Don’t look down…Whitemeadow Team takes part in Charity Abseil
Members of the Whitemeadow team were out this weekend to raise money for The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Step 2 It campaign and help raise £250,000 to support people from the trade who have been impacted by Covid-19. The campaign aimed to inspire companies and individuals to organise sports-based fundraisers between May 2021 and April 2022 in aid of the charity, encouraging friends, family, and co-workers to join in the fun.
Whitemeadow decided to hold a charity abseil, whereby everyone at Whitemeadow were encouraged to donate a pound a vote for the manager of their choice to do the abseil! Head of Production, Alan Price, was voted the ‘winner’, and they opened the event for anyone wanting to join Alan and pay an additional donation to the charity. Whitemeadow raised a total of £600, which will be matched by The Furniture Makers’ Company.
Alan said “Thank you to everyone that voted for me to throw myself off a bridge, the sponsor money raised was amazing and for a great cause. The day/abseil itself was everything rolled in to one, a great experience and a petrifying one as well, but overall, a good day. Please feel free to vote for someone else next time though!”
On the day, 8 members of the team got together at the 80ft Millers Dale Bridge in the Peak District, above the river Wye, on a gloriously sunny Saturday morning, accompanied by friends and family.
The members of the team included: Head of Production, Alan Price, Head of HR, Karen Clarridge, Head of Transport, Justin Hewitt, Head of Marketing, Zehra Gezer, Production Manager, Vicky Shetliffe, Business Data Co-ordinator, Drew Denning, Post Delivery Support Assistant, Megan Spencer and Production Quality Inspector, Georgina Lappage.
Head of Marketing, Zehra Gezer, commented “We wanted to do something fun and a bit different to our usual bake sales and dress-down days. We thought this would be something that everyone could get behind and our managers were great sports to put themselves forward for the challenge.
Although most of us don’t like heights, we had a fantastic morning with the team at Derbyshire Abseiling, everyone has enjoyed pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, and even some of the kids joined in! It helped that the weather was so nice as we had to postpone the last event due to snow, and the tea and cake at the café at the end rounded off a great morning!”.
The Importance of High-Quality Imagery
The Future of Shopping
As our homes have become even more important to us over the last 18 months, it may come as no surprise to read that many homeware and furniture retailers have seen a surge in demand for their products, particularly those that have a strong online presence and a slick e-commerce platform. A recent survey from Made.com revealed that last year during lockdown, 40 per cent of consumers decided to invest in their homes with new homeware. By February 2021, 75% of people said they were shopping more online since the pandemic in the UK (Statista.com) and some furniture retailers have reported sales increases of 55% in the last year.
In the modern world of omnichannel shopping experiences, consumers now expect multiple ways to be able to view and purchase a product, including large items such as sofas and beds. Having spoken to several of our retail partners that have experienced success online, they believe the key is great product photography, especially with high value ticket items.
Why are high-quality product images so important?
With high quality visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, it’s easy to see why consumers today have high expectations when it comes to online shopping. According to Ergonode.com, as many as 87% of respondents considered the product image as the key element of the shopping experience.
Savvy consumers are likely to scroll straight past a lower quality product image, so it’s important to make a good first impression. This is why high-quality images are so important, it’s the initial hook that draws shoppers to your product. Without it, you are less likely to get that all important ‘click’. High quality images from multiple angles helps to fill the gaps left by the lack of physical contact an in-store experience provides, helping to build trust in the products and the retailer. Multiple high-quality images combined with clear, descriptive product copy are also likely to lead to fewer returns in the long run.
How to maximise the benefits of high-quality photography
As many consumers will now research on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, these are great places to share high quality images of your products to generate initial interest. These communities love to share, so they are a good way of getting your products seen by larger audiences than traditional methods alone.
Its also a good idea to add an Alt tag (a description of the image that helps search engines understand what the image displays) to the images. This will help bring your images further to the top of any searches a consumer makes via a search engine online such as Google.
How are Whitemeadow supporting its customers?
Here at Whitemeadow we understand the importance of high quality, inspirational product photography. Following feedback from our customers, and the increased use of e-commerce over the last 18 months, 2021 has seen us heavily invest in CGI photography of our top ranges and new season launches. This includes for the first time ever professional cut out images of each piece in the ranges from several angles and multiple modular configurations, plus amazing lifestyle imagery to inspire your customers. And we aren’t stopping there, we already have plans for further photography in 2021 and 2022, so keep your eyes on our Trade Portal for all our latest photography!
Celebrating International Women’s Day
To celebrate International Women's Day, we're once again looking at some of the incredible roles women here at Whitemeadow hold, some of which you might not expect! Today we're talking to Whitemeadow's only female HGV Driver, Louise Price.
What made you get into the role you currently work in?
