Online business Made is confident that its growth will accelerate as the online share of the furniture and homewares category is predicted to double by 2022 and it plans to grab a greater chunk.
Philippe Chainieux, CEO of Made, reckons the sector will follow fashion whereby a greater amount of trade will shift online: “The acceleration from the high street to online will happen in our category just like in fashion. It’s once in a lifetime [opportunity]. Online is currently 10%, which as a sector is behind others.”
But with Forrester forecasting it will be 20% by 2022 and long-term Chainieux believes a third will be online then he paints a very rosy picture for Made. To take advantage he is building what he describes as the “leading unique digital design brand”.
This encompasses furniture and more recently home-wares as the company is seeking to broaden its offer from what was initially just sofas. What remains the same is the vertically integrated approach whereby Made works with designers on unique products and then manages the sourcing and supply chain as well as marketing and selling the final products.
This gives it the ability to abandon the traditional seasonal ranges and instead constantly launch capsule collections. Rather than having lead times of 18 months for its products it is more akin to a fast fashion business and can have products from the design stage to on the website for sale in only four-to-six months.
This flexibility enables it to launch 2,000 unique products per year and to quickly discontinue lines that are delivering poor sales figures. This sits well with its overarching objectives.
“We’re not a retailer or an e-commerce company as we are not a reseller of other people’s products. We’re a brand and we test and learn. We want to democratise design,” says Chainieux.
This is increasingly on an international footing as Made is in six markets and plans to double this number over the next three years with north and south Europe the targets. Part of this expansion will include the opening of more showrooms of which the company currently has three in the UK, and single outlets in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The funding it recently raised will help it to accelerate its growth into these markets as well as invest in its technology capability. However, Chainieux is keen to highlight that Made did not need the funding as the business was cash positive at the end of 2017 across all countries.
Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider