Myself plus a friend were kindly invited along to the launch of the Made.com showroom in Liverpool's Metquarter to admire the current collection, eat one too many macarons and have a natter with the other guests. It was a lovely little evening with a cheeky prosecco on arrival, sweet treats from Patisserie Valerie and delicious canapés by Casa Italia (both places located in the Metquarter), a dj, beauty treatments by Urban Calm and the chance to walk around and look at the gorgeous A/W15 collection and meet some lovely new people.
We were also given tablets which you could scan over the + tag on all the items you liked, create a list then email to yourself to buy online later. Snazzy eh?
I managed to catch the lovely Annabel Kilner, UK country manager of Made.com, for 5 minutes to ask her a few questions about her and Made.com...
So, tell us a little bit about Made. com & yourself...
So, Made.com was started up 5 years ago. The founders spotted a gap in the market for great design at affordable prices, particularly online - so of course there is Ikea that obviously sells good and affordable products but design wasn't their key thing at the time then you've got John Lewis, M&S, and Next but they're not particularly design lead and then there are the higher end brands - so there was a gap in the market for something different like Made.com.
The other thing about the market, particularly in the furniture industry, is that they will normally order in advance twice a year, whereas we have a very different business model. We are a made-to-order business so essentially we design something, prototype it, sample it, photograph it, put it up on the website and then it's made to order for the customers. We really look at the demand for that product and then order just in time for it.
What is the process of buying and marketing for Made.com?
So we're constantly bringing out new collections- around 30-50 new products a week and then they go onto the website. Essentially if we see that they don't sell very well then we will probably stop them which may happen to around 10% of products but it enables us to see what's popular and then we can continue to manufacture those ones quickly.
Then that helps you see what'll be good in the showrooms?
As for the showrooms, we have 3 now-Leeds, London Soho, and now Liverpool, of course! So what we've actually done for this particular store is we've looked at what have been the most popular items in Liverpool that've sold so far and then the customers can essentially walk in and find exactly what they want and imagine it in their own home.
So what kind of trends do you think we'll be seeing interior wise in the coming Autumn/Winter season?
I think we'll see a lot of metallics, copper and bronze's like our Alana Bed then a lot of rich velvets as well. We've got the Wolseley velvet sofa which is very popular as well as our Scott sofas that come in leather as well as velvet which we've noticed really pick up at this time of year.
What's your favourite thing about working at Made.com?
My favourite thing about working at Made is the fact that there's a very dynamic culture so we're not afraid to try things out and get things done. It's a very fast-paced environment and as you can tell we're always bringing out new products - it's just very exciting!
What inspires the product team?
The product team are always out looking for different trends in the market. They'll also look at what our competitors are doing and also what's going on in the fashion sector. Broadly, they just look at all the trends that are going on. They need to design to cater to different styles and tastes. We have a fairly eclectic style at Made.com, so we're not just about traditional, not just about modern or retro- it's a real mixture of everything so that enables the team to find lots of different things.
We work with a community of designers because they all have different styles. We have a main studio where we design but we also collaborate with over 50 designers who are bringing out new product designs all the time that we'll then manufacture for Made.
So items that can fit into anyone's home?
Yes! So we're looking for strong accent pieces that when people walk into your home they go 'Wow!' and the product is a real conversation starter, they love the item too and want their own- that's what we want people to do.
Lastly, how did you get into interiors?
I used to actually work for another interiors company before Made.com called Mydeco.com and for me, I personally love doing up my own home, I have a real taste for it.
I can imagine your home looks as amazing as the store!
Yes haha! My home is 50% Made.com. But yes, I think originally for me it was the opportunity to work in the E-commerce and I love homeware so it made sense to go into that. It's such a fragmented market so when the opportunity struck, I took it.
...and that's a wrap. Ok maybe that seemed slightly longer than 5 minutes but I swear it was, it says so on my phone. It was lovely to meet an inspiring entrepreneur like Annabel and get an insight into her job and Made.com. I hope you enjoyed it too!
Lots of love, Lucie Rose x
Special thanks to Carousel PR for organising a great event & a special thanks to my lovely pal Una for taking some of these photos- you're a real sweetie!