Tell us about the business you run.
“Officio Interiors is a new office furniture supplier based in Hull but covering the whole of East Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire and the wider region.
We offer a full service, from concept and design through to installation. It is the culmination of my 20-year experience in the furniture industry and grounded on doing more for customers.”
Have you always been in furniture?
“I’ve spent the majority of my career in the industry. When I left school I started at Reckitts, Hull, on the production line, but soon decided to go travelling. I went to Australia via Singapore and Bali. When I returned I went to work at Kingstown Furniture which is where my working life really started.”
Was that your first introduction to the furniture industry?
“Yes. I started by learning to make bedroom and dining room furniture and worked my way up to become a line manager, in charge of 20 – 30 people. It was a fantastic time and I still have the eye for quality and workmanship that I learnt there.
Over the nine years I was there I gained experience in making and distributing all sorts of furniture and that stood me in good stead for the rest of my career.”
What did you do after leaving Kingstown Furniture?
“I decided to leave Kingstown because I felt I had hit a ceiling and couldn’t see a way to progress. Fortunately, at the same time I was headhunted back to Reckitts, but while there I realised my true passion was for furniture.”
You sound like you are always striving to do more. Is that something that has driven your career?
“I would say so, yes. Once I am proficient at something I often need a new challenge, and if I don’t find that spark where I am I move on. Officio Interiors now gives me the constant array of challenges I’ve been striving for. Life is about moving forward, not standing still. If you find yourself stuck in a rut, you have to find a way out of it.”
What happened next?
“I went back into the world of furniture, this time on the office side. In 2001 I started at Acorn Office Furniture on Beverley Road in Hull, but it merged with a company called City Furniture Hire to form City Office Furniture. At that point we just had the Hull base but I opened up other outlets in the North West and developed business across the UK.
During that time we worked with some fantastic clients and supplied furniture to Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, the Royal Courts of Justice and many more.”
Why did you decided to set up your own business?
“Well, I stayed at City Office Furniture for 13 years and increased turnover from £2m to £6m in that time. That convinced me I could do it myself so I decided to do just that. I’ve got a lot of contacts in this area and across the country and I’ve had some great support from people I’ve supplied in the past. It certainly seems to be working and as more people hear about Officio and pass on their referrals, the busier I get.”
Starting a business, I suspect you don’t get a lot of spare time, but how do you spend it when you do?
“My head is always full of customer designs, colours and the like. However, I love to go on holiday with my children, or take my daughters shopping. Other than that I like to walk my pug, Snoop Dog Dave, and socialise with my friends.”
Finally, soapbox. Is there anything that really gets on your nerves?
“The thing that gets on my nerves most is miserable people who aren’t in any way proactive. I cannot stand that attitude so always try to surround myself with positive people.”