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23 Jan 2024

JFS successfully unites the furniture industry

JFS successfully unites the furniture industry
The January Furniture Show got off to a wonderful start, uniting the industry at the NEC Birmingham. This year's refreshed show came to life with networking at it's centre with the Show Party and the Women in Furniture Network Speed Networking event. Buzzing halls and fantastic products - make JFS the place to be, so don't miss out. 

The first two days of the January Furniture Show have seen the industry unite at the NEC Birmingham with the shared passion to build the future of furniture together. This year’s edition has been refreshed with features that have enhanced the visitor experience, such as the high-end Champagne Bar, the Festival Food Court, Crafting the Future Networking Hub, industry talks and more networking events.

Over the last few days JFS has seen top buyers flock to the show with a 14% rise in international visitors along with 13% rise in department store visitors. The halls having been buzzing with buyers from A World of Furniture, Argos, Arthur Llewellyn Jenkins, Bensons for Beds, Bravo, British Garden Centres, DFS, Fairway Furniture, Fishpools, Furniture Village, Furniture World, Harbour Lifestyle, Jarrolds, Laura James, Leekes, Lenleys, M&S, NEXT, Oliver Bonas, Sainsbury’s, SCS, Sterling Furniture Group, Stokers, Stringers, Swoon, Tasker LTD, The Cotswold Company, The Very Group, TJXEurope, Ulsters Stores, Vale Furnishers, Wayfair and more!  

The halls were busy with buyers sourcing their next collections from top brands including… who said… Plus, there were talks at the Crafting the Future Networking Hub from ACID, AMUSF, FIRA, BIRA and Sylva Foundation. Visitors gathered to hear the latest insights from FIRA on how to tackle sustainability, as well as the importance of Apprenticeships from AMUSF’s panel. 

On Sunday evening, exhibitors and visitors came together to celebrate a fantastic opening day at the Show Party. During the night Furniture News Editor, Paul Farley, and Clarion Retail Portfolio Director, Zoe Bonser, presented the Furniture Awards to some of the show’s most outstanding brands. The Furniture Awards celebrate the industry's star players, with entries judged by Paul Farley (Editor-in-Chief, Furniture News), Malcolm Walker (Owner, FIRST MW), Sarah Bianchi (MD, Arighi Bianchi), Alice Rowan Hall (Founder, Rowen Homes), Peter Harding (MD, Fairway Furniture), and furniture designer Adam Daghorn. 

The Furniture Awards winners were:

Best of British

Winner: Alpha Designs Upholstery

Highly Commended: Lebus Upholstery

Global Player

Winner: Qualita

Highly Commended: Tomasella Industria Mobili 

Design Innovation

Winner: Whitemeadow Furniture

Highly Commended: A.L.F. UNO

Superior Service

Winner: Iconography

Furniture News Editor Paul Farley said ‘This year’s winners reflect what makes this industry so special. Our winners prove the strength of the industry as we award some of the best among us and celebrate their accomplishments. They may not always shout about it, but our top players truly deserve celebration through accolades like The Furniture Awards.’

On Monday evening the Women in Furniture Network hosted their Speed Networking event at the Crafting the Future Networking Hub which saw Donna Bellingham, CEO of Shackletons, Laura Newbold-Breen, COO of ACID, Farkhanda Hussain- Butt, Director at Shire Beds and Ingrid Lohse, CSO of Forte take to the stage for an inspiring panel discussion. Led by Clarion Retail Portfolio Director Zoe Bonser, the panel discussed their career highlights and how they have navigated challenges working in a male dominated industry. The discussion proved there is power in career pivoting and the importance of networking to aid career progression was reiterated by all which perfectly led into the Speed Networking portion of the evening. Once the speeches were done it was splendid to observe the guests circulating and engaging with each other as they networked and socialised. The network continues to grow and will expand as the Mentorship Platform launches soon as well.  

Portfolio Director, Zoe Bonser reflected on the success of the WIFN event saying, “It was fantastic to see such a great turnout of women from across the furniture industry all sharing their expertise and making new connections. We look forward to our next event which will take place alongside the Manchester Furniture Show on 11th July. In the meantime do join our LinkedIn Group to keep in the loop with all of the latest network news!”

The networking continues today with Happy Hour from 5:30pm at the entrance to Hall 4 along with the announcement of the winners of the Best Stand awards. So get to the NEC Birmingham before the show closes tomorrow - click here to register! 

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