Introduction

Furniture designing business has a very huge scope and enjoys the strong demand from its buyers as people buy new homes and expand their businesses or renovate their old homes and offices. They always need the service of furniture designer to architect their homes and offices. Furniture designing business has rapidly increased in a last two decades due to the boom in economic activities and development. People have now more awareness about the furniture designers and they are hiring their services in designing of their business or and houses. According to the home magazine, 46 percent of UK's people plan to renovate their houses in next five years which is more than the previous five years when only 35 percent renovate their houses.

In the interior design business unlike other businesses typically you don't work whole day at offices whole day otherwise you mostly go-out of your offices in order to provide the services to the clients. Most of the sales activities are done at the customer's home or offices and almost all the negotiation are done there.

Interior Designer or Decorator?

The American Society of Interior Designers defines interior designer is one who serves people in designing their homes or offices and professionally trained to provide people quality interior environment. Interior designer is qualified through some professional education from any institute, with their experience, research and examination. A furniture designer changes the living style of people via creativity and innovation in their physical environment. Furniture designer makes people life more comfortable, healthy and safe.

There are so many people who are not having any formal education of the furniture designing or experience but still call themselves as interior designer. An interior designer should have a professional degree and should be trained in some states and should pass the subject administered by the National council for interior design Qualification. Then that person can be titled as Interior Designer. If any person who works on the interior design without having any professional qualification and training would call himself as a Decorator instead of the Furniture or Interior Designer

If you do not have the qualifications and education, you can still work on the interior design business but you would call yourself as a Decorator instead.

Types of Interior Designers

There are types of interior designer because interior designing is multi facet-business. A person can either work as a production driven designer or can work as a furniture design consultant.

The product driven designer work is more complex than the design consultant because he has to do lots of conceptualizing work of look of the given space with the creativity of mind. Variety of products can be used to fill the given space. A fresh designer has to do the similar kind of task. Mostly these kinds of designers produce different types of products and give their clients a free design advice as if required by the customers. Most of the designer gives the advice service regarding the design of the products free of cost up to some hours when time is exceeded beyond that limit thy charged for per hour fee. A product driven designer also gives the advice to their clients even if customers do not want to buy from them but they charged higher fees from those customers. The major portion of the income of the product driven designers consist on the product sales income.

Furniture design consultants don't deal in the sale of the product, they just gives the advice and solve the problem of the customers with their ideas. They charged their fee on the hourly basis. They design the furniture and help their customers in arranging and decorative activities. They make the lives of the customer more pleasant with their innovative and creative ideas. A person who has worked for many years in the design business and has a good reputation people prefer to hire those persons as a consultant design. This type of designers should have long list of references and contacts. In this type, furniture consultant designer sell their ideas and expertise then selling the product. They guide the customers regarding the design of the furniture for rooms and offices.

REPRESENTATION OF FINDINGS AND SECONDARY DATA ANALYSIS (SOME EXAMPLES)

This chapter is going to analyse the collected and observed data. I tried to touch all aspects that gave clear explanation about how can furniture designer establish its business in an open United Kingdom market. Today Furniture designing companies do a lot of changes in people life that is comfortable, improvements in standard of living by making it more stylish and beautiful. Customers' awareness about Furniture designing Company is very significant thing for establishment of company recognition, and must be taken into concern rather than suggesting consumers' promises and nonsense. All Furniture designing companies try to work hard to get new innovations for increasing their brand name in the market.

Establishment of furniture designing business recognition is also involves the process of developments, like the new services, new ways of doing advertisement, new ways of getting the customers new design of the furniture products. But even if these processes are look as if they are simple, in the sense that good marketer always have good ideas, but such steps forward do not just happen without hard work and complexities on the way of the achievements. Such processes and actions require skills of the company as a whole, to evaluate, assess, and incorporate new ideas.

