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Our Story - The History of Amara

Amara has gone through many changes since its inception in 2005, but in every step of the way we haven’t lost touch with what’s important to us, luxury style and quality service.

Sam HoodInitially starting life as an interior design business, Amara has always been about bringing designer style and expert knowledge to every home. Created by husband and wife team, Andrew and Sam Hood, the company has utilised their combined strengths from the very beginning. Sam’s career in retail fashion nurtured her innate talent for styling and staying ahead of the trends, and she found her calling in interiors after project managing her own home renovation. Andrew’s business know-how and acumen come from spending over twenty years as MD at Lehman Brothers and on the equity trading floor.

Andrew HoodThese strengths saw the interior design company migrate into a shop on the stylish Baddow Road in Chelmsford. Stocking the best in home accessories and carefully curated interior must-haves, the shop helped to initially build their client base and relationships with the world’s most coveted luxury brands. Soon Andrew spotted a gap in the online market place for a distributor of true luxury homeware, and taking an entrepreneurial leap of faith they created Amara.co.uk.

In the early days the website was run in a tiny office, with a small yet dedicated team, and an even smaller rented storage space. Beginning in this way the team learnt quickly, mistakes were never repeated and the true art & importance of customer service was honed.

Amara shop - ChelmsfordWith each customer came a new experience and new lessons to be learned, forming the basis for the continued Amara ethos that exceptional customer service is paramount.

Growing quickly, the website moved to its current home of Unit 4 Concord Farm in 2006. Originally a chicken shed, at first it seemed an unlikely base, but was quickly transformed into a different world that suited the rapidly expanding business. The first big names in home fashion have been with Amara from the start, including Missoni Home and William Yeoward Crystal and from these we continued to build the luxury homeware empire.

Amara warehouseToday, Amara proudly houses over 200 of the world’s most luxurious home fashion brands. Many of which are exclusive to us, such as Ralph Lauren Home, who have carefully selected Amara as the only online store to distribute their home collections. The ‘chicken shed’ soon became Unit 4 & 5, and the small team soon became a 25+ people strong workforce, each bringing unique skills and a universal work ethic to the Amara family. One thing we all share is a belief in Amara, the products we sell, and the award winning customer service that we offer every day.

Amara - Callcentre & cutomer service awards 2011, Paypal etail awars 2013

Award winning customer service

We pride ourselves on having impeccable customer service, no query or request is too small or too much for our dedicated team to tackle.

In 2011 the team was rewarded for all of their hard work beating off stiff competition to win an award for Best Online Customer Services. They continue to be dedicated and passionate about the vital role they play at Amara, striving to make sure each customer has an enjoyable shopping experience every time.

Amara - Best Online Customer Services awardsFeefoOn the site we also use Feefo, an independent review company that gives customers an easy to use way of leaving feedback about their Amara experience. Customers can leave reviews on both the service they have received and the products themselves, and it gives us the ability to respond publicly to all queries, ensuring customers that we do our best every step of the way.

Earlier this year Amara was also shortlisted for the Best Pure Play Etailer at the PayPal Etail Awards, and although we didn’t win we were privileged to have been included amongst such strong competition in the final – fingers crossed for next year!

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A change of scenery for the warehouse

In August 2013 it was decided that with over 12,000 products in stock, Amara had finally outgrown the warehouse at Concord Farm. After much deliberation Delamode - a third party logistics company were chosen to hold and distribute all of the stock from our many luxury brands. Whilst this change did come with a hint of sadness as our dedicated warehouse team also made the move to the new location, this development has allowed us to distribute orders even more efficiently and improve our outstanding customer service even more.

What's next

Amara continues to work hard to bring you the very best in luxury home fashion, and with many more designer brands and upcoming new designer products on their way we are sure to have your interior style covered. From January 2014 huge renovations will be taking place at Concord Farm to utilise the new space which will include more offices for our ever expanding team, a brand new and much larger photographic studio and a staff room.

The Amara Wedding List service, created in 2012, is now in full force and continuing to grow from strength to strength. The Amara Wedding website is now being updated to include interesting articles from the best wedding experts, sharing inside knowledge and indispensable advice for that all important day. We recently became one of the first websites in our space to develop a RWD site, ideal for viewing Amara on your Smartphone or tablet. Internationalisation is also on the horizon with websites being rolled out to cater specifically for more countries outside the UK.

Amara’s reach is ever increasing and in 2014 we hope to connect to even more countries by the launch of European language sites later this year and by increasing the visibility of our US & Australian sites which were introduced in May 2013.