Each Friday, Furniture News puts five questions to a selected industry professional to explore their background and approach to business. Today, it's the turn of Christie-Tyler CEO, Peter Hopper …
How did you get into the trade?
By accident! I have spent nearly 30 years in the electrical retail trade – with Dixons, Comet and Sky – and, was only exposed to the furniture business in the last three years. After talking to several senior industry figures in the furniture industry, both on the manufacture and retail sides, they convinced me that Christie-Tyler was long overdue a return.
What was the turning point in your career?
Not one but several – you learn, adapt and move on. Never look back!
How will the industry evolve?
The independents are the backbone of the industry. The ones I have met at our regional shows really appreciate what we are trying to do with Christie-Tyler – and of course, with our other brands, Cambria and Pendragon. They remember them with fondness, and, more importantly, as great sellers. I got the impression that the big boys have neglected them over the last few years, and that they feel a little unloved.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
To surround yourself with good people and to trust them to do their jobs.
What brings a smile to your face in this industry?
For years I have been involved in the breeding and racing of racehorses – Frankie Dettori has ridden for me on several occasions. Of course, I have the Christie-Tyler logo everywhere – on the jockey’s colours, horse rugs, etc – there’s nothing like free advertising!
The first time Frankie wore the colours with the Christie-Tyler logo on, he was curious about the new company. I explained it to him in a few sentences, as time was tight. Before he jumped on the horse, he said, jokingly: “If I win, I want a sofa.” Five minutes later he jumped off in the winners’ enclosure, and his first words were: “Now, about that sofa …!”
This is an extract from an article published previously in Furniture News magazine. For more stories like this, you can subscribe to receive a regular physical copy of the magazine, or sign up to have a free digital issue delivered to your inbox each month.