress series, which has been specially developed for the team’s players at their Aon training complex in Carrington. “At such a world-class level, it’s a game of margins,” remarked Bryan, “and that’s why United have chosen an elite brand like MLily. Recovery and a good night’s sleep are so important to performance, and United are going that extra step to ensure our players have an advantage over everyone else.” It is not just the professionals reaping the benefits. Bob Badman, director of sales, states: “We want everyone to achieve their highest level of performance, and it starts with the best night’s sleep possible. We’re providing a premium product at a price everyone can afford. It’s simple, really – if it’s good enough for world-class athletes performing at their peak, imagine what it can do for people like you and me.” Chinese mattress manufacturing giant MLily has

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doubled its number of accounts for the third year in a row, and is looking forward to surpassing its 2017 goals. T 01582 400604 E

Bryan Robson

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SHETLAND For customers that could not get to our busy stand we are extending our show prices. Visit and log on to our website or give us a call for some fantastic display packages.

Furniture To Go, 3 Keel Close, Interchange Park, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO3 5QD - T: 02380 517067 E: -

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130 | January Furniture Show Review

High specs and speedy delivery a winning combination for Sweet Dreams Lancashire-based furniture manufacturer Sweet Dreams exhibited at the January Furniture Show and was pleased both with sales and the number of new accounts opened.


In divans, sales were strongest in Sweet Dreams’ luxury collections, Pocket Air and Royal Pillowtop. Clarence 4000, featuring cashmere both to the mattress cover and the microquilting below, and Kenilworth 3000, featuring memory foam and a supersoft knit viscose cover, did especially well. In both divans, the damask border comes in two colourways, wheat and nickel, to match the divan base, and this has proved popular. From the Royal Pillowtop collection, Sweet Dreams’ other luxury collection, Noble 1000, also containing memory foam and featuring the new box pillowtop style, was another stand-out success. All Pocket Air and Royal Pillowtop beds come in three sizes and a wide range of storage options to the base, including three styles of ottoman. Mattress and base alike are enhanced with quality finishing. In frames, the new white colourway for perennial favourite, compact wooden sleighbed Pacino, brought

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a positive response. This brings the model’s colourway choices to four. The pine bedframe comes in two sizes, double and king, and features an extra-wide slatted base. A matching bedside cabinet is available. In Sweet Dreams’ British upholstery range, top-end Knightsbridge and Glenmore performed well. A slight adjustment to the seat specification has increased the already-high levels of comfort with these models and won the range new friends. Meanwhile, Sweet Dreams launched four recliner models – Genoa, Capri, Amalfi in faux leather and Ravenna in fabric. Genoa, a three-seater and two-seater in chocolate leather-look, emerged the style favourite. Together with other new models, Genoa is available from stock on 10 working day delivery, in common with Sweet Dreams’ British-manufactured ranges, and this proved a decisive factor in favour of the new range. W

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132 | January Furniture Show Review

A pleasing performance from Westbridge Westbridge Furniture Designs’ sales director, Nichola Bell, is no stranger to the January Furniture Show, and approaches each edition with “a healthy dose of excitement and huge expectations”. With the Flintshire-based manufacturer launching a new brand and fresh models, Nichola’s hopes were particularly high this year …



“Will the show be busy? Will our customers come? And will they like our new product?” Thankfully for Nichola, the answer to all these questions was a resounding “yes” this year, as the upholstery manufacturer experienced “a fantastic show all round”. “The standard of UK upholstery in hall 1 this year was superb,” she says. “In such a competitive market, I am proud to say that Westbridge steps up to the plate every year, and this show was no exception. “We were excited to launch our new Artisan brand at the show. This creatively unique and affordable range, inspired by a collection of artisan products, methods and techniques, brings a fourth dimension to the Westbridge family.” The brand employs full-character aniline leathers, showing all the natural beauty of the material, as well as carefully-selected fabrics and combinations. “We have created an exquisite example of well-made British upholstery,” says Nichola. “Combining these beautiful covers and designs with our tried-and-tested comfort made for a very successful launch, and we are extremely pleased with the feedback.” Nichola reports that the stars of the show for Westbridge were the Vintage Ranch, Discovery and Coach House models, all of which promise to bring “something different” to any current offering. “Retailers can take full advantage of the whole range available in interchangeable leathers and fabrics, made

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with pride in our factory in North Wales, enabling shorter lead times than many leather products on the market currently,” Nichola explains. “We also added even more finesse and class to our Spirit range with the introduction of two new models. Lucia was certainly the eye-catcher, in electric blue velvet that no-one could fail to notice. Simply stunning. And those visitors who managed to fight their way to the Odessa simply found it difficult to move once they were enveloped by its sumptuous velvet and incredible comfort!” The Westbridge collection also boasts two new arrivals, Willow and Hogarth. These models offer impressive value, benefiting as they do from the triedand-tested comfort and scale synonymous with the company’s best sellers. “We also treated our customers to over 50 exquisite new fabrics across all ranges,” says Nichola. “These include opulent Italian velvets, beautifully-woven wools and the most on-trend colour palette.” Nichola would like to thank Westbridge’s loyal customers for visiting the stand, and for their support, and to welcome the new customers to the Westbridge family. “In true Westbridge style we are now forging ahead with which exciting products we can bring to our next showcase, the Manchester Furniture Show, in July,” concludes Nichola. “See you there!” W