Analysing found data, there are several ideas that author thinks are most important ones and should be pointed out, and these are following:

  • The company's services and features are the key to the designing business, and behind them there have to be enough strong foundation, that will not disappoint the customer. The furniture designers should provide services and furniture products that really will satisfy the customer needs.
  • The identity of the Furniture designing company is the identity of its brand name, and depending on how clear this identity is, will guide the development and execution of the company and the brand.
  • To have good name and respect is the most significant issue for every company including furniture designing businesses. The furniture designers must establish and have their own personality and individuality. Every customer expects new innovations and satisfactions from the furniture products they regularly use.
  • The establishment of the business and the development of its services and products should be realized by the company's team, and should be private as well as all key aspects and strategies should be confidential.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

While writing this thesis author has found out a lot of interesting and significant aspects about Furniture designing. It is a specific field and of course requires high professional skilled management to develop the business and get goals in the market. The studying about Furniture Designing is very global and dynamic issue that started in the beginning of the 18th century. It took a lot of decades before Furniture designing industry could obtain today's achievements and results between the strong spheres in the business and manufacture world.

For the last decade in furniture designing business one of the key roles has played IT. With the developing of IT and Internet a lot of changes have taken place in the furniture design market. Certainly they had good as well as unpleasant aspects for furniture companies that are illustrated in Chapter 2. Author wants to note that especially low cost businesses could build up strong business by using internet services. The furniture companies like hunts and Ryanair began their business right through internet and today both of them are the key competitors for the mature furniture design business.

               As it is noted from the studying furniture designing companies can be divided on two parts: successful and unsuccessful. |Successful furniture designing companies will be those that anticipate the change and are ready for it when it occurs. Unsuccessful furniture designing companies will tend to be those that wait for change to happen and then desperately try to catch up.

Future of Furniture designing business in United Kingdom

According to Williams (2002) furniture designing industry will continue to grow, though rates of growth will be uneven both through time and geographically. Air freight will grow more quickly than the passenger business, and its growth will be focused in the high-yielding small shipment segment (unlike in the passenger business where the lower yielding leisure segment will grow faster than higher yielding business air travel). This will mean that it will become even more important that airlines get the profit potential of air freight to the full.

Williams (2002) also argued that in terms of the needs of their customers, furniture designing companies will again have to accept that changes will arise. Established demographic trends will continue, with in particular furniture designing affected by the general ageing of the population, the growing importance of women in business travel and the changing taste of the customers . People will also continue, on average, to be taller and heavier, and will place a still greater quality on cabin comfort. Their needs and expectations will also change. Business men in particular will be more and more attracted by furniture designers which can provide them with high quality non-stop services and which will give them durable, economical and high quality of furniture for their business. It will easier to gain the competitive advantage for those companies who will adapt their selves to the new creative and innovative design. The cost will and quality will be the real key for the success.

               "Deregulation will also continue, backed in the future by growing intervention by governments to ensure that the enhanced competition which normally follows the removal of pricing and entry controls remains a permanent rather than merely a transient feature. This will in turn require furniture designing organizations to be lean and flexible and to be able to make decision quickly. Those that cannot will be seriously handicapped.

               In the future, it is likely that the world political scene will be even more unstable than today. This will mean that the furniture designing industry will continue to be affected by the periods of low demand caused by war, riots, and other disturbances.

               With economic aspects, furniture designing industry will always be affected by the trade cycle. In buoyant times, business will fare relatively well financially, but downswing periods in the cycle will be difficult. Well established furniture designing organizations will be those that use the more prosperous to prepare for periods when growth slows or stops

After all said it is becoming clear that in future, successful and well established furniture companies will be those which select a clear strategy and stick with it, changing the way in which they apply the strategy rather than the basic principles associated with it.

