BFM Board Members
The BFM has prominent industry members, representing businesses of all scales on its board. You can find out more about our Board Members below.
James Keen, Hypnos Beds, CEO
Find out more about James Keen here
The fifth generation of Keens to lead the British family-run mattress and bed manufacturer on a day-to-day basis, James is the son of Hypnos Chairman Peter Keen. Together with his sister Sarah, James has steered the company’s progressive approach to sustainability – one of the core areas the BFM is in the process of developing for its members.
Chris Fort, Sherborne Upholstery Ltd, Chairman & Joint Managing Director
Find out more about Chris Fort here
A Director at BFM since 2002, Chris Fort started work in the family business – Sherborne Upholstery Ltd - in November 1977, becoming Managing Director in 1986 and, latterly, Chairman and Joint Managing Director.
An expert in marketing – and crunching the numbers – Chris believes BFM plays a key role in influencing policy and is keen to see membership increase so the Association can expand into more areas of assistance to the trade and help steer Government decision-makers in favourable directions for the furniture production industry.
During his tenure at Sherborne, Chris and his team have overseen a major shift of emphasis from the manufacture of small occasional furniture, to specialising in reclining furniture of all types including electric riser recliners, fireside chairs and suites, as well as building on their reputation for quality and reliability.
The enjoyment quality furniture brings into people’s homes is at the centre of Chris’ passion for the furniture industry, alongside the people-friendly culture within the sector.
Outside work, Chris is a keen supporter of Bradford City AFC and enjoys playing bridge with his wife, as well as spending time with their three nieces and their families.
Paul James, One Call Furniture, Sales Director
Find out more about Paul James here
With more than 3o years’ experience in furniture sales and operations, Paul James is keen to encourage young people to get involved in training and employment opportunities in the industry.
Having started his career in an electricals department, Paul quickly moved on, as the quick-paced environment and ever-changing fashions and colours kick-started a career-long fascination with furniture.
A former Managing Director at Ruddimans and Director at Origin Red, Paul took the role of Sales Director at One Call Furniture - a British cabinet manufacturer sourcing raw materials from the UK and supporting many British manufacturing business in the process.
Selling to many of the UK’s leading retailers the company continually invests in the expansion of its factory, creating broader capacity in the supply chain.
An expert in sales and operations, Paul believes any sales department needs to be founded on trust and developing and cementing relationships over many years.
He understands that customers need to trust that their supplier has the latest innovations and colours available and will take responsibility to ensure a positive conclusion, event when things don’t go according to plan.
As a BFM Board Member, Paul aims to help raise awareness of the Association and the comprehensive benefits it offers to members, as well as work with the Board to drive forward initiatives to encourage young people to seek training and employment within the furniture sector.
Nick Garratt, BFM Ltd, Chairman
Find out more about Nick Garratt here
A Chemist and Chartered Engineer with an early career based in automotive and engineering businesses, Nick joined the furniture industry in 2002 as Operations Director for Parker Knoll, then part of the Silentnight Group.
Three years later, Nick moved to the iconic Ercol Furniture in 2005 rising to Managing Director before he left in 2018 to take on the role of Managing Director of BFM.
In December 2021, Nick stepped down as MD, taking the position of Chairman, allowing the Association to retain his in-depth knowledge of the industry and his operations expertise.
After a career focussed on improving performance through implementing factory layout, automation and efficiency improvement projects including the implementation of IT systems, Nick’s more recent experience covers all spheres of business management from setting strategy, re-structuring, acquisitions and business growth.
His work in driving business performance through design and new product introduction, building brands and finding and developing new customers informs his drive to see BFM become a much bigger more influential organisation as the voice of the furniture industry.
Chris Everist, Parker Knoll, Commercial Director
Find out more about Chris Everist here
With a deep-rooted knowledge of the furniture industry and its major retailers, Chris Everist brings more than 35 years’ experience to the BFM Management Board.
First entering the industry in 1986 in retail, Chris moved into manufacturing in 1988, going on to work in senior commercial positions for high profile British brands including Nathan, Ducal, Wade and Parker Knoll.
