Commercial Interiors UK, is the new name for the BCFA – the UK’s largest trade association representing the commercial interiors sector. Its 200+ members represent leading manufacturers, suppliers, and designers – all shaping inspirational commercial interiors internationally.
The rebrand comes after an in-depth strategic review ensuring that this highly respected trade association continues to deliver unrivalled support to its members, addressing the business challenges they face, and in doing so, championing issues affecting the commercial interiors sector as a whole.
As Chairwomen, Carolyn Mitchell led the strategic review, and the resulting brand transformation. She said, “It takes courage to question something people are very comfortable with, but as leaders we have to ensure we are fit for the future. As a trade association, our purpose is to lead, inspire and support the growth and global success of the UK’s commercial interiors community, creating a sustainable future for our sector. To do this we must be relevant, inclusive, and representative.”
The association celebrated its 50th year in 2020, a good juncture to review the successes of the past and prepare for future years. The strategic review has been consultative and far reaching. At a time when the economic climate appears uncertain, it is reassuring to have a trade association that represents members who want to create a world with inspiring, productive commercial spaces, designed and furnished with exceptional UK products.
Commercial Interiors UK, Managing Director, Jeremy Stein said: “We are the only association representing commercial interiors as a whole. Collectively we represent an unrivalled association of businesses and leaders who champion the best of UK interior and product design, and sustainable manufacturing.”
Commercial Interiors UK (CIUK) will be formally rolled out on 14 November 2022, when the current BCFA branding will switch over. The rebrand creates an opportunity for the association to be even louder in sharing knowledge, education and providing business support in everything from exporting to sustainability.
As a creative sector it is always interesting to hear how the new branding was developed. Carolyn Mitchell explains, “As an association it was important for us to review ‘why’ the commercial sector needs an association, and ‘how’ we provide that support. Communication is a fundamental part of what we do, and our research found that ‘Commercial Interiors UK’ as a name had much greater resonance around the world than the BCFA acronym. In order to promote our members effectively, it was vital people understood who we represent.
The visual branding itself came after the strategic review and has been created with three key pillars in mind: adaptability, vibrancy, and timelessness. The logo development took inspiration from Bauhaus inspired letter forms and monograms. We represent a creative industry, so for me it was important to have a brand that is visually engaging. I am incredibly excited to promote the advancement of UK’s creative talent, and feel we are better prepared to do this with our new branding.”
Accreditation for membership will continue to require businesses to prove they operate ethically and sustainably in the UK. In return, members will enjoy even greater support through knowledge and education hubs, ensuring they have a competitive edge in a fast changing global sector. Commercial Interiors UK are planning even more forums to connect their community, as well as tailored business support to help members navigate challenges and future proof their strategy. Most importantly, Commercial Interiors UK is there to inspire and support the growth and global success of the UK’s commercial interiors community, this requires promoting the talents of our amazing sector and inspiring the next generation of designers and manufacturers.
Hospitality Interiors Exclusive Q&A with Carolyn Mitchell
In an exclusive talk with hospitality Interiors’ Editorial Director Can Faik, Commercial Interiors UK Chairwomen, Carolyn Mitchell, shares her thoughts on the BCFA’s rebranding and future plans…
How long have you worked with the BCFA?
I joined the BCFA council in the mid 1990s when I was working as a contract sales manager. As my career progressed, so did the opportunities for me give back to our sector in more influential roles. I was first appointed Chairwomen in 2005, soon after I joined Walker Greenbank to set up their commercial sales division. Continuing as a board director for the association, I was invited to take up the position again last October, at time when our sector was still tacking the challenges of Covid. I had joined Hypnos as Contract Sales and Marketing Director the year before. Although taking the Chair again would be an enormous undertaking, I felt it was important I returned the support and business development opportunities I have benefitted from personally and professionally.
Are trade associations still relevant?
That’s a really good question. I agree the term sounds a little old fashioned, maybe we should call ourselves a ‘tribe’ or a ‘collective’. But seriously, the answer is YES. We go far beyond arranging networking events, as a trade association we provide genuine business development opportunities for our members. The BCFA serves as our industry barometer, and I’ve always found it an invaluable reference point. Our common purpose and shared voice allow us to shape the success of the UK’s interior sector both at home and internationally. I cannot underestimate the support around skills development and stimulus given to business to succeed through shared learning.
So why the rebrand and why now?
That’s another good question and it is not something I approached lightly. As Chairwomen it is my responsibility to ensure the BCFA was future-proofed. I kicked off an in-depth strategic review, and nothing was left off limits, not even the name. We considered carefully how we ensured we were fit for the future, building on the support provided to our members to ensure their future business growth. Our vision is to create a world with the most inspiring and productive commercial spaces, designed and furnished with exceptional UK product. Communication is a fundamental part of what we do, and our research found that ‘Commercial Interiors UK’ as a name had much greater resonance around the world than the BCFA acronym. In order to promote our members effectively, it was vital people understood who and what we represent.
What’s next for you?
Well, I have two more years as Chairwoman, and want to ensure I have a robust succession plan in place, and that I’m not the only women to become chair. I’ve been at Hypnos almost two years and created some real momentum in the business. Hotel Hypnos was launched last month and there are more exciting initiatives to come, which I would love to share with Hospitality Interiors soon.