Furniture retailer pitches ‘affordable sophistication’-A A +A
Friday, March 1, 2013
A NEW furniture retailer wants to convince buyers, especially price-sensitive Cebuanos, that quality pieces and designs are well within their reach.
Allison Tyler Luxury Home Furnishings (ATLHF) on A.S. Fortuna St. in Banilad, Mandaue City opened last month but will be officially launched on March 15.
“What we want to communicate with ATLHF is Cebu’s potential when it comes to quality products and that there is no need for Filipinos, Cebuanos in particular, to go abroad to purchase sophisticated furniture at reasonable prices,” said ATLHF owner and resident designer Gregg R. Huettel during a press conference.
“Value for money is our signature and our furniture of export quality can become heirlooms that can be passed on to generations,” said Huettel’s wife and ATLHF co-owner Agnes T. Huettel.
With Cebu becoming fit for global competition, the couple said they found an opportunity in the metropolis to help the local high-end furniture scene, now that the industry is powered by mass production of lower-priced pieces.
“The current players are limited in design and that’s where we enter into the picture, as we are a design-driven store that has the ability to service up to the high-end niche. Our benchmark is quality backed up with professional standards,” Gregg explained.
He mentioned that most local furniture companies would source outside the country, mark the imports as their own brand, and sell these with themed designs.
“Custom-made is currently trending but since Cebu is a price-sensitive market, our challenge here is to let customers absorb the idea that they can get anything they want for furniture, such as design and materials, with rates that are within their means,” he added.
Gregg, who is from North Carolina, has over 25 years of experience in furniture design and engineering, and has worked for top designers and well-known furniture companies like Maitland-Smith in Cebu and Ralph Lauren.
He recalled that he arrived in the Philippines when Asia was in a crisis and the US economy was taking off.
“Now, Cebu and Manila are booming, buoyed by the emerging middle market and foreign investments. We can use the current economic situation to our advantage to support the local furniture scene,” he said.
He also described A.S. Fortuna St. as a perfect location to establish a furniture business, as the street is becoming a design and home improvement destination in Cebu.
ATLHF is named after the Huettels’ children, Allison, 10 and Tyler, 8. Their 170-square-meter showroom supplements Asian Link Designs Inc., an international design company founded by the Huettel couple in 2001.
ATLHF showcases Gregg’s outputs and accommodates customization requests, with drawings and quotations done in about two to three days.
Gregg also visits clients to do interior design and consultations.
Inspired by the eclectic approach and other parameters such as German style Biedermeier and the veneer process, ATLHF is an infusion mostly of the American and Philippine concepts, with 90 percent of the furniture done in Cebu to promote local operation. The US is its biggest export market.
Gregg said although Cebu is not as brand-sensitive compared to the US, the furniture business is still globally marketable as a brand and that is what ATLHF is aiming for, to carve a name in the furniture industry.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2013.