Dzine Furnishing Solutions Ltd - Business case study
As Dzine Furnishing’s key income stream drops, they provide volunteering services and build their resilience through diversification
Based in Stourport, Dzine Furnishing Solutions Ltd is an established company of 50 employees, specialising in hiring bespoke furniture out to exhibitions, live events, conferences, and the hospitality and leisure sector.
The family business started in 2002, and has since grown to service a range of UK and international clients, including Wimbledon and Europe’s largest overseas property exhibition, ‘A Place in the Sun Live’. Dzine has a fleet of vehicles and offers door to door delivery and installation services, as well as a manufacturing department that handmakes half of the company’s furniture stock, and offers bespoke re-upholstery services,
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Dzine was set to have its busiest February on record. However, the company felt the effects of the pandemic early in February, when the World Mobile Congress exhibition in Spain was cancelled at late notice. This was an event Dzine had spent several months preparing for. Over the following weeks, there was a wave of cancellations and indefinite postponements from contracted events, which meant Dzine’s primary revenue stream evaporated.
“We watched the business go from a full order book to nothing in the space of three weeks.”
– Betsy Vickery, Managing Director at Dzine Furnishings
The reduction of Dzine’s customer base and the uncertainty associated with recovery has had significant knock-on effects for the company. Prior to the announcement of the Government’s Job Retention scheme, Dzine was forced to make several redundancies in February. As lockdown polices were implemented, the company closed down its Stourport base, furloughed all remaining staff and still had to cover all other overhead costs. Over the last quarter, Dzine’s primary income source is still to recover, and until this returns the business will need continued support and guidance from the Government.
In spite of these challenges, the company has remained busy through its volunteering. “We still have access to our transport fleet and furniture stock and wanted it to be put to good use” reported Betsy Vickery. Using local networks and the Government Volunteering portal, Dzine publicised the support it could provide and received lots of inquiries. Betsy said - “The response has been amazing, and we have been able to contribute to various public services and charities that were in need”.
Dzine has distributed Personal Protection Equipment to various charities and frontline NHS staff. “We have been involved with events for COVID-19 North-West, a group of events professionals coming together to provide support for the NHS and care homes”. Through this network, the company offered a homeless shelter a donation of new high-quality furniture, and a full furniture removal and transport service. This allowed the shelter to continue to offer services whilst adhering to the two-metre social distancing rule. Dzine has also provided and distributed bespoke furniture to local hospitals for use in their ‘wobble rooms’, purposefully designed spaces dedicated for frontline staff to receive counselling and take a break in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Betsy stated how the company has been really proud to be involved in supporting hospitals and frontline NHS staff during this time.
In light of the uncertain outlook for the events industry, Dzine is planning to diversify its activity. “We are looking at growing the upholstery and transport aspects of our business, in a way that would help flatten out the typical cycle of busy to quiet periods experienced in the events industry.” Dzine is developing its workforce’s manufacturing skills and is looking to capitalise on a unique selling point of providing high quality furniture made to bespoke requirements, at considerably faster speeds than its competitors. “Customers usually have to wait 14-16 weeks for a new sofa to be made by larger companies, but we can turn it around in a couple of weeks” said Betsy. Dzine is planning to be better prepared and more resilient as a consequence of the experience of the last few months. “We are speaking to contacts in the industry, and looking at how we can adjust our stock to help exhibitions adapt better to circumstances when they return”.
“We have learnt not to take anything for granted, and we want to come out of this better prepared and stronger”
– Betsy Vickery, Managing Director, Dzine Furnishings
Before the coronavirus lockdown changed the company’s priorities, Dzine had sought to pursue a business support grant through Worcestershire local authority. Betsy stated that “the business had been changing dramatically over the last few years, so we felt it would be good to get support to help us grow”. The company was accepted onto Worcestershire’s Elevate programme and although Dzine is now in an entirely different place, the importance of securing business support is greater than ever. “This is a great time for us to re-evaluate how our business runs. We are stripping everything back and looking to re-build and want to get a fresh pair of eyes to help us do that” concluded Betsy.