Opening the Studio for Long Point 2020

“The Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers hold a bi-annual trade show which sees the opening of a number of showrooms around the town of Long Eaton. The show is open to all and is known to host over 25 exhibitors showing fine high-end upholstery and manufacturers across the historic town.”

Autumn Long Point 2020, has returned for another fantastic showcase of exhibitors in and around the Long Eaton area. Taking place between the 21st and 23rd September 2020, Long Point encourages the many upholstery manufacturers in the area to come together to enable buyers to visit them in their own spaces to offer inspiration and insight into the furniture capital of the UK.

In an intimate and relaxed setting, we will see manufacturers open their doors once again for this fantastic trade show. The team here at Orbital is no different! We will be opening our studio doors and encourage many of you to come and see what we’re getting up to! 

We have our own exhibition space that is available for all to rent out and use for their own product exhibitions and showcases. We welcome all visitors to The Exchange, it’s in a great location for one, so you are able to check out all of the surrounding exhibitors. Not only that, you can come and have a sneak peak and a nose around our fantastic CGI and design studio to see the magic take place before your very eyes!

The Exchange is a hub for the furniture industry, based in the heart of Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire. Long Eaton itself is the UK’s centre of upholstery and is the home to many long standing and successful furniture manufacturers such as Harrington Mills. Within our own space at Orbital, we have a meeting room available to hire, which has hosted many meetings for Long Eaton Guild and other professionals such as Sofa Workshop. We also have a showroom which is available to all for showcasing new products, holding launches and hosting presentations. Our spaces are incredibly light and welcoming due to The Exchange being a converted mill. 

Our studio is an incredible space and we welcome all who we know and are yet to meet. We invite you all to come and see what incredible work we are currently doing, meet our creative and experienced team and come and have a natter over a coffee. We regularly encourage clients to come to the studio to learn our processes and, when desired, have a first hand say on their future imagery. We hope to see some of your lovely faces soon!

 

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Can your Brand Survive Covid-19?

It is an unsettling time for everyone. None of us can predict the future, but have a good idea where the economy is going. Especially in our industry; furniture and interiors. As a digital creative agency, at Orbital, we are trying to keep our business, and others in the industry, moving forward at this time. But how can you take any advantages from the lockdown and shutting of retail shops? We hope to offer a glimmer of advice...

Let’s take a minute to talk about the namesake of this dreaded virus. The one we would all rather be thinking about right now. Yes, we’re talking about the refreshing summertime beer – Corona. Corona is the only lager that we regularly place a lemon wedge in. Playing the game of trying to suspend it in the neck of the bottle without it dropping into the body of the bubbly beer. You would never consider drinking your Budweiser this way – straight from the bottle, and jazzing it up with a hint of citrus. This, of course, is a great marketing ploy from the brand. Which we act upon subconsciously, similar to relating Christmas with Coca Cola’s infamous red Santa, which is now ingrained into global culture.

There are a few myths behind the legendary lemon slice but there is one which seems to be the most believable. This virus isn’t the first Corona to come up against nature’s barriers. With Corona being a sweeter lager compared to its competitors, and originating in sweltering Mexico, the original Corona had its own (albeit literally and problematically smaller) enemies: flies. To stop a Hitchcock style swarm attacking anyone who dared drink their lager, the brand opted to suggest customers serve their drinks in the bottle, with a perfectly sized lemon slice wedged in the bottle neck. From what was once a simple solution to a problem affecting sales, the brand transformed their decision from necessity to clear branding identity. Unfortunately for the beer, its name will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and as it stands, could fail. But with a re-brand and a good bit of marketing they could turn the bad press on its head. Especially as they clearly have a team of proven marketing moguls.

Now, in a time of global crisis, you might be wondering why you are reading an anecdote about Mexican flies’ aversion to citrus. Well we are a small business, like many of you out there, who are wondering what on Earth is going to happen to the economy over the next few months. As I’m sure many of you are, we are thinking about how we can keep our industry moving. Discussing alternative tactics to keep companies strong through this uncertain time. And the fable of the Lemon and the Lager has a perfect moral: adapt and overcome.

While we are not sure how many interiors based companies will profit from adding a Sicilian lemon to all orders, there are definitely a number of options to make sure your company keeps moving during a time where shops have been ordered to close, and customers have been advised not to leave their homes. It seems too large to comprehend right now, how we will get through this unscathed, but there are options.It just means that while there may be postponed product launches, and less orders on the books, the one gift companies have right now, is time.

