The furniture business had become a big of a drag. I wanted to do something else. An opportunity came up to rent a warehouse and showroom for dirt cheap. Even though it was a bit cruddy, we decided that it was the opportunity of a lifetime (or at least a good way to save and make money).
We basically only had two lines of furniture: leather dining chairs and a lounge suite. It wasn’t much of a business. There were a couple of other ‘demo’ pieces that we put in the container as well. We contacted our supplier in China to see if they could give us a range of furniture in quick time. They had some showroom models that we could get quickly. We got enough to fill up our container and had it sent over. Until it arrived, we had a very empty show room.
A few weeks later we got the shipment and was surprised at the state of some of the pieces of furniture. We were expecting quality showroom models. Instead it looked like some of them had been used for years by dirty bums and left out in the rain. I wasn’t too happy, to put it mildly. There was nothing we could do. I should have arranged for someone to inspect. But because I was in a rush, I thought it was better to have something rather than nothing. I was wrong, again. Some of the pieces we lost money on. Overall, we probably broke even on that container.
We decided to ditch that company and set about looking for other suppliers. I went to China to meet some manufacturers. I found one that had cheap prices on modern classic type furniture. At that time their wasn’t many dealing in this type of furniture. It sold quite well, but we had quality issues. We found another that was a little more expensive, but had better quality. Our last supplier we found had the best quality and was quite reasonable with prices.
I found that if the price was too cheap then the quality was going to be proportional to that. It was better to deal with the bigger factories as they made a wide variety of pieces often and they could fulfill our orders in a consistent time-frame. Whatever money we thought we were saving always ending up having more expenses somewhere else. It could cost more overall. If we had any defects on a piece it would have to be hugely discounted. So, on just one defected piece of furniture we could have lost our cost saving when going with a cheaper factory.
At one stage I was looking for a supplier who made fiberglass furniture (I know weird, but there was a demand for it). I found a really cheap manufacturer and I visited their warehouse. So, I thought I had done all I needed to. When the shipment arrived, most of the pieces had some sort of damage. Like dust in the paint or cracks. Some chairs were so bad, that when you sat on them you could hear them crack. One of the chairs that I sat on actually broke (and I am not a fat dude). It was a colossal failure. I shouldn’t have cut the corners that I did. I decided after that time to deal with only the bigger factories. They generally provided better quality. But we still had to check as sometimes defects would come through.