In this latest post in the Made in the UK series, I’ve been speaking to John, the Founder and Managing Director of Darlings of Chelsea.
As a reminder, this series is about supporting the economy and British workers, reducing the carbon footprint of goods, supporting traditional skills and craftsmanship, and buying once, but buying better. Darlings of Chelsea is a prime example of a small British business (they are still only 20 employees) who, (with the exception of their European ranges) hand craft the majority of their sofas here in the UK.
1. If you had to describe Darlings of Chelsea in one sentence, what would it be?
We offer quality, unique sofas and beds from super modern to traditional designs – all at an affordable price and mostly made in the UK.
2. How long has the company been going and where are you based?
We’ve been established now for 12 years. We have shops in Birmingham, Fulham, St Albans and Surrey. I am based within an office in the Fulham store.
3. What makes Darlings of Chelsea unique?
Well, in addition to the fact that we hand-craft unique products with special design features, our customers are given their own account manager to take them from the purchase in the store through to delivery in their own home. This has resulted in a Best Business Award and a Brilliant Business Award for our outstanding customer service.
4. Can you describe the selection process for new products?
Each sofa we sell should have a unique point of difference from what you might see in another sofa shop. We call it the Darling Detail. Examples include contrast piping, intricate stitching detailing, wooden plinths, sofa beds that don’t require removing any cushions, and recliners where you can adjust the headrest height as well as the footrest for supreme comfort.
5. Are there any new launches or products on the horizon?
Absolutely. We’re working on a sofa with storage, made to order sofas delivered in 2 weeks, a chaise sofa where you can swap which side the chaise is, and next day delivery sofas.
6. Do you offer any services that your competitors don’t offer?
We carry out access checks if people have tight doors. We can send someone round to measure up before the actual purchase is even made. And if access is very tight we will dismantle a sofa and rebuild it in the home. There aren’t many rooms we can’t get in! We will also take away your old sofa, and we’ll deliver on a Saturday or Sunday.
7. What’s your best-selling product of all time?
That would be telling! The clue is it’s a sofa.
8. What does the future hold for Darlings of Chelsea?
We are planning improvements to the website usability, bigger stores (we have grown out of 2 of our stores and we can’t display enough), more marketing to build the brand, and we’re planning on growing our social presence.
9. What’s the best thing a customer can say about Darlings of Chelsea?
I love my sofa and the service was you gave me was outstanding.
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