The start of the year and the ever-present exhibition season has brought about a plethora of product developments to tempt awaiting buying groups. But of course, the people responsible for these products are every bit as important when buyers make their decisions. Here we find out more about just one of those people, Shire Beds’ Fara Butt.
The late Steve Jobs once said: “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
I think it’s safe to agree that this model worked very satisfactorily for both The Beatles and the fruit named company for which Mr Jobs’ was so famous. The music and indeed the tech products produced by each respective party are still much loved today, but a high percentage of this affection is for the individuals themselves, as well as the end product.
This is something that can be applied to most industries. If a buyer visits two manufacturers or suppliers who produce items of similar quality and price points, where is the differentiation? The obvious answer is in the relationship with the people selling said items. So, how well do you know your suppliers? Here we find out more about Fara Butt, sales and marketing director at Shire Beds, how she came into the industry, the challenges she faces and how she likes to unwind.
How did you come to be working in this business?
By accident more than by design. I had a career in education as head of English at the local secondary school when the business got involved with a television programme with Sir Gerry Robinson.
He suggested some fresh faces join the business and that’s when I first saw it as a serious second career.
Who has been your greatest influence?
My father (Safdar Hussain, business founder). He has been in the bed manufacturing trade since the 1980s and he started from scratch. His hard work and determination, even to this day, are a great source of inspiration. Not just for myself, but to so many in the industry.
“THE BEST ADVICE I HAVE BEEN GIVEN IS TO ‘BELIEVE IN YOURSELF’
What are your current business challenges?
I’d have to say future proofing the business and managing its growth.
We have recently made significant investment into expanding our manufacturing facility, acquiring a further 60,000 square feet, increasing the size of the operation to more than 100,000 square feet, so we are well on our way to ensuring the business has the infrastructure to support our plans for growth.
What’s the hardest part of the job?
Finding the right people. We look for people who, not only can do the job but who also fit in to the business’s beliefs and values.
What is your proudest achievement?
Seeing the brand grow and getting a call from a hotel telling us someone had slept on one of our beds and asking where could they buy one!
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Sometimes being a woman in a very male dominated industry can be a little daunting, but I have always been made to feel welcome and considered an industry professional by my fellow colleagues. So the best advice I have been given is to ‘believe in yourself’.
How would you like to take the business forward?
We are continuing to build the Shire Beds brand and have many new plans in the pipeline.
Going forward we will be looking at introducing new and innovative products, continuing to develop the sales team and will be exploring and venturing into new markets.
How do you wind down at the end of the day?
At the end of a busy day I love to spend time at home with my children, enjoying a lovely family meal, or if I have any spare time left, reading a good book.
Let us know
If you’d like our readers to get to know you or a member of your team better, get in touch with the Cabinet Maker editorial team today.