Alternative Flooring is a member of Britain’s Coolest Club – the 2015/16 CoolBrands, where innovation, originality, authenticity and desirability are just some of the cool qualities that count.
Here are a few highlights from an interview that Lorna Haigh, the head of creative and marketing at Alternative Flooring, gave to a special CoolBrands supplement in The Observer about what it means for this great British brand to be cool right now.
With a spark of curiosity that inspires flooring to be different, Alternative Flooring is an award-winning brand that embraces a creative spirit and unconventional thinking.
What qualities do you believe your brand has that bestows the quality of ‘cool’ on the business?
We like blue-sky thinking and have always thought differently about flooring. To be frank as a niche business our brand is a true ‘outlier’ a maverick and a bit quirky. We are original and want to break the mold, shake it up a little or preferably a lot – always with a cheeky grin though.
Quirky B, Tetra, Ben Pentreath for Alternative Flooring
Have you actively cultivated those ‘cool’ attributes, or do you believe they have come about organically?
With a name like ‘Alternative Flooring’ we are expected to think outside the box and our customers assume that we will pursue and court ‘cool’. It is a difficult line to tread and trying too hard can work against you; so we work with really cool British designers, photographers and stylists to create amazing ‘now’ images.
Quirky B, Chainmail, Ashley Hicks for Alternative Flooring
Interior trends like fashion are constantly changing and we have to be at the forefront of what is new and exciting. Flooring is a big-ticket item and every image has to be inspirational and aspirational.
Quirky B, Fair Isle. Margo Selby for Alternative Flooring
Given the ever-evolving consumer landscape, how do you stay ahead of the game when it comes to cool’ status?
Innovation and ‘tone of voice’ is key. A failure to innovate and provide ‘the same old’ is death to coolness and talking to your consumer in the wrong way ‘old hat’ is a real turn off. We question what we do constantly; we look to good functionality and add a twist. We try and apply this thought process to all aspects of our business.
Make Me A Rug – design your own rug online, literally thousands of cool combinations
In the past year, what have you as a business done to achieve and maintain ‘cool’ status?
We’ve collaborated with some amazing designers, the queen of weave, Margo Selby, interior design icon Ashley Hicks and our latest collaborator the celebrated and very cool interior and architectural designer Ben Pentreath.
Ben has looked to traditional stone tile work designs going back to the 1800’s and applied these to contemporary carpet. It’s amazing how fresh and modern these look. Gorgeous impactful British design.
Quirky B, Lattice, Ben Pentreath for Alternative Flooring
Where will the next 12 months take you in terms of continuing to cultivate the cool reputation of your brand?
There is so much to be excited about! Innovation is king in terms of product, pattern and colour but also digital innovation is vital. The consumer wants to engage with brands and enjoy the experience of buying. So we are going to make it fun and tell our stories.
Can a business (still) call the shots in terms of reputation management, and ultimately cool status, in this era of social media and consumer-driven conversation.
Transparency is key. No one or brand is perfect and it is always how you respond which is critical. Honesty and integrity is always respected no matter how cool you are – you have to keep your authentic voice.
Fine Lines, Wool Blocstripe
Alternative Flooring is refashioning floors and making people feel passionate about what they walk on. Its innovative and authentic voice starts conversations about natural fibre and wools that explore unusual textures, vibrant pattern and punchy colours on carpets, rugs and runners to provide feel good flooring for the cool home.