As Italian leather upholstery specialists, ICD Sofas, approach the end of their first year in business, managing director Hans Thorn reflects on the firm’s successes so far and its plans to build on its achievements into 2017 and beyond.
Since its UK launch in October 2015, ICD Sofas has fast made a name for itself as one of the most forward thinking suppliers for the independent retail sector, thanks to its confident commitment to stick to its core business model.
The leather specialist’s ethos has always been about service and providing the very best value and all-round product offering for its stockists, with the aim of ‘taking away the headache’ of selling sofas. From the outset, ICD offered retail delivery or direct home delivery on any suite, as well as full aftersales care, for a nominal fee. It also passes on savings from importing container loads of stock to retailers which would not normally be able to benefit from this large volume price.
The strategy to provide simplicity as well as value is clearly working, as managing director Hans Thorn tells us that the Hertfordshire-based firm is gaining popularity with retailers and suppliers alike. ICD enjoyed a strong Manchester Furniture Show, picking up new accounts across the country, and now its preparations are underway for a new collection at the January Furniture Show. The team are also busy planning revised growth strategies to maximise sales in the year ahead.
“It was great to have visits from existing customers as well as interest from new retailers at the Manchester show. It was a very positive experience for us overall,” Hans says.
“We had some special offers available at the stand which proved very popular and led to some models totally selling out, as well as attracting interest in other ranges.
“We have introduced 15 different styles over the past year and we are now able to gauge which have been the most popular, and which have not sold as well as expected. We’ll be using this information to put together our new 2017 collection to ensure it is the best it can be.”
Made in Italy
All ICD products are designed and manufactured in Italy, then kept in stock at the firm’s UK warehouse, where they are ready for delivery to stores or customers’ homes within seven working days. Hans says he is receiving increasing enquiries from suppliers who are keen to work with the firm.
He explains: “Various manufacturers in Italy call us from time to time to offer their products. So it is pleasing for us to know that the word is out that they feel their products need to be a part of the ICD collection. It shows confidence in our brand.
“We haven’t yet finalised our new collection but we are very excited by the products we have seen so far and we are sure they will be a success with our retailers.”
For the January Furniture Show, ICD Sofas is compiling a new collection of six to eight models, based on its most popular ranges to date, as well as encompassing style features for the new season. The increased attention from new manufacturing partners has offered the firm the pick of a greater wealth of designs, which are hand selected for the UK and Irish markets.
So far details of the new collection are being kept under wraps, but Hans does share with us that ICD’s current most popular models include Perugia, Venezia, Torino and Coriano. The Genoa sofa bed also remains a top seller, thanks to its compact size and focus on providing a supremely comfortable night’s sleep, as well as a relaxing sit.
Hans is keen to retain ICD’s title as the ‘champion’ of independent retailers and is currently considering various options to help the firm better reach and serve high street stores across the country. It is hoped that plans will be in place by the start of the New Year, to be revealed at the January show.
“We see 2017 as the year where it all comes together for ICD and we really take off,” Hans says.
“Our customers across the UK are sending in repeat orders on our sofas, so for us that is a confirmation we now have a strong base of loyal retailers from which we can build and grow as a business, and we are currently planning a range of sales strategies to help implement that.”
“We would like to thank all of our existing customers for their support and we hope that working with ICD continues to be a pleasant and rewarding experience. We always value feedback from our customers and use this to continually improve our service and offering wherever possible.”