18 May 2024, 21:37
By Furniture News Nov 01, 2013

Friday five – Peter Bridgman, PJ Bridgman & Co

Each Friday, Furniture News puts five questions to a selected industry professional to explore their background and approach to business. Today, it's the turn of Peter Bridgman, MD of outdoor furniture supplier PJ Bridgman & Co.

How did you get into the trade?

I trained as an accountant with Johnson Matthey in London. I enjoyed working for the company in terms of challenge and responsibility, but in the mid-1970s there were legal pay restraints in force, which forced employers to severely restrict pay rises. I had lots to do but not much money. My father suggested that I might do a lot better in the furniture industry, so I switched, and, as they say, the rest is history.

What was the turning point in your career?

Thing were really difficult for the economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Fortunately we won some large contracts for cabinets and stands for the TV and electronics industries. These gave us a stable base on which to expand and move our manufacturing activities to our own freehold premises in 1983.

How will the industry evolve?

It is difficult to say quite how the outdoor furniture part of the market will evolve. Low maintenance and comfort are key issues. Modern materials and manufacturing techniques make this far easier to achieve than in the past.

How can retailers increase sales and profitability?

Constantly test different strategies and analyse the results – the retailer can then spend their marketing budget more effectively.

What brings a smile to your face in this industry?

Free delivery. There is no such thing. It means that the delivery cost is built into the selling price! If there is a transport company out there that works for free, we would like to meet them! Assuming, of course, that they are still in business …

This is an extract from an article published previously in Furniture News magazine. For more stories like this, you can subscribe to receive a regular physical copy of the magazine, or to have a free digital issue delivered to your inbox each month.

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