I started at Whitemeadow in 2014 after I decided I wanted a career change. I completed an aptitude test which resulted in recommending me as a Transport Clerk. Someone asked, ‘Would you not prefer to be a driver instead’? to which I answered, ‘yes actually I would!” I like the freedom this role offers me, being out on the road and talking to people is what I love doing.
What was your background before you started at Whitemeadow?
I studied catering at college and worked as a chef all my life until 2014!
Were people surprised to see a female HGV Driver?
Not at Whitemeadow, no. However, my fellow drivers at truck stops were! My first time on nights I remember all the male drivers taking a step back and being really shocked at seeing a woman pulling up! I even had to use a men’s toilet because there were no ladies’ facilities!
What challenges did you face when you first started and how did you overcome them?
For me it was all about learning the job because it was such a career change for me. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to move and get furniture off the back of a lorry safely! So, from a physical perspective that was quite challenging. But there were always people around to help and I’m not shy at asking for help when needed!
What changes have you seen over your time here with regards to the workforce and attitudes towards women?
I can say honestly that I’ve had a positive experience from the beginning, I’m treated really well. I feel my co-workers have always respected me and I have always felt accepted here. I have learned to stand my ground when I felt I needed to, and the customers treat me like a rock star! And there are toilets for women everywhere now which is good!
What are your future aspirations regarding your team and your role here?
I just want to continue as I am, I have no plans to move anywhere. I love my boss and my job, and I don’t want to do anything else. If more women wanted to do what I do then that’s great!
What advice would you give to women and girls that would like to work in a male-dominated role?
I would say don’t be scared to give it a go and that you need to have a positive attitude and be a ‘half full glass’ type of person. You never know what pleasures any day will bring!
Growing Talent at Whitemeadow
In recognition of National Careers Week, Whitemeadow are proud to support a number of initiatives, both industry-wide and as an employer, to encourage more people into the upholstery industry. From sponsoring School Design Prizes in local schools to offering year-long placements to Product Design university students, we are committed to developing talent at all ages.
As an Investors in People accredited employer, one initiative we are particular proud of is the establishment of our very own in-house Sewing School. Launched in 2019, it was designed to help fill the skills gap in Sewing Machinists in the local area and find the next generation of skilled upholstery Sewing Machinists. All participants receive on-the-job training in all aspects of sewing fabrics required to make our range of sofas and other furniture. The course is a combination of formal and informal training which leads to a L2 Qualification. So far we have successfully trained 10 machinists who now work full time in our production sites.
The course is led by Mandy Harper, Apprentice Programme Manager. She currently has 7 apprentices with 7 new recruits starting on March 1st. Mandy comments "The main aim of my role is to offer high quality on-the-job training which is essential for the manufacturing of quality domestic upholstered furniture. I am responsible for the development and performance of all the apprentices and the main point of contact for Webs Training Ltd, our outside educational provider".
Following the success of the Sewing School, we are very excited to be launching our Upholstery School later in 2021. Recruits will be trained in everything from attaching padding and springs to building furniture using loose fibre fillings, cotton, felt and foam padding.
And as a further demonstration to our commitment to developing talent, we will shortly be launching a new Careers Hub on our website, offering advice and insight into working in the upholstery industry.
Preparing for the Christmas Rush
Market trends show that customers are looking for pieces of furniture that offer storage and style, as well as function. Having already earned a reputation for excellence in manufacturing high quality sofas and upholstered beds, Whitemeadow is proud to be able to cater to all demands with a range of multi-purpose furniture.
This time of year sees people preparing to welcome friends and family over in the next few months, especially with so many not being able to do so earlier in the year. We expect to see a higher than usual demand for sofa beds, storage stools and additional seats to accommodate the extra guests that have been missing in our homes for much of this year.
With many homes restricted in size, many people are trying to make the most of their available space. Multi-functional furniture is a God-send at this time of year, so it’s worth investing now in sofa bed displays in time for the Christmas rush.
Below are a few of our multi-use heroes!
Mikki and Kitty Bed Stools:
Brand new this year are our Mikki and Kitty Bed Stools! When used as stools they are handy for an extra seat or table to put a tray of drinks on, but when opened up they turn into a handy single bed for the overnight stay! Available in a huge array of fabrics, make sure you order yours now in time to display in store for the Christmas rush!
Maison Sofa Bed
The Maison sofa bed is based on inviting proportions and a super comfortable sit. It’s clean and contemporary shape exudes a feel of comfortable, modern living, that is versatile enough for most living spaces. The range includes several sofa bed options, which can be upgraded to include an exclusive Hypnos sofa bed mattress, a first for the brand.
