Loaf - Eight Years of Riding on Laid Back Furniture to Success 

By Furniture UK on August 9, 2016 in Profiles, Uncategorized

 

Description: http://sleeproom.assets.d3r.com/images/hugefeature/1019445-front-of-shack-980x530.jpg

Back in 2013 Loaf came into the radar of analysts and furniture buyers across the UK when it was named the 40th fastest UK Company by the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100. The Online homeware brand had a yearly growth of 81 percent between 2009 and 2012 and impressive sales of about £7.79 million for the 2012/13 financial year.

Loaf was named the fastest growing British home furnishing brand about five years after its launch in December 2008. The company has been positioned by Rapid Growth as the 34th fastest UK growing company as per the 2015 Sunday Times Fast Track 100.  In terms of turnover, Loaf saw a rise from £7.8m to £15.9m in just one year between 2013 and 2014. Loaf's turnover however reached £20m just before 2014 came to an end. The e-tailer has been projected to grow beyond the £100m in the next few years. In the 20-14/2015 financial year, Loaf was able to generate a profit of £27 million.  

The brand

Loaf's growth and popularity is perhaps due to its unique brand of providing people with laid-back furniture to live relaxed, much happier lives. Beyond offering quality items, their old-fashioned classic craftsmanship is obvious considering the furniture made is exactly what most people associate with a laidback relaxing atmosphere. Loaf claims that all its products are created by family-run independent businesses with a bias towards the old school. Load continues to offer design-led furniture, accessories, beds and sofas at the most affordable cost including ventures in tableware, kitchen accessories and office furniture collections.

History

Loaf was founded by Charlie Marshall after taking almost a whole Saturday to purchase a bed. As a result he believed he could make it easier for other shoppers by ensuring the process is speedier, affordable and hassle-free for everyone. Tow years later in 2008 Marshall started Loaf.com after having gone through 187 mattress factories to find the right mattress. After finding very comfortable beds the brand was up and making inroads. Marshall wanted to make the shopping experience really stress-free and thus had all the products tested effectively for customers.

Charlie Marshall had first named the company ‘The Sleep Room' by 2008. Marshall had started by setting up Primal Soup, generally a food manufacturing franchise around late 90s that he co-owned with another business partner. The business had grown to a point of becoming the number one UK fresh soup premium producer with customers such as Selfridges, Caffe Nero. Pizza Express and Pret a Manger to name but a few. In 2005, Marshall let the business go. With the funds raised he was able to provide the £350,000 capital needed to start Loaf. In just three months of life, Loaf had become a profitable company. At the beginning, Sleep Room focus was on bed sales only with about dozen varieties of bed styles and a mattress of only one single type. 

Sleep Room rebranding came around 2012 under a new name ‘Loaf'. One of the reasons for the rebranding was based on the expansion of the product range offered that would now include items related to sleep apart from beds only. The armchairs and sofas launch was widely covered in the Telegraph even as the company indicated its plans to start selling textiles, rugs and lighting.  By 2013, it was clear Loaf would be expanding to provide kitchen furniture as well.

In 2008 when Loaf was launched most people were reeling from the downturn and the financial markets were in chaos; Charlie brought something affordable that people connected with at the time. It was a clear indication that the consumer need for unique furniture with some character that's also affordable than most was there.  

Customer engagement

Loaf claims to keep attracting customers by reducing the cost of items while ensuring the entire process of buying the product from a few clicks on the Loaf site to checking out and receiving the items is very easy, hassle free and fast as possible. The Loaf website has also been changing and evolving constantly ensuring it’s very user-friendly to allow anyone from the youngest to the elderly to use it effectively and easily. As a result of the company's rapid growth, the addition of new product ranges particularly sofas, advertising online and on traditional media as well as direct marketing has seen the company continue to engage more customers and reach more people who need their products.

Investments

In 2014, Loaf was in the hunt for an investor whom the company would have no problem working with when Peter Simon came into the picture. Simon, the Monsoon & Accessorize founder invested an undisclosed amount of money believed to be critical in ensuring the company reaches its goal of growing its turnover to £100 million from the £20 million at the time. Charlie Marshall had indicated his delight in welcoming Peter to Loaf, demonstrating that he shared in the approach and value of the furniture company. Simon’s decades of experience in managing successful and growing retail companies in Britain guaranteed that his input would ensure the UK access to laid-back furniture was assured, including growing the brand into a household company.     

Loaf Shacks

After Peter Simon’s investment in Loaf, Marshall indicated the decision to create around 10 new brick and mortar stores in the next 4 years mostly around London. The first of the Loaf Shack, as referred to by the company, is situated in Battersea, London-an 8000 square feet outlet.  While the company continues to remain predominantly online, the new offline stores were to meet the need for customers to feel, touch and see the product prior to investing their money if they so wanted.

The e-tailer didn't stop its foray offline at Battersea. Loaf will be opening another Loaf Shack in July 15th 2016 around the Notting Hill, London area in the Art Deco premises on the Lancaster Road close to the Portobello Road and Ladbroke Grove station.  As indicated, the laid back furniture company will continue expanding and its goals is to continue opening Loaf Shacks to run alongside the company's popular and main online offering.

Concerning international expansion, Loaf claims to have the idea in the cards and working towards that in the next few years. First, however, they would be concentrating on the enormous UK market-Marshall claims they haven't even got near scratching the surface before spreading their laid-back net globally.           

 

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