- Design Forum was first launched from a small barn in Kent, with 5 start-up collections... of varying success! Our first 250 accounts were set up by Andrew.
- Another 250 accounts are opened, bringing the total to 500 across the UK.
- Design Forum featured in our first Decorex exhibition. Our first two agents are hired, and we reach a total of 750 accounts who hold our fabric books.
- Design Forum begin to build our range and further agents are brought on board.
- Design Forum explore the export market and distributers are engaged.
- Design Forum decide to move away from silks to linen. Our export connections establish to become 22% of our overall business.
- Despite the economic crisis, Design Forum increased accounts and collections by a further 50%. Our South East representative is appointed and we moved to our new premises in Kenardington, Kent. Staff numbers doubled and we featured in Decorex and Maison Objet in Paris.
- Design Forum moved to a stock computerised system, which vastly improved our work and logistics efficiency.
- Design Forum engage new mills, increasing stock holding and reducing price points. Design Forum launched the Tuscany collection, which proves to be the most successful book to date, with over 2000 books in the market.
- Design Forum launched the Umbria collection, which flies!
- Design Forum team up with two European mills for distribution directly to the UK. The Capri collection is launched.
- Design Forum increase our account number by a further 20%, and exhibit in Paris for the third year.
- Design Forum form a partnership from an Indian mill, whose investment increases output substantially.
- Design Forum is re-branded, with an unprecedented 100 SKUs and 14 designs launched- the Pemba collection- comprising of three new fabric books.
Meet the team
With 28 years interior design industry experience, Andrew is the company founder. His interests include skiing, sailing, golf and mountain trekking. Andrew lives in Kent, with Martine and sons Max and Oli.
Martine LaughlandOffice Manager
Martine previously worked as a sports TV producer and skied for the England bump/moguls team. Married to Andrew, she takes her 2 sons ski race training for the winter in Chamonix, leaving Andrew trailing behind.
Sue HutchesonPurchasing & Sales Co-ordinator
Sue has lived in the area all her life. She is a successful show jumper and has her own horses. She is a keen sportswoman, who regularly coaches kids badminton.
Mike HartleyWarehouse Manager
A keen backpacker, Mike spends many weekends hiking and climbing the mountains and hills of Cumbria, Wales and Scotland. Mike loves travelling, gardening and lives with his partner Carol.
Matt RobsonFinancial Controller and Operations Director
Matt studied for his Management Accounting qualifications in London. He is lover of all sports, but being a West Ham season ticket holder football is his true passion. He is also a stand up comedy fan, his favourite comedians being Tommy Cooper and Al Murray.
Rachel HillsMarketing Manager
Rachel graduated from Reading University with a degree in English Literature and has since launched herself into the marketing world. An avid bookworm and aspiring baker, she often attempts ambitious cakes... with varying success.
Sarah HookerPurchasing & Logistics
Sarah graduated from Rochester University with a degree in Applied Arts. A qualified silversmith, she’s a country girl at heart. She loves walking her labradors, Isla & Bree, and is currently renovating her home in the Kent countryside.
Rob DavisLogistics and Warehouse Manager
With 16 years experience in the furniture design industry, Rob has gained many skills in project management, logistics, warehousing and furniture installation. Rob is a keen golfer and plays for his club in Limpsfield Chart. He enjoys days out with his family, the theatre, karaoke, poker and DIY.