The Danish design moguls are entering The Land of Smiles through showroom and agent.
By Lars Pinnerup
What was sold first, the Swann or the Egg? The answer to that question would show up at the end of the night on March 20th, where Republic of Fritz Hansen officially entered the growing market for designer furniture in Thailand. It was a night, where a jolly ambassador, a play girl bunny sitting in Arne Jacobsen’s The Egg, inside a giant Easter egg, helped bring out the smiles on the people who had showed up to welcome Republic of Fritz Hansen to Thailand.
The step across the border to The Land of Smiles has been taking with the help from the company Aviva Decor. A company led by members of the Charuvastr family, one of the heavy weight families in Thai business. The family is known for having built up their impressive business through diligence and competent management.
– The representative of Louis Poulsen told us, that if we wanted to enter the Thai market with success, then Aviva Décor was the company we needed to persuade into being the importer of our products, says Frederik Møller, Vice President International Sales, Asia-Pacific Region for Republic of Fritz Hansen.
– He finds it difficult to hide how impressed he is with Aviva Decor and describes their business as being run with German military precision.
Patience is plentiful
At the Aviva Decor Camp the excitement is matching that of Frederik Møller. No doubt, they also see it as a huge advantage having Design icons –and classics like Arne Jacobsen’s The Swann, and The Egg as part of their product line. The company boasts a line of brands in the higher end of the scale, noticeable on their design and quality. Brands worth mentioning are Giorgetti, Leicht, Lutron and of course Danish brands Bang & Olufsen and Louis Poulsen. And, Connie Charuvastr, Managing Director, admits that even though it was Republic of Fritz Hansen that contacted Aviva Décor regarding a potential partnership, then it is not wrong to use as worn out as the expression “Win-Win Situation” about the partnership.
– Most Thais probably recognise the Egg when they see it, but the name or the brand that goes with the egg only a few know. To spread that knowledge and pass it on to more people is one of the first tasks we have as an agent and importer, explains Connie Charuvastr.
That part of the plan already took its first steps the day before the opening reception, where Aviva Décor hosted a seminar for 5o design students from various Bangkok Universities, with Frederik Møller as guest speaker.
Connie Charuvastr informs that it is their experience that it takes a certain amount of time to accustom new products to the Thai market. And when it comes to this phase the Aviva Decors patience seems very long and flexible.
– In six months I can tell you more specifically about our expectations to the Republic of Fritz Hansen products. We have allocated at least two years for the establishment of Republic of Fritz Hansen as a brand in Thailand. However, if we find that more time is needed to reach the goals we set, and then we most likely will allocate the extra time needed, says Connie Charuvastr.
Aviva Decor has the sole rights to sell Republic of Fritz Hansen products in Thailand and will also have the responsibility of making Thai consumers aware of the existence of The Egg, The Swann and the latest hit, designer Todd Bracher’s ”T-No. 1” table.
Connie Charuvastr expects the biggest sellers to be The Egg, and The Swann.
– But I also expect table chairs to sell well as they compliment our line of kitchens well and can be profiled through those sales.
Even though Republic of Fritz Hansen has a large selection of fresh products from new designers, Aviva Decor has chosen to market the new showroom by profiling Arne Jacobsen, through a wall biography and by displaying some of his famous designs such as The Swann, and The Egg.
That is according to Frederik Møller an understandable and reasonable solution.
– We have zero market here. So we are starting from scratch. Arne Jacobsen and his designs are known all over the world, and it is only right that we use that to our advantage in the beginning. Later on we can then slowly start to expose people to the new and interesting things and designers we also have in our stable, says Frederik Møller.
Shop sales and B2B
Aviva Decor will primarily focus on sales of furniture to individuals with the showroom as base. The showroom is situated in All Seasons Place on the second floor. The sky scraping high-end mall, office –and apartment complex is situated in a walking distance from The Embassy of The United States of America. However, B2B sales are an element that also will be implemented in the sales strategies for the Republic of Fritz Hansen products.
And B2B sales could be the key to success in terms of sales volumes for Republic of Fritz Hansen. A lot of condominiums in Thailand are sold as “fully furnished”, so if deals can be made regarding delivering total furniture packages for an entire apartment complex, then there are good chances of selling large quantities. Frederik Møller really hopes this business opportunity can manage to jump from idea board and out into real life.
– Aviva Decor is involved in various projects. Among those are the Tower One project in Pattaya, and one can only hope it will help us create a sale of our products, explains Frederik Møller, who estimates a sale reaching arond 5.000.000 Danish crowns within the first year in Thailand.
Not only in Pattaya does Thailand experience a construction boom. In Bangkok the High-end real estate market is also on the rise. In Bangkok more than 60.000 condominiums are being built on a yearly basis. Many of those apartments are projects in the higher end of the price and quality meter. According to Connie Charuvastr, that can be seen on the furniture sales in Bangkok. Apartments need to be furnished, but with the increase in condominiums being built Bangkok is also experiencing and increase in furniture brands.
– With the growing demand, of course more suppliers will appear that means a larger selection for the consumers and more competition for us, says Connie Charuvastr.
And by the way, it was the world famous chair The Egg, designed by Arne Jacobsen that was the first republic of Fritz Hansen to be sold from the Aviva Decor showroom. It was sold on the opening day.