Member Feature: Sixty Seconds with Jane Adams
ES helps us grow and keep the faith and the fire in our bellies. By surrounding us with those that have succeeded within their chosen endeavours, we are able to learn from them, and perhaps get perspectives that we wouldn’t get otherwise; please continue to do this in 2020.
We caught up with ES Leading Member, Jane Adams where she told her more about her experience at London Design Festival and how her business is going.
Jane, you’re recently back from London Design Festival, how was it?
As always, it’s been another exciting year at London Design Festival and AUTHOR was delighted to be amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s design scene. We really love going down to London during this creative and fascinating week. From seeing new makers at the forefront of innovative design to reacquainting with old friends at renowned design houses. Excitingly for the first time AUTHOR is to have a presence at Decorex, which is THE trade show for interior designers moved from London Design Week to a stand-alone schedule in early Oct.
How is business going?
The service section of the business for private and residential clients is performing really well however the e-commerce online retail store is proving a much steeper and more challenging mountain to climb. We are a tiny fish operating within the same pond as some huge well-established sharks but are determined that our USP of featuring an edited and carefully curated range of exquisite furniture and interior pieces made solely by artisanal British makers will carry weight with our target customer base. How we present the pieces, AUTHOR’s unique style and curation method, and the fact that we work hand in hand with makers and support them in a hugely transparent manner, celebrating their skills and sharing the stories of their pieces and how they are created, makes us stand out from our competitors. We celebrate the provenance of the pieces, emphasising the importance of the Slow Furniture movement and mindful consumption, in an inclusive and authentic manner. Understanding the value of shopping locally, supporting British designers, makers and manufacturers are gaining more traction across all levels of consumerism. We want everyone to buy less with more consideration, to love furniture for a lifetime and pass them through the generations. However, earnest these hopes and wishes are doesn't mean we can easily be found when searching online courtesy of the Google God.
We have just moved to a new digital marketing team based on their experience with e-commerce, and are going through some recommended web architectural changes and SEO capitalising, prior to us diving into paid digital marketing again. Strategically through lots of trial and error and reflection, we have established that we need to show an awful lot more pieces from many more talented makers, across all product categories, and also have a closer eye on margins. We operate a flexible margin model with our makers, which allows us to feature so many interesting pieces, and will in the long term lead to loyal working relationships and solid collaborations which will give us 'exclusive to' rights; a key differentiator in a busy market place. Our core messaging and our methodology as well as how we source, interact and relate to the many makers will not change, in fact, these stand as a unique differentiator compared to our competition, and since this has been ingrained from the start, our model allows for this symbiotic, empathic, working structure.
Along with this web-based drive, we have also been committed to getting the physical presence of the brand out there to build the trust, the association with high quality that only touch and physical immersion can bring. We have been asked by Skibo Castle's Carnegie Club to show a Travellers Collection in their member's shop, and hope to push this retail opportunity out to other symbiotic establishments. We currently represent 88 makers and feature over 630 products, this is growing weekly.
What do you see as your biggest challenges for the year ahead?
Making a return on investment on website development and digital marketing spend as well as continuing to invest in brand awareness across all social platforms. We have such a small team who are all hugely committed, enthusiastic and passionate; thankfully going above and beyond is for them the norm; they are happy to tackle anything that’s put in front of them and get through the never-ending to-do list. It seems that operating out of our comfort zone is now routine.
How can ES best support you in 2020?
By sharing AUTHOR's message, exposing us to learnings and connecting us with mentors throughout different fields, ES helps us grow and keep the faith and the fire in our bellies. By surrounding us with those that have succeeded within their chosen endeavours, we are able to learn from them, and perhaps get perspectives that we wouldn’t get otherwise; please continue to do this in 2020. ES core value to us comes in the form of people power and the interactions shared, the gaining of wisdom and instilling enthusiasm; much needed when you are a young business that needs to focus on 100 different strands simultaneously.