Recommendations

               I want to summarize this thesis with a number of recommendations that in my opinion will be indeed important for furniture design companies to be successful and have a brighter future in the market:

  • Furniture designers have to identify their most important customers and build warm and long-term relationship with them. Because it is difficult to serve all the customers excellent services for any new business. So, business needs to define its target market and focus on it.
  • Furniture designers have to offer new services and product features which can be innovative for the customers. Customers always need the change so be innovative always is vital for the furniture designers especially for the new entrants.
  • Furniture designers should often organize different training classes and workshops to develop the skill and experience of the staff.
  • Furniture design companies should focus on corporate social responsibility and public relations to create recognition and awareness among customers. Corporate social responsibility is a vital issue for every organization so should be given proper concentration.
  • Consumers are the most important part of any business. The customers who are highly satisfied with the company recommend the company to other customers. These customers are highly profitable customers. Furniture designing Companies should cultivate opinion leaders from these customers in order to establish a word of mouth communications among customers. Opinion Leaders are unpaid sales force of the business
  • Creating Recognition is all about creating awareness among the consumers. In order to create awareness among people we need to know the media habits of people. A proper structured research should be conducted to know the media habits of target audience.
  • Role of IT can not be ignored at this time of world business; Most of the organizations have become successful by adopting information technology. It can help organizations to gain competitive advantage.
  • As United Kingdom furniture market is more competitive than other countries like no barriers to new entry so, every new Furniture designing company should provide its products at economical prices, should give more attention towards quality of products and timely delivery.

               From the above studying it is clear to understand that Furniture designing business like all others builds on customer trust and respect so strong Furniture designing Company with a bright future can be constructed by offering unique, creative, innovative designs of furniture products along with their quality and durability to achieve customer's satisfaction

Research Instruments

The research will be rather explanatory and descriptive than analytical and exploratory and it will be a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

According to Hakim C., (2000), quantitative research is mainly concerned with numbers and data easily quantified. In this research surveys, Phone, emails and most probably Personal Interviews with professionals related to airlines companies and industry attractiveness will be held and analysed in the process of research, as in-depth interviews are useful when examining a specific subject in depth.

It's proposed to study maximum of available data from all official sources, such as publications and official web sites. The survey will aim to understand actual and future outlook of Furniture designing business to satisfy their customers.

Research Aims and Objectives

All above studying shows that furniture designing industry is very huge and wide aspect and this report is going to discuss the author's main question, which is titled as:

               "How Furniture Designers can set up their own business?"

Everybody chooses his own area where he will be able to build good career and get high goals and the Furniture designing industry has always been the most interesting field for author.

The following three areas will be discussed to find out the answer on the main question:

  • What strategies should be selected by furniture designing company's management to fit its business in United Kingdom's competitive environment to get high achievements in open furniture designing market?
  • Selection and identification of the customers need, selection of the market to operate and selection of the marketing channels.
  • The role of Information Technology in today's business and how has information technology influenced the Furniture designing business

The following list will include all discussed chapters of this thesis:

Chapter One, reviews the general understanding about Furniture designing companies, with a brief excursion into history of furniture industry, the paper also analyse the brand importance in the market and between the customers, its value for furniture designing companies and make out their evolution and promotion.

Chapter Two, goes over the literature review that is used in this thesis. The chapter includes a lot of opinions about sub-questions that help to find out the answers on the key these's question. I have used a lot of annual key reports and different period of time arguments in this chapter.

Chapter Three, expresses the methodology that was used in writing of this thesis. The chapter alsodescribes the tools and instruments which were used in the thesis and the objectives that were obtained by author. Finally chapter illustrates the limitations that author met in the period of his work.

Chapter Four, describes findings, implications and analysis which author realized after deep and broad studies about his question. Some authors' points will be considered in this chapter as well.

Chapter Five, summarizes a review of each chapter, I tried to argue all possible recommendations which were prepared in the period of my work.

Brand and Environment

In this competitive environment of global business, customers are placing increasing importance on brands therefore, it is important for furniture designers to keep its image and brand name in furniture designing industry. Today brand is the most helpful and important aspect in people life. When people buy any service or product, they always try to have their own understanding about the features they will use. Of course, people mostly try to use the product and service they used to be satisfied and that services or products they trust and believe. At the end of the day, the following question arises in this thesis:

                                   "What does the brand mean and its role in people life?"