Brixton Ottoman bed
For those wanting to invest in a new bed, either for the guest room or themselves, the Brixton Ottoman bed frame is a great choice. The Brixton is one of our bestselling bed frames, distinctive and bold in nature, it creates a super soft, luxurious and inviting look. And with the added storage, its perfect for any bedroom.
Many of our upholstery and bed ranges come with an optional storage or accent stools. At this time of year they will double up as extra seats, places to store bags and coats and even make-shift side tables. Make sure you have one on display with your sofas and beds, as our research suggests up to 50% of customers will buy an accent piece when displayed with the sofa or bed of their choice.
Please note, that with pent-up demand at an all time high, we advise you to get any pre-Christmas orders in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Speak to your sales manager today if you are looking to refresh your displays in time for Christmas.
How to Boost Sales Through Social Media
Social media is a cheap and easy way to get your name out there and stay in touch with customers. With an estimated 42 million people using social media in the UK alone, it’s an opportunity you can’t miss.
During lock down, we’ve seen our own Instagram engagement increase by 147% on this time last year!
Here’s some of our best tips for taking social media by storm!
Make the most of every channel
Often, businesses will pick one social media channel and stick to it. But it’s best to be present on as many channels as you can manage, that way you are reaching more of your audience.
We recommend starting with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. As you learn what content your audience likes to see, you can also expand to other channels such as Pinterest. We find that visual platforms like Instagram result in the most engagement.
Top tip: try to use the same username on each channel so it’s easier for customers to find you.
Once you have decided which channels to use, it’s time to start posting regularly. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to post all the time, but you do have to post often enough that your customers can see you’re active.
Try to aim for once a day, but if you’re struggling for time or content ideas, 2 or 3 times a week is enough to stay on your customers’ minds.
While social media can be used to promote your products, it’s important to have a balance in what you’re posting to keep your content varied and interesting. Try to provide value to your followers, this can be through home décor tips, inspiration for their own homes or, if you can, hold competitions and give exclusive social media discounts.
Keep in touch
Social media is a two-way street, so it’s just as important for you to interact with your customers as it is for them to interact with you. Make sure you’re replying to comments, liking similar posts and resharing posts you get tagged in. This will help to build trust in your followers and helps to push your posts to the top of the feed. And don't forget to ask permission to re-post your customer's images of your products. We've been blown away by some of our customer's images!
Sell directly through social media
We’ve noticed a number of our customers taking advantage of developments such as ‘Instagram Shopping’. These functions provide an easy and simple way for customers to buy products through direct links to your website. When someone taps a product tag on your post or a product sticker in your story, they'll be taken to a product description page where they will see an image of the product from your post, a description of the product, how much the product costs and a link that takes them directly to your website, where they can purchase the product.
If you found this helpful, be sure to check out our Marketing agency, Purpose Media’s website for lots more tips to get back on track in the new normal.
INSPIRE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH STYLISH IN-STORE DISPLAYS
Creating an inviting and inspiring store experience has perhaps never been so important as it is currently. Furniture stores are having to compete with online competition, plus overcoming obstacles to tempt customers back through the door in a safe way.
Once you’ve managed to get customers back in store, it is vital that they not only feel safe to shop, but to also to create an engaging shopping experience through your product displays.
Through our many years of experience of working with a large variety of premium independent retailers- from small boutiques to larger independent groups, we have found that the key to successful repeat orders on both our upholstery and bed frame collections is to understand the importance of dressing room sets to create impact and inspiration. It is essential that displays are presented in a way that enhances the products as much as possible. We have seen that customers who understand this concept and practice it successfully, see strong week on week repeat business from consumers, and that up to 50% of consumers will buy an accent piece of furniture such as a footstool or chair if it is displayed with a sofa or bed they are looking to buy. With figures like this, is this an opportunity that you can afford to miss?
Whitemeadow are proud to be able to support our independent customers by providing a wide range of accent chairs, footstools and ottomans- available in over 100 fabrics to contrast or match the main upholstery piece or bed frame on display. Be sure to familiarise yourself with our new September price list when you receive it, as it will include details of new accent pieces. We have also made the decision process easier for you by now adding the accent pieces into specific collections.
Obviously, displaying ottomans and chaises with beds, and accent chairs and footstools displayed with sofas work really well with consumers as it’s easy for them to picture how they can work with the space they have at home. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you also sell other home departments ranges. Why not add an accent chair to a bathroom display or a child’s bedroom room set? Our range of accent furniture include versatile companion pieces that can be used to compliment any room’s décor, including living rooms, studies, hallways, adults’ and kids’ bedrooms or even bathrooms.
From stylish compact boutique chairs to large cosy cuddlers, we have a wide variety of chairs in all shapes and sizes, with a choice of wooden leg finishes, castors, or sleek chrome legs.
And our range of storage stools and ottomans not only provide a practical storage solution for children’s toys, magazines and general clutter, but they can also compliment a room’s décor to make a home individual.
