Tom Dixon portrait by Timba Smits for Courier Aug/Sep 2016

Design Retail

Tom Dixon’s commercial blueprint

How did a bass player in a funk band become the poster boy for British furniture designers? Tom Dixon’s £600 Melt pendant lights were the best-selling branded items at John Lewis in the run-up to Christmas last year. Middle England followed boutique hotels and upmarket restaurants in falling for Dixon’s products, which have become a shortcut for people looking for …

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Brexit: Startups’ EU expansion set to slow down

As doing business in Europe inevitably becomes less simple, speedy and cost-efficient, will startups begin to look elsewhere for suppliers, staff and offices abroad? The big difference between doing business in Europe compared to other countries was its simplicity. New taxes, tariffs, directives and even quotas on British companies trading with European ones will be thrashed out by Theresa May and her team in …

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Brexit: Startups and the sterling sting

The weak pound is bad news for startups importing goods from Europe – but does the currency crash have positive outcomes too? The dive in sterling from $1.47 on June 23 to $1.29 two weeks later has had a severe impact on British businesses reliant on buying foreign products. It reached its lowest level against the dollar in three decades following …

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Brexit: Startups fear for EU funding

Mammoth amounts of funding for arts and tech startups are set to be lost when the UK leaves the EU. Who will step in to fill the gap? So far, the UK government’s given no indication that it will replace EU funding initiatives, meaning certain startups engaged in research or technical innovation could lose grants they’ve depended upon for their …

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Brexit: Mixed messages from startup investors

Post-Brexit uncertainty, new challenges and a tougher economic outlook appears to have made investors cautious. Perhaps mindful of the damaging impact that negative sentiment could have on confidence in the capital, the big London- based venture capital firms were unified in projecting a message of calm. However, businesses that Courier spoke to all said there was a degree of nervousness …

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Brexit: All eyes on fintech

The most immediate startup victim of Brexit is the financial technology sector. So-called ‘passporting’ allows financial firms to carry out services licensed in one EU country across European borders. That’s all been thrown into jeopardy. The ‘fintech’ sector has in recent years been earmarked as London’s trump startup sector; a number of companies doing innovative stuff around financial services have …

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Brexit: Startups worry for London’s talent

The food and tech sectors have been especially buoyed by access to workers in recent years. ‘Talent flight’ has been identified as the biggest threat to London’s startup scene post-Brexit. Some industries are heavily reliant on European workers: around a third of the UK’s tech employees are EU migrants, while one in eight in London’s food scene are from the …

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Brexit: Impact on startups

Will investment dry up? Will talent leave? And what about funding? Courier hears from startups in finance, food, fashion, tech and other sectors on how they’ll be affected. British startups are bracing themselves for a radically different landscape in the wake of the decision to leave the EU. High on the list of concerns for founders are a downturn in …

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Can the UK build a world-beating furniture industry?

The British furniture industry lags behind Europeans despite a wealth of design talent. Why?  It’s perhaps an interesting time to reflect on the fact that Europeans simply do some things better than Britain and in a way that we would do well to learn from. This includes the making and selling of furniture. It’s a sore point for individuals in the …