Updated 13 September 21
Having worked his way up from driving delivery vans to the Director of a UK-based furniture agency over the last 20 years, Greg French’s wealth of knowledge and network of contacts is unparalleled in the furniture industry.
Greg has recently teamed up with Nova to found Bolda, an online tool helping with competition shopping and trend research for both furniture retail buyers and manufacturers. Bolda is helping furniture buyers within retail companies to keep up with consumer trends and insights, by automating existing manual and outdated research processes.
We spoke to Greg to learn more about the origins of his startup, and why he decided to innovate the furniture industry with Bolda.
Image above - Greg French, Founder of Bolda
In my day job, I represent foreign furniture brands and manufacturers and supply these to retailers and contract companies all over the UK and Ireland. I realised that whenever stores had to decide on new ranges or suppliers, they did hours of research to benchmark brands and get information on trends happening in the market before finalising their decision. The methods they use to do this research are very manual, outdated (using offline tools), and often costly.
Additionally, the current buying process for furniture retailers is just as analogue and outdated. Sometimes, it can take up to 6 months before a product reaches stores.
It got me thinking, ‘imagine how much technology could speed up this buying process, and reduce time, money and resources currently spent on research. If only there was a simple platform for this.’ Which is exactly what Bolda aims to be.
Bolda’s helps those working in the furniture industry save time and money spent conducting manual and time-consuming product research.
What will be unique about Bolda is not just how we collect the data but also how we present it. Retailers will be able to see a holistic overview of each brand/product and compare with others on our easy to use interactive dashboard.
Users will also be able to check prices of branded products along with white label or private label items – all in one place. The key charts (shown below) will visualise trends, colours, price architecture and range size. This is to help retailers, manufacturers and brands optimise ranges and prices to make sure they are competitive.
Even though Bolda is a very early stage startup, we have already seen success with retailers of all sizes using our MVP.
We are in discussions with a number of manufacturers who are keen to see how their products are sold across the market (helping them optimise their range).
Additionally, we’ve had 5 UK based companies sign up to trial our product already, including a large national retailer which is a huge win! It’s all great proof that Bolda is exactly what the industry needs right now.
When you have a product that is so relevant to the industry and addresses your customers biggest pain points, starting conversations with key stakeholders is much easier!
My advice, and the biggest thing I have learnt, is to focus on identifying ‘that’ problem and how you can solve it, making sure what you are building will be useful.
Be prepared! It is an emotional rollercoaster and hard work, but you have to be determined and focused on where you want to be in the future.
Luckily for me, I have industry connections that have been invaluable for Bolda. But what I was lacking was the technical skill - I knew I needed a CTO from the start.
When I came across Nova, I realised it was a good fit for me. They have provided the technical expertise but so much more with marketing, design, knowledge and a great product manager.
Nova gave me an opportunity to continue with my ‘day job’ whilst trying to get Bolda off the ground. Working with a great team of people has definitely been enjoyable, and a great learning experience.
I’d really like Bolda to become the industry go-to for retailers, helping them find all the industry trend data they need to make better decisions when purchasing product stock. We want to help companies large and small find ways to succeed and we have plans to roll out the tool across more markets in the foreseeable future.
Have you got an idea that could revolutionise the digital health industry? See how Nova could help today.