When Cabinet Maker last caught up with Bodyease’s charismatic corporate director Shakeel Baig he alluded to a number of innovative new products that the Dewsbury-based company had on the horizon. Although he remained tight-lipped about the specific details at the time, he did reveal that many would be launched at the National Bed Federation’s (NBF) Bed Show in September.
Never ones to give up on an intriguing story, when Shakeel invited Cabinet Maker to meet with him again at the company’s factory, we naturally jumped at the chance to see just what the industry’s great innovator has lined up for next month’s big show.
When Cabinet Maker arrives, the factory is a hive of activity with staff toiling away performing different tasks in every direction you look.
Intently focused upon the job in hand, they barely register the stranger in their midst as Shakeel leads us through to the more sedate surroundings of a neatly appointed office. And this of course provides a perfect way to begin our conversation – by enquiring as to just how many people have been involved in the development of the products launching at the upcoming Bed Show?
“Wow,” Shakeel says slightly taken aback as he contemplates the sheer number of people involved. “We’ve had a full team hard at work throughout the process. From designers and researchers, retailer input, and even an extensive survey and concentrated focus groups to ensure we met exactly what was required in a luxury product of this nature.”
This however is merely the tip of the iceberg, and Shakeel reserves particular praise for those hard at work on the factory floor. And having waxed lyrical about several integral parts within the larger company machine, it is with clear admiration for his workforce that he says:“We manufacture our products in the UK with a UK labour force. I really think this is an ingredient of future success. I want to help bring back the quality and pride of British manufacturing. I might be coming across as being a bit patriotic, but Bodyease are very proud to be contributing. We all have to do our part towards the future. It has to start somewhere and I believe we’re trying to do our part in that process.”
Clearly the company has been incredibly busy, not to mention secretive, in preparing for the impending product launches. But what exactly can Shakeel tell us about the surprises he has planned for the NBF Show?
“Well,one of the products we will be launching will be an innovative new concept in adjustable beds, which is geared towards offering choice together with a luxury feel and style. The inspiration behind it is simple: there is no one out there doing this in a customisable way. You can buy a similar luxury product, but not with the range of options we are able to offer to suit the individual requirements of our customers.
“It’s truly unique – one of a kind. We want to give our customers a completely customisable product, with upgrades varying from designer fabric to individual size adjustment, and all with an artistic design. As far as I know, no other product range aims to deliver this level of customer personalisation and satisfaction.”
Of course the new product range and the various upgrades have all been created with the meticulous attention to detail for which Bodyease is renowned. And as Shakeel explains, the journey from conceptual design to finished product has been a long, exhaustive process.
“Well it’s been challenging lets put it that way. There were so many ideas that focusing on the best strategy hasn’t always been easy. We continuously adapted the design in line with the feedback we received from our retail customers. We hold the feedback from our retail clients in the highest regard, as I believe this is essential in meeting their requirements to compete with online retailers.
“In all fairness there is an online market we pursue with other products, but on this occasion we tried to ensure the individual upgrades available to the end user were an incentive to purchase in-store rather than buying a standard model online. This type of product and the full extent and range of the features available really cannot be appreciated fully by buying online. There will always be products that are suited to the online market place, but then others that are best bought the traditional way. So, in my opinion, it’s advisable to go traditional for such a personalised luxury product.”
Clearly intense consumer research and retailer feedback played a vital role in the entire development process. Discussing Xxxxthe key areas that this research informed in the overall project’s development, Shakeel says: “Overwhelmingly, the research we conducted indicated that the product must be aesthetically appealing, but, importantly, it must not compromise on the level of comfort and the ability to adapt it for specific needs and preferences of an individual. So adhering to these points, we expanded on the current fashion trends in the market, while ensuring the functionality was not compromised, but was in fact enhanced by its design. To give you an example of this, we modified our standard adjustable frames to contour the mattress ensuring extra comfort.”
The time taken in research and development has paid dividends for Bodyease, as early indications suggest that the new products are set to be a resounding success. In fact, the pre-launch response has been so good that forward-thinking Shakeel is already considering how the variety of upgrades can be applied to more products in the future.
“Overall feedback has been extremely positive. So this could well be the beginning of a range of similar products for the future. Additionally, we will be introducing a range of accessories to complement and expand our healthcare Bodyeaseproducts. This is in line with strong demand and continued success in the initial launch of our healthcare sector.”
With the meeting drawing to its close, and time running out, it’s evident that the corporate director still has plenty of interesting information to reveal. So it seems foolish not to try and press Shakeel to reveal a little bit more to Cabinet Maker’s readers about the full range of surprises Bodyease has planned for the Bed Show.
“Ah well I don’t really want to give too much more away at this point. What I will say for now is, we are different to our competitors. ‘Bodyease’ specialises in adjustable beds, and we’re aiming to continually innovate and raise the bar in that sector. This will always be our policy even with our new non-adjustable product range, which is launching at the show on 25- 26 September 2012. The various upgrades and options which will be available will also be showcased in Telford.
“Beyond that? Well let’s just see what the show brings about.”