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The circular economy in the office furniture sector

We are currently working on an exciting project to promote the opportunities for reuse and remanufacturing in the office and contract furniture sector. I have considerable experience in this field and was delighted to have my article published in leading publication, Workplace Insight.


My life in the furniture industry

jkh300I have over 30 years’ experience in the furniture market! I have worked in marketing, public relations, journalism and sales in different sectors covering contract, office and retail.

My experience within the furniture market started in the late 1980s whilst working for a London-based PR and advertising agency. During that time, I gained considerable PR experience working with business-to-business and consumer-based clients from furniture to Millie’s Cookies!

I launched my own marketing and PR agency in 1994 together with my husband (marketeer and graphic designer). The agency was retained by a wide range of furniture clients including OEP Office Furniture, Nordplan high density storage, Sheerpride, CenterCore. Whilst running the agency, I was also retained as editor of two magazines – Office Horizons and Public Service Workplace as well as contributing editor to Facilities Management Journal.

My company was subsequently acquired by one of the clients, PPS (originally part of Bullough plc) to form its marketing department. Following a management buy-out and the formation of Amaryllis, I was appointed as a Board director responsible for sales and marketing.

I spent over 15 years at Amaryllis and helped grow the business to a ‘peak’ of circa £50million. Amaryllis specialised in Furniture, Fittings and Equipment including product supply, reuse and renovation as well as support services including porterage, removals and onsite repairs. The Company specialised in major, long term contracts primarily in the public sector, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Justice, NHS as well as major corporate clients with British Airways being the most prominent. This role included working with many architects, interior and office designers as well as ‘end users’.

I have led teams to win some the largest furniture projects in the UK – including all of the executive passenger lounges at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

I was responsible for an inhouse sales team of circa 10 people as well as the office-based customer services team. In addition, I managed external resources including telemarketing, events and design agencies.
During my time at Amaryllis, I launched Green Furniture Concept – a Swedish company manufacturing highly sustainable, environmental furniture for public spaces – to the UK market. Activities primarily involved introducing the A&D community to this exciting new concept.

My experience within the furniture industry was recognised when I was invited to join The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry. Having been a member of the Communications Committee, I was offered the post of Chairman of the Committee as well as being invited to become a member of the Court (the equivalent of the Board). Many of the leading furniture manufacturers and furnishing companies have representatives and it provides great networking opportunities.

I recently project managed the development of the new web site for The Furniture Makers’ Company as well as the integration of the new CRM system.

My proven marketing strategy and planning skills are supported by ‘hands on’ practical abilities covering design and copy writing, digital marketing, social media management, web site and e-commerce site development, application of AV technology (Virtual and Augmented Reality), dealer support programmes, communications and PR, exhibition and event management, tender compilation and sales support.

Joanna Knight
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