TV presenter signs up to help 170-year old luxury furniture brand

Sarah Bianchi and Kate Hardcastle

Luxury interiors retailer Arighi Bianchi has deployed business expert and TV presenter Kate Hardcastle MBE to help the independent, family-run business ‘secure its legacy’ as it heads into its 170th year. 

Known as “The Customer Whisperer”, Hardcastle will work alongside Arighi Bianchi Managing Director Sarah Bianchi to create an ambitious growth strategy for the retailer. Arighi Bianchi has a large shop and showroom in Macclesfield, as well as an e-commerce store. 

Hardcastle has previously consulted for brands such as Silentnight, Halo, the Co-operative and Trutex. She will now support Arighi Bianchi on its next phase of growth.  

Sarah Bianchi, Managing Director of Arighi Bianchi, said:  “We are extremely proud to be reaching such a pivotal milestone in our history, as we celebrate our 170th year in 2024. This presented the ideal time for us to not only look back at the elements that have driven our success over the decades, but to take action, and own our future, to secure the brand’s legacy for generations to come.”

Acknowledging the recent turbulence in the luxury furniture market, Bianchi said she was confident her 170-year old business could weather the storm.

“Retail is challenging right now, and we know consumers are having to think more carefully about their investment in furniture and furnishings. Seeing go under, even after an almost £800m valuation, really hit home just how much the industry and the world is changing,” she said.

Hardcastle’s work has included the successful turnaround of ailing retail brands and shopping centres, the creation of powerful consumer brands and she has worked as a consultant to oversee business redevelopment, restructure and takeovers.

“We’re not a business that will ever rest on its laurels.” Bianchi said. “While we have strong foundations, an amazing customer base in the region and a brilliant team, we know we must continue to change and adapt to today’s customer’s needs. We’re confident that with Kate’s help we will have stronger strategy that will continue to propel the business into the future, whilst upholding the values that have been embedded in our success for all these years.

“We will be introducing new product ranges, international partnerships and placing an increased focus on retail theatre. New technology will help to streamline our processes and support our customer service and quality promise. We are focused on delivering a retail experience for the future.”

Kate Hardcastle MBE said:  “As the oldest family-run furniture business in the UK – Arighi Bianchi truly is iconic. Having endured wars, recessions and a global pandemic, it was clear to me that its foundations are solid and there is huge potential for it to thrive and prosper as the retail space shifts and evolves.

“The development of this strategy is just the first step on this brand’s journey and I am extremely excited to help the business celebrate its significant milestone whilst setting the wheels in motion to cement its legacy for future generations of the Bianchi family.”