Independent Shop of the Year 2014
Start-up name: Seriously Sofas
Founder: Ruth Jones, 49, Andrew Jones, 52
Started in: 2011
Based in: Kingston upon Thames
Business description: Upholstery retail and trade specialists
Made in Britain, showcased in Kingston, sold in Europe and across the world. Seriously Sofas is one seriously impressive independent shop.
So it’s fitting the furniture business started by husband and wife team Andrew and Ruth Jones, triumphed as the inaugural Independent Shop of the Year winner at the 2014 Startups Awards.
To beat Cocoba, a chocolate-themed café successfully operating out of Bluewater shopping centre, and multi-million pound revenue business The iOutlet, which has two walk-in shops in Plymouth and re-sells thousands of iPhones in over 40 countries via eBay, was no mean feat.
But keeping up with the Jones’ is never easy for anyone! With a combined 30 years’ retailing experience, including 10 years at Harrods and the rest managing upholstery manufacturers and retails, it’s fair to say the judges loved this business.
Early success led to the company taking up a larger showroom for its hand-crafted, British-made and affordable furniture.
And since launch in 2011, Seriously Sofas has begun selling to customers as far afield as the US, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and Kazakhstan.
The Jones’ experience of and relationships with independent upholsterers has ensured that every piece can be customised according to the customers’ fabric wishes and made-to-measure to fit a space.
This level of customer service – a huge USP – along with rapid revenue growth, use of domestic independent suppliers, and the launch of contemporary products in compact designs to fit demand for apartment living, meant that in the judges’ eyes there could only be one winner. Their record to date? Sofa, so good!