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A day in the life of … Jonathan Clark, Creative Director of Shelved

In 2022 whilst working at Rack Systems Engineering, Jonathan Clark noticed a gap in the market for a consumer-facing modular furniture system that could be adapted… View Article


A day in the life of … Jonathan Clark, Creative Director of Shelved

In 2022 whilst working at Rack Systems Engineering, Jonathan Clark noticed a gap in the market for a consumer-facing modular furniture system that could be adapted and reconfigured to suit individuals and their homes.

Here, we chat with Jonathan, Creative Director for Shelved about the brand’s first two years in business and plans for the future.

So, how did you get into design?

After graduating from Sheffield Hallam University and gaining industry experience in a local consultancy, I started working for an educational furniture manufacturer in Yorkshire. I worked my way up before ultimately becoming Design Director in 2015. In 2018, I started working at Rack Systems Engineering – the sister company of Shelved – as a Senior Designer on a number of office furniture projects.

What initially inspired Shelved?

The Shelved modular system was initially designed by myself as a commercial product. The concept was to create an adaptable, flat-packed shelving system that offers storage and space division in workspace environments.

Early in the design process I became acutely aware of the benefits this furniture system could offer to the domestic environment, so I pitched the concept for an e-commerce brand, selling our shelving system directly to consumers to the owner of Rack Systems in late 2020 and was given the green light to get started. We adapted the product to suit the domestic market, by developing a simple to use patent-pending ‘click together’ assembly system.

Tell us about your bestsellers?

TV units are our most-popular product type along with feature shelving and room divider units. Our TV units offer customers the ability to create shelved ‘bridges’ that sit directly above the TV – something that’s not easily achievable without custom-made, fitted furniture.

From day one, what did you want to offer?

My vision for Shelved was to create a premium brand, that gave customers the ability to design and configure a storage product that would suit their homes and belongings, offering consumers a solution with longevity using high-quality, heavy-duty materials.

I also wanted to ensure the product was seen as an investment – the adaptability of the Shelved system allows the product to be re-configured, re-designed and re-purposed through its lifetime without any loss of structural integrity; something many flat-packed furniture systems suffer from.

What makes Shelved different?

Our product is designed for the home, not landfill. In a society where fast fashion is prominent, I wanted to ensure our furniture system broke this mould and offered a high-quality solution that would offer fantastic value for money across a long lifetime. Also, we give people control over their design through the product configurator, allowing them to design a product to suit their individual needs.

How is trade business going and how important is this to the business?

Increasing trade business has been very important for us and is key to our growth strategy. As with many larger purchases, domestic transactions tend to be one-time only or well-spaced, one of the benefits of trade accounts is the frequency and scale of their orders.

This repeat work allows us to build strong relationships with other like-minded businesses and interior designers who understand what we do and what we stand for as a brand. Thankfully, the value our product offers and the flexibility available to designers has enabled this side of the business to go from strength to strength.

Any plans for a physical store?

We don’t have physical stores; however, we do have a small showroom at our HQ in North Yorkshire, which is open to visitors by appointment only. The showroom supports both Shelved and the work done by our parent company in the commercial furniture world. We continually look for opportunities to place the product in accessible aligned spaces and businesses and we hope to offer more opportunities for people to see the product first-hand in the future.

Anything new for 2024?

We’ve recently introduced a selection of new features. Firstly, we’re introducing a new connection pin in solid brass or black steel. Complete with beautiful knurled detailing, the pin elevates our connection system and showcases the simplicity of its assembly whilst adding a luxurious finishing touch.

We’re also launching glass shelving, something that has been requested by many of our customers. Available in two standard widths, the shelves will be available with a collection of pre-designed units or our product configurator.

Height extensions have also been added to our collection, to suit those with high ceilings or the more compact spaces looking to maximise all the available vertical space.

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