Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the Discerning Chinese Customer

We may be on to something here...

As other furniture companies are selling "Made in China" furniture to the United States, Grand Rapids-based Kindel is finding success doing the opposite.

The 110-year-old furniture company's "Made in the USA" Kindel Furniture is finding a market in China.

Kindel recently sent a shipment of handcrafted fine wood furniture to the Home Boutique store in Beijing and is preparing an order for another retail customer in Shanghai.

"We know the high end customer in China seeks luxury brands, especially those made in the US," said company spokeswoman Amy Wolbert. "Kindel remains one of those companies that can meet the demands of that selective group."

While other Grand Rapids furniture companies moved to North Carolina, and then abandoned North Carolina for China over the years, Kindel is the only original "Furniture City" company left standing here - and that had to come at the expense of some shaky times, job cuts, and finally a move across town and a merger with Taylor. But, standing they are, and I'm so glad to hear that they are still making that beautiful furniture that only the extremely wealthy can afford. Anyone up for a forty thousand dollar china cabinet?

Both of Kindel's two new Chinese customers sought out the company, Wolbert said. Kindel shipped over 52 pieces to the Beijing store, ranging from an ottoman to a china cabinet with list prices of $2,850 and $43,500, respectively.

Nice reversal of a trend. Perhaps "Made in the USA" can become synonymous with luxury and quality on a global scale, a selling point to all foreign customers. Imagine people around the world, clamoring for American-made products, because they are seen as a popular status symbol...

Don't laugh. It could very well happen. We have one example above, I'm guessing that there are others out there too.