Contact your sales manager today to find our more about our accent pieces, or log in to our trade area on the Whitemeadow website.
Creating an engaging in-store shopping experience
We’ve seen and heard a lot from our customers in the last 25 years. Our sales team has travelled the length and breadth of the country hundreds of times and are proud to have developed an in-depth understanding of our customers.
Over this time, we have noticed a few traits that seem to make some retailers stand out and be more successful than others.
Here, we share some of those secrets to success from our experienced sales and marketing teams:
- Retailers who have sales staff with a flair for - and an understanding of- interiors, are often the most confident in talking to customers, and are often the most successful at selling. Staff that are trained with some basic styling skills have more confidence to engage with the customer, boosting sales and loyalty. That extra level of advice ensures the customer has an amazing experience instead of just being sold to. Make sure your staff are asking the right questions about the customers lifestyle too, it’s no good trying to sell a high-end, design-led sofa to someone who is looking for a slouchy, family style sofa instead. Know your market and your customer.
- Ensure the customer has a good in-store experience. They will leave the store feeling like they’ve been looked after and feel good throughout the day in the knowledge that they have been offered the right advice for them.
- Too many stores end up looking bland in an effort to cater to everyone, but not really inspiring anyone. Make sure you have an exciting window display to entice people in, and refresh it, often! A lack of colour or interest in-store results in nothing standing out. Even if it’s displaying a product in a fabric that is quite bold, you have to be visually exciting to get customers attention. It’s all about being aspirational and engaging.
- It goes without saying but once a customer is through the door, you want to keep them in there until they have either bought something or have taken away enough information to return and make a purchase soon. Retailers that have a clear, uncluttered floor, not too many promotional notices and staff that are friendly always seem to do better than those that have cluttered floors with pushy sales staff and a plethora of ‘SALE’ signs everywhere.
- For those that have the space, styling and ‘zoning’ areas appears to be a great way of story telling in stores. You often find a consumer will buy several pieces from the display, such as a lamp and a rug, as well as the sofa, because they have ’bought into’ that look and want to re-create it in their own home.
So don’t just sell to your customers, inspire them! If you want any specific advice on how to refresh your displays, please don’t hesitate to call your sales manager who will be happy to help.
Women at Whitemeadow
Celebrating International Women's Day this weekend made us think about some of the fantastic women we have working here at Whitemeadow. As a manufacturer, we're dedicated to offering equal opportunities to all genders and helping women excel in our industry. Often working in roles that are typically male-dominated, we're taking a closer look at some of the women of Whitemeadow and the role they play in our business.
First up is Wendy Brown, Production Manager at one of manufacturing sites in Nottinghamshire.
What made you get into the role you currently work in?
I started at Whitemeadow 10 years ago in the role that’s is now known as a Coordinator (I believe I was the first one doing this at Export) then I worked my way up to a Supervisor, so being a Manager felt like natural progression.
What was your background before you started at Whitemeadow?
I was a machinist from leaving school- starting on lingerie, then car seats and finally sofas at Derwent upholstery, which is now Parker Knoll.
Were people in the factory surprised to have a female boss?
No, I don’t believe they were surprised that I was their boss, I think at that stage I’d been at the company long enough doing the Supervisor role that people kind of expected it.
What challenges did you face when you first started and how did you overcome them?
We already had a great team that worked well together in production, but I guess it’s tying all the loose ends together and communicating effectively that helps. I did get a few individuals who struggled with being told what to do by a woman, but over time I’ve earned respect from people and tried to improve things wherever I can.
What changes have you seen over your time here with regards to the workforce and attitudes towards women in the factory environment?
I honestly don’t think we had a negative attitude towards women and men’s roles because we’re quite a mixed group to begin with. We had a female upholsterer at Export on stools, and we now have more guys doing the inspection which tended to be more women historically. Also, we have women doing cushion filling, which again was more male orientated in the past. I do feel this is being pushed more now though on upholstery and sewing which can only be a good thing.
What are your future aspirations regarding your team and your role here?
Hopefully I’m still employed by the company! I’m always looking for ways to improve efficiency and production and create a pleasant working environment that inspires people to work to their best standards. I’d like a happy, productive workforce, that communicates and works well together, and I’d like to see more of them progress into future Supervisor & Manager roles here too!
What advice would you give to women and girls that would like to work in a male-dominated role?
I’d say go for it! There’s help, support and advice out there for anyone who’s not scared of hard work and can face daily challenges. It’s an incredibly rewarding role and something to be proud of.
