The Dealer Report 2018

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For our latest in-depth annual look at the dealer market, we decided not to spread our net quite so far, and instead grill a ‘handpicked’ selection of our finest furniture providers. Rather than asking for the odd fact or figure, we’ve gone further under the skin to discover a little more about origins, workings and opinions. Enjoy.

Dodds & Shute

Founders: Stefan Dodds & Nick Shute.

Describe your business for us:

Design-led procurement of contemporary furniture. We’ve a strong reputation for introducing new brands to the market and a portfolio of innovative designs to make our projects unique.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Our growth since the business was founded (in 2015), working from Nick’s flat. We’re three years ahead of expectations, something that’s reflected in the lovely office space we are moving into. We are very proud of our company culture and the fantastic team, who are essential to the running of the business.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Pinterest is a very valuable tool for us, it’s the platform from which we curate our furniture portfolio and engage with the interior design community. We get 1,500+ daily views and when we upload new designs we get immediate feedback from followers.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Millennials are taking on positions of influence and demanding businesses be transparent and relatable. Ownership, manufacturing origin, supply chain traceability and sustainability credentials – these are major influencers on consumer behaviour. The predicted rise of Blockchain will force businesses to be transparent and accountable.


Heatons Office Solutions

Founder: David Fielding.

What is the origin of your company name?

The name Heatons was derived from David Fielding’s middle name – David Heaton Fielding.

Describe your business for us:

Passionate about interiors. Passionate about our clients. We are a caring and friendly company that always goes that extra mile to exceed our customers’ expectations.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

It has to be our project win of Stockport Homes Group in 2017. From a financial perspective, our largest ever project win, but from a perception perspective, it has been just as important. As a multifaceted business, it demonstrates our experience and ability to work in this sector.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Without a doubt. Design and interiors are all around us now. Television programmes, magazines, and retailers are all influencing a client’s ambitions. Your normal customer is far more design ‘savvy’ than they have ever been, no longer wanting ‘run of the mill’ or ‘me too’ products.


Showcase Interiors

Founders: Nigel Boreham & Emma Collings.

What is the origin of your company name?

When we started the business, the majority of the work was automotive retail and we wanted a name that summed up our core objective – to ‘showcase’ the client’s products. That objective still stands true today, but these days we help showcase clients’ spaces so that they get the best from them – and provide the best possible facilities for their teams.

Describe your business for us:

Showcase is an independent furniture dealer, with no contractual ties to any one manufacturer, working in the best interest of the design team and our clients.

We deliver major projects as either a traditional dealer or on a fee-based consultancy and procurement basis, where we work to an agreed resource and procurement fee.

We have unrivalled knowledge and experience of delivering projects up to the value of £11m.

We provide impartial and unbiased advice, recommending products from a variety of suppliers, based on our clients’ business objectives and their criteria for function, design and budget.

Over the past 11 years we have built excellent relationships with leading manufacturers and suppliers. It is this combination of purchasing power and our knowledge of the furniture market that provides our clients with the right solution – which helps deliver our client’s objectives for function,  design and budget.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

In 2015 Showcase was able to celebrate its amazing growth, being ranked in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast-Track league (which ranks the 100 fastest growing UK companies). This was only surpassed in 2016, when we climbed 43 places to be ranked at no. 44. It was a fantastic accolade and we are so proud of our amazing team.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Yes, clients are much better informed and product aware – they expect more from their suppliers both in terms of expertise and in complexity of projects. Furniture is now expected to provide a performance link that adds considerable value, from staff attraction and retention to increases in productivity. The move from ‘packing in staff’ to how we can provide agile, dynamic spaces means that furniture becomes a key component. Clients demand flexibility and want to see innovative ways to understand cost – its not just about chipboard and steel you know!


CEG's new offices at their first flagship office development – Number One, Kirkstall Forge

Ultimate (Commercial Interiors)

Founders: Mark Hickey, Mark Naisbitt & Dan Platt.

What is the origin of your company name?

When the business was founded, we wanted a name that showed we were the best – Ultimate does exactly what it says on the tin!