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Excel Furniture is a UK Manufacturer of mid to high end chesterfield 3 piece suite sofas, chairs and custom made corner sofas. The business also manufactures, wholesales and imports fabric and leather recliners. Excel deals in contract work such as pubs, restaurant seating, and contractors. Excel also makes Chesterfield in fabric or leather with the option for diamond crystal. Excel Furniture is a new business, established in January 2016 and have thousands of fabric’s to choose from.




T: 01254 433970 • E: • Excel Furniture Direct Unit 6a Elco Building, 89 Montague Street Blackburn, BB2 1EH

Excel Furniture.indd 1

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134 | January Furniture Show Review

Bringing design to the fore In 2003, designer Terence Conran set out to create a range of strikingly-designed furniture that was expertly crafted, and long lasting – Content by Terence Conran. MD Mike Kingsbury gives Furniture News further insight into the brand ...

Terence Conran


Tell us about Content by Terence Conran’s product offering Our cabinet furniture has been made by a traditional team of skilled craftsmen, and having worked with them for over 10 years, they are experts at producing our products. The factories also produce furniture for the luxury retail markets of the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. Our occasional furniture, such as our Chelsea marble range, is made in India, in skilled artisan factories that support local communities. Our bespoke upholstery is produced by experienced upholsterers skilled in the individual and bespoke nature of our upholstery. Our manufacturers construct our furniture using a blend of traditional and modern methods. We also offer customer the options of using their own upholstery fabric. The options are endless. What makes the brand stand out from its competition? Excellent design, good quality and sensible pricing. What are the aims of the range? We aim to produce a strong selection of co-ordinating contemporary furniture that will appeal to broad sector of the furniture marketplace. How does the brand incorporate current trends? From a new hand-picked selection of house fabrics every year to new wood finishes on our cabinet range, and colours in our occasional furniture range, Content by Terence Conran aims to adapt and develop our products in line with interiors trends. We visit design shows throughout the year which provides our design team

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with plenty of inspiration for the year ahead. Why did you choose to present the range at the January Furniture Show? We launched our new Plus upholstery collection in conjunction with furniture maker and supplier, Whitemeadow. The January Furniture Show is very effective as a launchpad for new products and brands, as it gives companies of all sizes the ability to present their products to a huge variety of consumers. Tell us about the products you presented at the show We presented four new upholstery ranges at the show – Aster, Isla, Haddon and Merida. Each model has been designed in collaboration between Whitemeadow and the Conran design team to retain a level of detail and design-led style, as well as making a commercial product that will appeal to consumers. Was the show a success for the brand? We did achieve our goal of a very successful launch of the Plus collection, and also to present our new cabinet and occasional ranges. We had a lot of positive feedback from both old and new customers, which was great to receive. We hope to return next year. What is the plan for the brand moving forward? We want to broaden our customer base in the UK and overseas, and continue to produce innovative and design-led products for our consumers. W

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National Account Manager required by an innovative and growing supplier of quality wooden indoor furniture. We are a UK owned and managed business with offices in the UK, Hong Kong and Vietnam. We design, develop, source and supply quality wooden indoor furniture, manufactured in Vietnam, to customers in the UK by direct container load. Our customers are major retailers, wholesalers and importers You will be responsible for pro-actively identifying and opening new retail & wholesale accounts, working closely with your clients to forge strong long term relationships, presenting new designs, conducting range reviews, developing individual ranges, identifying growth opportunities within your accounts and achieving your agreed sales targets. With the autonomy to work on your own while being guided by strong leadership, this is an excellent opportunity for a hungry and motivated individual. You will report directly to the business owners. Successful applicants will need recent experience in selling furniture, homewares, soft furnishings or similar into national retail accounts.

Requirements: • Recent experience in selling furniture, homewares, soft furnishings or similar into major retailers. • Strong new business winner • Demonstrable track record in achieving sales growth with both new and existing clients • Excellent account management skills • Excellent written and verbal communication skills • Creative • Strong inter-personal skills • Pro-active and highly self-motivated • Positive and enthusiastic approach • Happy to be out on the road covering a large area • You will probably be located in Central England, although we are flexible on this

Package: Salary: £50,000 plus commission Benefits: Company Car, Mobile, Laptop

Please send your CV and cover letter to Gearing Media Group, 4 Red Barn Mews, High Street, Battle, TN33 0AG, quoting box number 1234 and referencing National Account Manager job.

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136 | Last Word

GRAEME MILLS DIRECTOR OF PERFORMANCE, MAMMOTH Drawn from a wealth of expertise in the health industry, Mammoth designs and manufactures a range of mattresses and sofas featuring the company’s award-winning Medical Grade Foam. The company’s ‘science of comfort’ drives new innovations and technologies across its ranges.

