We’re just a couple of months and a week away from 2017, and more and more retailers will be turning their attention to New Year’s collection, embracing new trends. I had the opportunity to speak to Michael Burke, CEO and founder of furniture retailer Zurleys, finding out a little more about how they interpret trends, and make sure the stock they have will match up to demand.
How did Zurleys come about? What is your background?
While I was at University I became interested in interior designs as well as online marketing/web design. Studying business at Huddersfield University, I have always been quite entrepreneurial. I wanted to get into e-commerce which led me to learn web design and online marketing in my own time while not at University. With my love for design and furniture I came up with the idea of Zurleys and spent half of my time at University and the other half focusing on building up Zurleys to progress further once I graduated.
How do you determine which products you should stock?
The idea from the start has always been to offer quality furniture – affordable but not ‘cheap’ – we now offer a larger range of furniture and lighting but our core is quality durable furniture. Our funky and retro style furniture is very popular as well as industrial style and mirrored furniture (lots of beautiful Art Deco looking pieces). We always work very closely with suppliers and also use a lot of UK suppliers to collaborate on the range of products we offer at Zurleys.
What have been your most popular products this year? Do they correlate to trends, or are there some products which are always popular?
Mirrored furniture is always popular but I don’t think we could have imagined the demand for industrial, copper and Scandinavian styles. Our Scandinavian style furniture is very popular and surpassed other very popular ranges – with winter approaching, the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ is everywhere as is the demand for Scandi style pieces. We did anticipate copper furniture and lighting would do well in 2016 but demand has exceeded expectation!
What are your trend predictions for 2017?
I think industrial style furniture will continue to do well and I think mirrored furniture will do too. I think glass furniture in general will continue to be ever present – its versatile (works with any colour scheme) and gives the impression of more space in a room. At the start of the 2017 I would expect Scandinavian style to continue in popularity. As the year progresses I’m expecting to see more of will be ‘Geometry’ – angular shapes and patterns, a little bit retro and a little bit Art Deco.
Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to start out in retail?
I would always say do your research and know your audience. Understand what people want from your brand and that you can offer something different.
If you are looking at getting into e-commerce make sure your website/system is the best it can be. I’ve seen time and time again businesses not succeed or have customer retention problems because of flaws/errors on their website/system.