Q&A with Chris Howard at FlexFurn
I always like getting out and speaking to interesting and innovative companies, and on this occasion, it was the turn of Belgian furniture heavyweights FlexFurn. FlexFurn provide a range of bespoke furniture that is ideal for both festivals and hospitality venues:
Tell me about FlexFurn…
FlexFurn has been selling and producing foldable and stackable furniture for the events and hospitality sector for 20 years. For years, FlexFurn was known in the UK as Lamata Contract Furniture and as Europa2000 in the rest of Europe. Since 2013, however, both companies have merged into FlexFurn. There´s a UK office and a central warehouse and assembly facility in Belgium, from where customers all over Europe and beyond are serviced. At FlexFurn, we pride ourselves in our original designs and excellent customer service.
What is your role within the company?
I’m the UK National Account Manager, which means I manage all of FlexFurn’s UK customers. We sell through two channels. Firstly dealers, who sell on to the end users; and secondly event and hire who buy our furniture to hire out. I’m responsible for expanding our dealer network within the UK, and helping our dealers achieve a growth in product sales. I’d also say I’m a support function to our dealers should they need any support on projects where our products are involved.
Why should a hospitality event/venue use FlexFurn?
In a word: design! Our X-design range, which is designed in-house, not only looks stunning, every product is designed for flexibility and function. We also supply in-house designed ancillary products to make this furniture work in a multitude of settings. Whether you’re a venue that needs to stage a room quickly and efficiently or a hire business where space is a premium, we have beautiful pieces for your needs. We stock a broad range of top quality, classic stacking and folding furniture e.g. trestle tables and stack/folding chairs, covering all bases and budgets.
Which is your favourite product that FlexFurn provide?
The flow range is my favourite and only released this year. You can use it anywhere as it folds fully flat, it’s aluminium powder coated so a hard-wearing product perfect for indoor and out, and you can change the tops to suit any occasion.
Can you give an example of a really tough job that you were given, and how you overcame the problems to make it a success?
We were asked to supply 1,000 branded stack chairs where our customers embroidered logo needed to sit dead centre of the seat back. We had a tight time scale for delivery (As ever) and after several test samples, where the logo didn’t sit right or cause sagging on the seat back, we managed to get the finished products delivered on time.
Are there any particular jobs that spring to mind as being particularly impressive?
We worked very closely on a contract to supply 19,000 folding chairs in 2016 on a short timescale for delivery. The chairs were to be used across 6 separate events through the UK. Although at the time of tender we were a little more expensive, we were chosen due to the customer support set up and guarantee that we offer. In this we had fault with 0.01% of the chairs supplied!
What does the future hold for FlexFurn?
Innovation. We are constantly looking at trends and designing new functional products. Our X-design range is where our main push is focused as these are exclusive designs to us. We will always stock the classic trestle tables and banqueting chairs, but we feel adding to the X-design range gives our customers the opportunity to own something truly unique and help them make their event/venue stand out.