A Game-Changing Partnership

Louis Rose, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Sofa Club, talks about how its partnership with Tessa Group came to fruition and why it’s a game-changer for the business.

During December last year, upholstery retailer Sofa Club announced a strategic partnership with Polish sofa manufacturer Tessa Group. This development involved Tessa Group acquiring a significant shareholding in Sofa Club, solidifying a decade-long relationship and unlocking substantial growth opportunities for both companies.

A few months on since the big announcement, we caught up with Louis Rose, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Sofa Club, to find out more about the partnership and what’s in store for the future. “The Tessa Group have manufactured our products for a while. About a year ago, both parties had expressed an interest in investing/being invested in by a supplier.

“Given our existing relationship, we started to discuss a potential partnership and it grew from there. They’ve supported us throughout the years and understand our vision. It’s a perfect fit. The relationship has started well – it is great to have the perspective from further down the supply chain as they have a more macro view of the industry.

“2024 is all about growth – we are refining our offerings and have some great new products in the pipeline which should support our planned growth.”

Founded in 2012 by Louis and Tom O’Neill, Sofa Club has consistently demonstrated impressive growth and has positioned itself as a formidable presence in the UK market. The partnership with Tessa Group, a respected family-run business with over 30 years of industry experience operating from two state-of- the-art factories, MT Kaczmarek and Tessa, marks the start of its next growth phase.

The company is benchmarking an early forecast of revenue growth by around 40% this year. Fuelled by the partnership, this growth will be driven by accelerated product development and innovation, as Louis continued: “We are constantly experimenting with different fabrics, designs, and technologies.

“Having a manufacturer onboard will allow us test and learn more products, with the added perspective of Tessa’s wealth of product knowledge. In terms of plans, we will simply be doing more of what we already do – just more effectively and faster.”

As part of this investment, Tessa Group is currently in the process of building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility spanning an impressive 13,000 square meters. This new facility will be a huge benefit in supporting the growth strategy moving forward, as Louis explains: “Speedy inventory turnover is core to our success.

“The relationship with Tessa will enable us to manufacture, ship and deliver sofas to our customers within a very short timescale. This shorter timescale allows us to adapt to changes in consumer demand quickly and will therefore enable more efficient growth.”

The sentiment of the relationship is shared by Józef Kaczmarek, Founder of Tessa Group, who added: “I’ve had the privilege of witnessing Sofa Club’s incredible journey from its humble beginnings to its current prominence in the industry. Being a part of that growth has been immensely rewarding. Now, as a shareholder in Sofa Club, I am even more delighted to contribute to this exciting brand’s future.”

Sofa Club is also investing heavily in its back-office technologies, which should enable the company to provide a “world class experience” for its customers, as well as other areas of the business. “Our plans are to open warehouse type store in the Northwest over the next year,” Louis revealed.

“Our Hertford showroom has been incredibly successful, and we want to replicate that success in the North of the country, so watch this space!”

In terms of trends, Sofa Club keeps a keen eye on customer behaviour, with Louis seeing a shift towards online. “Customer buying habits seem to be shifting towards an E-Commerce model,” Louis said. “Given that sofas are classed as a big purchase, customers generally like to visit showrooms so that they can touch and feel the products and imagine the products in their homes.

“We are seeing more and more customers are buying online without visiting a showroom. I think that they have the confidence to buy online given our strong Trustpilot reviews, strong social presence, and augmented reality features on our website.”

Back to the partnership, and with a final word from Co-Founder Tom, he emphasized the significant advantages of partnering with a manufacturer. “This partnership is game-changing; we now have an unrivalled end-to-end solution. We can develop sofas quickly, maintain inventory on the shelves, and deliver them to customers with unprecedented speed and convenience. I’m excited for the future!”

www.sofaclub.co.uk

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