Moving a business into a digital direction can seem overwhelming and too time consuming to be a priority when whole teams are busy with photoshoots and huge orders. By all means is this situation is an unprecedented hit to businesses small and large, but it may be the time to consider alternative routes. Orbital will be on hand with a mini-series as tech experts in the furniture and interiors industry. From arming sales agents with digital packs rather than swatchbooks, to how you can make the most of video conferencing apps to maximise sales. We will also be looking at how trends will be affected, and how customer perceptions of online shopping for big ticket items will be transformed forever. How to stay ahead of the curve and come out on top. We will be posting ideas on how to keep your business moving and innovating in a time of such upheaval. After all, a virtual space is a safe place.

And you can of course rely on us to continue to deliver our favourite puns throughout. See how many Cloud based puns you can spot in our upcoming posts.

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It's business as usual at Orbital...well almost!

It will come as no surprise that we are wading our way through a very unsettling time. While everyone is struggling to keep workflows going strong while working remotely, it’s business as usual for Orbital. We can work virtually anywhere…

 

Please note: There will be no apologies for our puns. We are very proud of them.

The beauty of being a tech-based company is that we are already pretty well set up for such an unprecedented situation. With online workflows and remote access to our office computers, we will still be working seamlessly on getting your CGI imagery complete within deadlines and to our usual top-notch standard. If we do say so ourselves.

But there is one problem. And we know you will all be suffering with it too. We are now confined to one small building with our loved ones. Although once the stuff dreams are made of, the reality of couples being forced into quarantine and the kids being home from school for up to three months, this could be the real global crisis. Good luck to all of the families out there. We believe in you.

 

In the vein of Keep Calm and Carry On, we have actually had a growing team over the last couple of weeks. Introducing our new Assistant Account Manager, Lauren Edwards, and our new Account Manager, Marianne Reed.

We would insert office selfies but knowing how people really work from home, we didn’t want to put you through seeing them in their dressing-gowned state. But we do have a little introduction from both new team members. We have opted for the classic social media photos, dreaming of a time when we can again roam free…

Lauren has just taken her first steps into the world of agencies and CGI work, and is really excited to join a new team and a new industry. She is helping our account managers day to day and being trained to look after projects one day soon.

“The atmosphere is great, it’s amazing having a sing song all day while working (when we were in the Studio, where we will return one day soon, I hope!). And, of course, we have a great team, a great client base and creative work, which helps a lot.”

Marianne has joined us from Boots headquarters and has experiencing of managing digital marketing campaigns and a team on large projects for well-known high street brands. Transferring her skills to a new industry and excited to get stuck in.

“I love interiors, so I’m excited to be joining a small, fun team and getting to work in the exciting world of interior design and CGI…The main part of the commute that I’m missing at the moment are the awesome office music playlists.”

A lack of social contact doesn’t have to be all bad. And if you are struggling to get product launches off the ground with a lack of photoshoots and footfall in shops, you know who to call to get your digital assets in line!

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January Furniture Show: Get All Your Assets in Line

The January Furniture show is one of the UK’s biggest and most well known furniture trade show in the calendar. It boasts five halls from homewares to lighting, and everything in between. The 2020 show will run from Sunday 19th to Wednesday 22nd January.

 

Getting ready for JFS can take a lot of time, thought and preparation. Trust us, we know! But not only do we creaate photorealistic CGI images of furniture products and room sets We also specialise in design.

 

Our team come from a variety of backgrounds, and we have a handful of talented designers who love nothing better than to dissect the success of a brochure design. We are becoming something of a one-stop shop at Orbital. Initially, clienst come to us when they realise they can’t spot the difference betwen our imagery, and their long -winded photoshoots. But, when they realise we offer websites and print design too, it is hard not to resist hvaing your images framed into marketing assets by the same agency. You’d be amazed by the efficiency.

 

The January Furniture Show is the place to launch. New ranges, new brands or new looks. Making sure your marketing assets are updated is crucial. With buyers wandering past hundreds of stands, you want to make sure that yours is what they remember when they go to make orders, and keep on ordering from.

 

If you are wondering how to show off a large number of products in an eye-catching, on brand  and sales inducing hand out. Call on Orbital’s Unreal Creatives. We would love to create a mock-up for your brand, so you can see the results for yourself.

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Opening Our Doors for Long Point 2019

“Long Point returns for its autumn outing from 23rd-25th September. The biannual show, which takes advantage of the historic UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture, Long Eaton, is a valuable opportunity for buyers looking to catch up with some of the biggest brands in UK furniture.

Due to the large number of upholstery manufacturers with permanent showrooms in the area, Long Point enables buyers to visit over 25 exhibitors in their own spaces, offering both inspiration and intimacy.”

And Orbital are no different! We house some great exhibitors including Staud, Hugo Park and a couple of little extra exciting pieces that we currently have on show in the studio.

We like to welcome all visitors to The Exchange. Not only is it perfect to scope out exhibitors, but you can also have a sneak peek at our design and CGI wizardry in full force. Pop in for a coffee, some biscuits, a chat and a nose around.

