Co-founder and co-creative director, Bobby Burrage, talks to Made.com’s social team about their sharing community, drive for innovation and collaborative ethos.
Made.com was launched in 2009 by three friends and an investment partner. Today, they have over 175 staff in their London office, operations in five countries, last year turned over £43 million and have grown at more than 50% year on year. This is an incredible achievement by an enterprising UK business. So what has made, MADE?
Made, in the world of furniture, launched the concept of taking the middle man out of the equation, meaning the consumer could buy direct from the manufacturer. Whilst the lead times were a little longer, the product’s journey was completely trackable and, of course, transparent, but most importantly the cost to the consumer was decidedly cheaper.
An obstacle for any online business to overcome is the perceived lack of physicality. Buying a sofa, for example, is traditionally considered a piece of furniture you would want to ‘try before you buy.’ Thinking laterally, Made created a platform where customers, such as us, could upload their homes and Made products. Made Unboxed allowed people to ask questions, providing measurement from a real genuine customer. You can view our Made Unboxed profile here.
Emerging Talent Award
It was at this time that Hannah, from Made’s social team got in touch with Fiona and, over the following years, the two worked together on several projects. Then, this year, Fiona was asked to be a judge for their Emerging Talent Award. I speak for Fiona when I say that this is one of her professional highlights to date and she is incredibly excited to review the entries. We cannot stress enough what an exciting opportunity this is, so to any creatives reading this post, do not miss the chance to enter, the deadline is 30 June.
Made avoid conventions and don’t work in seasons, which is something we Nor–Folk have in common. Instead, they launch two collections per week and are also working on new product development, aiming to fulfil a need or desire all the time. When a product’s life cycle is ending they phase it out but when one is proving successful they develop additional colour ways or variants and further refine it.
Since their launch, Made have collaborated with other brands and designers who share similar values. Examples of this are Philip Colbert’s Rodnik chair (aka the Shark chair) and Plumen’s pendant lamps. Collaborations are incredibly beneficial on so many levels – they increase awareness, align values and creatively champion better design. Recently, we partnered with tokyobike London and Fox & Favour to launch our own Play Hard video, which you can read more about here.
The more I learnt about the operations side to Made, the more I discovered that we share a lot of the same values and approach to our own businesses. Not only did it further reinforce what an inspirational brand Made is, it has also provided us with great inspiration to keep doing what we’re doing – being brave enough to be different.
I believe a committed community, an innovative business and creative collaborations are just three of the ways that Made have established themselves as far more than a furniture brand. I for one am very excited to see what is in store next…