Shaping stove brand Future Fires for future growth

Not all my work is with designers.

In 2016, through a design industry contact, I was invited to handle a ‘client-side’ project. In this case, a repositioning and business development exercise for an SME that was struggling to grow. The journey is not a short one, but the story so far is outlined below.


I was referred by leading British furniture designer Simon Pengelly to a UK manufacturer (Gen-Fab) of contemporary wood burning stoves (Future Fires) in South Yorkshire. Simon had previously designed three stoves to help establish the Future Fires brand around 2009, and mentioned that the business had yet to explore its wider potential. I was introduced to the owners of the manufacturing business and was engaged to help them develop the Future Fires proposition.

Project Overview

The first phase of my involvement required market sector familiarisation and research to inform a strategic business development plan for growth that began with a repositioning of the Future Fires brand. Here was a beautifully designed and skillfully manufactured high-end aspirational product range positioned as a mid-market proposition. The products, pricing and brand identity were not aligned with the proposed target market going forward, so the repositioning work was required to heighten perceptions and elevate the brand away from all the mid-market noise, competitors, etc.

The repositioning exercise required my direction and a project team with the talent to help me shape and deliver the project – designer, web developer, copywriter, photographer, retoucher, etc. The new website was introduced in Jan 2017.

The business development strategy required a tactical marketing plan to drive new sales (based on a 20-20-20 growth model) which I forecasted and prepared for the period 2017 – 2020. Since May 2017, I have been implementing this plan for Future Fires on a part-time consultancy contract basis.


In the period May 2017 to Feb 2018, we’ve been exploring, approaching, meeting, negotiating and generally developing previously untapped sectors and have established some new retail relationships and collaborative partnership arrangements with; stove specialist retailers, home furnishing retailers, department stores, online trading platforms reaching interior designers, architects, property developers, and we’ve brought the brand into the augmented reality space to facilitate sales.

Being a seasonal business, the fruits of these labours will start to show in the key selling period Q4 2018 into Q1 2019.

Looking ahead

This interim marketing role draws on past and recent experiences and, in many ways, plays to my strengths. The experience has shown that my ‘agency-side’ experiences, learnings, etc, can easily transition to a ‘client-side’ manufacturing operation that needs fresh input to help develop and implement a strategic business development plan for growth.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey so far and, through 2018, will look to build on this experience and work with other brands in home furnishings.