Describe your business for us:

Ultimate work closely with designers, architects and end users to create high quality and visually stunning interiors for offices, hotel and leisure, education and healthcare facilities.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Every satisfied client is a great achievement, although from the personal point of the Directors, it has been watching the company grow over 15 years – and the success of the apprentices we are now bringing through the business is very rewarding.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

The business environment needs to reflect the wellbeing of the employee more than it has ever done before and the place of work, when planned properly, can be used as a sales tool to attract the best talent.


Wellworking 

Founder: Luke Munro.

What is the origin of your company name?

Wellworking is everything about working well. That means delivering great products and a great customer experience in order to improve performance and productivity for our clients, and we’ve been doing that since 1999.

Describe your business for us:

Wellworking brings together a world-class commercial projects team, workplace wellbeing experts and an award-winning online store to deliver fantastic service, knowledge and value.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Being recognised at Mixology 2017 was a huge moment, given the prestige of the awards.

We’ve always said that a great customer experience is what sets Wellworking apart, so to be recognised by the Institute of Customer Service, with a national award for our customer focus, was also a proud moment.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Absolutely. We’re helping them choose beyond the traditional desk and chair, towards a greater product mix, which promotes movement and drives performance. And we’re ensuring that they make best use of those products, by sharing our expertise and product knowledge after sales from our commercial, online and workplace wellbeing teams.


Momentum Contract Furniture 

Founder: PJ Statham, Lyn Statham & Nicole Daniels.

What is the origin of your company name?

The right name is crucial to a business. Finding a name that we all agreed on and had real meaning was difficult. A friend later dreamed the name and we thought it was perfect for a forward-looking, contemporary design business – and so Momentum was born.

Describe your business for us:

We consider Momentum unique in our coverage of market sectors, our customer service, our knowledge of our furniture and lighting portfolio and our many years’ experience in this industry, combined with all the best things about a family business.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Through extremely difficult economic conditions, we worked hard to remain in business when many others in the industry could not. Investment in improving our product and customer knowledge has ensured we give our customers the best possible service.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

E-mail, better website development and access to clever computer programmes enable us to do our work far more quickly, shortening response times to customers and architects.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Customers are looking for trusted, experienced dealers who offer impartial advice, allied to full service provision, so they get the best outcome for their project. Their businesses are working in different ways, and generational expectations and market forces are driving changes for every market sector.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

Furniture frameworks and restrictive practices can make some projects difficult to work on. It would be wonderful if there was a return to sensible trusted FM’s or procurement people capable of making their own decisions, rather than several companies tendering all the same furniture.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

We think there will be fewer dealers who offer good, inclusive, experienced service to customers who are knowledgeable, working differently and embracing new work practices. Collaboration is the key word.


Technique Resolutions

Founder: Roger Croft

What is the origin of your company name?

From the 1989 New Order album, Technique.

Describe your business for us:

Furniture broker – offering true independent advice to the interior design market, free of any manufacturer bias, uniquely, since 2000.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Maintaining our independence through some troublesome industry times.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Facilities Management has become so much more professional than when it ‘evolved’ from the office or services manager. Clients are now so much more aware of what constitutes ‘good practice’ and continually engage ID professionals and dealers to deliver the correct solution.


Formica-U14

Corporate Workspace

Founder: Simon Thrussell.

What is the origin of your company name?

We took the Ronseal approach – it does what it says on the tin!

Describe your business for us:

Corporate Workspace provide a full one-stop-shop for all commercial interiors by clearly establishing the client brief, careful and meticulous product selection, smooth supply and installation and the establishment of a care plan to protect our client’s investment. Corporate Workspace also provide full contracting, fit-out and design.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

We have been fortunate to deliver some exceptional projects for some exceptional clients, working with world leading products but always strictly adhering to ethical sourcing and polite business etiquette. Integrity is always at the heart of our business.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The rise of more mobile and intuitive technology over the more traditional fixed IT format, the classic examples being the iPad and the smartphone. We also love Google Maps.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

Our customer expectations have always been good value for money, future-proof products and good service. This is always a win/win.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

There is currently a reliance of the Public Sector on rigid frameworks, which inhibit agile buying. In most cases products could be sourced more cost effectively outside of these frameworks.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

We very much hope that, as the market develops, we can adhere to core competencies; designers design, manufacturers manufacture and suppliers supply. Anything else is a conflict of interest and clients should be wary of this.


