The January Furniture Show (Birmingham NEC, January 22-25 2017) plays host to some of the biggest and best names in the furniture and furnishings industry – showcasing everything from cabinet furniture, upholstery and beds to soft furnishings, flooring and giftware.
In this issue, JFS sits Nichola Bell - sales director at Westbridge, one of Britain’s leading upholstery companies – on the couch to discover her view on the best thing about exhibitions, how Brexit is affecting the industry and what shoes will be on her feet…
What’s the best thing about it?
For me, it has to be one of the best weeks of the working year. The mixture of anticipation, excitement and often a large dose of stress is such a thrilling experience. It’s great to see all of our customers under one roof, and nothing can beat the buzz of taking orders when our customers love our products. Love, love, love it!
When do your first start planning for the show?
We probably seriously start to get our heads down in September, but it is never far from our thoughts any time after July really.
Any ‘inside information’ about your plans for the 2017 show?
Obviously we try and keep our plans a surprise before the show, but in usual Westbridge style there is guaranteed to be plenty of newness!
Is Brexit effecting your plans for the show?
Westbridge, as with many other manufacturers, has been affected by the currency fluctuations following Brexit but we are full steam ahead for the show.
How upbeat are you feeling about trade and the economy at the moment?
We are actually feeling quite confident at the moment - perhaps Brexit will give British manufacturers an edge over our foreign competitors. Let’s all just get our heads down and get making and selling great furniture.
Let’s all just get our heads down and get making and selling great furniture
How do you typically spend your evenings while at the show?
Now that will usually involve a glass of something cold and bubbly (especially if we have had a good result). I’d like to say we all go out partying but we have usually walked and talked so much during the day that we typically enjoy a nice meal, a bit of team banter and off to bed.
What do you do to recover after it?
A jolly good massage on my next day off!
How many pairs of shoes do you take? And do smart or comfortable feet matter most to you during the show?
Is asking a lady how many shoes she owns on a par with asking her age?! Well, I don’t count my shoes as I’m sure that’s bad luck or something. I’d like to say I go for glamour at the start then end up dreaming about my slippers by the end!