23 May 2024, 06:08
By Furniture News Mar 02, 2023

Devonshire sets sights on year of growth

As Devonshire makes good headway in its “year of change”, Furniture News caught up with MD Nicolle Hockin to find out more about what the supplier has in store this year …

How’s business?

We’ve had a solid January and February, boosted by some new launches which arrived in December, including a new fabric chair offering in multiple colours, new oak dining tables added to our bestselling range, and a new four-piece painted kitchen selection. These introductions have all hit the ground running and had a fantastic response, so we’ve definitely had a good start to the year.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

With shipping rates now close to what we would call ‘normal’ levels, there is a demand to instantly reduce selling prices. What isn’t always considered, however, is how much stock we brought in at the highest shipping rates, how much operational, material and production costs rose last year, and how the dollar exchange rate suffered (and still hasn’t recovered). That being said, like most other importers, we’ve made the decision to take a hit on our stock to try and lessen the burden on our retailers and encourage footfall going into the spring.

What are your bigger plans for 2023?

Last year we consolidated, looked at our processes, streamlined, and made sure everything we did was as efficient and cost-effective as possible. We laid the groundwork so that we can now springboard into 2023 as a year of growth and development in all areas of the business.

For product, we have two brand-new complete ranges already in the works, for launch in the early summer and autumn. There are also smaller projects in the pipeline to fill in between, and carry on well into 2024. When the final samples arrive, we’ll be taking out our purpose-built show lorry to present them to our customers on an individual basis.

In terms of staffing, we’ll continue the personal development of our team, and maintaining our excellent customer service status. In theme with our growth strategy, we’re also in the process of recruiting two sales representatives, on an employed basis, to join us on our journey.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I can’t go without mentioning that our QC manager hit his 30-year anniversary with Devonshire in February. Andrew Elston has been with the company since before we moved and starting building our current 200,000ft2 facility, and has an indisputable wealth of knowledge from our manufacturing days. He is a real asset to the company, and a key member of the product development team.

We’ve also just released a brand-new catalogue to showcase our offer (available on request). Get in touch with us on 01237 471872, or email [email protected], to find out more.

Pictured: Dorset Oak Dining

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