22 July 2024, 21:03
By Furniture News Jun 08, 2022

World Furniture – purity of purpose

This summer sees World Furniture launch a bold new look, as it sets out a clear manifesto of affordable, quality design – heralded by its expertly curated PURA collection. World’s MD Marc Bunting gives Furniture News the exclusive lowdown … 

It sounds like you’ve had a busy year already – can you take us through the highlights? 

Since the start of the year, we’ve been going through a rebranding process – primarily to shout about what we’ve been doing for the last 22 years, but also to add some significance to some of the new collections we launched this January. 

We’ve been in operation since 1999 and we’ve not been very vocal about how successful we’ve been in providing a quality, longstanding service to our customers. The rebrand will help tell our story, and explain how we built the business around key factors. 

“At heart we’re a family business, and a tried-and-trusted wholesale partner to a large number of the UK and Ireland’s leading furniture retailers. Since 1999, we’ve invested and grown our business to guarantee our partners impressive lead times on an exclusive range of high-quality, beautifully designed furniture, at a great price, with exceptional service. It’s a simple approach, but it works.

What prompted you to put on your own show in January? 

Due to the NEC event being cancelled and a lot of new product available and ready to ship, we thought it best to at least put on a local show (and perhaps some customers would also come from further afield). 

As it turned out, the show was an absolute triumph, way beyond our expectations. Held in Belfast’s stunning Titanic Hotel (in the old drawing rooms) we could not have asked for a better setting to display our new ranges. We flew in a lot of customers, who thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. With many of them not having seen any new product for quite some time due to the pandemic, the appetite for buying was extremely buoyant.

And how well did doing so work with your appearance at the January Furniture Show in April? 

It worked very well, because a lot of customers who couldn’t make it to our show in January saw us at JFS – and, of course, new business is always a part of why we exhibit there.

Please give us a quick rundown of your new product highlights … 

Exclusively curated by World Furniture, the PURA collection is an expertly designed furniture brand offering a stunning collection of high-quality, innovative and affordable designs. But what’s the significance of PURA? It simply means ‘pure’ in Italian, and, by definition, ‘perfectly in tune and with a clear tone’. 

For us, this fits perfectly with our sintered stone dining collection. Sintered stone is a beautifully engineered stone that incorporates only natural products, and in addition provides stunning aesthetic finishes that will grace any home. 

The benefits of sintered stone to the end consumer are significant. It is heat and cold resistant, 100% recyclable, scratch resistant, resistant to UV light (so it never fades), non-porous (so very hygienic) and, waterproof (so no ring marks, and very easy to keep clean). The choice of colours is almost endless, as the patterns of natural stone can be replicated.

What was the star of the show? 

The PURA collection. As a supplement to it, we launched a fantastic array of new dining chairs in wonderfully textured fabrics and colours. 

Customer feedback over the last year has urged us to bring colour back. Grey is still prevalent, but end-users, perhaps influenced by spending a lot of time at home, are tired of grey, and retailers want some colour back in the stores. 

However, important in our chair development was adding texture and tone to fabrics – again, providing a range of modern and contemporary chairs, but epitomising excellent design and quality craftmanship. We launched a total of 15 new chair ranges at JFS, with over 50 varying colours, textures and fabrics.

What other feedback did you receive? 

The feedback was almost overwhelmingly positive. The pandemic has made it tough to source new product and come up with new designs – but knowing what your customers want, and listening to what they ask for, can help immensely. 

Ultimately, you can design products and hope for the best – but the real proof of the pudding is in the eating. When your customers place orders and get excited about what you’re offering and where you’re heading with products, then you know you’ve done it right. Between our home show and JFS, we hit unprecedented levels of customer orders, and we’re very excited about the future.

We understand there are various developments going on behind the scenes at World Furniture – can you take us through them? 

In addition to the company story, the rebrand process involves putting our ranges into definitive collections. This gives focus to our catalogue (and ultimately to our customers). 

The ethos is that we believe great design should be available to everyone. Every day, our focus is on curating and innovating an exclusive furniture collection that continually exceeds all expectations. Nothing excites us more than great design, beautiful materials, exquisite tailoring and true craftmanship. Our ethos is to consider every space and individual, and that is where our success comes from. 

Underpinning our business is a very simple message – when it comes to furnishing your home, we believe you can have it all. Great design and quality, at an affordable price. It’s what we do best.

Are these developments set to fundamentally change the way your customers do business with you? 

No, but it will present them with a better World Furniture presence. Our company logo, literature and online presence will also receive a much-needed makeover, and our message to our customers about what we do will be much more clear and precise. 

The catalogue has been significantly updated to include many more lifestyle images and provide a warmth to the imagery. Customers like this as a selling tool, as it lets the end-user envisage what the product will look like in situ. 

In addition, our collections have been more clearly categorised into the six different segments in which we specialise – PURA, Gloss & Glass, Melamine, Dining Chairs, Occasional and Sofas. We will also provide more PoS literature and better images for online presence. 

However, in essence, our core values remain the same. Our slogan is simple: ‘Welcome to World Furniture – beautifully engineered interiors’.

There’s also the ongoing benefits of our direct container programme. Having exhibited on a number of occasions in Shanghai and Guangzhou, our direct container programme continues to expand, supplying to countries including Canada, Uzbekistan, Portugal, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Maldives, and of course the UK and Ireland. 

Why is this part of the business successful? 

It’s down to confidence and trust. With an established QC employee based in the area where the majority of items are manufactured, products are not released from the factory unless they meet our strict criteria. Customers know that when buying through us, they can do so with confidence. In addition, unlike many suppliers, we offer a very high mix of products in one container – a real benefit for retailers who are just stepping into the direct container market, as the risk is much lower.

What’s next in the pipeline? 

We’re currently working on some new colours in sintered stone, with some exciting new base designs and colours. Of course, there will be new dining chairs to complement the tables, in some very exciting new fabrics. We’ll launch these new items at the IFHS in Dublin [ 26-28th June], so please come and see us there.

Can you summarise how the business is positioned right now – what does the future look like? 

The business is very well positioned, and financially strong. We’re continuing to develop our workforce and invest in our people. We’ll also soon be starting work on a new site within our current location, to add another 50,000 sqft+, taking our overall footprint to around 150,000 sqft.

With what’s going on right now, times will be tough over the next year – but our ethos has always been to keep moving forward.We’re excited about the future, and remain committed to our core values of people, quality, design and sustainability.

Pictured: Picasso

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