Alex: Hi Alan, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your business?
Alan: I set up Lifestyle Office Furniture in May 2005 alongside my full-time job, which wasn’t within the industry. After a very bad experience with an employer, I made the decision 3 years ago to go for it full-time. Luckily, it’s been the best decision I ever made, and we haven’t looked back since!
I employ one of my amazing twin boys full-time (the other helps part-time too!) and we’ve branched out from supplying just office furniture to doing home furniture, booth seating, beds, mattresses, and electrical appliances as well, with big plans for the future.
I am 50 now and wish I’d done this years ago – it would have saved me a lot of stress and heartache!
I am a manic Southampton FC fan (please don’t hold it against me) and enjoy my sport – both watching and playing. Mainly cricket and golf, as well as following the Saints.
Alex: What made you start your business, and what are you trying to achieve with it?
Alan: Originally, I decided to start the business as I wanted to prove I could do it. It took over 10 years to get to the point where I can safely say that I could indeed do it, but better late than never!
The plan is to become a successful, profitable business which my boys can take on and move forward with new ideas, so I can spend retirement in Antigua or somewhere similar knowing that I worked hard and gave them a foundation on which to build.
Alex: Do you have any big plans for the future?
Alan: In 2021, we’re going to have our biggest year yet. On February 1st we picked up the keys to our new retail unit in Barnstaple, which gives us a 2-floor showroom of 3500 square feet where we can properly show off our used office furniture range, together with our large collection of beds, mattresses, and home-style furniture.
We will have our 1000 square foot unit in Tiverton until June, so until then we will run the two units together, offering our full delivery and installation service throughout the South West.
Alongside this, we are about to launch two new websites – www.lifestyleofficefurniture.co.uk is being remodelled to showcase our new and used office supply work with client testimonials and pictures, while our brand-new website www.lifestylefurnituregroup.co.uk will be launched in the first quarter of 2021 to offer our full office and home furniture range for UK-wide delivery.
We can’t wait!
Alex: How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns?
Alan: Obviously COVID-19 has affected everyone in different ways, but we see everything through a positive lens. We have gained opportunities due to the bigger ‘work from home’ client base – we’ve been offering our large range of home office products throughout lockdown with COVID-safe delivery.
Although many people haven’t been able to attend their normal office, we have been adapting to their needs by offering small desks and chairs, or complete home office setups.
We do hope that some form of normality and consistency will return in 2021 – mainly so we can open our new showrooms permanently.
Alex: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our audience?
Alan: I would love to speak to anyone who is thinking of moving or updating their office in preparation for the lifting of restrictions. We are a one-stop-shop for everything from the supply of new and used office furniture and stationery, to offering collection of existing furniture if a clearance is required. Alongside that, we can even supply a new mattress and washing machine for you at home!