Whitemeadow ready to Inspire and Impress at JFS 2019
It’s been a busy year for Whitemeadow. 2018 has seen us invest more in our infrastructure, technology, people and products than ever before. We now have arguably the best facilities in the industry, along with a team of people who we believe are the most creative and dedicated in the UK upholstery manufacturing sector. “This team is now fully focussed on creating an array of new products for the 2019 January Furniture Show, where we will be showcasing more new products than ever before, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure!” commented Design Director, Paul Ainley.
Sales Director Paul Wesson said “The 2018 January Furniture Show was our biggest and best show to date, and it’s hard to imagine how we will top it, but having seen what the team are working on, we are confident that 2019 will be bigger and better! This year we are also rolling out a targeted marketing campaign to ensure that we attract the highest quality customers the show has to offer”.
Following on from the successful launch of the Whitemeadow Bed Stand in 2018, we are looking forward to continuing the success with a range of new upholstered bed frames, in new fabric stories, accompanied by selection of new accent furniture from our recently launched Accent Range.
We were delighted to hear from the organisers of the show that the number of pre-registered visitors for the 2019 show is at a record level, up by 50% for the equivalent time last year. We say bring it on! We look forward to see our existing customers to hear all about what’s happening in their stores and introduce them to our new ranges, and we can’t wait to meet potential new customers whom we hope we will be working with in 2019.
Paving the Way for the Future of UK Upholstery Manufacturing
In the final part of our mini series looking at how Whitemeadow supports its customers, we are looking to the future and the ways in which Whitemeadow are investing in the UK upholstery industry. Inspiring the next generation through engaging with school children, helping re-train the local community in key upholstery skills and investing heavily in new facilities are just a few of the ways we demonstrate our dedication to ensuring Whitemeadow stays at the forefront of the industry way into the future.
In 2017, Whitemeadow Upholstery and The Furniture Makers’ Company were delighted to announce the launch of the first-ever Whitemeadow Upholstery Design Award. Whitemeadow Managing Director, Ian Oscroft commented at the time: “We know that to ensure Whitemeadow stays at the forefront of the industry, we need to continually bring fresh new designs to the market and to that end we encourage a working climate for inspiration”. The first placement was so successful that we have now welcomed our second student, Megan Glew, a Product Design student from Nottingham Trent University, into the Design department for a 1-year placement.
And we’re not stopping there, we’re going back to school! We're helping to inspire the next generation of designers and furniture makers by supporting a campaign organised by The Furniture Makers’ Company, the furnishing industry’s charity. We are sponsoring eight schools within the Nottinghamshire area, where the company was founded and still based today. Launched in 2014, the School Design Prize raises awareness of the furnishing industry among school children by rewarding them for their design & technology course work. Whitemeadow believe it is absolutely key for our industry that we focus on developing the next generation and we are keen therefore to support this initiative within our local area. Hopefully we will see some of these young faces working at Whitemeadow in the future!
Later this year we are due to launch our Sewing School for local people who would like to train as sewing machinists. The idea behind our sewing school is to encourage people to pursue a career in upholstery manufacturing and equip them with the technical skills and experience they need to make a go of it.
And finally, we are delighted to unveil our brand new, state of the art Design and Development Centre. We have invested more than £700,00 in the custom-built 13750 sq ft facility, which not only houses our full design and development team, but also a 4000 sq ft customer showroom!
We are confident that the investment Whitemeadow have made in their workforce and facilities at the front end of the business will stand us in good stead for the future and help strengthen our position as one of the most creative and innovative furniture manufacturers in the UK.
Why Whitemeadow is at the Forefront of the Upholstery Industry
Continuing with our series on how Whitemeadow supports its customers, this week we are taking a closer look at the expertise and experience that Whitemeadow is home to.
Situated in the heart of the upholstery manufacturing centre of the UK, Whitemeadow was established in 1994, handcrafting products in our Nottinghamshire factory.
Fast-forward to today and we’re proud to maintain our commitment to craftsmanship, but now on a much larger scale. Expansion has allowed us to produce more but has never extinguished our commitment to keeping all our products hand-crafted in our Nottinghamshire factories.
And we wouldn’t be where we are today without the exceptional skills of our experienced and dedicated workforce. Team members at Whitemeadow hold a wide set of skills which enables us to be agile in our creative and manufacturing processes, and we are proud to have a workforce that has built up many years of experience with the company- our Frames team have a combined experience of 118 years!
Experienced Design and Development department
Beginning with just one designer 20 years ago, our innovative and passionate design team is the foundation of our business. The team is now over 20 strong and embodies a mix of creative energy and industry experience. The whole team shares the same drive and desire to create inspirational, innovative designs in the latest fabrics and get them to market before our competition. Our Design Director, Paul Ainley, who has been with the business for over 20 years, commented “Our team here are always working on something new, it’s exciting to take new designs to our customers and see them get really enthusiastic about our products, it’s what we’re here for”.
