The times are indeed changing and Renowned have had several encounters that prove this. There is often enough difference in the Australian made versus imported that makes it very difficult to buy local.
Just last December, we received an email over the Christmas break from a Brisbane-based visual artist David, asking for a quote on a bespoke storage unit. He’ll be using it to store his prints, drawings and sheets of paper of varying sizes.
True to our standards, we provided a quote with our high quality recommendations, for continued performance, safety and accessibility. Our pieces provide a lifetime of aesthetic pleasure & functionality with a polish finish that always beckons a second touch. We use traditional building methods & charge a moderate rate for our labor but we put in the time required to maintain quality & reputation.
David appreciated the quote and wanted to keep his options open. We then got a hold of a contact – who is a high end kitchen cabinet maker to give him a second quote. The cabinet drawer components will be in pressed metal, timber melamine fronts, as well as the body. The cost was lower than ours but we got a reply that David had committed to another manufacturer. He had chosen to go with a cabinet maker from China, a company he found thru Google search, for a fraction of the price – only $2,300 including shipping. The manufacturer will make use of elm timber recovered from demolished old buildings. David wants to leave it unstained and give it a layer of wax. He was slightly apprehensive about the company at first but they have been sending work-in-progress photos and quick in responding to emails.
He knows the quality and materials won’t be up to par to Renowned’s highest standards of craftsmanship but is hoping the cabinet will serve its purpose and simply something that will bring order to his increasingly chaotic working space.
This brings us memories of the challenge we had with one of our biggest projects. We had recently completed a $200.000 project for a church. The church wanted 40 solid white oak church pews and other altar furniture. The initial price we quoted was almost double and we were up against imported products, so “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” is what we did. We even spoke with one company in China during our deliberations that knocked us back because our order was too small! ( 40×6 mt long solid oak pews which would have taken us 4 months to build and they can do them in 2 weeks!). We were very transparent of our intentions with the client. Our standards are high and our reputation dates back to the ‘70s as being among the finest so Dan, our director took the time to travel to China to meet with pre-selected factories, Dan built a prototype & shipped it to China. He tracked materials, quality and process,returned to China one week prior to shipment & conducted final QA checks. Dan selected an outfit that embraced ethics, wh&s & quality. Long story short, we delivered the furniture for less than we could have purchased the timber for here in Australia, we made an acceptable margin and we have a satisfied client.
It may seem risky to do business offshore but as long as one is careful and do the research, having work done offshore may actually work to an advantage.