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Think outside the ‘Furniturebox’ – an interview with Dan Beckles

Furniture and interior design have become an extraordinary trend in the last couple decades, creating a new wave of businesses in this sector. What makes these businesses successful is an entirely different story. 

Monty George and Dan Beckles were just 18 when they decided to pursue their career in business and founded Furniturebox, a Wiltshire based company specialising in great value modern furniture. The business has turned over £1m in the first year of trading and has become a successful online business since then. 

Dan Beckles, director of Furniturebox, has kindly answered some of our questions explaining their strategy and how to build a successful brand.  

1. How did your adventure in the business world start?

Myself and my co-founder, Monty, started Furniturebox after leaving school in 2015. Monty had been selling different items on eBay for quite a few years before we started Furniturebox and had heard that furniture was a great market to get into. Having always had a keen interest in business myself I therefore decided to opt against university and to start up Furniturebox with Monty. 4 years later and we haven’t looked back!

2. Why did you choose Ebay as the first marketplace to use?

We were very fortunate in the fact that due to previous selling on eBay, a large profile and customer feedback portfolio had been built up, so eBay was our obvious first platform to try and sell furniture. On eBay, if you have the right product at the right price you can drive sales, but over time we then also started selling on Amazon, Tesco Direct, Wayfair and created our own website, Furniturebox. 

I believe for any small businesses starting out platforms such as eBay and Amazon offer huge advantages and benefits. 

3. What were the first steps in finding the right manufacturer for your inventory? 

A hugely important step in finding the right manufacturer is to ensure that your manufacturer is reliable and trustworthy. For us it was vitally important to find a supplier that had been running for many years, had verified reviews and has previously supplied the UK market. Another important consideration is not to always go for the cheapest supplier: correct balance between quality and price is fundamental for the e-commerce world. 

4. What were the biggest challenges you had to face when starting the business? 

Starting up a business when you are young inevitably throws up a few challenges. One of the initial challenges was that we did not have a large loan accessible and therefore initial growth was slow as we could not afford to buy large quantities because we had to wait until we had sold stock before we could then order more. Another challenge we faced, along with almost all other start-ups, is the lack of experience and having to learn and practice every aspect of the business daily. Neither of us had experience relating to furniture and how to sell furniture and this made initial decisions much harder as we had no mentor to seek advice from. 

These challenges also proved to be beneficial as we learnt how to be careful in the products we were purchasing, and we found the most productive ways to work and learn from mistakes. 

5. What are the top 3 tips you would give to new business owners in order to be successful?  

The first top tip would be to push yourself to work as hard as you possibly can and be highly motivated. When starting up, you must work tirelessly for your business to grow and have success. 

My second tip would be to re-invest as much as you can. At the beginning, you often have limited funds and the more you can re-invest the quicker your business can grow. It is important to remove any unnecessary expenses wherever possible.

My final tip would be to try and find a business partner who is equally as driven and motivated as yourself. This does not work for all businesses however for ours having two business partners has been invaluable. It has enabled us to grow twice as fast and allowed us to have more ideas to discuss and more solutions to any problem we had. 

6. Can you list 5 essential elements that will contribute to building a successful brand

Customer satisfaction - This is vital. If you want to build a successful brand you must ensure customers are happy with both your products and service. If customers see that previous customers were happy with your order and service, they are far more likely to trust and buy from you. 

Keeping up to date - You must ensure that you are up to date with modern trends and you do not fall behind. This way your brand always appeals to more people and to different audiences.

Constantly improve - It is very important that you are constantly improving your business to make the user experience better than your competitors. Make sure you are the best in your field.

Social media - In this modern era social media plays a huge role in building and maintaining a successful brand. It is important to interact with your customers on social media and to post updates about your brand to keep followers up to date.

Sell, sell and sell - Your customer cannot experience your wonderful product or service if they haven’t bought your items. Selling will allow your customers to experience your brand qualities leading to further brand success and trust.

At the White Label World Expo, visitors will be able to listen to industry defining leaders sharing tips, tricks and advice on how to steal a march on the competition and how to create a successful business. 

Find out more about our line-up of speakers and our exhibitors, with their innovative range of products.   

Don’t forget to register for free tickets at the top of the page. 

And thank you Dan for this interview! 

For exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities please contact Nick Woore on 0117 929 6099 or email nick.woore@prysmgroup.co.uk