Comments Off on An Interview With Warner Contracts
How long has Warner Contract Furniture been operating?
I started the company in 2014 so we’re now in our fifth year. Prior to founding Warner Contract Furniture I’d spent seven years building up my knowledge and experience of the commercial furniture industry. I had already got one contract furniture company off the ground in a past employment so I knew the time was right to start up my own company.
How has the company developed over the last five years?
At the start we mostly focused on supplying contract quality commercial furniture to the UK hospitality and leisure trade. But we have evolved into a company that does way more than supply competitively priced furniture and fast delivery.
Warner now offers a complete service from sourcing and recommending furniture through to manufacturing bespoke items, fast delivery and full fit-outs.
We’ve also expanded to supply customers not just within the UK and across Europe but to many places outside the EU, including North America.
It’s also great to know that our focus on providing excellent customer service has paid off and we’re getting more repeat business as a result.
Who else is in your customer support team?
There is a team of five in the office at the moment. We aim to provide the best customer service possible. This means we can help our customers at all stages of the process. We have deep product knowledge so we know what works for different venues.
We’re extremely competitive on price. We’ll better like-for-like quotes and are happy to offer discounts for bulk orders. And we also understand the time constraints our customers have. Every day a cafe, restaurant or bar isn’t open means revenue loss. So we strive hard to deliver fast and never fail to deliver on time
Our standard delivery time is 3 – 5 working days. We can achieve this as most of our stock is held here in the UK. However, rush orders can be handled if customers advise us before placing an order. We have delivered contract furniture in as little as 24 hours from receiving an order – but we do charge extra for express delivery.
How many individual products do you list on your website?
That’s a good question! We’re constantly updating our product listings on the website but right now we have 961 product lines, and if you include the product variations within some of the lines, there’d be around 2,500 individual items.
We love a challenge so if you can’t immediately find anything on our website to suit your needs then let us know – we love a challenge!
How and where do you source contract furniture?
We source from reputable suppliers who manufacture contract quality commercial furniture that fully conform to British Standards requirements for safety, strength and durability.
We also source quite a lot of products in component form and then handle all the assembly ourselves in our factory in Manchester.
All of the commercial furniture listed on our website is covered by a 12-month warranty which covers against any manufacturing defects.
What makes Warner Contract Furniture different?
Well, as I mentioned before, we pride ourselves on our customer service and I think that is one of our key advantages.
Some customers know exactly what they want and will simply put in an order for a known amount of chairs, table bases, and table tops.
But other customers might call us up for some product advice. They’ll talk us through what they’re planning in terms of design for their venue. Some even send us images of interiors they like the look of so we can suggest various furniture options.
We will always go the extra mile to keep our customers happy. We completed a fit-out for a recently which took just 18 hours from us arriving on site to a fully functional cafe. It’s unusual and we wouldn’t want to be doing that every day – but we like to help our customers.
Include quote from Edinburgh client here?
Who are your main customers?
Warner supplies contract furniture for the hospitality and leisure trade. That covers: cafes, restaurants, bistros, bars, clubs, pubs, schools, higher education facilities, churches, sports clubs, activity centres, corporate interiors, hotels and conference venues.
What are your most popular items?
In terms of chairs I would say that our Paris range is up there in terms of popularity. It looks great in retro and industrial design schemes and we sell around a 1,000 items each year. And the range now includes not just the well-known industrial cafe chair but now also a bar stool, as well as high and low stools.
Our Trent dining chair is also consistently popular with cafes and restaurants, together with the Trent Bar Stool. The Trent chair offers comfortable seating with contemporary looks and so suits a wide range of modern interior design schemes.
With table bases, our Forza range is hands down the most popular. It’s such a versatile, stylish and practical product which suits just about any commercial venue, including pubs, clubs, hotels, cafes and restaurants.
The great thing about the Forza range is that is works with around 99% of al the table tops we sell – that’s up to 18 different sizes, including coffee, dining and poseur tables.
Tell us about some of the more unusual sales enquiries you’ve had and how the team dealt with them
Well, here’s one I can talk about. It involves the BBC’s Holby City drama series. Make sure you watch the episode that will be going out around Halloween later this year. We supplied some of our new brass-coated for use in a cafe scene.
What do you think the key trends for commercial furniture will be over the next 12 months?
I think in 2020 we’ll see a continuation of people becoming more aware of issues like sustainability and upcycling. The popularity of vintage, retro and shabby chic interiors is likely to continue.
Colour trends seem to be favouring muted, pastel colours in pale greens, greys and blues. Lighter wood finishes are also becoming popular. And we’re also seeing new products that are made to look old with and ‘distressed’ finishes.
For instance, at first glance our new Brooklyn Outdoor Chairs, and our Manhattan Outdoor Chairs look like they belong indoors. They resemble wooden cottage and spindle-back chairs but they’re made from powder-coated aluminium. They’re stackable and will withstand whatever the British weather brings.
I expect the love for pared-down, mid-century Scandinavian design to also continue in commercial interiors, especially those with wooden spindle legs. Our Shoreditch Wooden Leg Armchair and Hoxton Chair Frame K fit into this category.
What’s new/coming soon from Warners?
We have to be careful not to give away our trade secrets but we are looking to move into a bigger factory with two years which will enable us to keep up with expected demand.
And we are looking into listing some of our bespoke furniture items on our website. Normally, we can supply any of our listed contract furniture items to customers within three to four days of receiving an online order.
However, we’re seeing an increase in requests from customers wanting bespoke furniture items. By its nature, such furniture has to be made to each customer’s unique requirements and delivery is therefore dependent on how much work is involved.
We’re here to help
Warner Contract Furniture is committed to helping you find the best contract furnishing solution for your commercial hospitality or leisure venue.
Standard delivery time is just 3-5 working days as we stock the majority of our range within the UK. We also offer an express service which delivers in just 24 hours.
Call us on 0161 408 2390 or email our sales department email@example.com to get a quote.