As the UK moves away from Covid-19 restrictions, Nick Garratt, MD of the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), talks about how the association is gearing up to further support its members this year …
As we move into better weather and, hopefully, better retail opportunities ahead, the BFM is preparing to support the sector with a range of initiatives.
In the Covid-19 crisis, we instigated rapid changes in all aspects of our support to help our members, since the first lockdown began. That’s included providing timely, industry-specific information to help members get fast access to the facts. We’ve also provided a variety of resources to keep people up to date and get the assistance they need – including dedicated hotline support and webinars, as well as our members’ area information service, which is constantly updated.
Now it’s time to change our position again, and help our members make the most of the opportunities that an upturn in buying habits will bring.
With a lack of clarity and confidence in foreign travel in 2021, the public could – like last year – look to continue to invest in their homes. A clear priority for us as a trade body is to promote the Buy British message to the general public to tap into this trend.
Last year, we joined forces for the Buy British Furniture Event, a British Furniture Confederation (BFC) scheme, organised and promoted jointly by ourselves and the National Bed Federation (NBF). It was very well received, and we plan to restart the campaign again in 2021 for our members.
Over the last few months, the BFM team has also been working on the new website. This has been completely revamped and rebuilt, with features including the opportunity for our members to have a much greater profile of their own businesses, with an enhanced area to showcase their company. This will help enhance the business operations of our members – and enable them to get their best-of-British message across in an exciting format.
There’s definitely an increased sense of positivity in our industry but, as well as looking at the opportunities, we are still mindful of potential issues ahead. Matters surrounding Brexit remain on the horizon – some positive and some negative. We’ve been ensuring that the industry is kept up to date of the often-complex factors, and provided help and assistance as required.That is being achieved through regular briefings, as well as through detailed information in the members area of our website. That will continue in the weeks and months ahead, as we navigate the year before us.
Hopefully, we’ll see a calmer time ahead in 2021, but it’s more undeniable than ever that, as an industry, we are stronger together – and it’s crucial that we provide a service that meets the demands our industry now faces.