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Last Word | 137


ow did you enter the trade? As an outsider. I was doing research on the health benefits of sleep and came across Mammoth and the work they had been doing with elite athletes and in clinical settings. I was drawn in from then, initially out of curiosity. John Tuton, MD and founder of Mammoth, asked me to do some work with him to support his retailers, and before long I was talking industry talk and I was hooked. Who is your inspiration? I am inspired by so many people who show that hard work and focus enables them to reach their goals. With this in mind, the Olympic – and in particular Paralympic – athletes are a massive source of inspiration for me. But I see the same attitude in people from science, such as Thomas Edison, who also penned one of my favourite quotes: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” What has been your career high point? If I were to pin it to a specific point so far, I’d say when Mammoth won a Bio-Technology Award for its work on pressure relief – at the time I was a consultant to Mammoth but led the project that related to the award. At the awards evening, John Tuton went up to accept the award but he dragged me up with him. For an external consultant it was a great honour to share in that recognition. … and low point? In my early twenties I worked in a large business and reported to an MD who felt the need to undermine his staff to keep control of them. Despite being aware of his methods, he sapped my energy and confidence. … and the turning point? I left the business and gave up a good salary. I had no job to go to but that breathing space led me to start working freelance with some big brand names. I got great feedback but learned to assess my own performance objectively, which enabled me to control my confidence. Describe a typical working day Mammoth is far from typical, but that suits me. I can be inputting into market strategy, helping recruit highly-talented

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individuals or delivering performance coaching sessions. It’s a dynamic and fast-growing business and I see my role as keeping us all focused on continually developing our high standards in product and service delivery. If you had to start over, you’d probably pursue which career? Sports psychology – combining my love of sport and fascination with human behaviour. I’ve undergone training with sports psychologist Simon Hartley, and still contact him for insights I can take into the world of business. What date on the business calendar do you most look forward to? The first day of the January Furniture Show and the Bed Show. The lead-up is so stressful, but once it’s here and and we’ve created that buzz around our products, the mixture of relief and pride is an amazing feeling. What is the most important issue affecting your business right now? The pace and uncertainty of market change is something we will all need to get used to. In many ways, this plays to Mammoth’s strengths of remaining agile and responsive – that’s something we need to maintain as we grow. What company do you most look up to? I read a lot of business books and articles and find a lot of great insight – from people like Louis V Gerstner, who turned around the fortunes of IBM, and Google’s Larry Page. Truly, there are many businesses I encounter – whether it’s some of our retail partners or suppliers – who I respect for their determination in growing and transforming their businesses. These businesses have been grown by individuals who have nearly

always been through difficult times but have remained steadfast and committed where others may have given up. What would you most like to change about yourself? My age. I’d like to transfer my thirst for learning into a younger version of me. What do you enjoy most about working in the trade? As a newcomer to the trade I’m enjoying casting a fresh eye over the way things are done. The diversity in the marketplace in terms of the type and size of businesses is refreshing. There is a thriving independent sector as well as multinational brand players. This, to me, illustrates that it’s a trade where there are real opportunities for new innovations, such as Mammoth’s mattresses and seating, to make an imprint. I don’t really know any other market like that. Leave us with an industry anecdote please! This goes back a while. I was working with a major retailer in the trade. We were looking at footfall and working out how to increase it. I was shown a new modern shopfloor display that used glass panel shells instead of solid walls. It looked great as we sat on one of the sofas. The light worked well, and it looked very cutting edge. The meeting had finished and I got up to leave the store. It was then that the flaw in the design became apparent, as I tried to walk through a glass wall, rebounded off it and walked straight into another glass wall. After a brief period of panic and disorientation I found my way out of the maze, somewhat embarrassed and bruised. Needless to say, the display wasn’t a huge success, and was taken down soon after.



EARLY BIRD OR NIGHT OWL? Early bird – with three kids, it’s not an option

1990 – Various marketing roles within a variety of sectors including New Balance, BT, Lafarge and AMEC

LIGHT OR HEAVY SLEEPER? Like a log (guess what I sleep on?) POKER FACE OR OPEN BOOK? I thought I had a good poker face, but my wife thinks I have an expressive face, whatever that means – she’s probably right (she normally is!)

1999 – MD of GPM Network, a niche business consultancy supporting business growth in the industry, plus sleep research and bed/furniture analysis 2017 – Director of performance, Mammoth

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On the web this month The Furniture News website is constantly updated with fresh stories. Browse on your desktop of mobile to access the latest content, or sign up for our newsletter

Further Reading 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

Do you wish to receive a copy of the magazine every month? You can subscribe to receive the magazine monthly by emailing

News: Slight retail recovery in the year to February, says CBI

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.

News: CIFF (Guangzhou) sets up export zones

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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Resources: The five features of a qualified sales lead

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: Bedroom, Living, Dining and Furnisher features | Trade Services

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