BUSINESS FEATURE: Bricks, Clicks and Chesterfields
Earlier in the week, we tweeted about teaming up with Authentic Furniture in our neighboring county of Derbyshire
Now, I realise that it’s not often we run this sort of article mainly because it is “from out of town” but we all love a good story and Tim’s journey is pretty compelling and I want to support his successes. Happy reading, The Editor
A very modern story of old-fashioned excellence:
Authentic Furniture sources its springs from a company which historically supplied horse-drawn carriages and analyses the data from its online campaigns using the latest digital technology.
The company reflects how internet shopping is now moving strongly into new premium areas and how business model distinctions between online and offline are continuing to seamlessly blur.
Recently opened beneath 400 year old timber beams and close to the Chatsworth Estate in the Peak District, Authentic draws on 100s of years of furniture manufacturing experience within Derbyshire. It also understands its pay per click conversion ratio down to the last .001 of a percent.
A disruptive new breed of retail specialists – top-end jewellery, craft foodstuffs and truly designer clothes are other sectors alongside furniture – are blending multiple channels. They are conquering the challenge of sharing compelling stories, integrity and allure from afar.
Authentic is underpinned by a well-stocked showroom and plans to open another in the South of England, also anchored in a heritage area, to provide an attractive brand association and strong footfall.
“However,” explains founder Tim Lowry, “At least 80 per cent of our mature business will be online. Traditionally a business such as ours might have targeted 20 showrooms but times have changed.
“Showrooms are useful places for customers to come and physically touch the quality but one of their main purposes is that they offer reassurance that a majority online business is actually ‘real’ and ultimately reliable.”
Lowry, 40, a sales and marketing veteran, with both previous online and furniture experience, adds, “People must be able to experience the heritage and quality no matter how they engage with the business. It’s all about the genuine stories. This is particularly true online.”
Compelling stories are something Authentic has in abundance. They include the recycled hemlock, redwood, lime, and oak in the beds, cabinets and tables.
No fewer than 7 individual layers of upholstery ensure sofas will keep their shape decade after decade. From hand turned beech feet on the furniture, to the Yorkshire lambswools, Lancashire velvets, the surfaces finished with natural beeswax and pieces signed off by hand, Authentic resonates with artisan quality and heritage.
More stories are embedded in the names of the finished furniture, such as the quintessential St George Chesterfield, the deeply comfortable Old Bessie sofa and the Cosy Squire fabric wingback chair.
Authentic is aiming for £1m turnover in its first full year of trading and recently was singled out for investment by The UK Manufacturing Accelerator, a specialist funder of high potential manufacturers.
“You can’t fake heritage and you can’t fake quality but the old business models are gone – you engage and thrill people every way you can,” says Lowry.
Article written and supplied by Malcolm Evans