FCI was established in London and today has a satellite office in India, a furniture showroom in Nigeria, and joint ventures in the Middle East, China, the USA, and Africa. FCI London at its inception was called Furniture Craft, a small mom-and-pop shop that was established in 1985. It was Firdaus Nagree, Founder & CEO who grew it into one of the largest luxury furniture and interior brands in the UK. FCI is an independently owned family firm with rich roots in furniture design, production, and interiors. They sell the most unique luxury furniture from the world’s greatest designer brands and have over 700 of the world’s best brands under one roof in their 30,000-square-foot North London headquarters. FCI offers extensive interior design services with a staff of qualified designers in addition to their line of luxury furnishings. Firdaus explains, “Our mission is to create transformative, positive spaces that contribute to overall happiness and well-being. Through high-quality interior design and gorgeous furniture, we aim to bring contentment into people’s homes. We want to be the best at what we do, from the brands that we work with to the level of service that we offer. What drives us is our core values – the core values of the company as well as the core values of the individuals in it.”
Beginnings & Motivations: How It Started
Firdaus is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, father, husband, and passionate scuba diver who has founded or funded numerous successful companies since 1999. After beginning his career as a strategy consultant with Accenture, he became involved in the London property scene, trading properties from the age of 21. He has been actively involved as an executive, board member, or investor in a variety of sectors including Digital Hospitality, F&H, Construction, Interior Design, Retail, Bridge Finance, Proptech, Education, Aggregated Logistics, Property, On-Demand Food Delivery and Insurance. After working for several years at Accenture, he joined the family business to help it grow and evolve. Together with his business partner, they bought commercial real estate property in North London and that’s where the FCI London showroom was born. He shares, “Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. I think I was always destined to have my own company. With FCI, in particular, it was about taking a small business with great potential to the next level and developing it into a global brand. I had the connections; I saw an opportunity and I took it. But all the success I’ve had at FCI is down to my team. They are the ones who make each transaction meaningful and drive every accomplishment that we as a brand achieve.”
A Niche Apart: What Makes FCI Different?
FCI’s customer service is essentially what makes them stand out from the competition. They excel in this space at an unusually high level. Everyone claims to provide excellent customer service, but FCI stands out from the crowd because they have all the required moving pieces in-house. All services, including installation, fitting, delivery, storage, and administration, are provided internally and are not outsourced. Therefore, they own that last touch with the customer, whether they are purchasing a custom-built wardrobe or refurbishing the interior of the complete home. And when it comes to the luxury furniture that they import, their relationship with the suppliers is very strong, which allows them to offer bespoke options to their clients that they may not be able to get elsewhere. Firdaus points out, “This has definitely won us points, particularly because we’re in the luxury sector and expectations are very high. It’s not enough for one person on the team to go the extra mile – every division, every team, must work together as a unit to offer an integrated experience that will simply wow people. And we do that.”
FCI’s unique corporate culture, built on its core values, is another feature that sets it apart. One of the first things that they consider when hiring new employees and training new starters is, “What is important to you, and how do you feel about the things that are important to us, both as a company and as individuals?” Firdaus took several years to realize how essential business culture is. When he understood this and began making decisions based on the culture he desired, the individuals on his team were able to grow and evolve in an atmosphere that supports them as they support one another. As he shares, “We have the best team now that we’ve ever had at FCI and I believe that is down to having a group of great individuals whose core values align with the company and with each other along with the culture that we’ve created.” FCI has created a collaborative environment where everyone is encouraged to be creative and present ideas freely regardless of their job title or experience.
FCI is aware of people’s changing attitudes toward interior design. This discovery served as the impetus for one of their largest ongoing projects: the creation of a worldwide SaaS platform that would revolutionize how individuals obtain design advice and enable them to maximize their living spaces without paying a fortune. Their ultimate purpose is to make people happy by improving their surroundings. It will go a long way toward adding to someone’s overall happiness if they can make someone’s home visually appealing to fit their style and maintain it within their budget. Furthermore, the online aspect of the furniture and interiors industry has exponentially increased brands’ visibility. There’s a lot more emphasis on interior design being accessible to all people across a range of price levels, whereas before it was seen as the playground of the ultra-wealthy. This accessibility has made high-quality interior design more in demand than ever, and software advances mean people can see what the result might look like before they buy. Firdaus shares excitedly, “We’ve been looking at how tech innovation is contributing to luxury furniture and how we can use new trends to make the FCI experience better for our customers. We’re constantly dealing with new designers, new products, and new brands and now we’re busy exploring the world of NFTs. We’re really a tech company hiding in a furniture showroom. We’re always looking to reinvent ourselves, especially when it comes to the way that we use technology and software to grow our business. We don’t have a status quo on how things should be done – we’re up for trying something new, even if it initially sounds completely crazy.”