What do you predict for the industry in the next ten years?
Paul Case: I hope the confidence and identify will grow further and I think it will. British people are getting more and more aware of interesting and appealing design. Also the design and making sides of the industry are getting increasingly professional and imaginative.
However I am aware of several furniture courses and colleges being closed down because they are expensive to run as compared to a classroom based disciplines. Just in the North of England I am aware of Leeds, Burnley and Carlisle making significant cut backs in what they offer and so this could create problems going forward if young people don’t come into the industry.
Ayo Ogunde, The Sofa & Chair Company: Personalisation is becoming easier to achieve so bespoke furniture will become more prominent. Craftsmanship is gaining more appreciation and consumers are looking to original design for their product selections.
John Miller, MARK: There will be a shake-down of the proliferation of brands we’re seeing at the moment. New start-ups will keep coming and many will last 2-3 years. A few will follow Hitch, Modus, Naughtone and become successful and longstanding on the UK scene.
I think there will be a gradual repatriation of manufacturing into the UK in small part due to an inclination of people to ‘buy British’ but more because of economic factors – rising fuel prices, and rising wage levels in overseas manufacturing centres.