With so many applications for our foam products, we thought it might be interesting to feature some of our clients. This issue, we speak to Lisa Magnera, Senior Design Coordinator at Design Furniture in SA.
Who started the company?
Two couples started the business back in 1986. Their names were Fred and Carol Schmidt and Bruno and Tina Damin. Both Fred and Bruno had design, cutting and upholstery skills and had been associated with SA’s iconic furniture makers, Matthews Furniture.
What products do you sell?
We design and manufacture hand-crafted Australian furniture including sofas, beds, chairs, dining chairs, ottomans and chaises. We specialise in creating bespoke products to suit our clients individual design taste and comfort levels.
Design Furniture is celebrating 30 years in business this year. What are the key ingredients to the company’s success?
Like any business it takes a combination of ingredients to produce a successful company that can endure the ups and downs of three decades. It starts with our vision for the type of company we wanted to create and the quality of products we aim to produce.
We always wanted to produce a quality product that will provide real value and ongoing satisfaction for our clients long after the purchase is made.
It’s important that we maintain humanity, honesty and integrity in every client/employee relationship. We believe this approach brings customers back and means they recommend us to their friends and family. Our approach helps reduce employee turnover and creates a happy place to work.
We also want to be a passionate market leader, rather than follow others. It’s all about setting the trend!
I noticed on your website you also market your products to architects and designers and to overseas customers. What are your key challenges in marketing your products?
- Keeping the images we use professional and appealing.
- Reaching the kind of demographic that our products will appeal to (professionals, creative people, people who are looking for custom made options and that appreciate quality).
- Helping our clients to see the value in purchasing Australian Made furniture, rather than cheaper and inferior overseas copies.
How do you think the industry has changed in the last 30 years?
The furniture industry now needs to work much harder in the area of developing savvy marketing strategies, implementing new technology and ensuring excellent customer satisfaction both during and after the sale.
When we took over the business in 2005, we discovered it was lagging quite a bit in all of the above areas. We had to act quickly to turn things around so we could be better equipped to do business in a world where consumer expectations were rapidly changing. Clients were becoming more conscious of the environment, more savvy when it came to expecting a better product from Australia along with the demand for great customer service.
Back in 2005, Design Furniture didn’t even have an Advertising or Marketing department, and had a very basic one page website. All our computer and telephone systems had to be changed, our showroom had to be updated to reflect new trends in furniture and fabric design and we had to install a fabric library to give our clients more range and flexibility when it came to fabric choice.
We now have a fully interactive website, and active social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We advertise regularly in national magazines such as Vogue Living, GQ Magazine, Luxury Home Living and Country Style. Another medium of advertising we’ve found to be a great success is cinema advertising.
How have Joyce helped support your success?
One aspect of the Joyce product that we are proud of is their Ultimate Comfort lifetime guarantee foams which are GECA approved and environmentally responsible. We love to mention this in as much of the advertising and marketing that we do.
Both we as the manufacturer and our valued clients are really grateful to have a supplier that we can turn to, to help us achieve a beautiful product that is also eco-friendly.
Visit the Design Furniture website at www.designfurniture.com.au