"After struggling to hit £180k revenue in the first year, Out & Out Original is now a comfortable £10 million+ business."
Daniel Fairburn, CEO
After its initial inception in 2013, Out & Out Original has undergone an impressive journey of growth. From a single order of two armchairs to an online range of over 300 original designs, CEO Daniel Fairburn has taken his furniture business from start-up to formidable retailer.
Out & Out Original’s CEO credits his parents’ entrepreneurial prowess for inspiring him to establish his company. He told Gerald Edelman that his desire to “emulate them” prompted his goal to own and run a business which would “disrupt and change” the landscape of the furniture industry.
Setting up shop
After a seven-year stint working for a business in Vietnam who developed and manufactured garden furniture, Daniel decided to leave his managerial role and embark on a new mission of running his own company. His primary reason for making the leap was to take ownership of his own career, modelled on the lifestyle which his parents enjoyed as business owners. Daniel knew that creating Out & Out Original would give him the chance to make his “own decisions.” He had watched his parents “trying different things in their respective businesses,” and “loved the dynamism” which owning your own business, and your own Vision, could bring. Thus, Out & Out Original was born.
As any small business owner knows, setting up shop comes with a unique set of challenges. Some can be anticipated and managed, whilst some require on-the-spot thinking and creative problem solving. When establishing Out & Out Original, Daniel experienced setbacks like every business owner.
The ups and downs
Out & Out Original has enjoyed tremendous success, at one stage the business experienced 400% growth in a single year. However, Fairburn notes that at times, “it puts immense strain on the team, but also weighs on my shoulders as the leader of the business.” Managing this workflow presents difficulties in every area of the business, from operations to communications. However, as CEO, Daniel must also manage his employees during times of immense consumer pressure to deliver: “it's very hard to share the anxious moments with team members as you don't want to spook them.”
To overcome these challenges, Daniel has taken a number of astute steps to relieve the pressure of unpredictable challenges which owning a business can bring. He notes that “joining EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organisation) was invaluable for me as it meant I could spend time with other entrepreneurs”. Here, Daniel highlights the importance of peer mentoring, and solidarity with others who might be in a similar position across the business world. In sharing “the dark moments together”, business leaders are also able to form a community with which “to celebrate in the wins.”
Winning is a word which Daniel is familiar with, as Out & Out Original has enjoyed much well-deserved success since being founded. The company won the House Beautiful Gold Award for furniture. Daniel remembers this moment as “amazing. Winning that [award] above the likes of John Lewis and Heals was a proud moment” for the CEO as, at the time, the business was still in its small, early stages.
Breaking £10 million
The company is now on a much larger footing, having enjoyed revenue milestones such as “breaking” the £10 million mark. After struggling to “hit £180k revenue” in the first year, “now [Out & Out Original is] a comfortable £10 million+ business and although 2022 was a difficult year for retail, we are already seeing a strong bounce back in 2023.” Daniel recognises that “there have been so many achievements”. However, his new “challenge as a business owner is trying to find the time to enjoy them” as he is always chasing the “next milestone”.
Is there a secret to success?
Daniel views the key to his success to be his products. “The supply chain is so lean and direct,” making the business model seamless. He says that this framework, combined with products that are engineered for value for money,” makes the company's “proposition really hard to beat.” A further asset to Out & Out Original is Daniel’s industry expertise. With a “background in product engineering and development,” the designer can draw upon his breadth of experience to produce a competitive product for market.
It is, then, no surprise that the generation of new products spurs Daniel on to continue growing his business. “Creating products can be a magical thing” according to the designer and CEO. “The adrenaline surge when you launch a new product, and your target audiences start to buy it is exhilarating.” To build on this success in the future, Daniel has his sights set on a continued expansion. He remarks that “we've only just gotten started and there is enormous scope to expand the product range.” Beyond this goal, he has ambitions of becoming a household name in the furniture sector, whilst continuing to find time to be with his family.
To budding business leaders, Daniel’s final word of advice is to get the financial side of any business right before addressing other pressing matters. He advises people to “take whatever number you think you are going to need to start the business and double it.”
Daniel’s story is an inspiring one, and we are so pleased to call Out & Out Original a client. Enquire today to find out how Gerald Edelman can help your business meet its goals and ambitions to find success like Daniel Fairburn.