keyboard_arrow_left See all news

Recent News

11 Sep 2020
Furniture Digest | BFM Industry Support, Appointment Systems & Retail Sales Increase
Nick Garratt gives an insight into how the BFM is supporting the industry. There's acqui...
04 Sep 2020
Appointment System Weeds out Browsers
A look into how an appointment-based system can help businesses such as Artertons and Fu...
13 Aug 2020
The Furniture Makers': Here to Help
Jonny Westbrooke, CEO of The Furniture Makers' Company, the long-standing furnishing ind...
31 Jul 2020
ACID | Dids Macdonald on IP Protection
Dids Macdonald, OBE Chief Executive - Anti Copying in Design (ACID), shares an overview ...
20 Jul 2020
Dan Oscroft | Whitemeadow
“We’ve made good progression, but we’re far from done yet” says Dan Oscroft, who...
10 Jul 2020
Real Business Rescue's Keith Tully on COVID-19
Real Business Rescue is a restructuring and turnaround service for businesses in financi...
03 Jul 2020
Furniture Digest | La-Z-Boy on COVID-19, Backing British Furniture & Uncertainty for Harveys
Insight from La-Z-Boy, and Barker and Stonehouse’s new campaign supporting the British...
02 Jul 2020
La-Z-Boy UK: Coping with COVID-19
Global upholstery manufacturer La-Z-Boy reflects on how its UK arm has coped with the co...
19 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Footfall up 40%, Advice from Retailer Vic Smith Beds & VAT Reduction
We caught up with Vic Smith Beds to find out how they are opening safely. Footfall was u...
17 Jun 2020
Vic Smith Beds: Coping with COVID-19
Independent mattress retailer Vic Smith Beds shares an insight into how they have coped ...
05 Jun 2020
Furniture Digest | Advice from Financial Consultancy & Consumer Demand
We spoke to an expert from Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor to get advice and insig...
03 Jun 2020
COVID-19: Independent Advice from Professional Financial Consultancy Begbies Traynor
Gary Lee, North West Partner and a specialist in Business Rescue & Recovery at Begbies T...
29 May 2020
Furniture Digest | Financial Support & More Retail Reopening
The Furniture Makers' Company increased the support available, while Arlo & Jacob has ...
28 May 2020
Trend: Sustainability
COVID-19 has presented governments, businesses and individuals with unprecedented challe...
22 May 2020
Furniture Digest | BFC Inquiry & Guidance for Retailers
More information has emerged from the British Furniture Confederation (BFC) Inquiry into...
21 May 2020
How Retailers Can Prepare to Reopen
As several large-scale retailers begin to open their doors, many local retailers are st...
11 May 2020
COVID-19: The Furniture Industry Responds
We’ve been inspired by stories about these suppliers and retailers that are using thei...
21 Apr 2020
Manchester Furniture Show postponed to 2021
As a consequence of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Manch...
30 Mar 2020
Manchester Furniture Show Venue Update
Organisers comment on commissioning of Manchester Central Convention Complex as NHS ‘N...
16 Mar 2020
Furniture Shows | James Howard
It may be a trial by fire, but there’s nothing like going out on-site when you’re st...
05 Mar 2020
The Global Outbreak of COVID-19
Following the global outbreak of COVID-19, Clarion Events is continuing to monitor the l...
04 Feb 2020
January Furniture Show is home to the industry’s market movers
The value of the U.K.’s furniture and lighting retail market looks primed to advance a...
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...
12 Dec 2019
Edward Tadros | Centenary Statements
Edward Tadros, Ercol chairman since 1993, says the manufacturer plans to hold a serie...
19 Sep 2019
Tom Hughes | Kesterport
Preparations for the next January Furniture Show begin almost as soon as the last one en...
21 Aug 2019
So Much More than Furniture
As the largest furniture and interiors event of the summer, MFS is an industry event tha...
23 Jul 2019
Furniture Industry Gathered at Largest Summer Event
Manchester Furniture Show 2019 came to a close with exhibitors reporting positive reacti...
12 Jul 2019
Manchester Heats Up
The mercury will finally rise as summer comes to Manchester for the 2019 Manchester Furn...
11 Jul 2019
Tim Robinson | Gala Collezione
​​​​​​​Poland has emerged as the largest European exporter of upholstery t...
05 Jul 2019
Get Ready for Furniture City
Manchester is about to become ‘furniture city’ once again for 3 days this July...
30 Apr, 2019
keyboard_arrow_left See all news

Richard Smart | Ashwood Designs

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 sister event of Manchester Furniture). 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 January Furniture 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
.”
Processing. Please wait.
Loading...