29 May 2024, 14:04
By Furniture News Mar 09, 2023

H Living’s brand-new outlook

This year’s January Furniture Show saw H Living unveil an assured array of upholstered beds, which reiterated the Huddersfield manufacturer/importer’s ability to deliver on-trend quality. But it was just the tip of the iceberg – discovered Paul Farley, when he checked in with the brand’s MD, Biny Hyder …

Although the business has gone through several iterations, its roots go back as far as 1979, when Biny’s father, Zed, started importing pine beds, before establishing the Hyder business itself in 1997. Zed went on to pioneer dropship deliveries in an increasingly digitally driven world, before handing the reins to his son – who seized the opportunity to reinvent and refine what had become an incredibly diverse offer. 

“It’s always been a family business, but times change, and we’ve had to react accordingly,” says Biny, who supervised operations until he became MD in 2018. “Our focus was shifting to more specialist products and sectors, while the marketplace was getting even more complex. So, one of the decisions we made early on was to rebrand ourselves as H Living, to better reflect the diverse landscape in which we found ourselves.”

The H Living umbrella encompasses several brands: affordable, well-established domestic furniture brand Hyder Living; Easy Sofa, a modular, boxed upholstery line, that incorporates boxed mattresses and beds; The Natural Collection, a higher-end mattress brand that sees materials such as cashmere, silk, bamboo and fine viscose come together in an expertly crafted (yet competitively priced) portfolio; plus contract and healthcare divisions, and a bespoke offer.

With a customer base comprising nationals, independents and carefully selected ecommerce sellers, H Living boasts a unique blend of import capacity and local manufacturing. Its part-owned factory in China ensures a ready, rapid supply of quality product, while its mattresses (and some bedsteads) are made to order in the UK. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Biny.

The setup gives H Living the flexibility to respond to demand quickly and effectively, and without compromise. Just shy of 40 members of staff work in and around H Living’s 60,000ft2 warehouse and workshop in Huddersfield, while the business’ global reach is maintained by its sourcing offices in Malaysia, Australia and the Middle East. Local stockholdings are limited (but rotated frequently), with import lead times on par with locally manufactured goods, and both ends of the business enjoy continual development. Biny invested £250,000 in new machinery last month, and plans to invest the same again later this year – a commitment which sits alongside plans for a significant warehouse extension, plus added external storage.

“We’re growing fast – our headcount alone is almost double what it was just two years ago – but, like many, we’re taking a measured approach right now,” says Biny. “Our growth needs to be sustainable.” 

H Living has the greener directions covered, too. The business is ISO accredited and NBF audited, and has been a zero-to landfill operation for four years – with a pledge to hit net zero emissions by 2030, and to increasingly employ recycled materials. Biny says the business even launched the market’s first vegan mattress, long before that movement became mainstream. 

But, he continues, it’s the end product which really sets H Living apart. “Across the board, our products are stylish, robust, timeless, and bursting with high-margin possibilities,” he says. “I call it ‘achievable aspiration’ – take a closer look, and they’re not as pricey as you might think.”

The bulk of H Living’s offer is upholstered – bed bases, headboards and bed frames – and its models are available in hundreds of fabrics, and thousands of colours. Some models incorporate useful technological touches, like LED lighting or USB sockets, while other can be specified on a bespoke-made basis. Indeed, says Biny, its flexibility has made the supplier extremely popular with interior designers.

From budget lines to natural, handmade mattresses – as well as whole divisions dedicated to contract output for hospitals, care homes, student accommodation, hotels and more – H Living’s breadth of offer is vast. 

And it became even bigger this year. At JFS, H Living unveiled new ottoman, fixed and luxury bed designs (with the boucle Paddington the star of the show), which are due to launch this year. It also plans to introduce new mattresses with natural and recycled fillings (plus full edge-to-edge support), and a fully customisable bespoke range, which will enable the customer to tailor the headboard and base/frame to their liking. It is even looking to debut a bespoke wallboard range (with assembly) and ottoman boxes to match its existing lines.

“Meeting customers new and old, face to face, is so important,” says Biny, who is already lining up “something special” for this year’s NBF Bed Show in September. “As is making sure they’re looked after all year round. We support and communicate with each customer from the moment they ring with their query, right up to the delivery, and check once it’s delivered to make sure they’re satisfied. Customers are updated every step of the way, and we have a dedicated order department that’s able to assist with any queries.”

Although Biny acknowledges that H Living is (“and always will be”) a trade brand, he feels there’s scope to add further value by making it resonate better with consumers. To this end, he has directed some of the company’s marketing efforts towards consumer outreach – including an appearance at Grand Designs Live in London this spring, principally to build demand for The Natural Collection.

“We’re doing it so our customers can stand on our shoulders and proudly carry our brands,” says Biny. “Our brands are worth much more than even we’ve acknowledged in the past, and when you consider our build quality, and how people looking at our products generally imagine they’d be priced much higher than they are, we think it’s important to reinforce that value perception. When you factor in our level of customer service and follow-up activities, we’re untouchable!”

Pictured: Blending home comfort and boutique hotel style, H Living wallboards will be available later this year

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