23 May 2024, 23:58
By Furniture News Dec 11, 2014

Breathing new life into Collins and Hayes

Since joining the company in September, new MD Matt O’Flynn has truly made his mark on Collins and Hayes – evidence of which will be plain to see at the January Furniture Show on stand 1C20, writes Paul Farley …

“What we’re proposing is to excite the market,” says Matt O’Flynn, enthused and full of energy even after another late night of product development and planning ahead of the brand’s relaunch in January.

Drawing upon 20 years’ experience with some of the best retailers in the market, Matt quickly identified room for improvement at the upholstery manufacturer, and, together with his team, set about refining the company’s approach to design, quality and service to enhance customers‘ experience. “I’ve been delighted and encouraged by the way the company has embraced these changes,” says Matt.

The changes are manifold, and significant. As well as investment in new showroom space – both in Hastings and in Long Eaton – plus a fresh website covering the current offer, Collins and Hayes’ range of models and fabrics has been dramatically overhauled, with the aim of giving the company’s independent stockists the chance to engage a wider customer base than ever.

“Crucially,” says Matt, “we will be designing for different market and retail sectors, allowing for the development of exclusive collections for groups and independents. We have so many great design ideas and directions to offer – we are very excited about the future.

“In its heyday, Collins and Hayes was one of the country’s most famed designer brands, attracting top names that were recognised throughout the industry. But, to my mind, the brand lost some of its product direction in recent years – the range became conservative, and its market appeal narrowed.”

Working closely with design director Graham Stewart, Matt has developed a completely new selection for launch at the NEC.

“Bring on January, when we’ll be re-occupying our rightful place in the market,” he says. “Some of the designs are a real departure from the norm, and very fashion oriented, while others will be much more familiar to those who value the classic Collins and Hayes design handwriting – in both cases, we’ve hit the nail right on the head.”

“Bring on January, when we’ll be re-occupying our rightful place in the market"

As well as new shapes, there is an all-new fabric edit, incorporating more natural fibres such as wool and leather, with velvets and prints adding on-trend appeal – and, for once, says Matt, Collins and Hayes is not shying away from bringing colour into the collection.

All of this will be backed up by an inventive consumer engagement campaign – watch this space for more details – designed to help retailers display and communicate the brand in store.

“The best way to make a brand succeed is to work with each customer individually, and tailor their display to their needs,” says Matt. “The future of Collins and Hayes lies in gaining distribution and strengthening the brand, by ensuring each display capitalises on the unique opportunities within each retail environment.”

The proposition is undeniably promising. With a renewed focus on embracing contemporary fashion as well as the brand’s traditional heritage, Collins and Hayes’ refined direction should please customers old and new.

“All I’m doing is correcting the brand’s course,” concludes Matt, “so our customers are able to sell these wonderful new products at their true value.”

This article was published in the December issue of Furniture News magazine.

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