Bringing his expertise in innovation, product development, routes to market, new opportunities and commercial strategy, Chris is passionate about ensuring the ‘unsung heroes’ of British manufacturing are given a voice and the benefits and virtues of the industry are promoted over lower-priced imports.
He is also keen to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of British-made upholstery as well as working to ensure the BFM continues to stand with integrity and the authority as the credible spokesperson for the industry when it comes to influencing and providing information to government in all areas from training grants to shaping safety legislation.
Ian Peers, Ercol, Operations Director
Find out more about Ian Peers here
With 16 years operational experience at ercol, Ian Peers, Operations Director at the iconic brand, has overseen transition from high volumne low variety, to low volume high variety manufacturing as well as investments in automation and increased manufacturing flexibility, including a shift from traditional working hours to flexible working arrangements.
Ian also has a wealth of experience in supplying independent and national retail outlines in the UK as well as contract and international markets.
Before he joined ercol, Ian spent the previous 20 years working across four industry sectors including mining oil and gas, machine tool manufacture and high volume credit card manufacture.
With expertise in manufacturing, sourcing, machining and assembly, Ian’s key objectives as a BFM board member are to help promote and support UK manufacturing in the furniture industry.
Nichola Bell, Alpha Designs, Sales Director
Find out more about Nichola Bell here
A relative newcomer to the furniture industry, Nichola Bell quickly became hooked on the industry after joining INCANTO in 2008, followed by a move to Westbridge Furniture Designs where she was Sales Director for the last nine years. Nichola now works at Alpha Designs Upholstery.
Combining a wealth of commercial knowledge and sales expertise from a variety of sectors with a passion for nurturing a strong sales force, offering good value product and creating long-lasting partnerships with customers, Nichola believes it is more important than ever to promote British manufacturing: “We have a fantastic furniture industry in the UK and we need to shout about it more.”
As a BFM Board Member, Nichola is keen to see more training and education available to young people, presenting the furniture manufacturing sector as an exciting opportunity as well as nurturing the next generation of furniture experts.
Mike Aramayo, Buoyant Upholstery, Managing Director
Find out more about Mike Aramayo here
With more than 30 years experience in the furniture industry, Mike Aramayo started out in retail, selling beds and cabinets for Silentnight before moving to Bouyant Upholstery 22 years ago, working his way up to National Sales Director and on to Managing Director – a post he has held for the past 14 years.
An expert in sales, with an enthusiasm for working with clients through the design and sales process, Mike’s key objectives as a BFM Board Member are to encourage the industry to support British-made product and encourage new blood into the industry.
Ian Oscroft, Whitemeadow Furniture, Chief Executive
Find out more about Ian Oscroft here
Ian Oscroft joined the furniture industry as a sales representative for the Christie Tyler Group in 1987, working his way up to Managing Director of one of the group’s subsidiaries before taking the role of Managing Director at Whitemeadow in 2003.
In 2007, Ian led a management buyout of the business and has since been the Chief Executive Officer and majority owner, adding experience in design, finance, operation, supply chain and transport to his expertise in sales and marketing.
Ian believes his role as a BFM Board Member offers the chance to provide input into the wider running of the industry, help to give it a voice and allow the sector to prosper in the future.
James Heese, ScS, Commercial Director
Find out more about James Heese here
James Heese joined SCS Plc in January 2022 and sits on the Executive Board as Commercial Director. Prior to joining SCS he working for the Travis Perkins Group as Managing Director of their Tile Giant division and prior to that Wickes. James has also held senior commercial positions in Argos, Shop Direct, Tesco & Asda and has been involved in the Furniture & Home categories for more than two decades.
James is delighted to be the inaugural Board member representing the retail industry, and in particular highlighting opportunities for new and diverse talent into the industry helping it become more representative of the end consumer.
James grew up in Princes Risborough which is (and was) home to many Furniture companies including Ercol, Hypnos and Goodearl Furniture, therefore life has come full circle and he is proud to be working within the Furniture Industry.