Startup Profile: Made.com

  • Made.com is an online furniture designer and retailer specialising in accessible, high-end design.
  • Made.com uses AI strategy to reduce consumer costs.
  • The London-based company operates in 13 European countries.

 

 

About Made.com

 

Made.com designs and retails furniture online, and in a network of showrooms across Europe. The company was founded in 2010 by Ning Li, Brent Hoberman, Julien Callède and Chloe Macintosh. The founders saw a gap in the market for affordable designer furniture. The company’s head office is based in London and also operates an office in Shanghai, China.

The idea for Made.com was born when Ning Li was looking to buy a sofa being sold for £3000 by a high-end designer brand. Coincidentally, a friend from his school in China had recently taken over control of the factory which held the contract to make this exact sofa. Ning discovered that the factory was paid £250 to produce the sofa and so he bought it directly from his friend. He realised that by connecting the manufacturers directly with the consumers, he could cut-out the costly middlemen and make designer brands affordable. Ning says “There is an elitist mentality in the furniture industry that only customers that can afford to pay £3,000 are entitled to have a trendy, well-made sofa. But there shouldn’t be any reason for that”. 

 

made.com founders
Made.com founders Julien Callède, Chloe Macintosh, Brent Hoberman and Ning Li

 

 

AI Strategy keeps consumer costs down

 

Made.com uses AI technology to its advantage throughout the product design process. The company uses an AI algorithm to predict whether a furniture item will sell. The technology is fed customer data, including Trustpilot reviews, to learn what customers respond well to and feeds this information back to the design team. Made.com can then choose to only invest in the products that are predicted to sell well. From conception to sale, Made.com completes the process in just four months as opposed to the eighteen-month standard. The use of AI and and automated supply chain infrastructure, which matches demand to supply, allows Made.com to keeps overall consumer costs down. Through the use of technology in streamlining the design process, the company has grown its revenue to £137 million a year.

 

Made furniture
Made.com designer furniture.

 

Made.com in 2020

 

In 2019, Made.com revealed that it was considering expanding into furniture rental. Philippe Chainieux, CEO since 2016, said “a big societal shift” is underway. With the rise in people renting over buying, Made.com is looking into how to respond to that demand. Other big players in the furniture industry have noted this change, with Ikea announcing its rental service trials to take place globally this year. With the sharing economy continuing to grow, 2020 will likely see Made.com looking to trial rental furniture services