Q&A with Mari Daly

Earlier this year we welcomed Havwoods, a leading global specialist in timber flooring to the CDQ membership.  We have enjoyed getting to know their fantastic product and were much looking forward to their event in the now postponed Springtime Sessions. 

We thought it would be nice to get to know them a bit better and to introduce them to the followers of Chelsea Design Quarter. To this end we have interviewed Mari Daly, who is their Marketing Manager for Europe.  

(Please note this interview was conducted via e-mail and we sadly did not meet in person!)

Mari, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and why don’t you start by telling us a little more about your role at Havwoods and the history of the company.

Hello! I joined Havwoods in April 2018 and since then been looking after the company’s marketing and showrooms in Europe.

The marketing team is based in Earls Barton, Northamptonshire, and between us we cover the work in the marketing area such as production of our literature items, social media and new product launches. Some of you may know our Woodbook, which is a very popular brochure amongst our customers and which we bring out four times a year.

The showroom teams are based in their store locations in Clerkenwell and Chelsea, Manchester and Carnforth in Lancashire. We dedicate a lot of our time in ensuring that the Havwoods Showroom Experience for our customers is always of high quality, we have all the latest products on display and that our coffee and chocolate brownies continue being the talk of the town! We also run regular showroom events across different locations.

What’s really important for me is to ensure that marketing and showrooms are closely linked in everything that we do. As a joined team we are continuously evolving and developing, never standing still. We love our customers and aim to provide each and every one of them a wood flooring experience which both inspires as well as educates the customer to make the right decision for them. We are always closely in touch with our customers understanding their needs and requirements.

Story Wall at the Clerkenwell Showroom

Perhaps you can tell us a little about the history of Havwoods and how it has grown to be such an international success?

Havwoods started as a small family business in 1976 and since then has grown into a global business working with clients around the world. Our products can be found in fine restaurants and hotels internationally and we are constantly keeping our product line new and fresh to attract designers, specifiers as well as residential customers. One of our strengths is consistency by offering the same level of service and the same quality of products regardless of where in the world our clients are.

How are you adapting to the current situation?

Our customers are our key focus as always and we are doing the best we can to adapt to the current situation. When the situation started we instantly identified the ways in which we were able to continue helping, supporting and inspiring our customers, regardless of their location. We have a number of ways in which to engage with our customers such as Virtual Showroom Consultation. The Floor Visualiser is available on our website too, and has turned out to be a highly popular tool.

How has the situation affected Havwoods and delivery of products?

Havwoods holds a large amount of UK stock available for next day delivery, and we are still sending out our free flooring samples, too. The Operations team at Havwoods are simply amazing and doing everything they can to make it smooth for our customers while respecting all the necessary social distancing rules.

A residential project in Bayswater, London

Havwoods has worked on some amazing projects, can you tell us about any that particularly stand out to you?

We work across multiple sectors including residential, apartments, hospitality, retail and workspace, and are often involved in amazing projects. One of our recent residential projects was in Bayswater, London, where a property underwent a major renovation. We love this particular project because of its use of space and colour. See the project here.

You produce stunning floors, how does the process work with your clients? 

We start by identifying what feel the customer is trying to achieve, and what is the space going to be used for. There are hundreds of products to choose from and often a visit to the showroom really helps the decision-making process as this is where you are able to view the products in large panels. Our Floor Finder on our showroom wall helps our customers too when making a selection between the type of colours, patterns and finishes available.

Do you have a favourite random fact?

We have an old London Routemaster Bus which is like ‘a showroom on wheels’ and is frequently being taken on the road for Bus Tours around the country. When we meet our clients, this is often what is mentioned first: the Havwoods Bus! It puts smile on everyone’s face.

How do you think the current situation might affect design and influences on design in the coming months and years?

Sustainable design is already a growing trend and my feeling is that through this challenging situation we’re in sustainability will become even more important. Consumers will be looking for materials which will stand the test of time. Everyone is aware of the importance of lowering the carbon footprint. Perhaps this trend will now become even stronger in people’s minds both in residential and commercial settings. The current situation will no doubt influence design in many ways which we can’t even anticipate yet.

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