Today we tell the story of Tony Chan’s business and how he’s worked with ManoMano, the online marketplace for DIY, Home and Gardening, to capitalise on seasonal trends. Founded in 2018 by Tony Chan, Living and Home began operating their own ecommerce website from a rented warehouse in Manchester and more recently he’s partnered with ManoMano to grow his business across Europe.
After graduating from University, Tony went to China and worked in the furniture industry for 5 years. During this time, he was inspired by the manufacturing process of goods and the business-to-consumer operation. He left China and moved to the UK in the early 2000’s to begin the process of setting up his own business. Tony had a vision of becoming the market leader in providing quality and innovative home furniture with modern technological functions, such as LED Mirror Cabinets and modern LED fireplaces, all at a competitive price.
Originally selling only small household goods, Living and Home is now operating three large UK based warehouses and has increased its portfolio to sell a wide array of modern and innovative household furniture. Whilst predominantly UK based, with a vast majority of its customers placed in this market, they also operate a warehouse in Guangzhou, China, supporting them to grow their business on an international scale.
Since launching, Living and Home has grown rapidly, both internally and externally. They began with a small employee base of 10, which has now grown to over 200 colleagues to support business growth, analyse home and living trends, and provide excellent customer service to its clients.
With the aim of expanding its international clientele and growing the business via well-established marketplaces, Living and Home joined ManoMano in 2019.
“With ManoMano being well known as the biggest marketplace in Europe for DIY, Home & Garden, and demand only continuing to rise, it was an easy decision for our company to form a partnership.”
– Tony Chan, Living and Home
Since joining ManoMano, Living and Home’s sales have increased rapidly month on month, with July vs June sales increasing by 24%, with the new international audience created through ManoMano and the demand for DIY during the pandemic playing a key role in this. Over the past year, the business has also begun exporting to Germany and France, and are aiming to reach more European markets in the future such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.
Taking on the DIY Trends
Whilst originally specialising in home décor, Living and Home’s largest market is currently in the DIY and home furnishings sector, with upholstery products, bathroom furniture and heating being some of its most popular categories. Tony believes this has increased due to the partnershi with ManoMano – Acess to new audiences and increased visibility has resulted in a large growth in sales and profits for the company.
ManoMano is at the forefront of the personal DIY market and encourages individuals to take on their own DIY challenges. The marketplace not only offers all the tools needed, but also shares supporting advice through a Manodvisor service, and regularly publishes DIY and home improvement guides on its blog.
With DIY being one of the biggest trends seen over the pandemic, the demand for home projects saw a huge uptake in trends such as home offices, outdoor bars and upcycling old furniture. To ensure Living and Home were able to deal with this demand, whilst also sustaining their growth into the DIY sector, its dedicated ManoMano Account Manager worked closely with the wider team by constantly offering marketing support and advice in terms of advertising products that would match current market trends and become best sellers for the business.
“The DIY trends seen over the last year have been clearly visible on our marketplace. As we have such a vast array of sellers, who all specialise in different areas of home, gardening and DIY, we have first access to see what trends are growing and utilise this to support all our sellers, ensuring they are in the best position to place their products at the forefront of these trends.”
– Erika Van Rampelbergh, Account Manager for Living and Home, ManoMano
Gearing up for a busy festive season
By working with ManoMano, Living and Home saw the benefits of taking advantage of the trends data available in both sales and visibility and plan to analyse these trends further to prepare for the upcoming festive season.
Black Friday and Christmas are two key dates in the retail calendar, and after a challenging eighteen months as the world battled the ongoing pandemic which restricted celebrations in 2020, the excitement for these dates have never been bigger. Searches for the term ‘Christmas’ on ManoMano increased by 106% in September compared to the previous year.
Living and Home are preparing for a huge increase in demand over the next few months and have particularly seen a large surge in sales for Christmas decorative items such as wreaths, garlands and artificial potted plants. Lighting, fireplaces, firepits are also products which are popular with customers as they are preparing for the autumn/winter season.
For Black Friday, the seller has forecasted fireplaces, firepits and gas heaters as the upcoming popular trend, and have prepared extra stock for these items so they are available to customers in time. Another trend Living and Home are expecting an increase in demand are bar stools and dining chairs which have already started to sell successfully from the start of September.
The support of the ManoMano dedicated Account Manager has been key in analysing upcoming trends and basing its holiday plans around them, to ensure they are able to deal with any unexpected demand. The seller has meetings with the ManoMano account manager before each quarterly season where forecasts in product demand are provided, and suggestions are given on how to maximise sales and profits.
“We work closely with ManoMano, where we discuss which of our current products will be best sellers based on market trends and we will obtain more stock, so they are available for customers as soon as possible. With ManoMano we focus on planning and preparing, so that we are able to maintain availability offering the very best products to ensure our customers can celebrate the festive season in style.”
– Tony Chan, Living and Home
Plans to Grow
Living and Home is continuing to grow, utilising Manofulfilment to enter more international markets such as Spain and Italy and are increasing its customer base and market share. As it continues to analyse the trends and grow its business, it hopes to recruit 50+ more employees in 2022, and aims to expand its operation sites to Germany and France.