Nathan Furniture's expansion into United States going well
HIGH POINT — When Nathan Furniture, a United Kingdom-based case goods manufacturer, expanded to the U.S. market last year, Bill Cubberley viewed the venture as "a test to see if it would work." He isn't calling it a test anymore.
Cubberley, the president of Nathan Furniture USA, said he now feels encouraged to press forward following a successful debut at the October High Point Market.
A showing in B-746 at the upcoming Las Vegas Market underscores his optimism. So does the fact that the first U.S.-bound shipments of Nathan Furniture are going out next month.
A Cubberley-recruited salesforce of eight people has secured 30 solid accounts around the country, and Cubberley thinks there could be as many as 100 accounts by the end of 2014. When the company shows at the April High Point Market, it will do so in space twice the size provided in October.
The quality of the Nathan Furniture line "is exquisite," said Cubberley, a furniture industry veteran who's held management positions with several companies. "It's what people are looking for."
The line is particularly well-suited to smaller homes and condos. It consists of casual dining, occasional, home entertainment and book case pieces made mostly with teak, oak solids and veneers. The styling is clean, elegant and reflective of retro-Scandinavian design influences from the 1970s.
Cubberley said that Nathan Furniture positioned its occasional tables to hit the mid-priced category; for example, coffee tables retail at $799, and end and lamp tables retail at $399. The company positioned its starting dining room table and four chairs to hit the popular price point of $1,999.
"We have tremendous looks that resonate with young people," Cubberley said. "They want lighter. They don't want to pay a fortune for it. They want to be able to change it out."
Nathan Furniture, which was established in 1916, employs about 100 in the U.K. and produces goods there within four weeks of order. (Some parts of the line are made in Indonesia and shipped container direct from the factory.) Cubberley estimated that goods will take about two weeks to arrive in the United States from the U.K. and five weeks to arrive from Indonesia.
The company has established a warehouse in Eden, N.C. The warehouse was originally meant to target container customers and to have fill-ins available.
However, the company's marketing approach has now to come to "concentrate on a warehouse program that would make our product available to more retailers without a large investment of buying a full container," Cubberley said. "However, the company does offer container programs for accounts that prefer container pricing."
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