The Furniture Awards are bestowed on the industry's champion suppliers at the?January Furniture Show?each year. Organised by Furniture News in partnership with the event, the awards aim to recognise the businesses leading the way in various categories.

This year's Global Player category winner was Bluebone Imports.

This category is for businesses that major in imports, recognising those which have ensured continuous and successful supply despite the pandemic.?

With close ties to the Far East, and Indonesia in particular, winner Bluebone managed to bring new ranges to market in 2020 despite global travel restrictions, in turn helping many of its partner manufacturers survive the crisis. It absorbed much of the heightened shipping charges and ensured its stockists were ready for retail’s reopenings, while making good headway in the garden and outdoor segment. Bluebone also grew sales in Europe and implemented more effective distance-working procedures.

“It was imperative to support our supply chain in Vietnam and Indonesia, particularly as these countries were seriously affected by the virus, with lengthy lockdowns and slower vaccine rollouts than here in the UK,” sattes Bluebone. “For many of these small, family-run businesses, the continuity of placing orders and shipping stock made all the difference and was a fundamental enabler in their survival.

“Our decision to continue shipping despite the escalating freight costs also meant that we were able to support our customer base here in the UK. Our UK market share grew, and we diversified into new market sectors.”

The judges said: “They’re not a huge player, but Bluebone resisted the price increases longer than most. They’ve proven their adaptability and commitment to every level of the supply chain.”

Pictured, from left: Furniture News' Paul Farley; Bluebone director Darryl Boal;?awards sponsor Forte’s director of sales and marketing, Andreas Disch; and portfolio director of Clarion Events’ Retail Division, Zo? Bonser