Made.com has gone into administration following the collapse of a last-minute effort to try and rescue the struggling furniture firm. But it wasn’t always so gloomy for the company, which began promisingly in 2010 with its ambitious founders once hoping to make the firm ‘the next Ikea’. Here, MailOnline looks at some of those behind the online furniture firm’s origins
Chloe Macintosh: The French entrepreneur was among the first team to set up the company and was a key driving force behind the company’s creative team and stepped down as its creative director in 2015.
But since leaving, she has raised eyebrows with some of her other ventures, which last year included creating a ‘First Time Sex Starter Kit’ with her 16-year-old son to help teens lose their virginity.
French entrepreneur Chloe Macintosh, who lives in London, has revealed how she created a ‘First Time Sex Starter Kit’ with her sixteen-year-old son to help teens losing their virginity (pictured with her sons Felix, 16, and Elliot, 14)
Chloe, who lives in London and is the former creative officer at the private members’ club Soho House, came up with the idea for a sex education app during lockdown, launching Kama, which features guidance for all ages on a number of different topics, including foreplay and anal sex.
The ‘starter kit’ element came about organically when her eldest son, Felix, then 16, was chatting about sex with his 19-year-old cousin, Jules.
Once her son’s friends started to hear she was launching the guidance on the app, they began asking her to include different topics, including what position to start with, and what to do when things go wrong.
Chloe told HuffPost: ‘We never learn how to relate, to create intimacy, to listen, to touch.
‘So the content we wanted to put out there is more than some tips to put a condom on, but more relating to the experience and making is as relaxed and comfortable as possible.’
Chloe explained how sex was ‘never’ a topic in her own youth, and she wanted to encourage her sons to have healthy relationships in the future.
She began work on the app during the Covid-19 pandemic, while both of her sons, Felix and Elliot, 14, were at home.
She confessed the topic of sex is unavoidable in their home, where there are ‘sex books everywhere’ as well as ‘toys and gadgets’.
Brent Hoberman: As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, Brent was among the pioneers leading the .com revolution.
Brent Hoberman (left), pictured with Martha Lane-Fox who helped found Lastminute.com
He set up online travel giant LastMinute.com back in 1998 with business partner Martha Lane-Fox. The company helps travels find cheap holidays abroad.
Having built the business from scratch, it was sold to Sabre Holdings in July 2005 for £577 million – despite the company having recorded a £77 million loss in 2004.
Five years later and he was among the four people to found Made.com, which by 2021 when it joined the London Stock Exchange, was worth a whopping £775 million
Ning Li: Born in China, Ning moved to France as a youngster to study there. But he always had ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur.
Ning Li was the former chief executive officer of Made.com. He remains as a director of the firm, according to Companies House
The young businessman set up his first firm, e-commerce company called Myfab in 2007 before joining the founding team at Made.com in 2010.
Speaking to the Guardian about his inspiration for Made.com, Ning said: ‘A friend in China who was a furniture manufacturer told me he would sell a sofa for £400 to agents, who would then re-sell it to a wholesaler in Europe, but when it eventually came to the store the price tag was outrageous.
‘The same sofa was selling for £3,000. I saw the opportunity of using the internet to disrupt the supply chain.’
He was the furniture firm’s chief executive until 2016, when he stepped down from the role. He is still listed as a director for Made.com.
Julien Callede: The final of the company’s four founders, Julien was Made.com’s chief operating officer.
The entrepreneur said the online retailer took off rapidly, gaining traction far sooner than he or his fellow co-founders could have anticipated.
‘Made.com gathered momentum very quickly, but because we didn’t anticipate such rapid growth, we made mistakes, mainly, we faced logistical challenges that came with growing the business so quickly,’ he told Bayes Business School in London in 2017.
He added: ‘Yes, it as successful, but at times, it was difficult.’