Classic Furnishings

August 2017

Ian Thompson set up Classic Furnishings in 2015, selling ethically sourced, handmade mahogany furniture from his New Abbey shop, near Dumfries.

Ian decided to make the move to trading solely online, thus passing the savings on to customers. He approached Business Gateway in early 2017 for business support to help make the transition from shop based to online trading, and as an existing business with potential for growth, he was signposted by Business Gateway to Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Growth Accelerator Programme.

 “I see the business support through GAP having long term implications for small businesses rather than a quick fix"

A five year programme funded jointly by the European Regional Development Fund and Dumfries and Galloway Council, GAP aims to support and develop growing businesses in Dumfries and Galloway through a tailored package of support. Depending on the needs of the business, a customised package of support can be provided, including one to one support from business growth and specialist business advisers, masterclass workshops,  and expert support consultancy to help with specific projects like financial planning for growth, specialist ICT consultancy, digital transformation and sales and marketing strategy.

Classic Furnishings’ package of GAP support began with participation in a series of business growth masterclass workshops. Delivered by industry experts in business branding, financial planning and business strategy, GAP workshops afforded Ian the opportunity to take a few hours away from the business to really focus on the future of Classic Furnishings.

At the same time, one to one sessions with the GAP business adviser for digital marketing helped Ian optimise his online presence including his e-commerce website and social media channels.

“We began by looking at what elements of my online presence were working well and what needed attention" said Ian, Director of Classic Furnishings. "While I already had an active Facebook business page,  I realised I hadn’t been taking advantage of the full functionality offered by social media. For example, by analysing my Facebook data, I realised that some investment was needed in targeted paid advertising to try to reach new customers – it wasn’t enough to rely on organic reach for my social media posts".

"We also added other social media channels into my digital marketing mix, including Instagram, which means I can post carefully curated images that represent my brand and integrates well with Facebook. As with any business, my digital marketing is a work in progress as things move so fast and social media is always changing".

Through his GAP business adviser, Ian was also able to access specialist support to look at his business Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).  

“The SEO specialist produced a detailed analysis of my e-commerce website with many suggestions for tweaking it to increase traffic and encourage conversions from ‘just browsing’ to ‘buying’.  I was able to implement some suggestions myself and shared the rest with my web developer to make the necessary amendments, which really helped take my online presence to the next level”

One of Classic Furnishings best selling products - the metamorphic chair, converts from a chair to a stepladder, and is crafted from solid, ethically sourced mahogany.

Ian continues to work with GAP and is committed to making the most of the support made available:

 “I see the business support through GAP having long term implications for small businesses rather than a 'quick fix'. In order to get the most benefit to enable a business to grow, I feel that it is vital for the business owner to really engage with the business support offered. For me, it has been invaluable in helping me to change direction and plan my business strategy for the coming years”.

 The support Classic Furnishings has received from GAP hasn’t stopped there:

“I’m still working with the digital marketing adviser to make sure my social media is working as hard as it can for me. I’d recommend GAP to anyone who’s willing to effect really positive change to their growing business”

If you’d like to find out if YOUR business could grow with help from GAP, call us now on 01387 260380, or via the GAP website at  01387 850539, or email