American Marketing Association, (2001), defines a brand as "a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors." A brand is thus a product or service that adds dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products or service designed to satisfy the same need. These differences may be functional, rational, or tangible - related top product performance of the brand. They may also be more symbolic emotional or intangible related to what the brand represents.

Cheverton (2006) argues if go back 200 or 300 years and branding was something you did to a cow. A brand declared rights of property and ownership, and meant, particularly in a remote Scottish glen, "keep your hands off". It is a nice irony that one of the identifying phenomena of the modern world should turn the world's meaning on its head 21st century brand most determinedly declares "get your hands on!"

According to marketers, brand is the symbolic embodiment of all the information connected with a company, product or service. A brand usually includes a name, logo, and other visual elements such as images, fonts, colour schemes, or symbols. It also includes the set of expectations associated with a product or service which typically arise in the minds of people. It can be such people as employees of the brand owner, people that are involved in the sale or supply of the product or service, and of course consumers.

In current days understanding about brands is quite different in nature and intent from those which first emerged in the 19th century is clear, despite the continuity of so many names, from Starbucks to Sony and British Airways to Rolex. All brands and ideas behind them have evolved by learning to match the circumstances of the times.

According to Chernatony and Macdonald (2003) when a brand has a well-defined personality, consumers interact with it and develop a relationship, just as people in life do. The nature of a relationship between two people can be inferred by observing their individual attitudes and behaviours. Likewise, as Blackston, (1992) argues, the nature of relationship between consumers and the brand can be determined through the attitudes and behaviours they display towards each other, in particular:

  • How consumers perceive and react to a brand;
  • How the brand behaves and reacts to the consumers.

METHODOLOGY

This chapter explores the methods which were used to obtain and express the aspect "How Furniture Designers can set up their own business?" Types of data collected for achieving the aims and objectives of this research work will be discussed as well as research process itself. Afterwards the techniques of analysis will be explained as well as the limitations of the methods used.

The research methodology of this dissertation will rely on both secondary and primary data. The figure below will give an idea of the process of research;

Primary research is the core source of to-the-point information in order to achieve the objectives of study. Collection of primary data will be gathered by conducting the field research.

Secondary research will save out time on things and research that are already done. Academic sources will be the base to provide the theoretical foundation to understand how Furniture designer can start his business. Research papers and academic journals will help to achieve this aim. The secondary research is intended to find out the facts about research done in the past in the related or similar subject.

Research Process

According to Hussey and Hussey (1997) research process starts with an identification of a certain research problem. As researchers investigate the area in which the problem is embedded in more detail they are able to define a comprehensive research problem/research question which they intend to solve. Next, the way in which the research will be conducted is determined. Following, researchers collect, analyze and interpret the data and compose their results in form of a report, dissertation or thesis.

Graig and Douglas (2005) define the international marketing research as research that crosses national borders and involves respondents and researchers from different countries and cultures.

As it was noticed above, Furniture designing industry is the author's preferred field where. The research on the topic "How Furniture Designers can set up their own business?" becomes very 'hot issue'. Data concerning the Furniture designers and the markets in which they operate come from a wide range of sources. Research for this report includes interviews with reputed furniture designers and General Director of Hunts office furniture and also some information was obtained from Furniture-related organizations, government reports of United Kingdom and furniture designing analysts via email. Further, research objectives and questions were discussed with the supervisor and after that the process of main work was begun.

