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.
Initially 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 Head of Equity Trading at a large US investment bank until 2004.
These 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.
With 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.
Today, 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 50+ 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.
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.
On 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 consistently outstanding customer service. Maintaining and raising this high level of customer satisfaction is one of our core goals every year and in both early 2015 and 2016 we received this prestigious award for the previous year’s hard work, along with our overall feedback score of 98% and 97% respectively. Continuing on our crusade to provide the best customer service in the industry, we are striving to improve on this fantastic score during the upcoming year.
The Amara Interior Blog Awards
Held 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 second Amara Interior Blog Awards took place in October 2015 at Ham Yard Hotel and it far surpassed the previous year with over 500 unique blogs nominated and over 30,000 votes cast, double that of the 2014 awards. With an even bigger campaign planned for 2016, the Amara Interior Blog Awards will cement its reputation further within the interior blogging community as the best event of its kind.
Now & Next
Over the past few years Amara has strived to bring you the very best in luxury home fashion, and we now offer nearly 35,000 products on our website to ensure your interior style is always covered. In early 2014 plans started to transform the empty space left by the warehouse move into offices that matched Amara's luxury product selection which could also house the ever growing team and in mid-2015 the refurbishment was completed. Now equipped with five open plan office spaces, a photographic studio, numerous meeting rooms and a staff room, Concord Farm is a haven of chic interior design with breathing room for the Amara team as we get bigger.
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, has grown exponentially over the past three years with the latest industry interviews, case studies and inspiration published weekly. With an ever expanding subscription list and US & Austalian versions launched last year, the magazine is gaining in popularity every day and many more exciting features are planned for the year ahead.
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 connected with our customers oven more through the launch of our German language site to join our French site launched in 2014 and by increasing the visibility of our other dedicated country websites including US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UAE & Ireland. Set to be an even busier year than ever before, in 2016 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 to strive for another year full of successes.