Beds magazine finds out more from Sherborne Upholstery’s Chris Walker, about the exciting new bed story that made its debut at this year’s January Furniture Show.
The last time this editor caught up with Sherborne Upholstery’s Chris Walker was in the midst of a very busy – or should we say two very busy stands at the January Furniture Show. It wasn’t a great stretch of the imagination to see why there was such interest, after we were lucky enough in the run up to the show to get a sneak preview of just some of the innovations to be showcased.
The more eagle eyed amongst you may remember that, at the time, we had reported there was to be a new and exciting bed story for the business, but we’d been sworn to secrecy ahead of the reveal at the show. So we’re very pleased now to be able to provide more detail for readers of Beds magazine.
To offer a little background, Sherborne Upholstery expanded its product offering to include beds some four years ago, as Chris explained: “The move into beds made sense for us, as our offering is very complementary to the core range of lift and rise recliners for our customers. A lot of retailers sell them together as part of a package due to customer requests.”
So, when it was time to look at products for 2017, the business decided it was time for something of a refresh for its beds collection, and where better to showcase than at the January Furniture Show? “We decided to replace the existing range of fabrics and re-launched at the show with an additional 18, which doubles the number of options available,” explained Chris. “Eight of these use Aquaclean technology, which has already proven to be very popular.”
The use of this particular technology means that any consumer who owns a bed incorporating one of these fabrics (which are also pet-friendly) can clean even the most stubborn household stains using only water. The treatment works by covering every fibre with an invisible molecular layer that prevents dirt from penetrating the fabric. It also offers protection against pets’ claws reaching the core fabric and fraying the fibres, thanks to the elastic and flexible barrier. So simple, and, as a cat owner, I found myself wishing my own bed were that smart!
One thing that stands out about the new fabric range is how modern some of the designs are, and this was a conscious decision by the business, as Chris told me: “In order to expand and open up our market, we wanted to have an option specifically for bed customers selling lifestyle products. The new fabrics all have a more modern look, but the style of the Neptune in particular is aimed at the 30-50 demographic, who perhaps likes to relax in their bed on a Sunday morning watching television or reading the papers with a cup of tea.” And with the Neptune incorporating Aquaclean technology, any potential tea spillages would be light work.
The fabrics are available across the full range of the company’s 2 ft 6, 3ft, 4 ft, 5 ft, and 6 ft divan, adjustable head, and adjustable head and foot ranges, and they were not the only new products to make their debut at the show, as Chris explained: “We launched a new bed at the January Show, with a 20 stone weight limit – the Regency. This was in order to offer customers an option with an economy price point from Sherborne.”
“the sun will keep coming up in the morning and at some point we will all come through the other side”
The Regency is offered in the most popular 3’ size only, with both head and foot adjustment. As part of its ethos of providing the whole package for customers, the company additionally launched a new headboard – the Countess, and mattress – the Marquis – to sit in the same price point. For those looking at the mid-price point, another new addition – the Royal – serves this bracket particularly well. The Royal is a sprung mattress, designed to move with the contours of adjustable beds, which includes both Posturefill and Logicoil springs positioned within three layers of supportive foam and an additional layer of memory foam.
“The new bed, mattresses and headboard have allowed us to provide our customers with further price point alternatives to the other adjustable beds in our range. And with 12 day delivery available across all of our 3ft and 6 ft adjustable beds, headboards and 3 ft mattresses, they have the additional reassurance that they do not have to wait to receive their order.”
I was keen to find out how the company fared at the show, and how things have been since – particularly in the current political landscape. Chris was kind enough to fill me in: “We had a good response to the range at the show and it has continued to get stronger.”
“We’ve seen some retailers changing their entire shop floor, which almost never happens, but of course it can take some time. The company has experienced strong sales throughout January, February and March and while things can sometimes quieten down across the industry in April as a matter of course, we’re conscious that a general election tends to cause uncertainty, which can have an impact on sales for everyone.”
That said, the business’ approach to political uncertainty is a sensible one. “As an industry, we just have to get on with it,” said Chris. “We must all keep doing what we do best, the sun will keep coming up in the morning and at some point we will all come through the other side.”