Types of Research

Hussey and Hussey (1997) define four different types of research: exploratory, descriptive, analytical or predictive. Exploratory research is used when the problem is badly understood and leads to an unstructured problem design. This kind of research helps to increase the familiarity with the researched area. During exploratory research, new findings and information are discovered, so the researcher must be flexible and prepared for possible changes in the research direction. The key requirements for this type of research are ability to observe, find information and be able to explain the findings. Descriptive research is used when the problem is well structured and understood; the task to solve is clear. The researchers should focus on the structure of the research, precise rules and procedures, since the ability to make good measurements is crucial for this type of research. However, they provide two additional research types. Analytical research can be seen as a continuation of descriptive research as it attempts to explain why a particular situation exists. It tries to identify causal relationships, i.e. 'A' causes 'B'. Predictive research continues from analytical as it attempts to predict future outcomes from a particular situation. This type of research attempts to generalize, and these generalizations will be applicable to similar problems. Each of these four different types of research can be seen as a continuation of the previous one:

               "For each type of research an extensive literature review is necessary. Reading as much of the published material on the subject area as possible is one way to get the best outcome from the literature review. At first, researchers need to review all references that are available. Those include textbooks, academic papers, professional magazines, newspapers and internet sources. The emphasis should be obviously placed on the most recent material. However, as the research goes further the main focus should be given on papers and articles published in academically reviewed journals, as those are more likely to provide a scientific point of view. Furthermore official documents, reports and statements published by companies and institutions offer a valuable set of secondary data (Remenyi et al. 1998)".

It is important to mention that the sources should be critically evaluated and not just accepted without a closer look at them. In order to review the literature adequately it is essential that the researchers examine the published work critically; "not all that is published should be taken as face value for" (Remenyi et al, 1998). Once the literature and other available secondary resources have been fully and seriously reviewed the researchers should be able to present a detailed description of the field that was studied.

In relation to different research types, exploratory and descriptive researches are applied in this thesis.

The research problem is well structured and the area of strategic management is well understood in the academic world by managers as well as by author. Further, the research purpose is clear to continue the work. The author tries to stay focused and organized in conducting the research and provide a logic structure with this written thesis.

Type of DATA

One can make a distinction about the type of data collected. It can either be qualitative or quantitative. The former describes data which is nominal and the latter, numerical data. Another distinction can be made between secondary and primary data.

Quantitative data

Quantitative or numerical data research is "objective in nature and concentrates on measuring phenomena" (Hussey and Hussey 1997). For example, statistical tests can be used to analyse data collected from a questionnaire with closed-end questions. This quantitative approach might present data in tables, charts and graphs, to summarize the data collected in a way that the reader can get an idea of the situation being studied. Different statistical relationships may also be explored in order to try to identify patterns or hypotheses. This type of data research may sound complex due to all the possible statistical tests involved, but one advantage is that it is structured.

Qualitative data

Qualitative data, is stated as "more subjective in nature and involves examining and reflecting on perceptions in order to gain understanding of social and human activities" (Hussey and Hussey 1997). This type of data may be gathered from interviews or secondary data sources. However it may be even more difficult to collect and analyse than quantitative data.

Secondary data

The research is carried out by employing a number of methods to collect information. The first phase of the study gave us information from secondary sources. Information from secondary sources was very useful in many ways. Chisnall regards secondary data as "the collection of existing information that may be useful for the purposes of specific surveys".[1] It provided an in-depth view of the issues involved in consumer behaviour, ranging from perception and attitude formation to brand loyalty and dissatisfaction. Furthermore, these sources helped build literature review for the project. The secondary information was helpful in another way that it paved the way for research and gave a direction to the work by clearing and refining ideas. The details of the secondary information is been given later in this chapter. Secondary data are the data that were collected earlier by the person or agencies for the purpose other than solving the problem at hand.[2] The data may be available easily without incurring too much expense. The study source may be academic such as books, academic journals, magazines or non-academic such as web sites, newspapers etc

It is important to examine the available secondary data before collecting primary data. Malhotra and Birks points out that collection of the data for research must start with secondary data. Secondary data is always collected before primary data due to its time and cost advantage. Secondary data give in-depth theoretical knowledge which gives the direction of carrying out primary research.

The main secondary research sources used are:

  1. Newspapers
  2. Books
  3. Magazines
  4. Internet
  5. Reports of furniture designing companies
  6. Moreover secondary data collected with the purpose to gain the information needed concerning:
  7. Literature and articles describing and analyzing the role of advertising in the consumer decision making.

