Does the idea of working for yourself and setting up your own furniture business present itself as an exciting challenge for you, but you aren’t quite sure where to start? Here, we take a look at some of the things you should prioritise if you intend to set up your own furniture company. In the piece, we speak to established furniture company The Wood Works, who gave us their top tips.
Finding your niche
With so many high street competitors out there, creating a strong furniture business of your own requires you to find a niche that the mass market companies aren’t addressing. For example, you may decide to:
- Specify the exact kind of furniture you will make, such as only office furniture, or sofas
- Specify the style of furniture
- Define the types of materials you will use
- Carry out a market analysis to ensure that your niche also has an adequate target market that addresses their furniture needs.
Plan as much as you can
As a new business just starting out, many companies struggle with their finances in those first few years and can find it extremely stressful, which is why it is important to plan as much as you can beforehand.
While it is impossible to plan for some eventualities, hiccups happen, and things can end up costing more or taking longer than you imagined they would, there are other things that can be planned which can make a new furniture business run smoothly. We recommend you thoroughly plan your research and marketing, and find mentors as well as plan on networking.
If you are able to drum up some early enquiries, you can use things like invoice factoring in order to get an advance on your potential order. This can help you manage cash flow successfully in the early stages.
As with almost any business, location is incredibly important if you are intending to open a physical store. Things you will need to take into consideration include:
- The premises space: if you are selling custom-made sofas or cabinets, you will want to find a space that is big enough to showcase the furniture you make in order to maximise selling potential
- If your target market is predominantly families and residential, you will want to make sure that the location is an area that can be reached reasonably easily, as well as the space itself being able to accommodate families coming into the store with pushchairs, for example
- Whether or not you will also need to factor in warehouse space to accommodate furniture materials. It should be large enough to allow suppliers to easily pick up as well as collect materials.
Focus on having an excellent online presence
While the location of a furniture store is important, so is making sure that you have an online shop and excellent online presence. Most customers these days will tend to browse online for furniture before going into a shop and purchasing, and a large number of people will purchase their furniture online exclusively. This is why it is essential that you spend time on making sure a website is user friendly and spending money on web development, or using websites like Shopify and design your own.
Develop your sales and marketing strategies
In addition, as a new furniture business you should be focusing on reaching out to local bloggers and media in your area to gain interest for your company, as well as making sure you are fully optimize local SEO. This can be done for free simply by accessing social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or by appearing at local craft fairs and events. You should also make sure you have business cards handy so that if people do not want to commit to a piece of furniture straight away, they still have a way to contact you for a commission at a later date.
Selling furniture comes with responsibilities. You need to have guarantees and warrantees in place in case something breaks suddenly with your beds, sofas or cupboards. Equally, you need the right level of insurance for handling goods and products, known as product liability.
As a new business, you want to avoid any early mishaps that may later damage your brand. Therefore, covering any legals or potential accidents is a great way to protect your business.