“There is no doubt that we have all witnessed the craziest year of our lives,” begins Buoyant Upholstery’s MD, Mike Aramayo, as he explains how the Lancashire-based manufacturer overcame myriad challenges in order to face the new year from a position of strength.

“I heard about a virus at the January Furniture Show 2020, but I never once thought the following January Furniture Show would be a victim of it,” says Mike, reflecting on a year which would turn out to be one of the most difficult in the company’s long history.

“Yet, from a full national lockdown, we returned to an order book we never saw coming,” he continues. “Luckily for Buoyant, we brought our full workforce back on day one, and quickly ramped up production within a couple of weeks. From there, the order intake just didn’t slow down, and we were the first in the upholstery industry to announce our Christmas cut-off dates – in September!

“Covid-19 has made us realise that close relationships within the UK are of paramount importance, and I would like to thank all our retailers for their loyalty and support. I hope that, at Buoyant, we have been able to fulfil their expectations of us.”

Mike states that, despite the virus, the business is still busy working on new ideas, while preparing for the additional challenges Brexit might create.?

“We have been working on the Brexit situation for over two years,” he says. “We have to take into account the correct classification of goods, check out commodity codes, duty and VAT rates, liaise with HMRC, ensure we are compliant in import and export, new customer paperwork, new tariffs on imported goods, check taxes and insurances, consider GDPR, protect intellectual property, review contracts and terms, liaise with the workforce on Brexit, consider the implications on transport … believe me, the list goes on!”

Yet there is reason to be hopeful. “On a brighter note, my directors, George Smith, Tony Darley, Glen Ainsworth and Hans Jansen, and their teams, have performed miracles – in my opinion, I have the best upholstery team in the whole industry.

“With a vaccine on the horizon, 2021 is giving us all some hope we can come out of this and get back to some normality. I for one have put that on my wishlist for the coming year. In the meantime, stay safe!”