Rainbow

Founder: Tony Antoniou

What is the origin of your company name?

I found it ridiculously hard to pick a company name and toyed with ideas for weeks on end. Then, one day, I was sitting in the living room and saw a Rainbow comic with Bungle, Zippy and George on the front, and really liked the name because rainbows are fun, bright and colourful – everyone loves a rainbow!

Describe your business for us:

We’re in the business of forging strong relationships, recommending furniture with our clients’ best interests in mind. Relationships matter!

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Maintaining our high level of service for 28 years. We have an abundance of clients we have worked with for over 17 years, several over 20, and a global brand for 28 years because we are honest in our recommendations and deliver high levels of service continually – not just on day one.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Being able to show clients what their space will look like in a 3D render has been a huge benefit because it makes everything so clear to them, plus it allows us to make tweaks and changes to projects to perfect a space before ordering.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

The most frustrating piece of red tape that we come across is government frameworks. The government can provide an abundance of business to SMEs that would make a huge difference to companies like ours, however they have chosen to create a framework that only benefits larger organisations – it’s ridiculous.


Day2

Founder: Jim Meier.

What is the origin of your company name?

We won’t just be there Day 1, we’ll be there ‘Day 2’!  Yes, you might say it’s cheesy, but our commitment to ongoing customer service is one of the core principles of our business.

Describe your business for us: 

Day2’s mission is to take the pain out of sourcing furniture, managing every stage of the process, from specification through to installation and after-care.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

In 2011, our 10th year, we set out to build our own independent brand, with the aim of targeting major projects with blue chip clients in the A&D and traditional marketplace. We focused on offering a creative and skilled resource to support the professional teams that deliver landmark projects, alongside our commitment to the best possible customer service. Our greatest achievement has been fulfilling these goals.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Our cloud-based IT system and bespoke procurement software has given our team the ability to work anywhere at any time, whether it’s on site, on the train…or pulling an ‘all nighter’ on the eve of a deadline!

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Absolutely. Our clients continue to become more and more knowledgeable about the marketplace and the focus on implementing new ways of working is still prominent. Budgets are tight but there’s no room for compromise on design and quality. It’s a good job we like a challenge.


Spatial Office Environments 

Founders: Phil Simmonds, Paul Eatock &
Elliott Pace.

What is the origin of your company name?

Spatial, as in ‘relating to or occupying space’. It’s the position, area and size of things in a ‘space’ and how those objects fit together. For us, it’s the spatial relationship between the workplace, the people in it and their FF&E surroundings.

Describe your business for us:

Providers of Category A&B fit-out solutions; Design & Build schemes; FF&E and contract furniture provisions.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Our current trading year. We successfully completed a 200,000 sq ft dilapidation project whilst fulfilling a 40,000 sq ft premium office fit-out in Manchester – all whilst designing and building our own high grade showroom and serviced office complex in Altrincham. Not to mention we also won a prestigious industry award!

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

As flexible working becomes more prominent, the standard 9-5 working day is slowly eroding. More and more businesses will require office spaces that reflect this by facilitating better collaboration between peers and departments and which increase task-based productivity and wellbeing through the effective use of technology and space.


Penketh Group

Founder: Walter & Dorothy Penketh.

What is the origin of your company name? We are a family run business, founded on family values – as Walter and Dorothy Penketh founded our business in 1976, they choose to use the family name.

Describe your business for us:

Over the last 40 years, we have always looked forward to bringing new innovations to our customers. We understand that people are an organisation’s most valuable asset. We work to understand your organisation – how you work, where you work and what your people need. By understanding this, we are able to create a perfect working environment to achieve your business goals; for this reason we are the trusted, first choice, office interior design company for leading organisations.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

A competitive tender process to become the Steelcase Partner for the North West, combined with an ambitious growth strategy – this brought subsequent success and has seen us move into our new home at Bruntwood’s Neo building. The space supports our five-year growth plan and positions us as a creditable furniture partner for projects throughout the whole of the North West and saw us win our first Mixology Award for Furniture Provider of the Year.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

As a result of continued research and insights, more companies are beginning to acknowledge and understand the value that comes from a great workspace. We anticipate that this will create more opportunity and scope for larger workplace projects throughout the North West, in turn creating more intense competition.


