Telling the truth about SME life today


Ken Kelly made movies for five years before setting up The Furniture Practice in 1997. Why the jump from films to furniture “My wife was having a baby. I wanted to earn more money to look after my family,” he says. “I’d worked in the furniture industry in my early twenties so I decided to go back to it – this time as my own boss.” Today, his Clerkenwell-based company employs 14 staff and turns over £10m, working with architects and designers to furnish corporate spaces, health centres, hotels, apartments and schools. Kelly has built the company up without a penny of private equity or a bank overdraft. But he’s cautious about the future: “While we’re one of the few firms that hasn’t made a single redundancy, our turnover this year will probably halve,” he says. “How am I making the business more efficient” Well, I’m working longer hours! We’ve also slashed our marketing budget. We used to take clients to the PalmerSport motoring event. Now, we’re treating them to barbeques on our roof terrace.”


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