I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with Harry (furniture designer) and Andrew (furniture business specialist) at their Melbourne furniture showroom Destination 3000. Our discussion was interesting and controversial at times but essentially it was great fun talking to two very passionate industry professionals.
1) What have been the major evolutionary changes to your furniture range, to yourselves as business partners and to the business since opening in 2010? In the last 4 years we’ve grown and changed a lot through our experiences and learnings. One massive change is the number of brands we sell. We started with 3 and now sell about 12 brands, many of which we have exclusivity with.
Due to our better understanding of the market place another big change was streamlining our business model and letting go of partnerships that weren’t working for us. We now focus more on trusting our own expertise and each other to further grow the business.
We’ve also changed the way we connect with our target markets by dealing directly with architects and designers. Additionally increasing our online presence has been beneficial in terms of both sales and reach.
Fundamentally the changes we’ve made have meant we can offer fantastic designer furniture to our clientele at very competitive prices.
2) How did you come to choose this location at 525 Flinders Street, Melbourne? We scouted around the usual high streets such as Church Street, Richmond and also researched the future plans of various city councils to understand the growth potential of different communities. Based on this research we believed that the Melbourne CBD was the place to be, given all the plans the City of Melbourne had for the future growth of the city.
We also researched the presence of other furniture stores in town and realised that we would be the only independent furniture store in the city.
Furthermore, we wanted a location that would be busy at the weekends, this location is opposite the Melbourne Aquarium, very close to the Immigration Museum as well as Crown Casino, so we receive a lot of foot traffic and great exposure due to our busy corner site.
3) What design characteristics ensure a piece of furniture is successful? Essentially we apply a simple system we describe as the 3 Ds. The 3 Ds are; Is the piece desirable? Is the piece distinctive? Is it do-able?
These questions ensure the end product will be liked and purchased by our clients as well as promoting sales for our business.
4) How would you describe your ‘typical’ client?
We appeal to empty nesters, interstate tourists and males tend to gravitate to the unique industrial-modern look.
Empty nesters who may be down-sizing want to indulge in great designer furniture, probably for the first time in their lives now that the kids have left home and tourists really enjoy seeing our range which they don’t get in their home cities.
5) What do you think about Ikea? Andrew: I think Ikea are fantastic. Working backwards from the chosen price point, they factor in aesthetics, manufacturing, transport and consumption to deliver a range of desirable furniture. However, I question the materials used and the labour costs required to achieve these price points.
Harry: I love Ikea especially the accessories. I think many of the designs are genius. I take my 3 year old son to the Richmond store about once a month for an entire afternoon. He loves it almost as much as I do. I’m not such a big fan of the furniture’s execution, but the cleverness of certain designs and their smaller accessory driven range is amazing and very inspiring.
6) Describe each other in 3 words.
Andrew about Harry: Brutally honest, very caring and a genius designer.
Harry about Andrew: Fun to work with, extremely passionate about furniture and very intelligent.
7) How would you describe the values of your business and how do these, if at all, relate to your own values?
Our business values have certainly become more aligned to our own personal values over time. We really value: honesty in our dialogue, integrity in our behaviour, relationship development with people we admire and respect, and we always want to further develop our openness to learning and embrace change.
Next time you’re in town, pop into Destination 3000, you’ll see wonderful pieces of furniture at the cutting edge of design and say hello to Harry and Andrew too, tell them I sent you.