7 can'í believe how much we have changed in a relativefy short time. From being an inward-lookíng manufacturar, we became a customer-focused "deslgn and mate" operaí/on. Atow we are an integrated service provider. Most of our new buslness comes from the partnerships we have formed with design houses. In effect, we design products jointly with specialist design houses that have a weli-known brand, and offer them a complete service of manufacturing and distribution. In many ways we are now a "business-to-business" company rafher ínan a "business-to-consumer" company.' (Jim Thompson, CEO, Concept Design Services (CDS)) CDS had become one of Europe's most profitable rtomeware businesses. Originally founded in the 1960s, the company had moved from making Industrial moufcfings, mainly in the aerospace sector, and some cheap 'homeware' items such as buckets and dustpans, sold under the 'Focus' brand name, to making very high-qualrty (expensive) stylish homewares with a high 'design value'.
The move irrto 'Concept' products The move into higher-margin homeware had been masterminded by Linda Fteet, CDS's Marketing Director, who had previously worked for a large retail chain of paint and wallpaper retailers. 'Experíence in the decorative products índustry had íaugnf me the importance of fashion and product devetopment, even in mundane products such as paint. Premlum-príced colours and new textures would become popular for one or two years, supported by appropríate promotion and feaíures in Irfestyte magazines. The manufacturers and retailers who created and supported these products wers dramatícalfy more profitable than those who simply provlded Standard ranges. Instinctivety, l felt that this must also apply to homeware. We decided to develop a whole coordinated range of such Items, and to open up a new distribution network for them to serve upmarket stores, kitchen equipment and speciality retailers. Wlthin a year of