Fully trained Customer Support teams
We have specific teams to support our customers and continually invest in ongoing training to assist you with all your pre-delivery and post-delivery queries. Whether you wish to amend an order or simply track the progress of your order, we have over 107 years of experience at Whitemeadow within our Customer Support teams, so you can be sure that the person dealing with your request is an expert in their field.
Whitemeadow are committed to focussing on design leadership, efficient production processes and attention to quality to ensure that we support you, our customers, in making your business a success.
To find out more about how we can support your business please contact your Whitemeadow Sales Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Five reasons why Made in Britain means quality
At Whitemeadow, the largest independently owned upholstery manufacturer in the UK, our approach to furniture making is simple. Skilled craftsmen taking pride in building tailored products with high quality finishes following exacting UK standards to support the brands of our loyal customer base.
This simple approach has led us to become one of the most trusted and well-respected upholstery manufacturers in Britain.
What’s our secret?
Well, all our furniture is made here in the UK to meticulous standards, by highly-skilled craftsmen using only the best materials.
So, why does ‘Made in Britain’ mean you’re getting a quality product?
The best quality fabrics
Our team of designers works with expert worldwide suppliers to develop our fabrics and have long established relationships with some of the finest mills in the world.
Most importantly, we buy only from suppliers who we know meet the quality standards you would expect from our products.
From contemporary plains, decadent velvets and custom collections bespoke to Whitemeadow, we leave no stone unturned in sourcing the very best fabric ranges to complement our designs.
The best quality interiors
To ensure the comfort of our furniture matches its good looks, we put the same amount of effort into sourcing our ample range of fillings options, as we do our fabrics and frame components.
All our interiors are supplied to us by long established experts.
We ensure all interiors we use undertake a series of industry standard tests to evaluate performance, flammability and overall suitability for use.
The best quality ethos
We have a great awareness of sustainability, durability and responsible consumerism. We pride ourselves on making our own furniture by hand, from start to finish, in our own Nottinghamshire workshops, creating high-quality products here in Britain while providing skills and employment in the process.
The best quality standards
Our component selection process means that it is not just about presenting a product that looks good, it also means presenting a finished product that really works, whilst always complying with the exacting current British standards.
Fully certified performance and suitability reports, from an independent UKAS accredited laboratory, are always sought and verified before we present a new product to our customers. We are also proud members of The British Furniture Manufactures' Association, a trade body that represents the interests of the the furniture industry in this country. To find out more please visit www.bfm.org.uk
The best quality care
We understand that paying attention to the finer details is key. Ensuring our furniture is made here in the UK means we have 100% control over every step in the production process, creating a quality product that we can be proud of.
At Whitemeadow, we have a simple approach that involves utilising the best of British. Making the most of the finest technology and employing passionate individuals to create truly inspiring British made upholstery.
For any enquiries please contact us at email@example.com
Helping your business thrive with the Whitemeadow online Trade Portal
Whitemeadow are one of the few, if not only, upholstery manufacturers in the UK to have a dedicated, protected Trade Portal area within our website for the sole use of our independent customers. This is a fantastic tool that can be accessed with an exclusive log in that you can request through the website request form or through your Whitemeadow Sales Manager.
Our website is at the forefront of our communication with you and is designed to keep you up to date with important information regarding products, fabrics and more. It is designed to be your central resource for everything Whitemeadow related!
We’ve highlighted some of the key functions below:
We understand how important great product photography is to our customers, we know it can be the turning point in a consumer’s buying decision, by seeing it look amazing in an image. That’s why we have invested heavily in our lifestyle photography for use by our independent customers in their stores and on their websites. By having access to the Trade Portal, you have exclusive access to view and download high resolution product photography for you to use in store, on your own website, to create digital assets or printed literature. So, no emails, telephone calls or waiting for an image to be sent!
All our upholstery and bed frame specification sheets are also available to view and download. Essential information about the construction of the products can be found here. If used on the shop floor, this is an excellent resource for your staff to use when speaking to customers, especially outside of office hours when you may not be able to speak to one of team. It is also an invaluable source of information for online and customer service teams.
The Fabric Library
We have taken great care and time in creating our Fabric Library to ensure that you have all the information you require about our fabrics at the touch of a button. It is a fantastic resource which enables you to easily view and download images of our fabrics for your own use on your website and help staff to identify fabrics if they have a customer query over the telephone. You can also order swatch samples, which again can be used by staff on the shop floor when speaking to customers. By clicking on individual fabric images, you can quickly view important information about each fabric, view other colours in the range, and view lifestyle product imagery featuring the fabric where available.
Whitemeadow are proud to support its trade partners, and you can trust that our products and service allow you to meet the needs of your customers and your business.
