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Talking Trends with Barker and Stonehouse

With lockdown providing an opportunity to focus on home improvements, there are many that have taken the chance to refresh, refurbish and revitalise their living space.

Online sales of home furnishing products have soared for the large part in recent months and now retailers have reopened, consumers are continuing the trend of parting with cash to put their interior inspiration into practice.

So, what exactly is trending in terms of products?

We caught up with Claire Hornby, Head of Creative at independent furniture retailer Barker and Stonehouse, who answered this question and a few more on what their customers have been busy buying. 

The first point of call isn't in fact the products themselves but the style, Claire revealed.

     Quote The products that are trending at the moment are those with strong colour and velvet finishes. Quote

"People are becoming more confident about using colour in their homes to create strong focal points. Navy and teal continue to be the most popular colours for us, but we’ve also seen a new wave in sales of ochre and burnt orange. I think colour always lifts the spirits a little, which is always a good thing!"

We second that, especially in the current times we are all living in at the moment. A boost of much need colour can certainly clear up some of the murky uncertain clouds looming. 

With these types of finishes in mind, the obvious product category would be soft furnishings, which are proving to be very popular.

"With regards to soft furnishings, bold prints and natural materials are really popular right now," Claire said.

"Textural finishes are also a key trend. Rattan and wicker have made a huge come back and our customers still love animal prints.

"Navy and teal continue to be the strongest colours for us with a new wave in sales of ochre and burnt orange."

Upholstery

Claire Hornby

Dining

Another top category for Barker and Stonehouse, and its highest performing one, is upholstery, followed by dining chairs. Claire said that this is likely due to the "huge array of styles and price points" it offers. 

One 'style' - or what's perhaps better described as a 'movement' - that is continuing to be extremely popular with shoppers is sustainability. For Barker and Stonehouse, it has seen a rising trend in this area, where sustainably sourced, recycled and reclaimed furniture has been a big part of its product offering for some time, but consumer demand for this type of product has increased further and there is definitely a rising trend in this area.

In keeping with sustainably sourced product, Barker and Stonehouse took the opportunity itself through lockdown to launch an initiative to back British made products, which has been "very healthy" for both the business and its suppliers.

"During lockdown, we launched a campaign to specifically promote British furniture manufacturing and British made products with our customers. The campaign was endorsed by the British Retail Consortium and the British Furniture Manufacturers Association (BFM)," Claire said. 

"The aim was to help our home-grown manufacturers bounce-back from lockdown and to help secure their order books, jobs and skills. As a result, we have seen very healthy orders for our British made products. We’re delighted with the outcome as traditional British furniture making skills are second to none."

Barker and Stonehouse work tirelessly to keep on top of what's trending to maximise its offer to its customers, and of course, keep securing the sales.

So how do you keep on top of 'what's trending'?

Claire explained: "As a small team comprising of furniture and homewares buyers as well as a trend analyst, we always start by focusing on the main upcoming trends that we see emerging at the shows and around the world. 

"We then adapt these, putting our own twist on them, and sometimes creating micro-trends from these, that prove to be extremely popular with customers. 

"The most important measure of success is always sales. There’s no real point in us creating a trend that nobody wants to live with."

Looking ahead, Claire revealed that the team is currently focusing on the bedroom and is in the middle of working on an "exciting project" that will allow for more variety and colour to be offered, all driven by customer demand.

With the pandemic putting strain on the industry and wider economy, it remains key to be able to react and adapt to not only changing trends, but changing consumer behaviour. 

"There have obviously been many changes in the world due to the pandemic," Claire said. "More people are focusing on their personal space, making changes, investing in their homes with new décor and furniture, and many people are continuing to work from home, maybe forever. 

"Fundamentally these are already impacting sales and will continue to do so into the autumn and winter." 

www.barkerandstonehouse.co.uk

 
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