EFG UK

Founder: David Murphy.

What is the origin of your company name?

As a Group, EFG is one of the largest producers of office furniture in Europe. We have been producing office furniture for over 130 years. From the beginning, user experience and an enthusiasm for bringing customer ideas to life have driven the company’s success in establishing excellent products for the interiors market. That same gusto for a great interior is what keeps our business thriving and successful today.

Describe your business for us:

Crucially, we are EFG UK, a British office furniture supplier with a proud Swedish heritage.

We utilise our international network of suppliers daily to bring transformative and eclectic solutions to our customers.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

We have transformed our business over the last 18 months into a customer-centric, solution-driven team. As an independent UK company, we remain very much part of the EFG Group family, with an entrepreneurial spirit that enables us to move quickly to our customers’ changing objectives.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Our customers expect that previous differentiators are now a given. Today we add value to their business through innovation and long-term thinking – it’s all solutions-driven.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

Our own growth is only hampered by ourselves, how we communicate and interact with our customers, suppliers and our colleagues. We’ve spent a huge amount of time applying new ways of engaging with all our stakeholders. In many ways we feel like we have clipped our red tape, developing a new culture of transparency and openness, engaging with our suppliers in a genuine partnership that will ensure our mutual long-term growth and listening to our customers more than ever.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

Option 1: We expect a significant increase in focus on initiatives and working environments that encourage wellbeing. The UK market already has great momentum around this and, as we begin to see larger clients investing, we expect to see even more businesses having the confidence to adopt this way of thinking.

Option 2: We hope and expect that the way we do business and the solutions we provide as an industry will have the environment at their heart – as responsible businesses, working in a competitive market, we simply must deliver products and solutions that protect our planet and natural resources.

Option 3: With Virtual Reality becoming more and more a part of our everyday business at EFG, we have seen the value it brings to our clients first hand. We can see the applications this could have for the industry as a whole and expect this to be seen as less of a gimmick and more as the fantastic visualisation tool that it is.


Phusei

Founder: Ed Mullett & Tim Nisbet.

What is the origin of your company name?

Phusis is the ancient Greek word for ‘nature’, cognate with the verb ‘to grow’ (phuein); as in English, it can be used both for the natural world as a whole and for the ‘nature’ (ie. the essential or intrinsic characteristics) of any particular thing, which it has ‘by nature’ (phusei).

Describe your business for us:

Furniture broker. We’re a market leading furniture dealership, with unrivalled experience and a close-knit team of experts. We love furniture and the role it plays bringing spaces to life

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Defining the full furniture requirement scope is so much more than just picking products from a brochure. Our customers expect us to have a broader understanding, with a consultative approach early on in the process that can balance all the requirements into unique furniture solutions.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

We’re finding a focus on wellbeing, comfort and maximum flexibility with light-touch technology integration (moving away from cumbersome/bulky). It’s so important to think creatively and balance all business needs with the commercial purse strings, whilst ensuring the workplace provides comfort and calm in a world that can, at times, be very stressful.


Hunts Office

Founder: Egon Hunt.

What is the origin of your company name? Named after the man himself,  Mr Hunt.

Describe your business for us:

Hunts empower organisations to reach their full potential by curating meaningful workplaces through insight and product knowledge.

Since starting up in a shed back in 1999, Hunts has evolved from a one-man band to a multi-million-pound turnover (and growing) business, working on a global scale. It was more recently crowned as the UK Steelcase Platinum Partner for the past two years and currently has the largest showroom in the UK.

This year will see the launch of a brand new website, focusing on Services, Insight and Product, to support the newly renovated 23,000 sq ft showrooms and help end users to keep their finger on the pulse through the click of a button.