Most visitors will have already spotted our handiwork in the form of The Long Eaton Guild’s brand new website, courtesy of yours truly. And there is a great little story behind it, make sure to read the full story of The Long Eaton Guild Donating to St Michael’s Hospice in memory of Matt O’Flynn.

At The Exchange, we will also be hosting the announcement of the winners of this year’s prize. So make sure you enter to win an overnight stay for two at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond le Manoir aux Quat’saisons Michelin starred hotel and restaurant in Oxfordshire. Here’s the Trade Secret: you can enter as many times as you like, just pop your business card in the entry box at every stand you visit! We won’t tell anyone if you don’t…

We love being immersed in the UK furniture manufacturing industry. With over 50 furniture manufacturers in this small town of Long Eaton, the historic Long Point show is an honour to be a part of. We hope to se a few of your faces at The Exchange next week!

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Long Eaton Guild Donate to Hospice in Memory of Matt O'Flynn

At Orbital, we have had a close relationship with the Long Eaton Guild since the beginning. Not only being based in the heart of the UK Centre of Upholstery, and recently redesigning Iain James’ website (who is a core member of the Guild), but we have a little more history than that.

Our agency used to be a widely varied digital design agency, and it was in summer 2017 that we realigned our business to focus on the interiors industry. This was in no small part, down to a strong friendship turned business venture when Matt joined Rob Walker at Orbital. After many years of close friendship and business partnerships, decided to team up to create the vision that we have in the Studio today. From launching a new hub of the industry, to being at the forefront of the field after developing brand new technology to digitally recreate fabric. They built a studio, and a team from the ground up, and a bloody good one at that.

Matt sat as the chairman of the Long Eaton Guild from 2007 to 2018, being completely immersed in the furniture industry from a young age. A pioneer in the industry, there aren’t many people in the industry that haven’t heard of Matt O’Flynn. He was the man of many hats (both figuratively and literally) Sadly, Matt was diagnosed with Cancer just as Orbital moved into the new studio.

Earlier this year, Matt lost his battle with cancer after a stay in St Michael’s Hospice in East Sussex. The Hospice gave incredible care, and always made sure there was an atmosphere of laughter and warmth, making not only Matt’s time more comfortable, but that of his family too.

When the Guild approached Orbital in order to create a new website to house both details of the Guild, and the famed bi-annual Longpoint, there was only one condition. We would happily create a new, user-friendly website, as long as it was created in dedication to Matt, and that the price of the project was waived, and donated to St Michael’s Hospice instead. Andrew Mitchell and Iain James of the Guild couldn’t think of anything better, and so the project began.The Long Eaton Guild now have a new site to encourage visitors to Long Point, and in turn have generously donated a sum of £500 to a hospice that is doing so much for so many.

The hospice has responded to the donation with huge amounts of gratitude to both the Guild and Orbital, highlighting how many more people they can now help with these funds.

“Thank you so much for your overwhelmingly generous donation given in memory of Mr Matt O’Flynn. What an incredible gift which will enable the hospice to continue to support many more people. As you know, our services are provided free, and we are reliant on the kindness of people like you who give so generously in order for others to benefit from the support we offer. On behalf of the team at St Michael’s Hospice, thank you. Your generosity is heart-warming.”

 

See the brand new Long Eaton Guild Website here: http://www.longeatonguild.co.uk/

Donate to St Michael’s Hospice here:  http://stmichaelshospice.com/

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IKEA uses CGI to recreate Stranger Things

So, by now you’ve all seen the magic we can create with realistic room sets. But to show the illusion behind CGI replacing photography in interiors, IKEA has taken it one step further. And we love it.

It’s just a still from Stranger things, right? Wrong! Just like the series itself, everything is not quite as it seems. The retail giant has used its own products in 3D visualisation to recreate the famed living room interior – alphabet and fairy lights included. But if we’re honest, we would have taken it one step further and made the set as if it was upside down, just saying…

But it doesn’t stop there. They have also recreated The Simpsons’ living room, and Monica’s apartment from F.R.I.E.N.D.S. It’s a clever little ploy. I mean, we’re not convinces that there will be a queue of customers ready to buy a clay orange sofa and paint their walls in pastel pink in homage to Homer and Marge, but it definitely makes you look twice.

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A Shiny New Website For Iain James Furniture

If you have been following our social media (we know you have. We like you.), then you may have seen that we have just completed a brand spanking new website for our neighbour, who needs no introduction, Iain James Furniture.

Iain James originally had a rather small website for the amount of amazing traditional cabinetry that they offer. The problem was that they weren’t showing off their products in the most user-friendly manner, and they weren’t ranking highly on Google. So, they called in the big guns.

