A SOFA company is looking to sell one of its most iconic product lines to China and open a trendy London store as it targets sales in excess of £1m in 2013.
Gateshead-based The Original Sofa Company has announced 74% growth over the last financial year, arguably thanks to the success of relocation in August 2012 and the launch of its new website.
A £400,000 turnover for 2012 was up from £230,000 in 2011, and for the first time in the company’s 10-year-history, over £100,000 was credited for the last quarter.
Exported furniture accounted for 30% of January sales in 2012 which was up a further 10% for January 2013. Specialising in traditionally- styled Chesterfield sofas, the business relocated from five industrial units at Houghton-le-Spring to a 6,000 sqft premises comprising 2,000 sqft showroom and adjoining 4,000 sqft workshop at Team Valley Retail Park.
Company director David Robinson said: “The response has been phenomenal. We’ve welcomed customers into the new showroom from as far as Hong Kong and it’s been overwhelming.
“Because our clients can now see the workshop and the craftsmanship that goes into their sofa, everything done by hand, it offers a real one-to-one, be-spoke customer experience.
“We’re looking at opening a London showroom as part of our much larger growth plans this year. We need an outside hub to work from and it’s important to get the right location.
“Our largest overseas market is North America, with sales generating from New York and Los Angeles. However, we’ve been receiving a lot of interest from China and with it’s growing economy at present, that is definitely an area we’d like to investigate further.”
Robinson admits that it was a risk expanding the company in such a way during a recession, but puts the success down to the continued popularity of the historic furniture.
“The Chesterfield is iconic,” he said. “It has been around for hundreds of years and to our knowledge we’re one of the last companies left that still makes the sofas exactly as they were made in the 18th Century.
“Of course it’s a difficult climate that we’re in, but these sofas have battled through the industrial revolution and world wars so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t prevail in the 21st Century.
“As well as a showroom in London, we are also investigating retail connections in department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods.
“Subject to finding and securing the correct premises in the correct location in London then I would expect us to be comfortably turning over well in excess of £1m by the end of 2013.”