The Hunts team has expanded and evolved to accommodate the shift in demands from end users. More and more clients are taking advantage of a full consultation experience; including identifying workplace issues, trends and being able to create meaningful, personal environments that will help their businesses and people flourish.

Forever ambassadors of change for the better, Hunts’ vision is to inspire companies to embrace change and make their working environments a destination where people can be well, productive, appreciated and genuine.


Egan Reid Office Environments

Founder: Jack Reid & Jim Egan.

What is the origin of your company name?

Egan Reid Office Environments is the furniture and interiors division of the Egan Reid Group, and the name takes its origin from the co-founders.

Describe your business for us:

We provide space planning and design, fit-out and refurbishment, supply and installation on workplace furniture and interiors projects of all sizes.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Having celebrated 60 years in business last year, we have grown over the years to now employ over 80 staff across three locations (Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Isle of Man).

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Investing in CAD first of all changed how we worked and allowed us to offer our clients a complete service package before many of our competitors did. More recently, the Internet and mobile technologies have enabled us to trade and communicate more efficiently and smartly.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Flexibility and wellbeing now feature at the top of our clients’ priorities; they want multipurpose furniture and spaces that can multitask to suit their needs, comfortable work and social spaces, as more realise how furniture and interior finishes impact on health and productivity.


Langstane

Founder: Colin Campbell Snr, John Campbell & Jim Campbell (The Campbell Brothers).

What is the origin of your company name:

Our name originates from the street on which the company was first located – Langstane Place. The Lang Stane (Long Stone) in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a granite Menhir type standing stone that sits recessed into an alcove at the south-east corner of 10 Langstane Place.

Describe your business for us:

We provide a complete workplace solution, from concept through to completion, to meet our client’s budget and workspace requirements. Our office interiors team work closely with our clients to design a workspace that reflects their culture and encourages collaboration, which will lead to inspiration, creativity and increased productivity

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Langstane was successful in helping to create the UK headquarters for tenants Nexen, Transocean and Apache at Prime Four.

This was a very unique group of projects, which all had their own individual challenges. Langstane delivered, installed and handed over four separate sites within Prime Four, containing a combined staffing of 1,650 within a six-week deadline. All targets were hit without compromise.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

The expectation of our client is definitely changing. We are finding our clients are a lot more focused on how we integrate with their project teams and what we can bring to the table during this process to assist them in the delivery of a successful project.


Think Furniture

Founder: Tony King.

What is the origin of your company name?

Something simple and straightforward that explains our main business activity.

Describe your business for us:

Helping clients on the journey from boring offices to enlightened and inspiring places of work, ie. furniture dealer.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Ensuring continued investment into our website and maintaining product diversity.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The Internet – for both reaching out to clients but also communications, both internally and with our supply partners.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Absolutely! They feel more empowered to review costs and compare online and now have higher expectations, which we naturally reflect in our service and communication to them.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

Back to that Brexit thing again. It’s hard to predict, but we are certainly not battening down the hatches…or taking payments in crypto currencies – yet.


K2 - Marek SIkora - Interior Photography - Large-4

K2 Space


Founders:
Mark Phillips & Geoff Osman.

What is the origin of your company name?

Both founders previously worked for leading US furniture manufacturer, Kimball, and K2 actually started operating from the old Kimball offices – and so K2 seems right!

Describe your business for us:

Office furniture is part of the K2 Space DNA and our dedicated team help companies to furnish amazing new workplaces.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’ve been in business for 14 years and, while there are lots of achievements and projects we are proud of, our greatest business achievement has been building a strong team and trusted relationships and friendships with clients who we’ve worked with since day one.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Technology has radically altered how we work and, importantly, how we engage with clients and will continue to do so with the emergence of VR/AR. The most tangible difference for us has been our increasing use of software tools to create amazing 3D visuals and walkthroughs – which clients love.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

While value for money, product quality and customer service are still key factors and are as important as ever, we have witnessed a large shift towards sourcing sustainable products that meet BREEAM and/or LEED standards. Clients also expect a full breadth of services, which has led to K2 offering a full office design and build service.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

Crystal ball time! We think the lines between residential and commercial furniture will become even more blurred as workplaces become increasingly homely. Also, the rise of co-working spaces like WeWork and the concept of Space as a Service (SaaS) will also have a major impact as large corporates look at flexible space solutions.


