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Q&A with Hotbox

Written by Rachel Forster

On July 24, 2019

A firm highlight in the international design calendar, Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) is a hotspot for architects, designers, end-users and visitors to discover the latest products and trends the design industry has to offer.

For companies such as Hotbox, Clerkenwell Design Week is a place to meet fresh faces and to be inspired by new design concepts. Hotbox founder, Jamie Rothwell, sits down to discuss the CDW experience and its impact on Hotbox’s bright future.

Q: What did the experience entail?

Jamie: We partnered with Your Workspace to create a true-to-life workplace hub for people to see Hotbox products in their element: the agile workspace. With a temptingly colourful Hotbox 1 window display, and Hotbox 2s and 3s dotted around the space, we brought Hotboxes to life instead of shutting them away in lockers.

Ultimately, we wanted to show people how Hotbox works in a space – so they can recognise for themselves how they are the missing links in the agile working chain. We crafted the perfect agile workspace for people to experience the agile way to work, and the positive feedback was overwhelming!

Prior to CDW, we formed a collective knowledge group comprising Hotbox, Forster Inc., Baker Stuart and Agile Stationery, with plans for the group to become the thought leaders in agile working.

Over the three days, we set up the Workplace Complaints Bureau, where people divulged their workplace woes to a poet who weaved them into ditties and haikus. People were sharing their poems with colleagues and friends on social media, some of them can be read on our website. It was a great way to bring people together.

Q: What were people’s responses?

J: Our colourful window display caught the eyes of so many passers-by. Many people were actually visiting the Your Workspace hub to simply view lockers. Yet when we asked the question: ‘How will people move their stuff from the locker to their workspace?’ their faces dropped. How can people be truly agile if they can’t move around the space easily?

The success of agile working is dependent on how quickly employees can adapt and warm to it. Although corporate companies know it is good for their business, the impact of agile working is felt, and therefore controlled, by its employees. If they are not on-board, agile working will not work.

Q: Did it inspire you in any way?

J: It gave us some good ideas for our products, especially Hotbox 3 which is for the flexible, rather than the agile worker. In the hub, people were talking about the things that they would want to carry in the Hotbox 3: documents, laptops etc.

With this feedback in mind, we’re developing new accessories that can accompany the product to ensure we create the best Hotboxes for our customers.

Q: How has it helped with Hotbox’s growth and future?

J: Since CDW, we are seeing an exponential increase in the number of UK furniture dealers coming to us directly, as opposed to via distributors. We’ve had interest from architects, end users and international customers, one of which asked us if they could exhibit Hotbox at NEOCON, the leading North American commercial design event held last month.

We are definitely going to attend next year’s CDW, where we want to see how we can make it an even better experience for people. It was such a special event that we can’t wait to see what will be in store for CDW 2020.

Q: What was the highlight?

J: Without being biased, our hub was one of the busiest spaces in CDW. People just kept on coming in! Although it was quite nerve-wracking initially, the result showed us it was very worthwhile. It was a massive reassurance for us here at Hotbox to see our products making a vital difference to workspaces.

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