After working with Lombok and The Sofa & Chair Company, Keiran co-founded sofa-in-a-box brand Swyft with Paul Fielden in 2019. The timely delivery of their high-quality, fuss-free, self-assembled seating system proved invaluable for consumers seeking a convenient pandemic purchase, catalysing the business’ growth and diversification.
How might a child describe what you do?
My eldest son would say “grumpy and sofa sofa sofa” (not sure about the grumpy part, but the sofa part is pretty accurate).
What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face?
Staying relevant. Things move quickly, and trends are changing faster than ever. What you do today is not good enough for tomorrow.
If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on?
Automation, and accelerating our transition to more sustainable energy use and materials.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you?
Probably that there is no point to either without the other. I think work is an integral part of the human condition. We really are designed to feel like we contribute and we can affect our immediate environment. But there is no point unless you enjoy it.
Who’s been your most influential professional mentor?
Two early managers of mine in equal measure – Bob Barney and Mike Miller, who gave me a shot at messing things up and made sure I did not fall too far when I did.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You have a lot of time. You cannot rush experience.
What’s been your best day in business to date?
Doing this interview with Furniture News, obviously! Actually, probably the day Swyft signed John Lewis as our retail partner. That was a big deal.
What’s the biggest myth about our industry?
That it is fragmented. In reality there are a few big players, and they are very influential.
What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing?
Take longevity of our products and services seriously, design things to last and encourage upcycling and a circular economy.
We launched a buyback scheme last year. Our responsibility should not end just because the sofa is with our customers and they’ve bought it.
Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years?
Online. I do not know anyone under 30 that shops in sheds for furniture. By 2030, 60% of the workforce will have been born after the advent of the internet.
This interview featured in February's Furniture News.