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Who are DFI Beds?
Market-leading online bed retailer DFI Beds has borne the challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19 with aplomb, so today we find out, who are DFI Beds with new Managing Director Brian McCann…
Tell us about your professional background?
I come from a Finance Background, having successfully completed my degree in Liverpool John Moore’s University, I moved to Australia in 2011 where I lived and worked for almost 6 years. I was extremely fortunate to gaining some great experiences both professionally and personally. I was based in Sydney for 2 years and then moved to Darwin to work for a Remote Indigenous Retail Management company called Outback Stores. This was invaluable to my career and shaped the person I am today. Seeing the challenges and working with a merchandise, operations and business development team in the most challenging circumstances gave me a new outlook on life and helped me find the attitude that nothing is impossible. It was very hard to leave this role but Ireland is home and on my return I moved to work with Musgrave Wholesale. Working for a larger company was great in certain aspects but I never felt I had the control to make a positive impact so I then moved into the bedding world with one of Ireland’s leading manufacturers. I was there for 4 years and this has led me to my biggest career move yet.
So you have just become the managing director of DFI Beds?
Yes, as touched on above I have been in the industry for the past number of years and am very thankful for my previous employers for the insight and experience I gained. I was doing some consultancy work with the DFI Brand so when the opportunity arose to invest in the business I had a long discussion with my wife Aine and we decided it would be a fantastic opportunity. With 2 young kids under 2 years of age (Ella and Éabha) there is never the right time to make a move like this but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Can you outline DFI’s size and scope?
DFI Beds have been growing year on year based on a very simple scope- to provide handmade Irish products, delivered by our own team with our own customer service. We offer free delivery on all our products to every part of Ireland- whether it be Malin Head, D1 or the Arran Islands. Our values are at the very core of ensuring every customer has a positive thought of DFI Beds.
As you said- you have done some work with DFI so how has fared during the pandemic?
The key in periods such as these is to seek out and identify the opportunities that exist to improve your business, and to ensure that you are in a position to capitalise on these in the future. Ultimately, the business rolled with the punches and have grown considerably over the past year. The shift of confidence to online purchasing has been phenomenal and we have strived to be number one in all key aspects- price, quality and customer service. This has been the case in 99.9% of the orders so it is no mean feat for our small team.
What’s next for DFI Beds?
After a few tough weeks and sleepless nights- I can reveal in this interview that DFI Beds are going to begin manufacturing all our own mattress and beds from March 2022. I have been fortunate with the help of my close and extended family and friends to make this all possible. I have just taken over the lease of a suitable building which is literally within 25metres of my home house.
So Direct from Factory to the Customer?
Yes this is exactly right. Having worked in a wholesale environment and seeing the ever rising costs I just thought this is the way forward. This will be a revolutionary concept in Ireland but with ever rising costs I know the previous owner of DFI Beds was struggling to keep costs steady so I thought this would be the best option.
The furniture industry is renowned for long lead times but at DFI Beds that will not be the case.
A key factor is it will also allow me to keep the quality to the highest levels on the market and ensure any issues that do arise will be dealt with as soon as possible.
DFI is built on fantastic value and service and these aspects will remain the cornerstone of our business moving forward.
We will also be looking to continue our Hotel and Hospitality business. We have some great customers in this section and with the move to manufacturing I am very confident this is an area we can strive in.
What’s been keeping you occupied in the past month?
This past few weeks have been hectic to say the least. I have been building a small but really qualified team for the business so we have been meeting to set our strategic goals for 2022 and beyond. We will continue to recruit a team of production operatives but at the moment we have a fantastic sales team led by my wife Aine and our delivery team has remained- including the famous Paul (have a read of some of our reviews!!) There has also been a photoshoot with a leading designer and ambassador in Ireland which we will keep under the duvet for now. (Excuse the bad pun)
And no to mention working hard to get the first DFI Beds Bricks and Mortar shop open in the prestigious Quays shopping centre Newry. The lease has been signed and now the hard work begins with fit-out. I couldn’t commit to an opening date right now but I would hope this will be May/June time.
And you are planning on making DFI more environmentally friendlier?
Yes, circular economy has become more important than ever and we are continuously working on ways to minimise our carbon footprint.
To begin with- any bed or mattress purchased from DFI Beds in 2022 and beyond- we will collect for absolutely no charge at the end of its lifespan. So when our customers are finished with the bed they simply let us know and we will collect it within 7 days. In doing so, we will make sure the bed and mattress are properly recycled and disposed of at a proper recycling plant.
I would love to be able to incorporate a charity who would be willing to take the beds which are in a suitable condition so this is something I plan to investigate further.
Have any new technological developments/tools/systems made a difference to your business of late?
Being from a Finance Background I have had to become a fast learner in the technological world. The current DFI website has been mainly designed by myself but I have recently engaged with an excellent company to bring this to the next level. We are working hard to build a really unique UX for all our customers and have some exciting plans.
Our factory will use an ERP system that once a customer’s order is placed online this will feed automatically to the team making the bed. So every bed is made to order specifically for the customer and then loaded and shipped on the next available date.
Finally, what’s your favourite range/model in DFI’s current product line-up?
Oh, a tough final question! I personally have the Lifestyle Pillowtop Mattress which has a nice soft top but a sturdy foundation to allow a great nights sleep. I love our Tweed Range of beds and my daughter Ella has recently got the new pink bed which thankfully is getting us some deserved sleep. I would say the new range coming in April from our new collaborator is something else…but that’s for another day.
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