20 July 2024, 16:10
By Furniture News Jun 21, 2016

Westbridge Furniture flies the flag for British upholstery

Westbridge Furniture operates out of four UK production sites occupying in excess of 400,000ft² of manufacturing and office space, employing just over 900 people who manufacture and service over 7500 pieces of upholstery per week. Furniture News questioned Nichola Bell, sales director for independents, to find out more about the business’ background and current activity ...

When was Westbridge Furniture founded, and where is it based?

Westbridge Furniture Designs was founded in 2005 by the current team of directors and CEO Stephen Hampton. It is part of the Belfield Furnishing Group.Based in North Wales, Westbridge has four factories manufacturing upholstery.

What kind of products does the company offer?
As we have such a diverse number of customers, our product has to reflect the needs of each customer.

We have a team of designers dedicated to the development of new product for the Independent market.

We appreciate the complexity of the market and the cost implications of dealing with many suppliers. Therefore we have created three ranges offering our customers the choice of good, better and best in terms of price point style and specification. I guess you could call us a one stop shop.

What is the company’s goal?
To offer well made British upholstery, inspired by the latest trends and to be the choice of supplier for innovation and design. Our main aim is to continue to grow with our key customers and to be the first to market with new design ideas and innovations.

What makes Westbridge stand out from its competition?
We have a fantastic team of designers who follow worldwide trends and inspirations allowing us to offer our customers designs to specifically suit their market and budget.

What is your target demographic?
We have the design resource that produces product suitable for all levels of the market.

Which of your products are most popular with customers right now?
We launched a number of new products at the January Furniture Show this year. The introduction of our leather/fabric Vintage range was very popular along with new our new models, Sophia and Brodey from our Westbridge range and the sumptuous Radley from our Spirit collection.

What is the biggest thing happening within the business currently?
We are very pleased to announce the opening of our new showroom dedicated entirely to our independent customers. We realise the importance of providing a relaxed and comfortable environment so that our customers can spend uninterrupted time selecting their next displays.

It also provides a perfect facility for the Westbridge Training Academy. It is recognised that sales staff genuinely benefit from visiting their suppliers and seeing first hand the product being made.

Candidates will benefit from meeting their daily contacts and be able to follow their order from start to finish in the manufacturing process. We are very proud of our accredited testing facility – also referred to as the torture chamber by some candidates already – this facility gives the candidates a unique insight into the way our products are tested and quantifies our quality guarentees.

All of our customers are very welcome to visit our new showroom or book places on the training days by prior arrangement with their area sales managers.

How does the company keep up to date with evolving trends?
We are very fortunate to have the largest in-house design resource in the UK who travel worldwide following trends and work with international retailers who are the centres of excellence in furniture retail. This allows us to be up-to-date with the fashion and trends of our industry.

What trends are you experiencing at the moment?
We have seen a huge resurgence in deep-buttoned models along with a desire for compact city living designs.

What is the greatest challenge affecting the business?
The customers’ drive for more choice provides us with a challenge and also an opportunity. It creates complexity within the manufacturing process but is something we have been manging well for a number of years.

What does the future hold for Westbridge Furniture?
Driven by customer demand, we are currently expanding into the upholstered beds and recliner market, offering a wide choice of fabrics made to order, not currently available through traditional routes to market.

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