Morris Living, originally named OLC (Oriental Leather Co Ltd), is an online furniture retailer that was founded in early 2010 by Robert Morris.
The venture began as an experiment for Robert as he maintained a demanding full-time job. He recalls how it was used as a project to make some extra "pocket money" and he would have to take time away from his desk during the working day to communicate with customers and prospects. As sales increased, Robert reduced his hours from his main job to part-time, eventually leaving the role completely to focus on Morris Living.
Since then, Morris Living has expanded into a team of eight and evolved into a family business. Robert's two younger brothers, Sam and Dominic, stand proudly by their brother's side as he leads the ever-growing team. The company's employees are spread across the UK, with some of the team working abroad in Italy!
Robert saw a major gap in the UK furniture market. He noticed an absence of high-quality furniture available to purchase in the new and exciting world of online shopping. The concept of buying goods online was new in the UK at this time, with Statistica reporting that in 2010 a mere 7.4% of sales were made online.
Alongside selling a wide range of occasion chairs and swivel recliner chairs, Robert noticed a huge lack of mobility furniture being sold at a fair price for individuals living with mobility and health issues. Individuals living with conditions such as diabetes; COPD; arthritis; dementia and amputees now make up a huge number of his customer base.
A blog post that can be read here, shows how a Morris Living riser recliner helped one customer, Dave, when he was recommended to purchase one by his doctor for the mobility problems he was experiencing.
Robert quickly found that he could enrich the lives of his customers by ensuring that the foundations upon which the company was built; fairness, integrity and continuous development were at the core of every action and sale. Robert Morris says proudly that Morris Living have "always focused on keeping costs down in order to give customers the best possible value".
To show you the depths at which Rob was invested in his business from the very beginning, eleven years on he can still recall the name of his very first customer, who purchased from him back in May 2010. By December of that year, Morris Living was officially incorporated as a LTD company. In 2012, the company made their first sale outside of the UK to the EU
The first Morris Living import shipment arrived in the UK in March 2011. It landed at Morris Living’s earliest location, an arable farm in the rural Gloucestershire countryside. What was once a milking parlour became a small unit for all Morris Living stock and worked incredibly well for Robert Morris and his small team.
Robert Morris and co. upsized to one of the bigger purpose-built units on the same farm in 2013. The former milking parlour remained an important part of the business, at this stage becoming an administration office and Morris Living furniture showroom.
However, in 2015, the farm was no longer a sufficient base for the company. With sales and traction online building, the Morris Living team took their former farm warehouse operation to the midlands, moving to the site of their primary courier, DX. In 2019, the company name was rebranded from OLC to Morris Living, to reflect the wider product range the company now holds.
Although the Covid 19 pandemic was a tough time for all businesses, Morris Living were proud to welcome three new part-time team members in the midst of the turmoil. Whilst starting out online could have been perceived by many as a major risk, Robert Morris and his team are proud of how far they have come in the last 11 years and are excited to see where the next decade takes them.