I was born in Yorkshire and began my career with a kitchen design business in Bradford. It developed quickly, but the client base was primarily in London and I re-located there in 1994, setting up a showroom in Primrose Hill, North London. This was a hugely enjoyable and successful period during which I developed an outstanding portfolio of clients. However, after ten years in London, I decided to return to Yorkshire - something I had often talked about with my wife and where we wanted to raise our children.
I returned to live in the North Yorkshire area of Summerbridge in 2003 and set up a showroom, renting a space in my brother's furniture design business factory located in an old mill. This provided me with a development period to consider how I wanted to move forward.
I began my partnership with Effeti Cucine, the innovative and timeless Italian kitchen brand and realised this setting was not the ideal environment to showcase their kitchens. Also, after four years I wanted to have my own place again.
Finding the right cost effective location and appropriate environment for showcasing Effeti and associated high-end brands - where I would also attract the right client base.
I considered a number of different showrooms which were in key high street locations in Harrogate and Ilkley. These are centres which would in theory work perfectly in terms of potential clients, but were extremely expensive.
The timing of wanting to move coincided with the start of the credit crunch and as well as needing to keep rental costs down, I knew I would need to spend more time on marketing and gaining contacts for the business. This helped to counter-balance the benefits of being located on the high street. If I marketed correctly to clients, they would come and find me wherever I was.
Our showroom in Blubberhouses caught my eye initially because of its idyllic location - looking out over many miles of moorlands every day is breathtaking. However, onto practicalities... the costs were considerably less, parking is plentiful and we are near a high quality restaurant where customers often visit us at lunchtimes. Deliveries are also easy.
There are also advantages which have arisen that I had not anticipated, such as the fact the showroom has no windows. This gives more display space and is easier to light and keep warm.
I have also found that when we get enquiries and potential clients visiting, they tend to be mostly genuine and lead to positive results.
Thinking creatively about location and not heading straight for the high street has kept my business developing in what turned from a credit crunch into a recession.
My key lesson has become my top tip, see above!
I have also learnt not to invest large amounts of money in marketing and PR but to get the message out through contacts, word of mouth by clients and keeping a dialogue with and updating the media regularly on business developments.
Find out more about Michael Wright Furniture
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