Published on : Thursday, December 19, 2013
The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) is a trade association that represents the interests of the British furniture industry, and has been doing so for more than 60 years. The BFM is run by members for our members and the wider industry, covering everything from manufacturing companies in all sectors of the furniture industry to our associate members including suppliers, retailers and ancillary companies to the trade.
By being a member of the BFM companies are distinguishing themselves as being British. To enhance this and advertise British made furniture more effectively, several years ago, the BFM created the Great British Furniture (GBF) Campaign. It was designed to increase the awareness of the key factors that makes British made furniture great in the eyes of the consumer, retailers and the wider international audience. Over recent years this campaign has continued to grow, now including many manufacturers and independent and multiple retailers. Membership has rapidly grown within the last year as the BFM have shifted the focus to individual companies own promotional marketing strategies. Combining this with support from the BFM will help to further the success of individual companies and the campaign as a whole.
With British made furniture proving so popular through this campaign and many members having requests from overseas buyers, the BFM has more recently started to focus on exports. Having exhibited member’s products at international trade shows for a number of years the BFM is looking to ensure members have the opportunity to export their products through the help of overseas agents.
In July the MD, Jackie Bazeley and Vice Chairman, Matt O’Flynn went out to China and met with the Shenzhen Furniture Trade Association, the Chinese and British Business Council, retailers, designers and agents to agree a way forward for the BFM to support members to export to China.
The BFM is not only working to forge links in China but we are also looking to secure contacts in markets such as France and the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and eventually the USA to ensure that our members can make the most out of exporting their products. The BFM already has already established a successful export initiative in Russia, in partnership with Russianality (Oxford Marketing).
Along with helping members establish contacts the BFM provide other areas of support for exports. This includes the export portal available to members. The portal is designed to consolidate all the available information from the internet into one simple directory where information can easily be found. This includes information on foreign exchange and advice on commercial agents.
Another area that the BFM have been focusing on is developing seminars for our members and the wider industry to attend. These seminars are designed to cover a variety of topics that are becoming increasingly important for businesses to be aware of, the recent topics including the changes to compulsory pension schemes and in October there will be a whole seminar covering recent and imminent regulatory changes. These seminars provide companies with access to professionals with extensive knowledge in each specific subject area.
Moving forward, with large amounts of new members signing up in 2013, the BFM aims to continue to meet the ever changing needs of its members and the furniture industry as a whole and therefore raising its profile further.