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Furniture entrepreneur swaps hot cars for hot coals

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Kelly set up The Furniture Practice in 1997, having spent five years making movies. 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: “We’re one of the few firms that hasn’t made a single redundancy – but we are looking at ways of making the business more efficient,” he says.  “For starters, 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 barbecues on our roof terrace.”How are you taking costs out of your business? Click on the “Add a comment” button below and let us know!

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