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A Taste of Home with Wegmans Furniture
Published 28th December 2016
Globally Clued In
How do you honour the tastes of a diverse, international audience while anticipating and interpreting trends for modern lifestyles? Wegmans has found the way.
The level of perfectionism at Wegmans Furniture is legendary.
Rumour has it that each product undergoes up to eight prototyping cycles before Collin Law – the head designer – gives his stamp of approval. Mr Law, who also happens to be the company founder and Executive Director, has such exacting standards that he regularly works until midnight to get things right. According to a company insider, “Our sample team will always have a hard time because they have to keep modifying and modifying until every sitting position is comfortable!”
From its ultra-perfectionist approach to industry-defying revenue growths, there is very little about Wegmans Furniture that fits the classic Malaysian furniture-maker mould.
Wegmans began life as a subcontractor for another furniture brand, just like the hundreds of home-grown enterprises that emerged in the 90s to capitalise on Malaysia’ blossoming furniture industry. But even in those early days, Wegmans was already hard at work on a different strategy for the future.
“We knew that if we wanted to scale up, export was the answer. In order to get there, however, we could not stick to our business model as an Original Equipment Manufacturer, i.e. making products based solely on other people’s designs. It would make us overly reliant on agents. We had to work on securing our own export clients, and in order to do that, the only way was to design and develop our own products,” said Mr Law.
With the advent of globalisation, it’s even more critical for furniture makers to have their finger on the user’s pulse.
“Globalisation has resulted in the birth of a unique segment called the global citizen,” said Mr Law. “Chances are, we all know of an expatriate who relocates to a new country, or a business traveller who commutes abroad frequently or lives abroad for work for long periods. With vast improvements in technology and transportation, this segment will only continue to grow, making them the most powerful driver of the furniture market. Repeated exposure to other cultures makes the global citizen more educated, cultured and cosmopolitan than any previous generation.
In other words, “You can’t just sell them a trendy sofa,” said Mr Law.
“Travel makes foreign cultures no longer seem so distant and foreign, so they embrace the idea of bringing the world to their homes. At the same time, because their lives are much more fluid, global citizens seek to establish a deep personal connection with wherever their home happens to be. Our longing for our roots is heightened when we are away from home, not the other way round.”
After weeks of brainstorming session, the MIFF and Wegmans team finalised on the theme “Bringing a touch of home”. The storyline would revolve around a city girl who has to relocate from her home in Chicago, USA, to her new workplace in Hoi An, Vietnam. She represents the future: the digital nomad that can work anywhere and Wegmans sees that future clearly.
About Wegmans Furniture
Wegmans is a furniture manufacturer with global presence operating in Muar since the year 1994. Their specialisation in product design and precise craftsmanship has enabled them to penetrate into more than 50 countries worldwide from Europe to Middle East, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada.
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