Our web geniuses revamped the whole website. We created a whole new look for each page and added all the necessary information that any visitor would need to give Iain James a visit to buy a stunning piece. Each product was renamed to a more customer friendly version to make sure each range was memorable to the all-important end-user. We made the site easy to navigate, and gave it added bonuses like the History page, which we thought was vital for such an iconic manufacturer. We then made sure the site was fully adaptable for any device.

Nestled within this new, modern, user-friendly site was keywords. Lots of keywords. Heavily researched keywords, aligning with Iain James’ exact target audience habits and competitors. This means that the site will only go up and up in Google’s ranking system and will drive more and more traffic to each page.

We are proud of our work and, so it seems, is Iain James. They made sure to spread the word online with these lovely comments:

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The Exchange: How the ‘Hub of the Furniture Industry’ is being realised

The Exchange isn’t just our studio space. It is a hub for the furniture industry. Which is exactly what was in mind during its creation. Based in the heart of the UK centre of Upholstery, the vision of the great, late, Matt O’Flynn, was to create a centre where industry professionals were constantly wandering the converted lace mills, opposite the infamous Harrington Mills. Easily accessible for furniture makers and suppliers across the UK. And we saw the latest example of this vision last week.

 

The Exchange was host to Sofa Workshop's annual sales meeting, with manufacturers visiting our studio throughout the week to deliver potential pieces to be shown in the Sofa Workshop showrooms across the UK. Staying for a coffee and a chat as always.

 

The Sofa Workshop team were here throughout the day, wandering through the dressed sofas, chairs, chaises and footstools made by some of the best UK manufacturers. Discussing the potential throughout the afternoon, only stopping for the (probably too large as usual) lunch served at midday.

 

There was method to the meeting, Sofa Workshop, as one of our largest clients, wanted their new pieces to be photographed and measured, ready for our Unreal Creatives to get them recreated in 3D as soon as the new ranges were decided upon. Having CGI fully integrated into their strategy means huge time and costs saved when it comes to new product launches. And, if we do say so ourselves, we are a great choice of agency…

 

We invite every new client to the studio to see how we work before taking on their project if possible. Learning how each other works and how we can integrate both working methods is the best way to develop a smooth process. We also just like having a natter over a coffee with new faces.

 

Edit: as I finish writing this post (with Rock the Casbah playing over the studio speakers), another client is leaving from his first visit to the studio, which lasted longer than he expected, mostly because the coffee is so good, and the doorbell rings again. Another hour, another visitor. An ode to the hub that The Exchange was built to be. Fabrics in and out, furniture deliveries and collections, business meetings and friendly visits. It’s a warm feeling to see this special vision come to life.

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Why IKEA is Thriving in the “Retail Graveyard”

This Swedish powerhouse really needs no introduction, with genius branding and advertising, they know exactly who they are, and so does the rest of the world. It was the brainchild of 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in 1943 but has been named on Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brand list in May 2019. So how is this flat-pack furniture brand still ruling the retail industry and staying so relevant? The secret is staying ahead of the market in not only trends, but technology. Every furniture seller should be taking a leaf out of their infamous catalogue to share some of the success. And here’s how.

 

In April 2018, the retail giant realised that it was facing a problem: it hadn’t been keeping up with the digital world and this sparked a shift in their business development strategy. Although IKEA has been ahead of other furniture companies, technology had been globally advancing, leaving many retailers behind. They started by investing in “personalisation at scale” allowing it to send precisely-targeted communications to people based on what they are doing online. “When people buy a bed, they actually spend two weeks researching online. There is a lot of information that we gather so that we can actually be relevant to the person wanting to buy a bed in those two weeks”. -  Barbara Martin Coppola, IKEA’s Chief Digital Officer, talking to CNBC.

 

The key to this strategy shift was the incorporation of CGI on a large scale. The Swedish furniture company has been aggressively ramping up its use of computer generated imagery in their catalogues, starting in 2006 with their first CGI photo of a Bertil pinewood chair. By 2012, the Wall Street Journel reported that 25% of their products were computer generated. And with its rapid globalisation, with products reaching multiple cultures CGI and 3D rendering is invaluable.

 

The newest addition to IKEA’s futureproof strategy is the Place app. Allowing customers to place IKEA furniture into their own home, digitally, before purchase. It automatically scales products – based on room dimensions – with 98 per cent accuracy. Customers can see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on furnishings.

 

The secret to IKEA’s success? Always being one step ahead. Especially in technology. With retail ever struggling, a business strategy that constantly stays ahead of technology and is digitally driven will drive sales and success. And what is the first step to the forefront? 3D rendering and digital marketing. It all started with the humble furniture visualisation. Once a company’s products are rendered, it opens a world of possibilities that are then ready-made.

 

To talk about how your products can be digitalised, get in touch with us today.

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