Over the last few decades, we have witnessed a drastically changing world. With the constant advance of technology, every aspect of our lives has progressed, from how we connect socially to the way we rely on innovation to enhance our lifestyles.
Luxury goods and services are more in demand than ever and technology has leveled the playing field for the many industries that deal in them. One of the best examples of this is a luxury furniture and interior design. Within the last few years, the way people see and experience interior design has changed rapidly.
Technology has allowed brands and manufacturers to increase their reach and communicate directly with their customers. This accessibility has made outstanding interior design and quality furniture more in demand than ever to people across a range of price levels, whereas before it was seen as the playground of the rich. The new software allows people to see what their home makeover results might look like before they commit. It is in this space that Firdaus Nagree of FCI London weaves his magic.
This issue of The Enterprise World’s “The Most Successful Business Leaders to Watch Out For” features Firdaus and his mission to create transformative, positive spaces that contribute to overall happiness and well-being.
FCI London is one of the largest luxury furniture and interiors brands in the UK, showcasing over 700 of the world’s best brands under 1 roof in its 30,000 sq.ft. North London showroom. Established in 1985, FCI London is an independently owned family business with deep roots in furniture design, manufacturing and interiors.
“Our mission is to create transformative, positive spaces that contribute to overall happiness and wellbeing.”
Luxury is is about quality, prestige and heritage, and that is exactly what FCI London sells with their range of exclusive furniture from the world’s most illustrious brands. When FCI first started importing pieces to the UK, many of the brands that they worked with were still relatively small artisan workshops. Today, they are hugely successful and recognised around the world.
In addition to their luxury furniture range, FCI London offers a comprehensive interior design service with a team of highly skilled designers. The company’s mission is to create transformative, positive spaces that contribute to the overall happiness and wellbeing of their clients.
FCI has an extensive customer base and they also work with a close network of interior designers for whom they have created a range of trade services designed to take the headaches out of design projects. From product sourcing and technical drawings to logistics and installations, they provide bespoke project assistance and curated brands at trade prices.
The furniture business that Mr & Mrs Nagree established in 1985 was a small shop with limited resources. Firdaus worked at Accenture for a number of years before joining the family business, at which point they expanded into a luxury furniture showroom in North London…and FCI London was born.
In 2008, after further expanding the business into several showrooms, the company ran into some financial difficulties and faced foreclosure on one of its commercial properties. Firdaus and his business partner pulled a rabbit out the hat and managed to save it, but it was a challenging time; one that they have not forgotten and that they learned a great deal from. Another challenge that Firdaus faced was learning how to build a really strong team, It took him a while to learn the importance of company culture and how to create an environment that would support and encourage his employees.
“Entrepreneurs face many challenges on a day-to-day basis, but I would say the primary challenge is getting the team right.”
The Growth Quotient
Expanding and growing are important in any business and every start up needs a triggering event which will help it grow. For FCI, this happened in 2018 when they switched to their own custom-built cloud platform that manages all parts of the business, from sales to logistics to finance.
They tried for years to find the right software to meet all their business needs, but nothing was a perfect fit. So instead, the tech team designed it from scratch. Once the software was implemented, FCI London began to see a real acceleration of benefits, economies of scale and efficiencies that inspired the growth and expansion of the business.
“I believe that cultivating an open and accessible environment where people feel safe to share their ideas is incredibly important.”
About the Product and Services
In order to be succesful, a company must offer the highest, most consistent standards of quality and service while maintaining strong relationships with their clients. Firdaus has focussed a lot of energy on building strong supplier relationships, which in turn allows FCI to offer their clients bespoke options that they can’t find anywhere else.
But it is customer service where FCI London really shines. The reason they’re so good at it is because every part of the customer service process is owned and provided by the company – there are no sub-contractors involved. From fitters and installers to delivery and admin, every aspect is delivered by one of FCI’s highly skilled teams.
Being in the luxury market, Firdaus knows that expectations are high and meeting them consistently is what will set a brand apart. But to be really good at customer service, you need a great team that is committed to excellence. This is the other piece that FCI is very proud of – having a team that shares common goals and values where people are supportive of each other.
“The development of our new global SaaS platform will revolutionise how people access design advice and allow them to optimise their living spaces without spending an arm and a leg.”
FCI London is a furniture and interiors business, but underneath their exterior they see themselves as a tech company. They are excited by innovative software and are constantly reinventing themselves and the way that they use it to enhance their customer experience. They like trying new things, even if some of those things seem somewhat out of character for their industry. In this way, they keep learning and growing as a business and as individual members of the team.
“We’re up for trying something new even if it initially sounds completely crazy.”
FCI has a key strategy for happiness and wellbeing: giving equal importance to each response or idea from any of the team, regardless of job title or experience. Firdaus credits his team for every success the business has had and believes that this is the key to their continued growth and success.