Retail Focus with Feather & Black

Steve Payne, Head of Feather & Black – part of the Dreams group, talks about how the brand continues to grow, future product expansion plans and why customer support is key.

Meet Steve

I am responsible for managing and improving the overall performance of Feather & Black, including brand strategy, operational activities and partnerships to secure our success in the furniture and furnishings market.

Recent investments?

Since acquiring the brand, Dreams has put significant investment into enabling us to have a bricks and mortar presence. Today there are eight Feather & Black concessions across the Dreams store estate.

To meet our customers’ ever-changing needs, we continuously invest in the brand, both in our diverse range of products, and in terms of the technology we use to serve them, whether online or in-store.

Using current data, insight and a keen understanding of consumer trends, we invest in high quality materials and introduce new ranges that we know our customers will love.

Our buyers have a good understanding of who our customer is, introducing trend-led collections such as the Charlotte, and the Jacob. Both add something new and innovative to our classic and very popular collections such as Sienna, and the Oliver Bed, a long-standing favourite and repeat best-seller.

When it comes to customer service, our people are our biggest asset. In-store, our retail colleagues are as passionate about our range as I am, they are fully armed with every inch of detail about the collections they sell and are dedicated to offering exceptional customer satisfaction.

Online, ensuring the user journey is as slick and simple as possible for our customers is crucial. Our offers are clearly defined, but very much in the style of the Feather & Black brand, presented in a discerning way. We aim to make every part of the choosing, ordering and delivery process as easy as possible. For example, customers are able to rearrange their delivery very swiftly on our website, at no extra cost.

We offer customers instant support using the latest and most trusted customer support software and extensive support with a team of customer service representatives based in our head office in Buckinghamshire.

Future plans?

We’re continually updating the collection with new and distinctive ranges and pride ourselves on having unique products that set our brand apart from other furniture retailers, online or on the high street. We are also keen to explore new channels and innovative methods to market our beautiful products to a wider customer base.

Our most recent partnership with Next Plc, where we have joined forces to offer a curated collection for Next shoppers, has proven to be a great success already. This was a landmark move for the business, and we’re excited to see how this partnership continues to flourish.

What is your mission?

Our mission is to expand our product offering beyond the bedroom and grow the range into a wider furniture collection. You only have to look on social media to see an increasing number of décor enthusiasts looking to make their homes both comfortable and stylish with the latest trends. We want to support this with our beautiful product ranges that are built to last. There’s nothing quite like seeing a piece or a collection, being celebrated either on social media or in the media.

On sustainability, what is your business doing on this topic?

Like many brands, we too are committed to becoming a more sustainable business. As part of the wider Dreams Group, in 2023 we achieved eight consecutive years of sending no waste to landfill and recycled 83% of all our plastic packaging, but we know there is more we can do.

In 2024 and beyond we will continue to make inroads with our partners to do the right thing for our planet, our customers, and our colleagues.

How has recent business been?

We are operating in challenging times. The cost-of-living crisis continues to impact how we live, but we’re finding people still want to shop, perhaps buying fewer but higher quality pieces. Customers are also shopping in a more strategic and savvy way, taking advantage of seasonal offers. As a business, we are doing everything we can to support customers with compelling offers, attractive payment terms and offering interest-free credit on purchases.

What challenges do you currently face and how are you overcoming these?

As a niche brand, we are up against brands that can be on TV several times a year, and invest heavily in marketing.

We know the quality and style of our products stand out, so we use our expertise to be strategic about the marketing channels we choose to reach customers. Having a good grasp of our customer DNA means we can be dynamic, agile and reactive when necessary.

Do you have any staff you would like to pay special thanks or recognition to and why?

There are too many members of the team to individually recognise for their efforts, because at Feather & Black, every member, right through every stage of the customer journey, plays a vital role and is hugely valued. I am lucky to work with such a supportive, and closely connected team, that all have the same passion for the brand.

Why do you think customers choose your business?

We are a product and people-first business. We are hugely passionate about both, providing the best quality, unique products and exceptional customer service, including consistent 5-star reviews via Trustpilot.  From the point of purchase, we care for our customers, with clear and concise communication right until their product is delivered, be that via phone, email or text.

From offering convenient dates to calling on the day of delivery to check everything is okay to receive their purchase. Our drivers don’t just deliver the product, they take the item to the designated room and can even support with assembly if needed.

We believe these elements are vitally important for our customers, to ensure they have the best experience possible, doing everything within our power to prevent customer disappointment and be proactive should they arise.

We truly believe the experience of owning a piece of Feather & Black furniture should be perfect, from the very start of their journey with us.

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