Big Interview with Nick Williams

Nick Williams, Sales Manager at bed manufacturer Sweet Dreams, talks about his day-to-day role, why he loves the bed industry, what he has high hopes for in terms of product innovation and why his office desk is his pride and joy.

Let’s start with you. Can you share a bit about yourself and your background?

Been in the industry for over 20 years originally working with American flatpack office furniture manufacturers and importing some of the first home office desking to be sold via a home delivery service. a bit of a pioneer in some ways! I have had various roles in the industry from key management roles, consultancy and agency positions.

Prior to the furniture industry I worked in accountancy software. my career started as a trainee manager for Sainsburys in London!

What is your current job role and key responsibilities?

I am the national sales manager for Sweet Dreams, responsible for 10 agents covering the whole of the UK & Irelands trade accounts. this involves helping them achieve sales targets and business development.

I also manage several national key accounts and am responsible for achieving sales targets, product development, key account management.

I joined Sweet Dreams in June 2013 with my marketing hat on, I am a member of the NBF marketing committee which I find rewarding and interesting having a pulse on the bed industry

What do you love about your job?

quite simply, it’s the people. the bed industry is all about relationships with your customers, your peers, your agents and yes even your competitors!

What time is your alarm clock set for?

I’m coming on 63 now and have not had to set an alarm for over 10 years ! Naturally an early bird i like to clear my email in box (bordering on obsessive) before the start of play which gives me wiggle room to react to the coming day’s events.

Why did you choose to work in the furnishing industry?

Like a lot of people, I fell into the industry after commissioning accountancy systems into a large US manufacturer here in the UK. I helped them out with a sales role for Europe, did ok and the rest is history!

Who do you most admire in the industry and why?

I can honestly say it would be the CEO of my company, Riaz Ahmed of Sweet Dreams. His integrity, humility and empathy shine brightly in a very vibrant and competitive marketplace. He always says we must do the right thing.

Have there been any special moments during your career?

That’s a tricky one as there have been many and not all business related! I would say the best was having lunch in Gum in Red Square with one my Russian distributors of office furniture- amazing! Also being at ground zero in the October after 9-11. Recently it would be taking up my roles with Sweet Dreams in 2013.

What is your favourite item of furniture you own and why?

It would be my 15 foot home office desk! Gives me room to spread out!

What do you think is trending within the industry at present?

Clearly the sustainable eco-recycle message is becoming more and more mainstream, all the known brands are working to add this to their ranges. This year we are introducing Landmark, our own sustainable range, which was officially launched at the recent Bed Show in September. We have high hopes for this.

What would you change in the industry?

Not a huge amount to be honest, although I think, as an industry, we could look to ensure there are less “rogue traders”.

Can you share an insight into your future plans?

I’m not ready to retire yet! I’m enjoying my role at Sweet Dreams, its challenging and exciting. Much better than gardening or walking the dog!

What do you enjoy most outside of work / free time?

For my sins I’m a Wolves season ticket holder so you will see me at Molyneux on a regular basis, I play cricket for Worcestershire over 60’s and I am also chairman of my cricket club.

What might someone not know about you?

We own a campervan and we love scooting off some weekends.

If you had a different career, what would it be?

I always wanted to be an MP. Seriously!

Finally, if you were an item of furniture, what would it be and why?

I would be a Chesterfield arm chair, classic looks, traditional and built to last.

Five Fun qs:

If you could hack into any one computer, whose computer would you choose and why?

It would have to Boris Johnson – would be the best book ever written.

What fact amazes you every time you think of it?

The capability of kindness and forgiveness of the human race.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

Bid and won two VIP tickets for over £1000 for Ed Sheeran at Wembley. I don’t like him!

What is the most important object you own and why?

My sanity in an increasingly difficult and troubled world.

What did you think was cool when you were young but isn’t cool now?

Crisps- they were a luxury item back in the day but now they’re a no, no!

For more on Sweet Dreams, visit the Big Furniture Show.

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