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Chris Thomas | Mlily
Good things come in threes. This month’s January Furniture Show marks the third successive outing for Mlily, in a year where it is in line to triple sales, according to Chris Thomas, who heads up global marketing at the world-leading mattress maker.
Three is also indelibly written into the history of Mlily’s commercial partner Manchester United Football Club, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of Fergie’s famous treble-winning team.
“It is a huge show for our business,” says Chris, adding that a vast amount of orders come in from the January Furniture Show, which this year takes place January 20–23, at the NEC.
“We've doubled our business every year since its inception and we are actually very close — and I anticipate we are going to achieve it — to tripling our business in the latest year. We are doing very well here in the UK, and the show is a big part of that. It is always an exciting time for us in January.
No more so than last year, when the launch of its Aria series — a bed-in-a-box product offering — proved so popular that the model launched at the show became its became one of its top-selling ranges in stockists’ stores through 2018, supporting established lines such as its Harmony range.
It has “absolutely taken off through our retail partners,” says Chris, so much so that Mlily plans to expand the collection with a launch of a firm model mattress in the Aria series.
The presence of a Manchester United great on the Mlily stand has become an annual event and this year sees the return of ex-United and England legend Bryan Robson — or Captain Marvel as he is better known — as well as a new initiative for 2019.
“Besides a player, this year we are going to do something different,” says Chris, explaining how the manufacturer will have a curator from the Manchester United museum, along with precious heirlooms from its history — “things like cups and medals, Champions League kits, boots from past players, and match balls,” says Chris — with the expert on hand to tell the story behind all the artefacts.
But, above all else, Mlily’s partnership with Britain’s most important football team is about product and, says Chris, bringing the fruits of the relationship to the wider consumer.
“We've got a fantastic new line called the Dream series. We’ve worked closely with the Recovery and Regeneration Team at Manchester United to develop the starter model the Dream+. This mattress is actually currently in players and coaching staff’s homes. But we don’t wish to restrict it to just Manchester United, so we are taking the technology of what we are doing here, making mattresses for elite performers, and making them available for the general public, so they can also benefit and enrich their lives too.”