Lean, Mean and Keen

 I think you’ve got to be lean, mean and keen,” asserts Mark Hughes, sales director at Millbrook Beds. The handmade mattress and headboard brand has reached for the skies to keep the recent momentum going and the energy is proving contagious. Mark has only been at the Southampton based company since January when several new sales agents were appointed to rev the engines, and the collective efforts are well on their way to paying off. 

With the words “35% sales increase” floating about, it’s not surprising to hear the last eight months have gone particularly well for the business. The brand has recently been revamped and the orders are repeating, meaning exciting times for the newly implemented sales team. “It’s been incredible to be honest with you,” says Mark. “It’s been better than my wildest expectations. The way the brand has been received and the results we have seen, it’s been quite phenomenal.” 

Commenting on what has sparked this flurry of excitement, the topic turns to the investments made in the company’s constant desire to evolve and promote growth. “Mark Croll, the managing director, has invested heavily, over £2m, in the new machinery within the plant.” But that’s not the 

Mark Hughes, sales director, Millbrook Beds only factor, this particular Mark says. Over 70 retailers have now visited the Millbrook premises at Southampton and the response has been brilliant. “The new people based in Southampton have a great skillset at such a high level. When you invite the retailers down to visit the plant, firstly they’re blown away by the showroom when they see how it’s been set up and the systems that have been put in place. And similarly, when people come out with the energy and enthusiasm I do when I’m presenting it to them.” He continues: “It’s infectious when you go around the plant. The staff on the production line live and breathe the business and people go away with the same enthusiasm we have over the business. It’s really exciting to see.” 

It has been a tough journey along the way for the team. Without the support of independent retailers over the last few years, the company has a larger contract base that sees its Perfect Hospitality collection thrive. However, now they’re “in a position where [they] want the independent market back,” explains Mark. “It’s my priority to get the independent trade back and so we’ve brought in a sales team that has been in the industry for over 20 years and has developed a great relationship with the independent retailers. 

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