26 May 2024, 16:54
By Furniture News Mar 01, 2024

Getting personal: Mark Gannon, Image Furnishings

As the MD of both Sofa Source and Image Furnishings, Mark heads up an international upholstery empire, while finding time to organise the annual Irish Furniture & Homewares Show (IFHS), Ireland’s principal furniture trade event.

How might a child describe what you do? 

Make furniture for people to sit on.

What’s the biggest long-term challenge you face? 

People thinking too short sighted. There is a tendency in this industry for customers to slow down just because they had a few quiet weeks, when they should be thinking and planning much more long term. 

If you had 10 x your working budget, what would you spend it on? 

Meeting people, trade shows, and bringing customers in-house. We have found the key to selling in the furniture industry is an in-person approach that gets you, your customer and your products in the room together physically. 

What would be the title of your autobiography? 

I would do it again!

What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you? 

Enjoy what you do, and the work/life balance falls into place.

Who’s been your most influential professional mentor? 

Verne Harnish [founder of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs].

What advice would you give your younger self? 

Scale the business from the start.

What’s been your best day in business to date? 

Setting up the IFHS in 2014.

What’s the biggest myth about our industry? 

That it is a small one.

What should everyone in our industry either stop or start doing? 

Start communicating and sharing experiences.

Where do you see the industry going in the next 5-10 years? 

Online retail will change the landscape of our industry. We think it’s important to face it and its challenges head on, creating new ways to sell online, be it images, videos, or virtual/augmented reality. There will still be a place for bricks-and-mortar stores, but they will need to take a mixed approach to their sales to survive. 

This interview featured in February's issue.

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