From Winsor to Qualita

Published on: April 7, 2022

Industry veteran David Turner worked as Winsor Furniture’s North of England agent for 12 years, and is now looking forward to re-engaging stockists with Winsor by Qualita’s version of the popular Stockholm range …

What’s your industry background, and role in the business?

I have been in the furniture trade for 42 years, 12 of them as a sales agent for Winsor Furniture. I’ve worked closely with Mark Devany on the design and sourcing of new ranges, and their marketing and distribution.

How do you feel about Qualita being Stockholm’s new ‘parent’ (see related)?

I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to work with Qualita, who already have some successful high-end, design-led products in UK stockists. With the current turbulence in sourcing products from the Far East, this is a good opportunity to move this bestselling range to Qualita in Lithuania.

What makes Stockholm so popular?

The main attributes of Stockholm are its compact sizes, the great choice and number of products available within it, and its design features, which are seen as contemporary, but easy to live with.

Winsor products have always showcased good attention to detail, such as matching veneers on sideboards and dining tables, and tables that are easy and simple to extend with butterfly extension leaves, with runners set in their feet to assist in moving them. Salespeople in the stores love talking to their customers about details such as these.

As I’ve already said, the design is seen as contemporary, but it does appeal strongly to an older customer as a safe, long-term purchase that is stylish but, to their minds, will not age quickly.

What are stockists telling you about its relevance and appeal today?

If anything, the popularity of the range was actually still growing last year, so I believe that the trade will welcome its reintroduction at the NEC. Customers are still asking for the product in stores, and salespeople are keen for it to return, as it was a relatively easy range to sell.

How do you feel they will respond to any changes to its engineering/price/distribution now it’s made by Qualita?

I believe that my customers who already deal with Qualita will have no reservations about the engineering of the range –especially if we tell them about the modern manufacturing processes, compared to those utilised in the Far East.

It will be important to offer a stable lead time – if we could achieve 8-10 weeks on an ongoing basis, that would be most helpful. Obviously, pricing will be important, but with everything in people’s lives increasing in cost at the moment, we have some leeway in setting prices.

How have you helped maintain stockist relations, given the difficulties in securing continuity?

It has obviously been a difficult time for our trade customers, having been let down twice on new sourcing of the Stockholm range, once from Vietnam and once from Lithuania. However, they have mostly been very understanding of the predicament that Winsor found themselves in, as the company have always had an excellent reputation for customer service, as well as keeping their ranges exclusive to retailers in the quality end of the trade, and not saturating the market.

Immediately following our initial approach to Qualita through Matt Casson, I felt that they would be the best partner to continue the supply and future development of Stockholm, and other ranges. I think it will be advantageous for us that we have the continuity of our well-established team of sales agents, plus Mark, who started the company in 1989.

If you could take any other existing Winsor range forward with Qualita, which would you choose?

I think we should relaunch Stockholm bedroom, along with some of the Alta occasional pieces and feature shelf unit. Haven has always worked well for me, but it has already been redeveloped three times since it’ original launch as the Ocaso range, so it may be difficult to sell back into retailers again.

What do you have lined up for the January Furniture Show?

I’m currently seeing all of my previous Stockholm customers to encourage them to visit us on the Qualita stand (1-D40) at the January Furniture Show this month (24-27th April). These are going to be exciting times, and I’m looking forward to seeing the range back on the floor in stores across the UK.