The Furniture Awards return in January to recognise and celebrate the industry’s champion suppliers. The awards – developed by Furniture News in partnership with the January Furniture Show – offer the event’s exhibitors the opportunity to put the best of their new products before a panel of expert judges.

The awards scheme, which is now approaching its third year, aims to identify and reward the best new products launched at the January exhibition, the principal launch platform for new models and ranges into the UK market.

Each exhibitor is permitted to submit an entry within one of the four product categories – Bedroom, Dining, Living or Decor – which will be evaluated based on criteria such as value, quality and marketability. The most promising entries will be shortlisted and inspected on site, before the suppliers of the winning entries are recognised and revealed on the first day of the show. The deadline for entries is Friday 9th December.

The awards are co-ordinated and chaired by Paul Farley, editor of Furniture News magazine, and the 2017 judging panel comprises a mix of new and returning judges: Malcolm Walker, director of buying for Furniture Village; Diana Celella, award-winning interior designer and president elect of SBID; Rob Scarlett, furniture designer; and Royce Clark, MD of Grampian Furnishers.

Ahead of the 2017 edition Furniture News, presents an opportunity to meet one of the four judges …

Royce Clark

The MD of family furniture store Grampian Furnishers, located in the Moray Firth coastal village of Lossiemouth in northern Scotland, Royce started working at the store on Saturdays and school holidays when he was 15. After studying business administration, Royce returned to the family business at the age of 19, and at the age of 22 took over from his father when he retired.

Grampian Furnishers was founded in 1975, and moved to its current 10,000 sqft town centre premises – which was previously a cinema – in 1981.

A major refurbishment process was carried out 10 years ago to modernise the building, and the business has continued to grow each year. Now a £2m-plus operation, Grampian also sells its products across the nation via a fully-transactional, mobile-friendly website.?

“Plans are being submitted for a new flagship 30,000 sqft store,” says Royce, “which will allow us to create a better shopping experience for our customers and hopefully secure the long-term future of the business.

“Furniture is in my blood, and I love my job – football is my other passion, and I recently stepped down as chairman of my local team in order to concentrate on the expansion plans.?

“This furniture show will be my 20th in a row, which sounds a lot and is a little scary, but the experience has certainly helped me become more knowledgeable and aware of all the trends over the years. It really is the must-attend event in the furniture calendar, and I am honoured to be selected as a judge at this year’s awards.

“It’s great to be able to promote the work of the numerous exciting companies and designers present – many of whom go unnoticed. I’m confident this year’s awards will help further promote the trade, and will be the biggest yet.”