“We Never Leave a Chair Behind.”

Kevin has been a client for the past 18 months to two years. He had been slowly having a house full of inherited furniture restored to its former glory, and in some cases, to a level better than the original. (Old silky oak pieces made back in the 1930’s to 1950’s were often stained very dark almost as if they were trying to hide the beautiful grain character and style.)

These days the art of showing off the grain character (especially if the timber has been “Quarter cut”) is the best method for a truly ageless finish and style that goes with just about anything.

The definition of quarter sawn is best depicted by this diagram:

Timber quarter cut

It’s a way of getting the most grain character out of a piece of timber, and silky oak is one timber that can truly shine with a finish when the timber has been quarter cut from the log.

Anyway, back to the story!

We’ve restored several tables, chairs and dressers, etc. for this good folk and this set of 5 chairs would appear to be nearing the end of a beautiful relationship!

Timber chairs for restoration

Kevin brought all 5 chairs to us in a terrible state of disrepair. Old vinyl eaten away, legs off, timber dark, and so on. After we quoted, there was a long silence followed by:

“Please just do the best four and we’ll get the fifth chair done later in the year when we can afford it.”

Well, our guys are hopeless romantics and it seems that the fifth chair just sailed through the same process so that the boys did not have to leave a chair behind.” We agreed to provide the restoration of the fifth chair as a goodwill gesture to our client to acknowledge the great support and good custom we’ve enjoyed over the past couple of years.

Restored silky oak chairs

Even the grandchildren forked out heaps of dollars getting their own respective, inherited pieces done up to their former glory, so we can see the dedication and the fine taste that all these guys have for old furniture.

Five Restored silky oak chairs

 

Renowned Furniture to the Rescue of Furniture Damaged During a Move

One of the approximately 15 to 20 pieces we see every month have been damaged by removal companies. Great business for us, but I can’t help feeling like there’s room for some formal training in furniture relocation practices.

Restored display cabinet, bed and buffet

It’s really not brawn that’s required for this job; there’s a process. It includes, but is not limited to, site and furniture evaluation, route planning for movement of the various pieces, etc.

There is also the proper application of protective wraps, blankets, etc. This phase is so important. You must have some basic knowledge of the types of finishes that exist and be able to identify them as they relate to various pieces of timber furniture before you start applying packaging wraps and tapes, etc., correct placement in the transport vehicle, load securing and the perfect reverse of all of the above once you reach the destination.

It’s not rocket science but done correctly, it’s a smooth, efficient flow where money can be made without incident.

Restored concert harp

We recently did a job for a client that had purchased a $30,000 concert harp from the USA and it arrived with the black ebony finish to the main body, covered in subtle round circles! A quick evaluation by us and we determined that the first layer of “protection” that had been applied for transport/shipping was bubble wrap.

They killed it with kindness and clearly lacked any knowledge of the potential reaction that plastic and humidity would have on the black ebony finish.

Restored wooden doors

We also came to the rescue of a son who got these doors as a present from his mum. The doors arrived from overseas broken in 15 places and he wanted them looking brand new again before his mum arrives. We took up the challenge and had the doors ready in time.

I could go on forever about the myriad of mistakes that are made in this industry through lack of understanding about process and proper treatment of the many various furniture finishes.

Showcasing Our More Creative Pieces Through Another Product Placement Venture

Our latest ‘product placement’ venture is with a company in the same industry.

Desks Etc have been operating for more than 30 years and make some very fine office style furniture here in Brisbane. We’ve had a collaborative partnership for some time now with Desks Etc, and both parties felt that there might be some synergy between our companies with regard to the more ‘creative’ and custom pieces that Renowned Furniture are known for.

Under a “nothing ventured, nothing gained” approach, we decided that showcasing a few of our more creative pieces in the Desks Etc showrooms located in Coorparoo would be, if nothing else, a fun talking piece for some of the visiting clientele to the Desks Etc showroom, and for us, a little bit more exposure to the mainstream looking for fine office furniture.

The Coravano

We’ve had some highly successful dealings with Desks etc over the years and we’re happy to say that the levels of trust between our groups is the foundation of a healthy relationship that provides mutual benefits. We’re industry colleagues rather than opposition companies and we look forward to a continued friendship.

The Stack / The Inca

As a start, we have supplied the “Coravano”, a 2 pack white and red credenza; “The Stack”, a spotted gum and glass coffee table designed to look like a set of old planks thrown on top of each other to create a base; and “The Inca” coffee table, an origami inspired timber frame that looks more like it’s been folded rather than joined – star sapphire glass and New Guinea rosewood.

