WARNING. THIS POST CONTAINS SERIOUS DESIGN EYE CANDY. MAY CAUSE FAINTING, SHORTNESS OF BREATH OR SPONTANEOUS ONLINE PURCHASING.
One of my favourite, feel good places to shop, find design inspiration and generally waste a bit of time is at Made.com. Their last five year existence has changed the way I find and shop for furniture and home decor. And my expectations too.
Their business model, whilst initially having some teething problems in its start up period; long lead times, problems with couriers not delivering and customers perhaps not quite understanding the process, has now found its feet. And they are standing firm and fast on those feet, in very big shoes indeed.
MADE’s online presence has grown enormously and rapidly, followed by the move to open two showrooms. One in Soho, London’s West End in 2012 and one up in my beloved West Yorkshire at the end of 2013. Lucky me! MADE are now set to open a third showroom very soon in Liverpool serving the Northwest contingent. This offline presence has no doubt worked wonders for MADE’s market share. Anyone looking to buy a piece of furniture that’s going to be part of the family for a decade or more wants to be able to run their hand along it, see the colour in real life, have a sit down and generally size up the quality. We’re happy to take a punt on cushions, bedding, lighting and a side table or two. But pieces such as sofas, beds, wardrobes are not impulse purchases and take a fair amount of consideration before we enter our credit card number. What better way is there to get us buying than showing us the goodies??
And so with the rise of MADE online, their offline presence grows also. The Leeds showroom has more than quadrupled in size, taking over the entire top floor of Redbrick. Redbrick is “The North’s Leading Destination for Interiors”, just a few miles out of Leeds city centre and well worth the trip. I really could spend an entire day there. In fact I have done before.
“Discover the North’s Flagship collection of MADE.COM in our extensive top floor showroom.
The Redbrick collection offers you the chance to touch, sit on and test a curated selection of MADE.COM products.
Featuring a hand-picked selection as well as the latest releases, MADE connects you directly with the designers, which means there are no hidden costs. Collaborating with some of the industry’s biggest names as well as fresh design talent, MADE brings you beautiful designs at affordable prices.”
I contacted MADE ages ago to connect, give them some love and express my interest in writing piece about design in the North, especially the rise of MADE in these quarters. I don’t think we get enough credit up here. EVERYTHING is in London. And yeah, that’s great for everyone down there. But it’s not always easy for working mums this side of the country to be bobbing down for openings, events and general networking. There is SO much good stuff up here, it just doesn’t quite get the coverage it should. Anyway, I digress. My issue. Not yours. A-hem.
“Charlie, i’ve got to go to London for some work thing. Sit on this sofa until I get back. Don’t touch anything ok?”
Oh how we laughed.
MADE were keen for me to write my piece coinciding with the relaunch of their new and improved top floor showroom at Redbrick. Say what?? That’s awesome. The North needs this!! Book me in a tour please!
So on a Bank Holiday Monday, I sacrificed a family day of PJ wearing and film watching to drive over to Redbrick, take the three sets of escalators to the 3rd floor for my personal guided tour of the newly expanded MADE showroom.
After getting off the last step of the escalator, I could barely contain myself from running (sprinting) towards furniture and fondling fabrics. It was like that scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Gene Wilder lets them go wild and eat all the chocolate and sweets. ‘Mazing. I was Augustus Gloop, the glutton.
The MADE and Living Etc collaboration.
Leeds’ showroom manager, Kayti, whose passion and love for the brand was clear, almost tangible, gave me a full run down of the previous week’s efforts in setting up the new showroom. I was merrily guided around all of the pieces out on display and filled in on how the showroom functions. It really was impressive. Tablet devices were available to scan each item and bring up the deets, online shopping baskets saved anything you “tapped” which you could email to yourself to check out at home. Brilliant.
The PENN collection contained some of my fave pieces. The side table is £79 which I think is a snip for something so quirky yet timeless. It even has a little tray to pop your glasses or whatnots on. Perfect.
The JONAH range, one of MADE’s most popular collections, was designed by Doncaster born James Harrison. James specialises in beautiful, design-led furniture and won Elle Decoration’s Young Designer of the Year in 2007, along with many other awards since. He’s definitely one to watch. Go Yorkshire!
The 60’s styled KUBRICK armchair is also still going strong since its initial release. A classic that will always be in style.
The JENSON extendable dining table, in solid oak. Priced at £599. Where else are you getting a solid oak extendable table that looks this good??
“We’ve created this space as an extension of our website. It’s a place to get a feel for what we make and get closer to some of our designs. We hope you enjoy them.”
I did yes. Thank you.
