supplier snapshot This month we spoke to some of the industry’s finest to find out their thoughts on nursery furniture and trends in this category.
Rachel Halliburton PRODUCT MANAGER, CUDDLECO
Are we experiencing any trends when it comes to Nursery Furniture?
MANAGING DIRECTOR, BABYSTYLE Are we experiencing any trends when it comes to Nursery Furniture? I think the buying of nursery furniture has always been a considered purchase and will stay that way. As such, consumers expect to be able to visit a showroom that’s accessible to them and see a room set in the flesh – not just a swatch of a finish. If anything, the single most important expectation is that of ‘product quality’. The Home category is now more competitive than ever; we so far as an industry have done very well in ensuring the products we bring to market are constantly pushing the standards but its something we must continue to do across our ranges, even at entry level. Are consumers seeking out products that are made using wood from sustainable sources? Sustainability and responsible sourcing are both really important topics and things that should be taken seriously – not just ticking a box. We’ve not noticed consumers seeking out ‘wood from sustainable sources’, but it’s not something we’re actively discussing as an industry. Our furniture collection (Charnwood) is manufactured using pressed or formed wood; as this process uses wood fibre that would ordinarily be discarded in the timber industry, it puts less strain on our forests creating a more sustainable construction practice for the future. Have we experienced a continued interest in room sets and if so, why do you think this is? Charnwood room sets are really popular; we have consumers that just buy cot beds and those that opt for full 3, 4 or 7-piece sets. Price-wise, our sets are competitive so it generally comes down to individual circumstances. Space is an important factor to consider, especially with the majority of new build homes now promoting compact living; furniture is generally not manufactured to fit a particular type of space, so it is completely understandable if the decision is to go for 2-pieces (often cot & dresser) out of 3. We just have to ensure our core furniture is practical, for example adapting from a cot bed to a day bed, or an underbed drawer for additional storage. Are brands important in this sector? Brands are always important – but your brand is only as good as your product. ‘Charnwood’ is the borough where BabyStyle was born – paying homage to our roots and staying true to the brand, we’ve worked hard over the past few years to build a strong reputation for our nursery furniture, building displays in-store and delivering to homes across Britain. Today, we’re proud to house a collection that offers contemporary designs as well as more traditional styles too, available in an array of different finishes. We’ll continue to build the Charnwood brand and collection, as a staple of our BabyStyle Home category. Is this a product category that is researched online prior to purchase? Like with everything, I would expect so. We’ve seen a great reception for our new sets particularly on active lookbook platforms such as Instagram, Pintrest and Houzz. Consumers who are searching for things like ‘nursery inspiration’ are engaging with our content organically which is key for genuine growth. But what is equally as important is being able to follow up with strong presence in-store and our showroom fitouts in the likes of Newbie & Me, Pushchair Expert and more recently Little Poppets have led to these select stores becoming some of our strongest accounts for nursery furniture.
Dark graphite grey’s and deep royal blues are definitely trending at the moment but white is still a winner for us in nursery furniture. We have some beautiful “scandy” alternatives for customers arriving soon in the new year for the mum and dad who are looking for something different. In the mealtime our driftwood Ash top rails on the Clara and Aylesbury cot beds have proven to be our outstanding sellers giving a beautiful contrasting tone to our satin white finishes. Have we experienced a continued interest in room sets and if so, why do you think this is? I think the “bundling” up of 2pc and 3pc sets always offers the best value for money when purchasing for a nursery, we definitely trend more with 2pc bundles recently over 3pc and this definitely has to do with value and room space in new homes. Do you feel that parents are looking for value in comparison to quality? It is a difficult question and very much depends on someone’s available disposable income, having a newborn baby is after all a very expensive journey, however the rigorous British Standard testing means that all cots and cot beds have to meet the same standards so they should not be compromised on safety or build quality so the term “value” can have many different meanings. There will always and should always be a place for every price point in the market so that all families and babies have a warm and safe sleeping environment, however there is almost definitely an increased demand/search for “value” in their chosen price range, we see an increasing demand for “added value” within the proposition.
M ark Nicholls
BRAND DIRECTOR, GREEN SHEEP GROUP Are we experiencing any trends when it comes to Nursery Furniture? From our research the majority of parents (61%) choose a cot which converts into a toddler bed, as their followon sleep solution once their child has outgrown their moses basket or crib. This compares to 30% who opt for a more space-saving cot or mini-cot alternative. When it comes to design, we’ve spotted three trends in 2020 which look set to continue into 2021. While gender reveals have become increas ingly popular, unisex nursery designs are in high demand as parents-to-be also seek more muted, pastel interior styles. Scandinavian and Nordic styles are also commonplace, with minimal foundations which allow for carefully placed accessories and the ability to tweak the room style over time as they grow. Are consumers seeking out products that are made using wood from sustainable sources? There has definitely been an increase in the number of enquir ies we receive at Snüz relating to the sustainability of our materials and produc tion methods. There’s also a focus on packaging, and at Green Sheep Group we are in the process of exploring how we can remove plastic from our packaging. Have we experienced a continued interest in room sets and if so, why do you think this is? Yes, we are regularly asked for matching furniture to go with our SnüzKot cot beds and continue to see a significant uptake for this, with around 30% of Snüzkots sold with a changing unit. With this in mind, we are looking to add to our range in the future with the development and addition of a SnüzKot Wardro be.