Retail Focus with Laura James

Chloe Barrow, Head of Marketing at Laura James, an exclusive own brand manufacturer and retailer, talks about recent investments and why delivery shouldn’t necessarily be free.

About Laura James

We make and retail beautiful home & garden furniture for everyday living and modern-day homes. We build collections that tell inspiring stories with modern design and great quality that remains affordable and always stylish. With the customer at the heart of our business, we work with passion, consideration, and skill to ensure Laura James delivers our products to our people to create beautiful, harmonious homes, made for living. As the Head of Marketing, it is my responsibility to translate all the work by the buyers, merchandisers, and quality team to the customers via all touch points including the website, social media channels and through our photography. The Marketing team includes all e-commerce and creatives, and we link with all areas of the business from customer service to operations to ensure all customer facing channels are delivering the product to the customers on time and in a way that is inspiring, informative, and effortless. 

Recent investments?

Photography is a key investment for the business, ensuring all imagery is planned from product concept through to final shot and the creative team are working with buying and design to ensure that the pieces are translating to the customer to promote healthy sales. We have invested on shoot locations to really elevate the brand and give a ‘real home’ finish, exploring both the UK and European locations.

We are also investing heavily in our people, supporting our employees to upskill and retrain in areas of the business they are interested in developing new careers in. We have also put all of our senior executives on a management course, investing in the people at Laura James to retain staff and ensure their personal growth is nurtured.

Future plans?

We are excited to be exploring new suppliers in new countries, that will ensure the brand continues to grow and service customers old and new with exciting and new products that tick all boxes from trend, quality, style and design. This will include introducing new ranges to the business such as bathroom and lighting in the not-so-distant future.

We have also just launched our 1st 3 vans in our own Laura James delivery fleet. Look out for Aston, Willow and Gloria delivering Laura James products UK wide!

What is your mission?

To work as a team to work together to ensure the business is agile, moving with pace and doing what we say to make things happen. We aim to make sure all Laura James customers get modern and contemporary home and garden furniture & accessories that elevate their homes and allow them to love the space they live in. We make furniture for our customers and be a brand that grows and changes with them over time. Our mission is to make products that are on-trend, aspirational, good quality and affordable for our customers, regardless of spend, lifestyle or identity.

How has recent business been?

We have achieved double digit growth in 2023/24 and are super excited about the future of the business. With new products, growing teams and an investment in all areas of the business, we are super optimistic about Laura James and being a disruptor in the industry.

What would you change in the industry?

People offering free delivery! Delivery effects margin and nothing is for free, we appreciate it’s a nice to have but we feel that delivery is a service and something which needs to be counted for and when its excellent, customers expect to pay.

What challenges do you currently face?

With such a significant growth spell, we have had a surge in recruitment to support the increase in orders and sales. With that comes training to ensure that all the team are aligned on the Laura James values and can deliver the service we offer our customers. Although it is a challenge, it is a good one to have and we are working with some great new recruits to service our customers and ensure we are working as a team.

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

The whole team has really pulled together in the last 12 months, experiencing significant growth which has accelerated the business to new highs. The customer service team have been working exceptionally hard to manage all orders and we are super proud of them as a business that they are going above and beyond to service the growth. The warehouse is also handling so many deliveries and doing an exceptional job of getting the product in and out on time, so we are very grateful for all they do! A huge shout out to our SLT too who are leading the way with exceptional leadership and care to manage their teams super well to achieve the phenomenal growth we’re experiencing to date.

Why do you think customers choose your business?

Customers love Laura James as we offer stylish, modern, and affordable furniture for both the garden and indoors that looks and feels relatable in their homes. We get loads of comments on quality – always superseding their expectations and we can offer contemporary products that are not only functional but also stylish and relatable. Some quotes from our recent brand health check include:

“Absolutely beautiful sideboard! Well described and easy to follow assembly instructions, didn’t take long at all. Great customer service, prompt response to any queries I had.”

“Quality of product is fantastic for the price and communication has been A++ throughout. Shout out to Annabelle for her great customer service.”

“First time ordering. Loved dining chairs and bar stools. Straightforward transaction. Had email with date of delivery. Delivery on time. Great furniture.  Extremely pleased. Highly recommend and will definitely shop here again.”

“The furniture is so lovely and stylish. Excellent furniture and at a low price, it’s such great value for money. Also had exceptional customer service experience!”

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