Primary data

When the collection of secondary data is saturated and no longer adds value to the research process, it is then necessary to collect relevant primary data. Primary data are any data information collected specifically for the purpose of the present study.[3] Primary data is the data collected specifically for the problem at hand. There are various methods of collecting primary data such as interviews; observations etc. Though, collection of primary data is an exhaustive and time consuming task it requires skill and resources but there are numbers of advantages of this data.

This can be accomplished by one of the following primary data collection processes:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Case studies
  • Observation

Limitations

Unfortunately, there were found some limitations while conducting this research. The first one that has to be mentioned refers to the topic of this paper and its focus on Furniture designer business. As the area of research is very dynamic, the lack of literature and reliable up to date statistics was a real obstacle, while conducting this work. This lack includes the lack of detailed reliable data on key markets, the dearth of data on establishment huge Design industry how consumers choose their designer so that marketers can know how to influence them, the lack of longitudinal research to help in identifying trends in the market, the absence of comprehensive data on cross cultural and national differences in the demand side of air travel and the underdevelopment of economic impacts. Of course, author would like to analyze furniture designing industry broader but because of the above lacks that is not possible. The research methodology of our research area consisted of both qualitative as well as quantitative methods and major limitation of qualitative viewpoint is that it cannot totally be objective, as there is always bias present. The limitation of quantitative view is the reliance on honesty and accuracy in responding to questions

Data Collection and the type of empirical data we need:

               The research process will include data about the perceptions of people about the furniture designing Industry. The reason is that according to problem I am measuring how much I would be successful in creating awareness and recognition in the furniture designing industry. In order to get this, I need to know about the preferences, awareness and satisfaction of customers about the designer's product and services and industry.

For data Collection, I will develop a research questionnaire from all customers and design in depth interviews and focus group for lead user or customers. The main reason for this is, I will get more insights from lead customer because they know almost everything about furniture designing industry. Secondly, these lead customers are also the opinion leaders. For example, I will leave a feedback to our consumers and will allow them to take time to fill these questions. The consumers have to choose between multiple choice questions.

In the end, surveys questions and in-depth interviews + focus groups will help us to triangulate our data by using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Variables I will measure:

               The Variables we will take to measure the customer preferences for media and toward the furniture designing industry. I will also measure the level of awareness about the furniture designer's services and their required level of satisfaction. Mainly, I will focus on how much the customers are aware of the services the companies offer and their media habits and secondly I will measure their willingness, benefits and preferences they seek about Furniture designing service.

Population and Sample Size:

I will take samples from two different populations (Normal Customer Vs Lead Customers). In case of lead users, I will conduct 20 to 30 interviews of lead users of furniture products and service all over the UK. Focus group discussions will include 30 to 40 lead users.

On the other side, I will take a sample of 100 to 200 normal customers who use the furniture products and services and will conduct questionnaire surveys from them. The Sampling technique will be random sampling in both the above cases.

Analysis of data

               I will use two approaches to analyze data. The Statistical methods as well as understanding from the in depth interviews and focus groups both will be taken for analysis of data. The Validity of the measures will be measured by running correlation and also certain statistical tests such as t test and z test.

Ethical Issues:

               I will obtain the informed consent of the respondents by giving them a general description of the topic. Secondly, there will be a free choice for the respondents to participate in the research questionnaire or not. Thirdly, the personal information of the respondents will be kept confidential and converted in dummy data. Therefore the respondents will be at minimal risk.

Limitations:

               In the interviews, there are a lot of chances of interviewer's biasness. This is a limitation I can never ignore in my data collection method. In order to reduce interviewer's biasness, I will train my interviewer staff. Second thing I can do about this problem is that Iwill monitor interviews with video recording. This recording of interview will also decrease the biasness of not only interviews but also in the focus group discussions.

It is often observed that while filling research questionnaires, the people usually have short time and boredom feeling. Most of the people just flip a coin about choices while answering a question. In order to overcome this problem, I will offer some gifts and incentives to the customers who will participate in the research questionnaires.