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14 Feb 2020
One Step Ahead
How do you follow up a show where your order intake grew year-on-year by 63 percent?
14 Feb 2020
Full House
​​​​​​​Poland has emerged as the largest European exporter of upholstery t...
04 Feb 2020
The January Furniture Show is home to the industry’s market movers
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03 Feb 2020
Furniture Makers exceeds target of 100 One Step at a Time companies
The Furniture Makers’ Company has surpassed its target of 100 companies signed up to i...
29 Jan 2020
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22 Aug 2019
FURNITURE INDUSTRY GATHERED AT LARGEST SUMMER EVENT
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21 Aug 2019
SO MUCH MORE THAN FURNITURE
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21 Aug 2019
MANCHESTER HEATS UP
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21 Aug 2019
MUSIC AT MFS
Mike McCartney known as Mike McGear, will be performing on the Nordic stand at when Manc...
23 Jul 2019
FURNITURE INDUSTRY GATHERED AT LARGEST SUMMER EVENT
Manchester Furniture Show 2019 came to a close on Tuesday with exhibitors reporting posi...
05 Jul 2019
GET READY FOR FURNITURE CITY
Manchester is about to become ‘furniture city’ once again for 3 days this July.
06 Jun 2019
MFS HIGHLIGHTS NEW INDUSTRY TALENT
For the third year running MFS is providing a platform for talented students from Burnle...
29 May 2019
SHERBORNE JOINS NEW EXHIBITORS AT MFS
Sherborne are among the first-time exhibitors at this summer’s Manchester Furniture Sh...
22 May 2019
FRESH ACCESSORIES AT MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
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16 May 2019
NEW SHAPES WILL SHIMMER AT MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
Bursts of colour and bursts of design flair will be a stand out in Manchester this July.
02 Aug 2018
SUCCESS AT 2018 MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
Exhibitors reported great satisfaction with sales and the number of quality buyers as th...
11 Jul 2018
TALENT SHINES AT MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
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05 Jul 2018
Bumper Number of Visitors Expected at Manchester Furniture Show
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02 Jul 2018
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28 Jun 2018
Interiors Powerhouse
Variety and dynamic are the buzz words for this year’s Manchester Furniture Show. 
17 May 2018
BRITISH BRANDS LEAD THE WAY AT MANCHESTER
The imminent Royal wedding is set to get the Union Jack flying high this spring. 
17 May 2018
HOT NEW BRANDS AND HOT NEW STYLES AT THE MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
It’s a new look and new brands at this summer’s biggest furniture and interiors even...
26 Apr 2018
Two More Big Names Sign for Manchester Furniture Show
La-Z-Boy and Chelsom have signed to show at the Manchester Furniture Show this summer.
05 Apr 2018
Visitor Registration is Live for Manchester Furniture Show
Registration is now live for the Manchester Furniture Show!
14 Feb 2018
NEW SIGNINGS AND NEW WEBSITE FOR MANCHESTER FURNITURE SHOW
The 2018 Manchester Furniture Show (MFS) returns to Manchester Central on 15th to 17th J...
02 Dec 2017
Established and new brands succed at Manchester Furniture Show
The 2017 Manchester Furniture Show ended on a high, with many exhibitors reporting recor...
01 Dec 2017
Midpoint joins Manchester Furniture Show
The organisers of the Manchester Furniture Show and the Midpoint Furniture Exhibition ar...
14 Feb, 2020
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Conversation Starter

Ashwood Designs, the South Wales sofa maker formed in 2005 and known for its high-quality design and value, is a longstanding supporter of January Furniture Show. The Aberdare company has been an omnipresent fixture at the NEC for over a decade, with managing director Richard Smart saying it is the springboard for the year ahead.

We are unbranded, so some customers might otherwise not know the business,” he says.

As a medium sized manufacturer, the show puts us toe-to-toe with a lot of bigger branded companies, giving us the platform to showcase our UK designed and manufactured product and demonstrate to retailers that we are a highly professional business. It is a big credibility chip.”

For Ashwood, the Show doesn’t begin and end when the doors to the NEC are thrown open on the Sunday of the event. Product introductions made at earlier events in the autumn — last year, for example, it showed from a Long Eaton hotel in September — also inform its January show planning.

If we show some products that have a good reaction, we will develop something else in that vein ready for the NEC, he says. “The reaction there helps us firm up the direction for the NEC. You are aiming towards the January Furniture Show, but each show gathers a bit more moss as you go down.”

The timing of the event, when retailers have hopefully cleared stock and had a good January sale, and the location, “easy to get to for just about everybody” are impeccable, he says.

Ashwood’s NEC launches tend to fall into two categories — the first, which Mr Smart describes as its “baked beans” offer, is product that could “go anywhere and sit comfortably in any independent furniture store in the country.

The second “is a bit more wow, more specialist and can often be the catalyst for catching the attention of a new buyer.”

This year’s wow launches, says Mr Smart, included a new shape “in a very nice textural Italian flatweave with a very natural look that really captured the eye at the end of the stand,” which was located in Hall 1.

I think this year you are going to see a lot of textural weaves, natural fibres and bolder colours. There has been a lot of velvet coming through, and our USP as a business is quality European fabrics — mainly Italian or Spanish — that sets us apart from the mainstream that are maybe looking at imported Chinese fabrics.”

The exhibition, he says, “is often a conversation starter.”

It is mainly an independent launchpad, but it always spurs group discussions or conversations with customers you don't know, whether that be other independents or Internet businesses. It is the starting point for embryonic discussions that grow.”

But reviewing the success of the event is not instantaneous, he adds.

Obviously we look at orders taken over the four days, but follow-ups are equally important. It is a catalyst for further discussions, particularly with groups who are not going to buy exactly what they saw on the stand, but a variation.

We evaluate the January show over the next six weeks, maybe even after visiting customers again with a second view from our show vans. It is not just a show in isolation, but the start of a launchpad.”

“This year it was a terrific show. We were definitely up on the previous year and we had a great reaction.”
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