September 30 2010
Bouf, an online marketplace specialising in design-led homewares, gifts and accessories, was founded by Alex Griffin in 2007. While browsing the designers’ stalls at Spitalfields market, east London, Griffin “realised that thousands of designer-makers and distinctive brands were being squeezed out by high-street retailers and their generic product lines” and set out to group together a fragmented sector of small design businesses that “weren’t getting any meaningful traffic through their own websites”’.
Bouf vets the products from these internationally based designer-makers, provides a purchasing checkout and handles payments, refunds and customer service.
The site is busy but easy to navigate. Categories are divided into Art, Children, Home & Garden, Gifts, Men, Women. Some are sub-divided further. Gifts, for example, embraces Him, Her, Children, Must Haves, Wedding, Blow the Budget, Bargains and E-Gift cards.
Home & Garden is a particularly substantial category, covering decorating, soft furnishings, lighting, accessories and specific rooms such as bathrooms. Typical items include a wall-mounted ribbon coat rack by Headsprung (first picture, from £35), Ovetto recycling bin (second picture, £159), cushions made from vintage 1950s curtain fabric (third picture, £35), and Audiocurve’s Curve88 loudspeakers (fourth picture, £1,350).
The varied stock changes frequently so it’s worth checking the site regularly – a task facilitated by a Latest Items section. Alternatively, if you run a small business and need an online outlet here’s a chance to test the market without a hefty investment. Bouf takes a sales commission plus small monthly charge for the contract but listings are free.