Growth grant makes all the difference for bespoke furniture manufacturer
13th January 2022
Like many businesses across the UK, Linea Luxe Furniture Limited was hit badly by the multiple lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. But thanks to a £5,000 Business Growth Grant from Three Rivers District Council and Hertfordshire Growth Hub, business has picked up.
“We employ very skilled people, very hard to find, but very skilled people,” explained Alfie Ezekiel, the general manager of Linea Luxe. “We have a carpentry department in which we have three carpenters who create all the frames for the chairs and tables and other units we install into people’s houses. In the next room we have our upholstery department and then we have a separate department working on all the stitching of the upholstery. We also have a department working on all the spraying and finishing of the wood and anything else. These are one-off pieces, when a customer wants a sofa it is a one-off to their requirements.”
But with home visits not possible under lockdown, the designers were not placing orders, and the workshops were falling silent.
It was a difficult time for the three year old business – and a tougher challenge was to come in September 2021 when the company went ahead with plans to open its own shop in Tolpits Lane. The shop would only be open to customers for ten days until the December lockdown forced it to close again.
The shop wouldn’t be able to open again until April 2021. Alfie said: “It was a struggle really until people were going back into houses – so until April of this year our designers were not getting the calls to go into people’s homes and redesign. Since April it has been very encouraging, and as a business we are getting to a situation where we can expand.”
The turning point for Alfie and his business came thanks to a £5,000 Three Rivers Business Growth Grant from Three Rivers District Council and Hertfordshire Growth Hub.
“The growth grant enabled us to go to the international interior design trade show Decorex in October 2021. We were in a position where we wanted to go but we couldn’t really afford to go. We did spend a little bit on marketing which hasn’t been a great success. The growth grant enabled us to go to Decorex.”
Being part of Europe’s biggest international interior design trade fair would cost Linea Luxe £11,000 – of which the growth grant funded almost half. The company picked up around 30 new customers thanks to the event.
Since the trade exhibition the company has employed one new member of staff, increased its turnover and taken over £120,000 worth of orders as a direct result of the trade show.
Alfie added: “It has been a great success for us, and even more important than that is that we have reunited with our old customers that we haven’t seen for a while and met new customers. If we hadn’t have gone we would have struggled. We were very pleased that we went to the show and we were very pleased with the result. We are now sold out until the beginning of February, we have a lot of new clients and a lot of old clients who have come back.”