Love Your Workspace

Founder: David & Jo Blood.

Company name: Love Your Workspace (sister company of Posture People).

What is the origin of your company name?

Love Your Workspace was created out of the success of our sister company, Posture People. Their reputation in the world of ergonomics led to an increasing demand in overhauls and fit-outs of workspaces, healthcare, education, and hospitality environments.

We thought it was high time that our projects arm had its own unique identity and, in 2017, Love Your Workspace was born. In consolidating our extensive knowledge of ergonomics with our aptitude for design, we’re able to create happier, healthier and more productive environments that our customers can be proud to call their own.

Describe your business for us:

Design-led furniture consultancy.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Growing the team substantially on both sides of our business has been our biggest achievement to date. As well as having the capacity to launch the Love Your Workspace brand, we also have the good fortune to work with an extraordinarily talented bunch of people every day.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The BuzziSpace acoustic app has been an excellent tool for helping our clients understand their office soundscapes better.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

We’ve seen a shift in end user expectations of their workspaces. Now better educated in flexible and agile working practices, they are expecting thoughtfully planned task focused furniture that complements the way they want to work. Open plan offices have come a long way from just adding a bit of soft seating.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

The new rule on travelling time to work that came into force this month, is a good example. Since permitted development planning changed, we’ve seen a scarcity of affordable office spaces in favour of residential developments.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

The commoditisation of house ownership is already hampering business. In addition to clients craving flexibility in their physical spaces, we’ve also noticed that they want more malleable leases that can allow them to sublet excess space or switch to bigger offices with ease. This model is working so well for modern shared working spaces and serviced offices that we’d be surprised if commercial agents didn’t follow suit over the next three years.


Workpattern

Founder: Daniel & David Wilkinson (Albany Contract), & Paul Glaister.

What is the origin of your company name?

Created along with NWD, it came from simply looking at workspace plans – patterns appear and variations of the word fitted our business model. Work clearly puts it into our own context.

Describe your business for us: 

Workpattern was created in 2010 as a brand of Albany Contract to assist the local A&D community better, bringing a real touch point to explore new ways of working where products and solutions could be experienced, discussed and better understood. A place to inspire and inform clients. As a business we are fascinated by the workplace. We are highly knowledgeable about the products we provide, how they work and how they will support clients. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ approach when providing great workspaces – we understand this and our role in delivering appropriate products, along with insight and research to improve workplace awareness. At the same time, we respect the values a good design consultant brings to a project and embrace each journey with shared purpose.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

Whilst our new CRM system is beginning to really transform our business and inform us in very new ways, it has to be how the iPad and mobile networks have provided the catalyst for change – the freedom and untethering has ultimately reshaped our industry in just eight amazing years.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

There is no getting away from Data & AI. As tools and methods increase to monitor and extract information from the workspace and its occupants, it will change what we provide and how we deliver service. We must ensure the right things are measured and the right people employed to interpret this, add understanding and value.


JS Office Environments

Founders: David Johnson & Stan Schuster.

What is the origin of your company name? Johnson and Schuster is JS. A nod to our heritage!

Describe your business for us:

It’s been 50 years this year since Dave and Stan established JS, offering a repair and re-upholstery service to end users for their office seating and supplying one or two new products if asked. The repair division is now a small part of our business, with the provision of new furniture being the main part.

Being Independent consultants, we can broker from a wide product portfolio of suppliers, enabling us to cater all requirements. Although we are based in Bromley, we have supplied furniture throughout the UK and into Europe

In addition to our product portfolio, JS is committed to quality and client satisfaction, which is reflected in our Investor in People, ISO 9001 and SSIP certification.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Founded in 1968, we have achieved many things over the years. Despite being a small family run business, we are extremely proud of our client portfolio. Most of our work comes from relationships that have been built upon over the years and, if you can offer the right product backed with a good service, the rest falls into place.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Presentation has been a big change over the years. Clients would look at a brochure, choose furniture and you maybe had to produce a layout plan and the occasional factory visit. Now they expect 3D visuals/walkthrough and plans showing highlighted dedicated areas. We now include method statements, KPI’s…the list can be endless but is, nonetheless, required.


