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 James Newall, showroom manager of Hästens.
How did you enter the trade?
I spent 20 years in luxury retail, covering a wide range of products but always interested in quality hand-made craftsmanship of personal luxury products such as jewellery, leather goods, silver, china and glass. I spent one year stepping into luxury sporting goods before the opportunity came to join Hästens and return to my first love – interiors.
Who was your inspiration?
Different people provide inspiration for different things – from management styles to handling enquiries, from product development to general life skills. Every day can bring someone new into your life that will leave an indelible mark in some way.
My inspiration for joining Hästens was talking to the human resources director and the company owner about the ethical beds and the company’s focus on providing the best sleep, and the health benefits of sleeping well.
What was your career high point?
In Hästens, it was opening the first UK Hästens store and then selling my first Vividus – the ultimate in sleep experience. There is enormous satisfaction in knowing you are providing the best solution to a client’s problems. However, I have also worked in theatre and I have to admit that performing on a West End stage was also pretty special!
What is the most important issue affecting your business right now?
Changing the way people think about, and shop for, beds. Most people view their bed as just another piece of furniture in a room most people won’t see. We are focused on communicating the health and lifestyle benefits that come from choosing the right bed.
Many people take care of themselves while they are awake, but forget that their bodies need to rest and repair themselves at night. A good night’s sleep is as important as the right diet and the right exercise regime. Top athletes in all sports have strict periods of rest and sleep built into their training schedules to allow them to perform at their peak.
What do you enjoy most about working in the trade?
The moment when the light goes on in a client’s eyes and they let out a deep sigh. Then I know they’ve ‘got it’ and found their perfect bed.