For more information please contact your Whitemeadow Sales Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Maximising in-store sales opportunities with accent pieces
All furniture stores have the same primary objective- to sell as many products as possible. But what is the best way to do this? Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a mini series of posts that explain how Whitemeadow supports you- the retailer, to do just that.
Through our many years of experience of working with a large variety of premium independent retailers- from small boutiques to larger independent groups, we have found that the key to successful repeat orders on both our upholstery and bed frame collections is to understand the importance of dressing room sets to create impact and inspiration. It is essential that displays are presented in a way that enhances the products as much as possible. We have seen that customers who understand this concept and practice it successfully, see strong week on week repeat business from consumers, and that up to 50% of consumers will buy an accent piece of furniture such as a footstool or chair if it is displayed with sofa or bed they are looking to buy. With figures like this, is this an opportunity that you can afford to miss?
Whitemeadow are proud to be able to support our independent customers by providing a wide range of accent chairs, footstools, ottomans and chaises- available in over 100 fabrics to contrast or match the main upholstery piece or bed frame on display. These can be displayed and ordered as part of any range display.
Obviously, displaying ottomans and chaises with beds, and accent chairs and footstools displayed with sofas work really well with consumers as it’s easy for them to picture how they can work with the space they have at home. But don’t be afraid to think outside the box if you also sell other home departments ranges. Why not add an accent chair to a bathroom display or a child’s bedroom room set? Our Accent Collection is made up of versatile companion pieces that can be used to compliment any room’s décor, including living rooms, studies, hallways, adults and kids’ bedrooms or even bathrooms.
From stylish compact boutique chairs to large cosy cuddlers, we have a wide variety of individual chairs in all shapes and sizes, with a choice of wooden leg finishes, castors, or sleek chrome legs.
Our range of storage stools and ottomans not only provide a practical storage solution for children’s’ toys, magazines and general clutter, but they can also compliment a rooms’ décor to make a home individual.
To find out more information about our accent range, please contact your Whitemeadow Sales Manager, or email email@example.com
Adding Storage and Style to Living Spaces
Market trends show that customers are looking for accent pieces that offer storage and style. To give your customers what they want, Whitemeadow are delighted to launch a new portfolio of accent items comprising of chairs, footstools, chaises and ottomans!
Having already earned a reputation for excellence in manufacturing high quality sofas and upholstered beds, Whitemeadow are excited to extend their collection of accent pieces by creating portfolios dedicated to the accent piece ranges.
We are now able to offer a wide range of items designed for everyone, from practical storage solutions to bold accessory pieces. They can all be ordered individually or as part of any of our sofa or bed collections, in any of our current fabrics, thus offering your customers a fantastic range of products to choose from!
“We have found that the key to successful repeat orders on both our beds and sofa ranges is understanding the importance of dressing room sets within stores to create impact”, commented Sales Manager Darren Nicholson. “Our research suggests that up to 50% of consumers buy an occasional piece of furniture such as a footstool or chair if they are displayed with the sofa or bed they are looking to buy, and that retailers who employ this tactic see week on week strong repeat business from consumers”.
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at the ways in which these ranges can be targeted to your customers, so keep up to date with us on social media to make sure you don’t miss it!
For more information on the ranges, please contact your Whitemeadow Sales Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whitemeadow scoops prestigious industry award after customer vote
Independent British furniture maker Whitemeadow has been voted Best UK Furniture Manufacturer of the Year by readers of trade magazine Interiors Monthly.
The Nottinghamshire-based firm topped the poll by a considerable margin after being shortlisted for the vote by the publication, which aims to keep furniture retailers up-to-date with the latest design and business trends in the industry. Its readers were asked to vote for their favourite brands and products in 51 individual categories this year.
Founded in 1994, Whitemeadow employs around 550 people across six sites within a two-mile radius of Huthwaite. It has more than 170,000 sq ft of manufacturing space.
It is one of the few remaining independently-owned British upholstery manufacturers and has become one of the most trusted and well-respected companies in the industry. It is a key supplier to the UK’s largest blue chip and independent furniture retailers.
Ian Oscroft, the firm’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have scooped this prestigious honour. Whitemeadow has won several awards over the years, but this one is extra special for two reasons. One, because it is from such a highly-regarded and well-respected publication which has a great deal of credibility in the industry for setting the agenda. And two, because it was voted for by readers of the magazine, who are our customers, which shows that we are continuing to do the right things by innovating, being brave with our design ideas and giving the industry the service and product quality that it needs. This is a huge honour and is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team here at Whitemeadow, who take such pride in producing great British furniture which continues to push the boundaries of design and drive industry trends.”
What we learned from the Manchester Furniture Show
As our Sales Manager Daniel Oscroft pointed out before the Manchester Furniture Show, it is from our customers and their buying trends that we learn the greatest amount of useful information. By analysing what our customers are buying, we can tap into trends on fabrics and furniture shapes to ensure that we are creating exactly what the market needs, when they need it. It’s what we’ve become renowned for as the UK’s largest independent upholstery manufacturer.
