- Sector: Retail
- Region: London
Bedding in a business
There’s nothing like a personal experience to help you identify a gap in the market – just ask Charlie Marshall, Founder of Loaf. “Having lost a whole Saturday trying to buy a bed, I saw an opportunity to make the shopping experience as quick and hassle-free as possible,” he explains.
His epiphany led to the creation of Loaf two years later, in 2008. To begin with, the retailer’s offering was predominantly online, with a range of what Charlie describes as “12 beautifully made beds and one perfect mattress”. The fuss-free formula worked. Since then, Loaf has expanded its range of laidback furniture, launching a line of sofas in 2012 and gradually extending into other parts of the house. The business has also moved offline, creating a series of physical stores.
“We offer characterful, handmade furniture for the entire home”
“Today, we offer characterful, handmade furniture for the entire home. We’re now officially a multi-channel retailer with two ‘bells-and-whistles’ physical spaces in Battersea and Notting Hill,” he says. “Our Loaf Shacks, as we call them, help to remove a barrier to make the whole shopping process even easier.
“An awful lot of customers purchase on the web, but the big prize is getting out to the masses and you need a showroom to do that. But interesting, characterful spaces in the right location are very hard to find,” notes Charlie. “We want to get it right every single time.”
The company posted a turnover of around £33m last year. It employs over 100 people and invests heavily in training them.
- £33m - Loaf’s approximate turnover last year
“Successful people I know tend to have a similar pattern of behaviour: they’re self-critical and analytical,” says Charlie. “It’s not just about recognising your weaknesses so you can improve your business, but also recognising what you’re doing well so you can do more of that.”