Access chats to three furniture suppliers to discover what’s evolving in the sector

What does your company do?

Stacey Pates, business director, hire it (SP):

Hire it is an event furniture hire company, offering a break from the norm. Hire it evolved out of Wonderland Agency to fill a need for inventive, high quality event furniture at affordable prices. We believe our industry expertise, creative-led approach and superior service will ensure your event stands out from the crowd. Our furniture is fresh and contemporary and more in line with what event producers would like to see available on the market.

Richard Jarvill, managing director, JMT (RJ):

JMT provides high quality furniture, floor coverings and superior service for events, exhibitions and conferences in both the UK and Europe.

Charlotte Brandon, Chair Hire (CB):

We realise that the best way to do business and grow relationships with customers is to offer bespoke
and personal services. Too often in our sector, people assume price wins, but we are proud of the relationships we have with our clients. We invest in new products to target the events and exhibition industry. Building partnerships with major venues and exhibition centres across the country is also key, as well as being bold.

What events do you supply for?

RJ: Recently we have worked with the London Bridal Show, Formula 1 and have also previously worked on the Rugby World Cup.
SP: Anything from a photoshoot, to a press day, to a huge conference. Our client base is extremely diverse, which keeps it fun.

CB: We supply for exhibitions and events, as well as TV and film production companies, conferences and private functions.

What is your main responsibility before and during an event?
RJ: Before an event takes place, our main responsibility is to help our clients choose the right furniture and floor coverings that fits their needs, ambience and the space best.

CB: Gaining enquires through Google, cold calling, social media sites and networking. We are the initial point of enquiry, so that’s any quotations including correct products and services.

SP: We pride ourselves on our creative input into every event. Our mood boards help clients to visualise the overall aesthetic and have helped gain business for us over the past year. We do not simply drop our furniture and then go. We send a stylist where necessary to help arrange the furniture and props so they look their very best.

What is the largest scale job you have worked on?
RJ: In-Cosmetics. We have been supplying to this show for many years, both in the UK and in Europe.

SP: We covered the Adobe Summit EMEA, which is Europe’s largest digital marketing conference.

CB: We’ve worked on the NATO Summit, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup and other events at Battersea Park and ExCeL London.

Are there challenges that your sector faces regularly?
SP: Damage to stock, keeping up to date with furniture trends and budget cuts.

RJ: We have also noticed that the line between event and exhibition seems to be blending. Therefore it is becoming harder to identify where the line is.

How has your sector changed over the last couple of years?
RJ: There is a higher demand for better quality furniture and it is much more design-led.

SP: There is an increasing demand for something a bit different. Producers want cutting edge designs at affordable prices. Corporates in particular want to spice up their conferences and create more engaging and inspiring spaces.

CB: New ideas and products in the sector have to match the ever-changing event market. Technology is taking over and as much as we are keeping up with the times, we also understand the importance of face-to-face conversations, and good personal and business relationships where both parties work in unison.

What does your company do to be more eco-friendly?
RJ: We are focused on lowering our carbon footprint as much as possible. Our eco-friendly Euro6 vehicles are not only more fuel-efficient, but also have much lower emissions. Recycling all of our cardboard and plastic waste, and using our own compactor in our warehouse helps make it easier to engage with local collection businesses to ethically recycle our waste, further reducing our carbon footprint.

SP: We donate tired furniture to charity and local schools, and use recycled wood where we can when building bars and furniture. For example, the recent bars we built for Twitter were all recycled wood. We are reducing our carbon footprint by trying to coordinate deliveries in the most effcient way possible.

What do you wish organisers knew about your sector?
SP: The prep time involved. We have been analysing our efficiency lately and found that we spend 45 per cent of our time prepping the stock before and after the events. Maintenance of stock is one of our biggest and most expensive challenges to date. We want every piece to go out in perfect condition.
RJ: The ability to react to extremely last-minute to changes and short lead times is very hard to manage.