Courage is key at Sofas & Stuff

Andrew Cussins, Founder and CEO at Sofas & Stuff, talks about the launch of their new Chelsea showroom, why the V&A partnership is one close to his heart and how heritage designs are still a firm favourite.

This month marks the official launch of Sofas & Stuff’s new Chelsea showroom, an opening that is a “natural progression” as the company continues to expand.

Situated on Kings Road in the heart of Chelsea, London, the new showroom plays host to their latest collection, Threads of India in partnership with V&A, a tribute to India’s timeless textiles and their enduring global influence. But more on this a bit later.

Reflecting on the latest launch, Andrew Cussins, Founder and CEO at Sofas & Stuff, said: “The choice of Chelsea’s King’s Road for our new showroom was a natural progression. The area is steeped in cultural and design heritage and aligns with our passion for expressive interior design. I have owned a retail space on the Kings Road before with Sofa Workshop. I very quickly realised however, that the footfall at that location was 25% less than the shops located in middle of the Kings Road.

“I have always wanted a showroom on the Kings Road located where we are now, right in the middle!  I jumped at the opportunity when the new site became available. The launch has involved meticulous planning, of course, and we have poured a great deal of energy into creating a showroom that reflects our commitment to a pleasurable and immersive shopping experience.

“It will also be an exciting hub for interior designers and other trade customers, with a dedicated Trade Manager to assist with their specific needs.”

The new showroom marks a significant milestone for the family-owned business, with the Sofas & Stuff story beginning back in 2009 when Andrew and his father, Manny, noticed a gap in the market for bespoke, handmade British sofas and beds.

“Our involvement in the furniture industry spans three generations, starting with my father, Manny Cussins, who took charge of a small shop in Hull before World War II,” Andrew reflected. “I joined my father working as his apprentice and then in 1985, I set up Sofa Workshop. The Sofas & Stuff story then followed in 2009.

“The furniture industry holds a profound place in our family, and I take real joy in two of our sons carrying forward this legacy as Directors of the company. Their fresh perspectives and long view of the business inject vitality into our company, enabling us to thrive.”

Alongside fresh visions mixed with a rich history of furnishing industry knowledge, Sofas & Stuff has continued to invest in both products and processes. The business, which is a retailer and manufacturer of bespoke furniture, opened its factory over a year ago and has remained a key focus moving forward.

“Our focus for the year ahead is our factory, which we opened in Preston 18 months ago. Sofas & Stuff is more than a retailer of furniture; we are a retailer that manufactures, which is a very significant point of difference, and something that we are investing a great deal of time and resource into, making our services as seamless as possible for our customers,” Andrew explained.

Another point of investment as mentioned earlier, is in products and also partnerships. The launch of the Chelsea showroom complements their new collection in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum.

“The V&A partnership is a relationship that is incredibly close to our heart,” Andrew continued. “They have an unrivalled archive of textiles from around the world. I couldn’t think of a more inspirational establishment to collaborate with than the V&A. They are a constant source of inspiration.

“Our collaborative relationship reflects our immense curiosity about design, past and present, and connects with a similar passion felt by many of our customers. Our Threads of India collection is the third fabric collection created in collaboration with the V&A. Six fabric designs have been created, drawing upon the magnificent array of South Asian objects housed in the museum. Each design reveals a different aspect of India’s artistic legacy, allowing people to infuse history into their contemporary living spaces.”

In keeping with designs, Andrew also revealed that heritage patterns are growing in demand, while more “courage” is needed within the furniture space to help inspire the consumer. “We are seeing a growing interest in heritage patterns and fabric designs that are rooted in history yet still are relevant in the modern home. People are fascinated by authentic detail and character. Our Threads of India collection, with its blend of historical inspiration and contemporary designs, perfectly illustrates this trend.

“There also needs to be a lot more courage in the furniture industry. I regularly visit other furniture shops and see that their designs are playing safe. How can you inspire people without being brave? As furniture retailers, we need to carve out our own nook. We do this by doing something different, being brave and claiming our own identity so that we’re not all selling the same thing.”

Not resting there, Sofas & Stuff has already earmarked a number of potential sites for new stores in the UK, although Andrew couldn’t share where at this stage. “There are about 10 sites in the UK that we are interested in. We are always looking for the right opportunities for Sofas & Stuff.”

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