Ikon Furniture

Co- Founder: Kevin Rawcliffe.

What is the origin of your company name?

We wanted a name that reflects the market and the services we provide. There are lots of office furniture companies and we wanted to create a brand and a name that was synonymous with design and quality.

The ethos of the company was to produce ‘outside the box’, innovative quality, design-led products, at a cost and budget that meets your pocket book.

Describe your business for us: 

We are a design-led, quality furniture company, we can design bespoke joinery pieces and mainly operate within three key areas – commercial offices, hotels and hospitality, as well as residential furniture projects.

We are a reseller of design-led brands, and specialise in specific manufacturer partnerships.

We are in our fourth successful year, and each year brings with it both new challenges, opportunities and clients – as well as our existing ones.

We are proud to exceed our clients’ expectations and love to work on ‘outside the box’ design projects. Our company has grown by referrals and this is the best type of recommendation.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

This must be having the ability to produce 3D working drawings to illustrate to our clients the details of a product design. The speed of the Internet has also increased the quickness of responses.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Our clients want projects delivered on time, first time, to the budget required. Customers are interested in dealing with companies like ourselves as we offer USP’s such as personal service and considerate installations. Clients are moving away from wanting to deal with a manufacturer directly as they see the added value and ease of support that we can offer. We are the custodians of the design classics of the future.


Office Furniture London

Founder: Steve Fitch.

What is the origin of your company name?

Ultimately, the company name has been devised to maximise online search engine optimisation in this ever-changing digital age.

Describe your business for us:

A truly independent, experienced office furniture dealer supplying fast-track, vintage and inspirational furniture solutions from the world’s pre-eminent manufacturers.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

As a newly formed company, we are humbled at the high level of support that has been provided by our manufacturing partners and the design community, as well as our client base. The number and calibre of projects completed since our formation has been phenomenal, however our greatest business achievement to date is that every client that we have worked with since formation has acknowledged the massive value that we have added to the process.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

The Cloud – the complex nature of furniture specification relies heavily on a strong structure with clear processes and procedures. This is fundamental to the professional service we provide and, with any member of the team being able to access that information from a phone, tablet or laptop anywhere and at any time, this is paramount to providing that instant high level of service.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

Uncertainty around the Brexit deal and the level of red tape left in its wake does not help growth, however, entrepreneurs find ways to get things done – you innovate within whatever market you’re in.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

We offer our high value knowledge and expertise at no cost to our clients; the dealer can add tremendous value to the specification process and we feel that our market will continue to grow with more clients experiencing the value of the dealer.


Bureau

Founder: Andy Russell.

What is the origin of your company name?

When sitting around at the business planning stage, our thoughts turned to what we should call the business. With the dual meaning, Bureau seemed a perfect fit!

Describe your business for us:

Bureau is a UK-wide commercial furniture consultancy. We build long-term partnerships with our clients to deliver amazing projects.

What is your greatest business achievement to date?

Our merger with online furniture group, Houseology, is very exciting for the business. We’ve built an amazing team, and this has been recognised by being shortlisted for the Mixology awards at such an early stage, along with two projects with c2:concepts being shortlisted for regional BCO awards.

What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?

We always strive to drive value to our customers. We endeavour to run a lean business by employing automation in order to benefit the customer most.

Are your customers’ expectations changing?

Expectations of the workplace are changing across the globe. Every office has to attract and retain the very best people by creating a unique experience – and furniture plays a significant role in achieving this.

Which piece of red tape do you think most hampers business growth?

We are living with uncertainty, predominantly caused by the political climate. Although we remain energetic about what the future holds, we hope that disruption through increased red tape is kept to a minimum.

How do you feel the market will look in three years?

We believe that tech will play an increased role in our market and Bureau aims to position itself at the forefront of these exciting developments.