Modern Furniture, Lighting, and Home Accessories

Always Authentic

GR Shop Blog

  • China and Quality (or lack there of)

    I went to a local retailer (hardware type of store) the other day to pick up a few hand tools for our warehouse. As I approached the store, I saw a couple of Chinese knock-offs of the Series 7 chair by Arne Jacobsen. These were horrible representations of this chair, but the likeness was there and I knew without looking that they were probably selling them for about the cost of freight. As I entered further into the store, I also noticed an upholstered arm chair and a contemporary swivel chair as well. So, as I grabbed the tools that I needed and was heading out the door, I noticed the price on the "series 7 chairs", $39.95, I wasn't too surprised, but I was thinking that this was a new low. But then I noticed that the price tag said "Per Box" and then "2 Per Box"

    So, under $20 per chair. Now that is a new low.

    When I got back to the showroom, we had a discussion regarding the boom going on in China and we touched on a point that I thought might be worth mentioning. It seems to me that most of the product coming out of China is of lesser quality. The metals and materials seem inferior, the fittings and the finish as well. From what I understand, labour is cheap in China. So why are they not spending just a little more time, using better quality materials and manufacturing a better quality product?

    It seems to me that if they doubled the quality of that chair, then they wouldn't have a terribly bad chair for the price. (I'm only talking quality, not design) So, that chair might now be $40 and be twice as good in the quality department. Personally, double isn't quite enough, but you get the idea.

    So, when are they going to start to realize that more and more people are demanding quality these days and that this is becoming a larger part of the market everyday. The car industry in Asia has already caught on, so I am going to bet that it is only a matter of time before their furniture industry does as well and if that ever happens, then lookout. Luckily, China is still very lacking in the "original design" category and I think that this is where the big hitters have got an advantage. China seems to want to take the easy road to furniture manufacturing and to date, that hasn't included much time coming up with their own original designs. But then maybe someone out there can prove me wrong.

    Of course, there is another problem that we are going to have to deal with soon, billions of dollars in disposable furniture, that will all be coming to a landfill near you in the very near future.

  • "Investing" in Furniture

    Well, as promised, here are my thoughts on investing in furniture.

    Don't do it !!

    That is, if you want a financial investment. If that is the case, then go see a financial adviser. Yes, there are people that can buy and sell furniture and make a quick buck, but, the odds are that you aren't one of them.

    Now, don't get me wrong, it isn't that I don't truly believe that furniture is a good investment, it's just that for me, it's an investment that will only pay off financially for those that I leave behind and that is only if I can't instill some kind of a sense of style into them before my time is up. Hopefully if that's the case, then they'll be fighting over these objects the way family members are supposed to when loved ones pass on. Not because they want to sell the items, but because something about each piece appeals to them on some level or another.

    Furniture is an investment in life and in lifestyle and depending on how much value you put on furniture as a part of lifestyle, you may or may not decide to invest in items for your home that others deem to be senseless extravagances for the wealthy.

    I continually find myself telling clients to slow down and think about the end result that they would like to achieve with their home. When Mel and I moved to our current home, we had one rule, "Nothing comes into the house that isn't part of our long term plan" Now this of course was pretty much impossible to achieve, because at that time we had a very limited amount of furniture that fit the plan, but we stayed as true to that as possible and it motivated us to come up with a plan and do our best to save up and buy the items that we really want. It isn't often that I sell anything anymore, but I have to let you know that I just sold six Marcel Breuer Cesca chairs for about half of what I paid for them three years ago.

    Let that be a lesson to me.

  • Fritz Hansen for free ??

    I just received my monthly copy of the Fritz Hansen E-News and thought I'd pass this along. As a subscriber, you will not only receive the latest updates from Fritz Hansen, but you will also be automatically enrolled for a chance to win free merchandise from them. They will be drawing four times a year. The current draw will be April 10, 2007 and the prize is 4 VicoDuo chairs by designer Vico Magistretti.

    How cool is that. Of course if you win and you don't have room for them, let me know and I'll see if I can free up some space. 

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