Artisan Furniture was formed over 20 years ago when the owners saw there was an opening for quality, handmade and solid wooden furniture in the UK market. The founders and owners contacted artisans in the Northwest of India who had experience in furniture production. Over the past twenty years they have now built a database of over 200 artisans who make the items that are then sent to the Artisan Furniture factory in Jaipur, where the products are finished, inspected and then put into containers for delivery to the UK. Artisan Furniture’s workers in Jaipur often come from small villages within Rajasthan where they offer dormitories and canteens for them. This means the workers cannot travel home regularly, so the company offers dormitories and canteens for them. The workers will then travel back to their villages during major holidays such as Diwali and Holi. The factory has been independently inspected to ensure that Artisan Furniture are providing the best care to their workers and they are pleased to say that they have gained recognition for their social responsibility.
Currently Artisan Furniture have two main customer types; those who use their products and services to dropship to their customers and those who buy in bulk by utilising their Trade and Wholesale programs. They predominantly service the UK marketplace, but they are seeing more of their products being shipped to the EU and further afield, either via individual dropship or by sending full containers direct to their customers from their Indian factory. Artisan Furniture are pleased to announce that they will be opening up a distribution centre in New Jersey from 1st May 2022 to enable products to be shipped within the United States. This will start with a small, but rapidly increasing range of products so that they can offer the dropshipping service to the marketplace without incurring large delivery costs. James said that this is something that they are working on and hoping to have in place during this year. He explained that the reason that they wanted to become a partner with Hotel Suppliers is because they know that their products would be perfect for use in hotels and hospitality settings.
Short-term, Artisan Furniture want to continue to increase their turnover in the UK with lots of new products and innovative use of technology to make trading with Artisan Furniture as smooth as possible. They have recently introduced a way for their dropship customers to integrate their products onto their website and Shopify stores. They are also looking to expand this with plug-ins for platforms such as WooCommerce, Magneto etc and by enabling integration with Etsy and Ebay shopping platforms, among others. Not only this but Artisan Furniture are also sourcing smaller Home Decor products from Indian artisans that they can add to their product portfolio. Long-term, as James explained previously, they are looking for options in the USA, as well as Europe. They also want to develop a way whereby their customer’s orders can be imported directly into their account on their website. In essence, they want to lead the way in how their customers can trade with them.
The success that Artisan Furniture have seen over the past 20 years starts and ends with their products and this is truly the main thing that sets them above their competitors. Everything is handmade from solid wood to outstanding standards. Because they are in direct communication with the artisans, and because they have their own factory in Jaipur, they can be very agile when it comes to developing new ranges and designs. This also allows them to work closely with their customers to make one-off or bespoke options for them with no minimum order quantities. James also explained that all of their products are made from sustainably managed and sourced mango wood, which is not only lovely to work with but it can also be finished to take on many different styles. Artisan Furniture puts an emphasis on using solid wood as it means that the carbon in the wood won’t be released back into the atmosphere.
Artisan Furniture continually scan the furniture market and go to trade shows around the world to gather news ideas to spot the trends and then they use this information to come up with the new ranges. They also see what influencers and designers on social media are speaking about to consider for their future products and designs. Not only this but every year companies such as Pantone announce what their ‘colour of the year’ is going to be and for 2022 it is ‘Veri Peri’! Artisan Furniture can then source fabric which would fit within this palette. The company founders have been designing furniture for over 20 years and they work with their factory staff to make sure that ideas can be translated into finished products.
One of Artisan Furniture’s proudest moments was when their Artisan centric linear supply chain was recognised by both Forbes and Goldman Sachs. Forbes wrote an article about the company at the back end of 2021 highlighting the journey they have been on since its inception in the late 1990’s. You can read the full article here. Goldman Sachs was impressed enough to invite the founder of Artisan Furniture, Amit Basu, to be a part of its 10,000 Small Businesses in the UK (10KSB UK) program for 2022. The scheme, which has an intake of about 140 companies each year, helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing access to education and business support from renowned institutions like the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Both of these achievements provide extraordinary recognition for a company that started as a dream over a kitchen table in India.
Artisan Furniture have an abundance of amazing products but their best-selling product is one of their bedside tables in a curved chestnut style. They have seen a resurgence in the slightly darker chestnut finish in the last couple of years as the trends have changed. While the bedside itself may be a fairly simple design; the simplicity means it can fit into many different rooms and looks. James explained how they often find that they sell a lot of them to be used as side tables and not just bedsides. James himself doesn’t have any one favourite product, but he does like the oak-ish finish products which show off the natural glory of the mango to its best effect.
The pandemic led to a huge growth within Artisan Furniture because the majority of people were working from home and turned their attention to investing in making changes in their homes. To manage the increase in business, they had to increase the size of their factory space in Jaipur three-fold in 2020. This was a huge decision for the company, not just because of the financial outlay, but also because they didn’t want to take on additional workers, only to have to let them go once the pandemic had died down. Artisan Furniture are passionate about the fact that once they employ someone, they take that responsibility seriously. However they have managed to keep all of their existing workers within the company. There were also times when Artisan Furniture faced challenges to despatch their products in the standard timely manner due to the struggles of Covid, which led to some stock shortages in the UK. Thankfully, most of their customers were very understanding and once they could start shipping again, they were sending out double the number of containers each month than they were pre-pandemic. Alongside stock issues, they came up against the increase in the cost of shipping containers from India to the UK. However, no matter what is thrown at them, James is confident that there will always be a market for quality, solid wooden furniture such as they produce, and will continue to produce.
If you, like many others are looking to purchase from Artisan Furniture, you can create an account on their website. This will give you full access to their pricing, availability and enable you to manage your orders. This is the process regardless of whether it is to purchase one piece of furniture to finish off a room, all the furniture for a room or even a range of furniture for the whole hotel. Artisan Furniture also offer discounts depending on the total value of the order, which will range from 10% for orders of more than £1000, up to 25% on orders of over £2500 and then up to 40-50% off the standard pricing for a full container of stock that can be shipped to any address in the world.