In Conversation: Will Hobhouse, CEO Heal’s

Heal’s CEO gives us an insight into the world of retailing furniture

Directed by Oliver Elmes
Interview and words by Kuchar Swara
Produced by Alistair Fitch
Camera Assistant Jamie Mitchell
Created by Digital Native Films

It can be argued that there’s never been a more competitive or lively time to be retailing furniture. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty fierce out there, as seen last year with the closing of the much loved Moss store in New York. It’s now easier and faster to share what we the consumer think is good design, find it at the best price and buy it.

I spent the morning with Will Hobhouse, CEO of Heal’s. Will has spent much of the last 30 years leading companies such as Sunspel, Jack Wills and Whittard of Chelsea among others. As he explains, retail is no longer bound by territory – it’s global. Ironically for Heal’s it means encouraging more British design. With continuing collaborations with Tom Dixon and now Lee Broom, and a recent surge of exclusive new products by the likes of Sir Kenneth Grange and Sebastian Wrong for Eiger, we begin to see Will’s vision taking shape.

Whilst the solution to retail’s challenges won’t come from a single source, be it e-commerce or exclusive collaborations, Will places the potential of the physical space of the store very much at the forefront of his plans…