Our Pieces Proudly Displayed at Sales Office of Planned Private Residential Building

Renowned Furniture stretches it wings just a little more and following our offer for “Product Placement” of some of our display pieces, take a look at this!

We’re even seated alongside a very nice new Jaguar ‘F-Pace’ SUV situated in the sales office of a prestigious new high rise residence development. So clearly, great minds think alike. Situated right alongside Gem’appelle Designs (www.gemappelle.com.au), where we show some other pieces, it’s clear to see that Bailey Street in West End is about to become a hot spot.

From their website, “London Residences West End” is: “A landmark private residential building that will turn heads in this most sought-after Bailey Street location.”

The pieces they have chosen are:

“The Time” – chrome base, rosewood top and silver ash dress band bar table; “Portseat” – small up-cycled old travelport turned into a small love seat;

“The Box” – solid timber bar stools (Rosewood) 2 pack polished solid core board, “Cairo” – Bar tables: Solid core with Wenge timber veneer & 2 pack polished bright white.

Walking into the sales space for the London Residences West End is an amazing transformation which gives an insight into the quality of the building taking shape alongside.

Renowned Furniture are very proud to have been selected as the provider of some fine furniture pieces for the duration of this exciting sales event, and we wish London Residences West end all the very best with their endeavours.

Follow the succeeding issues of our newsletter for the next recipient of our Product Placement Agreements.

A Quick Glimpse of Our Ongoing Projects

An apology from Renowned Furniture to all our readers & followers!

We’re just simply too busy to make this edition of our bi-weekly newsletter any kind of a complete, ‘newsy’ publication, so please forgive us, but the in-flow of projects has all of us here running a bit quick.

Finally, the good problems by far outweigh the bad problems. Deliveries, scheduling, quality management, prioritising, and so on. All good problems as opposed to what some in our industry are going through, such as viability, where can we get the work from, cash flow issues, etc. (Trust me, these were our problems too just a few short years ago!)

Today’s newsletter looks at just a few of the projects currently progressing through our humble little shop.

  • There’s A 10 seat solid English oak table designed and being built from scratch by one of our fine master craftsmen.
  • There are several restoration projects that we’re working on for interior designers (both for their clients and for themselves).
  • There’s a beautiful silky oak full height display cabinet we’ve designed and are now halfway through building for a guy that collects Royal Dalton pieces.

There’s some amazing antique Japanese pieces (buffets & chests & desks, etc) that we’re restoring for a client and they wanted each piece to look “raw” rather than polished. So through a long process of research, we’ve found a polish that you simply cannot see at all once it’s been applied. You can only feel it to touch. I think it’s going to look amazing.

  • We’re almost done on 2 very old captain’s chairs.
  • We’ve started on the conversion of a treasured old oak queen sized bed to turn it into a king size bed with individual base springs that rise & lower.
  • There’s yet another beautiful old BMW dash board being repaired, re-made in some parts & repolished.

  • We’re still pumping out some custom made solid walnut board room tables with Italian chrome legs.
  • And finally some silky oak dining chairs being restored, as well as a beautiful parker table and a solid silky oak table all ready for delivery following restoration.

The books are full, the bank account is healthy and the team is happy! “TOUCH WOOD”! or “KNOCK ON WOOD”!

What’s our secret to success?

We’ve been getting asked this question for a year or so now, ever since our regular clients (private & corporate) have seen the massive changes to our system throughput and the general vibe surrounding Renowned Furniture these days.

Ever since we took over from our predecessors, we’ve been implementing change and improvement. Slowly at first so that the staff could keep up and now with just a little more vigour!

The 4-fold increase in turnover and profit has not come easily. There have been casualties along the way. I’m proud to say, only one team member and he is sadly missed, but also quite a few old clients who were used to getting jobs done for just a little over cost and this was simply unsustainable if we wanted to grow. We are now in the enviable position where the day to day enquiries are actually sorted through from the jobs we strategically want (and know we can afford to do) to those that are obviously unrealistic in terms of budget expectations. Those jobs can happily go to the home hobbyists with no overheads or small companies doing little more than surviving.

Our prices are realistic and structured such that we can be here next time you come looking for skilled local craftsmen as opposed to the many ghosts we are currently surrounded with. We now own some of the plant and equipment purchased from similar companies that have since closed their doors for various reasons.

Among our very long list of esteemed clients that includes Churches, schools, socialites and business people, we can also proudly add many of the big insurance companies, and large shop fitout companies looking for those ‘champion pieces’ to set them apart from the rest that turn exclusively to Renowned Furniture and refer to us as “preferred suppliers”. Our award winning quality and finish is second to none. Furniture made by Renowned will last a lifetime or two.

