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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 300 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 45+ 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.

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.

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

Award winning customer service

We pride ourselves on offering 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, reassuring our customers that we do our best every step of the way.

In March 2014 Amara was awarded Feefo's Gold Trusted Merchant award for providing consistantly outstanding customer service. Maintaining and raising this high level of customer satisfaction is one of our core goals every year and in early 2015 we received this prestigious award again along with our overall feedback score from the previous twelve months rising from 97% to 98%. Continuing on our crusade to provide the best customer service in the industry, we are striving to improve on this fantastic score this year.

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2014

Amara's most challenging year to date, 2014 saw us increase our luxury product offering to nearly 30,000 and introduce top new brands including Wedgwood china, Penhaligon's fragrances and state of the art audio equipment from B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen. This year also saw the launch of our French website which after a painstaking translation of each and every word became the very first foreign language website in ever growing international expansion. 

From the start of 2014 the Amara offices at Concord Farm have gone through extensive refurbishments to make use of the space left from when our warehouse moved to Delamode and to hold our ever growing team. The initial plans were completed towards the end of the year and Concord Farm now boasts a large photographic studio, meeting room, chic staff room and three expansive and beautifully decorated offices. 

The Amara Interior Blog Awards

Amara - Interior Blog AwardsHeld on Wednesday 5th November 2014, in Rosewood London's spectacular Mirror Room the inaugural Interior Blog Awards were a phenomenal success which gathered the leading talents in the interior blogging world, big name sponsors and an elite panel of judges. 

First envisioned in early 2013, our dreams finally became a reality and we were able to give back to the vibrant interior blogging community for all of their amazing work at an awards ceremony to remember. The organising of an even bigger and more dazzling Interior Blog Awards for 2015 is now well underway and we can't wait to improve on the already successful event. 

What's next

Amara continues to work hard to bring you the very best in luxury home fashion, and with many more leading designer brands and upcoming new products on their way we are sure to have your interior style covered. Whilst our original office refurbishment plans for Unit 4 were completed at the end of 2014, in true Amara fashion we have expanded again at a record rate meaning we are nearly at capacity in our sleek new work space and construction has now started to transform our remaining warehouse, Unit 5. 

Our online magazine The LuxPad which provides a discerning insight into not just the interiors & design industry but also the worlds of fashion, travel and luxury cuisine, is continuing to grow with a range of exciting interviews, cutting edge trend reports and case studies already lined up for the coming year. 

Internationalisation is always 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 2015 we hope to connect to even more customers by the launch of more foreign language sites and by increasing the visibility of our existing websites. Set to be an even busier year than before, the Amara team are focusing on providing an even higher standard of customer service, communication and product selection to remain at a forefront of the interiors industry and we are striving for another year of successes.