What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in furniture retail over the five years Mr Bigglesworthy has been in operation?
We’ve seen a growth in smaller, boutique stores that specialise in premium furniture and design. Stores that can offer unique, high end design with a compelling history or brand story.
What about shoppers themselves? Does today’s shopper want anything significantly different to the customer of 2011?
With the growth of online design content and social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, our customers are a lot more in touch with the latest local and international design directions. They have become more aware of details like timber varieties, fabric types, and design aesthetics and how these will work in the context of their home.
Do you see any emerging trends which weren’t clear to you at the start?
We were interested to see how the market would react to the massive influx of cheap replica mid-century furniture. We initially lost sales to replica versions but as the market has become saturated, the perceived value of replica furniture has dropped and our products are seen as a premium offering worth investing in. Also global trends like sustainability, local production and a desire for enduring quality have differentiated our products.
What changes have you made to Mr Bigglesworthy to move with the times?
Investing in our brand and how it is perceived across all the customer touchpoints is important to us. Our website is one of the main ways our customers can connect with us and it’s a big driver of foot traffic to the store so it’s been important to keep this continually updated and relevant. Since the web is so fast moving, websites can look dated very quickly so we devote a lot of energy towards keeping ours contemporary and fresh.
What do you wish you’d been told when you first launched the business?
Staying on top of the administration, finance and accounting side of the business is one of the keys to success for us but it’s a lot more difficult and time consuming than we realised. It would have been nice to know this but it might have put us off launching a business!
What do the next five years hold for Mr Bigglesworthy?
Our store has grown quite rapidly over the last five years. Currently we’re at the point where we are reviewing what we have done and focusing on creating a the most compelling brand experience possible. Smaller projects we are currently working on are refining elements of the website and updating our physical store with a custom fit-out.