Furniture News explores the practices and philosophies behind homewares website Home Flair Decor, in an exclusive chat with director Simon Livesey …
Home Flair Decor’s principals have a combined experience of over 35 years in the wallpaper industry. The site sells an extensive range of designer wallpapers, borders and decorating materials, as well as cushions and wall art, amounting to over 7000 products. Home Flair Decor attracts roughly 18,000 visitors each month.
The site achieved a turnover of over £240,000 in 2014, and Simon reports that revenue increased by 26% from 2013 to 2014.
Why visit your website?
Home Flair Decor is a leading online store for home decor. We offer an extensive range of high-quality designer wallpapers, wallcoverings and furnishings from well-known brands including Belgravia Decor, Graham & Brown and Rasch to name but a few.
Whatever style of wallpaper you want, we’ve got it covered and at a price that you can afford. But better still, we have a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry to help you transform a home from drab to chic.
How did you enter this industry?
I entered the wallpaper industry having just turned 16 after finishing secondary school and wanting to earn my own money as I continued my education. I landed myself a weekend position in my local independent wallpaper shop – this continued through college and university, moving from branch to branch and working extra days where timetables allowed and through the holiday periods until I completed my studies.
I think working with creative materials gave balance to the specialised technical skills I was training to gain. I enjoyed that balance, and it’s served me well so far.
Who is your e-commerce hero?
I think it has to be John Lewis – the lifestyle theme they promote offers a great aspiration for their customers to try and achieve. They have managed to capture this aspirational essence from the physical retail brand and graft it successfully onto a digital format.
Describe a typical working day
I don’t think any day is typical at Home Flair Decor – we always have many diverse projects on the go at any one time, and jumping from one to another keeps us moving all day. It’s a fantastic atmosphere to work in right now.
What part of your job would you prefer to avoid?
I must say I find it difficult to disappoint a customer. This could simply be when availability ceases on a product range and we cannot supply an order – I really don’t like to let them down.
“Use a reliable delivery service, as this can easily become the weakest link and start to erode customer confidence”
What has been your greatest challenge to date?
I think setting up the website has to have been the biggest challenge, and seeing it achieve success is very humbling. I think everybody wants it to succeed and it is great to realise it.
How much do you invest in making your site more visible?
I feel that devoting time to improving content and giving extended contact hours so people are able to just pick up the phone and ask that question pays dividends. When this is combined with a great service it leads to great feedback and positive word of mouth that just can’t be bought.
What’s your take on how the relationship between online and physical retail might develop?
In our industry the products are so tactile, people love to see and touch, so an image can’t be everything to all people. A presence will continue with physical retail premises, but this may be limited to the DIY sheds. Eventually, people will continue to browse these sterile environments, but then seek out the price and service of an online retailer.
Do you have any plans to grow your business?
I constantly strive to grow the business without detracting from the service level we offer. I am looking toward expanding into new online marketplaces which will promote the Home Flair Decor brand to a lot of people for the first time. It is also a goal for this year to begin optimising the site for customers who are visiting us using mobile devices.
What advice would you offer an aspiring e-tailer?
Aim to give the best service you can within your budget restraints – so use a reliable delivery service, as this can easily become the weakest link and start to erode customer confidence. Even when budgets are squeezed, remember to be a voice at the end of the phone – to give reassuring customer support can often cost nothing but is highly valued.
This article was published in the March issue of Furniture News magazine as part of the Clickthrough series of e-tailer interviews.