Redbrick is the perfect space to display MADE’s pieces. It echoes the stripped back appearance of the website. The light wooden floor, high ceilings, monochrome palette and exposed metal beams just make every area and “vignette” look like it’s from a magazine. Lots of space around each item means you can actually see the furniture. Unlike some showrooms, that just have too much stuff so you can’t focus on anything at all.
I LOVED this sofa from the CONNER collection. I’d seen it online and wasn’t really feeling it, looked a bit boxy on the screen. But man, in real life, it’s a stunner. Much softer in the flesh and the Petrol colour is just wowzers! I can’t actually get my head around it being £799. Such a good price for something that will make your living room sing. And this is exactly why this showroom is the best thing since sliced bread. You fall for pieces you may have dismissed on a computer screen.
The CHICAGO floor lamp. Oh how I love thee.
“WANT TO TAKE ME HOME?”
It seems there were smaller pieces you could actually purchase there and then, which put me into overdrive. If my OH had not been with me (trying to mind the child and checking I didn’t faint with all the design loveliness I was faced with) I would have definitely have purchased one or two items.
A wall of soft furnishings, which are also available to buy in the showroom. Something I was very much hoping to see. It’s great that you can get a quick MADE fix on a smaller items whilst you’re waiting for your new dining table and chairs to arrive.
Lighting. My drug. Keep. Me. Away.
The BROADWAY lamp also looking pretty sexy right there too. Another item that you could buy then and there.
The cute RITCHIE button back armchair. Classic MADE. Perfect for smaller town houses, flats, a reading corner or bedroom.
A wall of postcards. Take the pieces you’re interested in and place them in the special wallets provided. Make your own bespoke catalogue to take home and peruse. Great idea.
The GEDDES collection giving you a touch of Art Deco glam.
The hard sell is not MADE’s approach. It’s not needed. The staff know their product, and they know their customer. They understand that people like to take their time… sometimes up to a month before taking the plunge after seeing something. Despite the showroom being just that, a showroom, the customer care and attention to detail was second to none. I saw so many people attended to. A great customer experience was evident.
The new kid’s range was there too. Some great contemporary stuff to nail that Scandi children’s bedroom look.
Charlie liked the kid’s range. He enjoyed pointing, climbing the ladders on the cabin beds and pretending to be asleep under the duvets. This area will be made twice as large in the next few weeks. So even more to come!
The RODNICK SHARK FIN chair.
Had to go back for a second look at the lighting. And the GRACE chair in Lava Orange. Gorge!!
Are you getting the scale of it now? The new showroom now holds a whopping 85% of MADE’s entire collection. You really could spend hours there. Worth the trip to Redbrick alone.
The JAZZ two seater sofa.
A wall of bedsides and side tables.
I was strangely drawn to the PITCH armchair in black ash and grey upholstery. Despite mocking black ash furniture a little while back… I flipping loved it!! I spent a little too long working out where I could fit this. Still working on it…
The more traditional and feminine GARSTON LOVE SEAT is Kayti the showroom manager’s favourite piece, and indeed it was lovely. The whole GARSTON collection is hand crafted in the UK by a family-run manufacturer. Great to see MADE supporting UK businesses.
The LANSDOWNE Bedroom Collection
The ALDO dressing table, designed in collaboration with Living Etc.
The HIVE pendant light. Something I have put in my online shopping basket about 435 times.
One of MADE’s flagship designs, the BOUJI chair is also one of their best sellers. A piece of iconic design for less than £180. Boom.
Gallery wall heaven.
My favourite. Twiggy. Obviously also shocked at how ‘mazeballs this new showroom is. I know Twiggy, i’m feelin’ it too.
I love AFLRED.
The BOW lamp. Another classic MADE piece that’s been on their site since their launch in 2010.
So many room sets. Seriously spoilt for choice.
The GOTHAM armchair really stood out as a solid piece. An excellent investment and perfect for people like my pops who like a nice high backed chair to fall asleep in after lunch.
Everywhere you turned there was something to ogle.
“Your name’s not down. You’re not coming in.”
And I shall leave it there for now. I have so many more photos to show you and an interview with MADE’s Head of Showrooms coming up. All of this will come in Part II, which will look at what’s next for the company, how MADE Unboxed works and why that was such a clever move.
It’s all very exciting. And you can feel that excitement when you’re there. I can’t recommend a trip to Redbrick enough, it’s a stunning building. Really. And MADE, now standing proud on the top floor, really is the cherry on the cake.
Part II is now live. Go now!
PS. I am not getting paid, freebies or anything spesh to write this post. I am just a genuine fan of MADE. You could say “groupie”. I am also a huge advocate for affordable design and highlighting #designupnorth. MADE at Redbrick just nails that for me.