So, what did we learn from our time in Manchester this year? Well, ultimately, our customers were looking for well executed products, whether is was a retro, 60’s inspired model, or a more comfortable and familiar piece. Great fabric stories were also crucial, with many of our customers ordering models in the fabrics they were presented in at the show.
Here’s a round-up of some of the key trends that were driving sales this year.
The popularity of velvets shows no sign of abating any time soon, with a lot of our customers ordering display models in the fabric. Many of our upholstered bed collection models were ordered in the new Plush velvet pastel tones that we now have to offer, including Sky and Petal. This indicates that consumers are looking for a softer, more relaxed look and feel to their bedrooms. It also shows that consumers are not afraid of colour and are confident to experiment with palettes that are not used widely throughout the home.
It’s not just softer colours that we noticed were popular at the show. Sumptuously detailed beds with scroll ends, deep buttoning and relaxed diamond pleats were also extremely popular this summer. Our customers reported a demand from consumers for luxurious, yet relaxed and contemporary styles. This is a trend we picked up on back in our February post ‘Top Bedroom Interior Trends to Look Out For in 2018’, that consumers were looking to turn their bedrooms into sanctuaries, a place to escape the unstable and sometimes turbulent world outside.
The Big Slouch
At the January Furniture Show we noticed a definite trend for the relaxed and informal style sofas that we love to make! This popularity has continued into the summer with customers opting for the larger pieces of furniture in the ranges. Big, comfy, deep corner groups were high on the buyer’s lists, with models such as the Metro and the new Sadler corner group proving to be a big hit. If staying in is the new going out, perhaps consumers are looking for big pieces to accommodate family and friends? Whatever the reason, we’re all for it!
To find out more about our latest upholstery and bed collections, please speak to your Whitemeadow Sales Manager, or email email@example.com
Whitemeadow partners with award-winning mattress manufacturer, Hypnos
As a sofa bed manufacturer, Whitemeadow are pleased to announce an exclusive collaboration with award-winning mattress manufacturer, Hypnos. The collaboration will see the first-ever Hypnos sofa bed mattress available to purchase as an upgrade with selected Whitemeadow sofa beds. The mattress was unveiled at the Manchester Furniture show to great acclaim from customers and industry press.
Chris Ward, Group Marketing Director, at Hypnos Beds, said: “Hypnos is celebrated as the expert in handcrafted, pocket sprung mattresses and is delighted to be working with Whitemeadow to support its latest sofa bed range.
“In conjunction with Whitemeadow’s product team, Hypnos has developed a luxurious pocket sprung mattress, which fits perfectly into the sofa bed mechanism and offers a superior level of support for a comfortable night’s sleep. Traditionally, sofa bed mattresses comprise of either foam or open coil springs. With a pocket sprung mattress, the body is fully supported throughout the night by individual springs which adjust to the shape and weight of the body. This mattress also allows natural air flow aiding temperature regulation to prevent overheating.
“Hypnos is very proud to offer a supremely comfortable mattress for consumers who are looking to upgrade their sofa bed. As with all Hypnos mattresses, the Kingsclere carries a 10 year guarantee for full peace of mind.”
- Having manufactured luxury handmade beds for more than 100 years, Hypnos is internationally renowned as the expert in handcrafted pocket spring mattresses and divans. Combining traditional skills with constant innovation and using only the finest natural and sustainable materials, Hypnos has a reputation for making the most comfortable beds in the world
- Hypnos has a Royal Warrant, providing not only bespoke beds but advice on sleep and wellbeing to the Royal Family
- Hypnos is one of only a few UK manufacturers to have been awarded the prestigious Manufacturing Guild Mark (MGM) accreditation
- Hypnos has been awarded the National Bed Federation’s ‘Bed Manufacturer of the Year’ accolade 2017/18. Having previously scooped the prestigious title in 2011and 2014, the ethical business is the first company to have been presented with this award three times
- Hypnos was the first bed manufacturer in the world to be carbon neutral, complying with the PAS 2060 Carbon Neutrality Standard since 2011.
- Hypnos has been awarded the prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise for International Trade in the 2017 honours list in recognition of its substantial growth and commercial success in international business, as well as driving strong year-on-year growth in overseas sales and export activity
- Magic Breakfast is Hypnos’ Corporate Charity Partner. Providing healthy breakfasts and expert support to schools in disadvantaged areas of the UK, the team at Magic Breakfast works tirelessly with hundreds of schools to develop long term sustainable solutions aimed at abolishing child hunger in the morning
For more information on how to stock this exclusive partnership, please contact your Whitemeadow Sales Manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org