 

So I suppose my answer to the question “What’s our secret to success”? is: All of the above and more, I like to think.

Here’s a look at some of the trade references we get when we are out seeking new corporate clients:

To whom it may concern:

XYZ Australia has worked with Renowned Furniture for approximately 12 months. In this time we have been very happy with all levels of our dealings.

The quality of workmanship is of an exceptional standard, and is backed by excellent service through open and ongoing communication to meet end client expectations.

XYZ Australia has every intention of continuing our relationship with Dan and his team, and we would have no hesitation in recommending their services.

AND:

To whom it may concern:

ABC Services QLD has been working alongside Dan and his team at Renowned Furniture for nearly 12 months.

During this time, they have been able to show without a doubt what wonderful customer service and workmanship that they are able to provide to our company and the high end clients that we service.

ABC Services Qld will continue the relationship that we have built with the team at Renowned Furniture and would highly recommend their services to anyone.”

One day, I’ll share the authors’ company names with you to validate these and other claims but for now, all we can say is: “Our success is no secret and no accident.”

 

More business updates & a little something for our corporate readers

Hello to all our readers!

Continuing on from our recent updates, we seem to be gaining some real ground in regard to market penetration and consequently, market share.

The enquiry levels we are fielding these days has me run off my fingers (typing replies and quotes)! What we turn into orders is now also at a level where we are hiring new staff as well. Not bad for an industry ‘on its knees’ when you listen to the mainstream and to the furniture industry spokespeople.

I’m going to place something at the end of this newsletter to see how many read to the end, by the way.

Here’s a look at a recent job we won over our industry colleagues, possibly on delivery time, possibly on price, but I think we won it on the fact that we hold some of the rarest and genuine Queensland rain forest red cedar there is around. It was felled more than 40 years ago and stored carefully, so it’s now going into select jobs where the client can appreciate the value, the history and the fine craftsmanship applied.

Getting back to the business progress, we are now fielding enquiries with some heavy hitters in the building, design and transport industries. These high level enquiries are easily supported by our history in first class performance and by some glowing trade references that we have received over the course of the past few years, many of them spontaneous.

We’ve covered projects big and small and all with the same degree of “white glove” treatment that our clients have come to appreciate and expect. A new level in service as well as good old-fashioned master craftsmanship!

You’ll appreciate that we make a lot of dust in our business, especially when we’re as busy as we are right now. Well, the main office (not all that far from the action) does get pretty dusty (no matter how often we clean). We decided to do an overdue full clean. Removed everything, re-painted, re-furnished (you know the saying: “A plumber’s tap always drips”?). Well, we decided to fit-out the office with some of our fine display pieces so that we can live among the magic.

On that note, here’s the offer to all corporate readers:

We’re considering strategic product placement of some of our fine display pieces and wondered if anyone would like to ‘throw their name in the hat’ for possible recipients of some fine pieces for their foyers, offices, display areas, etc?

If anyone’s interested, just email me on dan@renownedfurniture.com.au and we’ll see if we can find a fit.

What’s In Store For Us in 2017

Hello again to all who spare the few minutes it takes to see what we’re up to.

Hello also to our opposition on-lookers who’ve subscribed to our posts and newsletters! We see this as pure flattery and I hope you do manage to glean something from our little downloads.

We do feel a little like we are starting to lead the way on several fronts, not the least in our approach to marketing, the open book way we keep our staff and our clients completely in the loop, some of our achievements with suppliers relationships, and so on.

Business acumen is very non-business specific, and as long as we can manage to keep the heart-felt passion of what we do away from the black and white that tells the business story on a day to day basis, we seem to keep managing to improve. After all: “How can you manage what you don’t measure?!”

We measure our success, profit, sales hit rate, staff and client satisfaction weekly. Come to think of it, we do measure the reader open rate and the recipient pass on or forward rate etc., but we don’t really know what you think of our simple little downloads, so if anyone feels like it, why not tell us?

We’re fielding some massive enquiries at present and and while some may well take up to 12 months to come to fruition, the opportunities are certainly out there – just like our name..

Some interesting opportunities are opening up in assistance with design, building of prototypes for larger design/architectural/concept groups, and it seems to me that custom made fine, one-off type pieces for single discerning clients is really just the tip of the iceberg of what Renowned can offer. These opportunities also open up some amazing doors. There are some companies that we’re now dealing with, including new orders received as recently as yesterday, so big that we’re not even allowed to mention until I get official clearance!

It’s good to have the doors of this old business flung wide open in so many ways. For a start, the management and the staff can now breathe (in more ways than one)! The creative juices are flowing and some mighty fine pieces are leaving our shop on a daily basis.