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Catch The Moment
Published 23rd December 2015
Furnish Now Dec 2015
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why attempt something new when you're doing well in what you're good at? We go behind the story of wooden-frame sofa maker Yee Guan Furniture Industry's radical new designs.
Since breaking into the export market in 1999, Yee Guan, the Muar-based wooden-frame sofa maker, had enjoyed a glorious run of electrifying performances, expanding its factory space to over 200,000 sq feet, strengthening its portfolio to more than 70 collections and building a strong presence in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Managed by Lim family, Yee Guan began in 1995 by making simple wooden frames for local clients. They built a reputation for producing sturdy yet stylish furniture that was long on durability and short in turnaround time; 45-60 working days compared to the industry standard 60-90 days. Of the dozen or so specialists in wooden-frame sofas in Malaysia, Yee Guan consistantly ranked among the country's top three players.
A MIFF exhibitor since 2004, Yee Guan had its fingers on the pulse of the industry - proof that the value of participating in exhibitions and trade fairs is much more than selling your product or creating wareness of your brand.
"When we are out there, we also gather useful intelligence about market trends," said Martin Lim, founder of Yee Guan Furniture Industry. "Exhibitions are where the market is, so even in a casual conversati with a visitor, you can pick up important nuggets of information. The news was definitely important for our future direction."
The emerging of Millennials
There is a shift in furniture market where no furniture maker could afford to ignore an emerging red-hot market: the millenials, a term used to refer to the population born after the year 1980. This population is coming to an age where they are starting families and purchasing homes. With a purchase power of USD 1.7 trillion, this demographic is poised, over the next few years, to become the predominant force in the furniture industry.
In early 2012, Yee Guan began investing significant resources into developing a radical new collection targeted at this hot new demographic.
"Unlike their baby boomer parents, or even Generation X for that matter, millennials live a more transient life in cities," said George Lim, head designer at Yee Guan. They own less stuff and live in smaller spaces, a far cry from the spacious suburban homes with fussy treatments and formal dining rooms that they grew up in. Millennials are highly design-conscious, informed consumers, "They bring a lot more confidence to how they want their homes to look. It has to have an important meaning for them or fit in with their personal design aesthetic."
"We know the most crucial factor influencing design for millennials is their need to socially interact, so we tried to create an open yet intimate communal space for that purpose," said George.
Read more on Yee Guan's new design here.