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Conquering comfort: Billy & Slouch to launch at the NEC next month

Upholstery buyers will see a new name at the January Furniture Show as the heritage sofa factory that once owned the Collins & Hayes brand relaunches as Billy & Slouch.
The Hastings factory — which also supplies white-label to a number of leading national furniture retailers — will introduce the collection from the longstanding C&H stand space in Hall 1 of the January 21–24, 2018 event.
"We want to stand proudly and say we are back, we've got the investment, and we are here to stay," said sales and marketing director Vicky Phillips.
Upholstery designer Alan Pledge, who created a number of the factory's previous best-sellers, has been drafted in to help formulate Billy & Slouch's launch collection.
"The ranges that we have put together are very modern, contemporary and on-trend," said Ms Phillips, describing Mr Pledge as "integral" to the design process.
Ms Phillips, who was born into a Long Eaton upholstery family and has worked with famous names including Parker Knoll and Derwent, said the name of the new brand is a nod to Hastings' heritage and William the Conqueror, with Billy chosen to reflect the more modern nature of the business' product offer.
There will be ten new models at the January Furniture Show, five casual styles and five contemporary. Ms Phillips says the casual collection will feature pastel and chalky hues, with linens and naturals. She says visitors to the contemporary side of the stand will be greeted with "an explosion of colour."
"The plan was always to come back into the independents market. Lots of mass-produced factories can't cope with the sort of flexibility that many customers ask for, whether that is a customer's own fabric or made-to-measure sizing.
"We aim to show people an excellent product and do a good job of reassuring them that we are back on track and in a financial position to be as supportive as we previously were. I owe that to the people who work here at Hastings. They have been through a lot, remain dedicated and are looking forward to getting back up to capacity again."