Melonwoods Indonesian Furniture & Decor focuses on unusual pale Indonesian wood furniture giving it a distinctly different offering from the industry and public.
YN: How did your business start?
Carley: Melonwoods was started because the first owner wanted to import furniture for her B&B. She identified good-quality, modern furniture in Indonesia: each piece handcrafted, and at really good prices. I saw that there was a gap in the South African market for affordable quality, so when the opportunity came to buy the business, I did just that.
YN: Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Carley: We wanted a warehouse environment for two reasons: we could become more competitive by reducing our rent and passing on the cost savings to our customers.
YN: How did you find your premises?
Carley: Luckily, through a friend in the commercial property industry.
YN: Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?
Carley: Here we are close enough to visit, yet far enough to be away from the hustle and bustle. We’re really central to the Umhlanga, Ballito and Durban markets.
YN: Who are your neighbours?
Carley: Edstan Construction (our landlord), Magnet Electrical and Globe Flight, as well as Builders Warehouse just down the road – all very relevant to our industry.
YN: What are the shop rental/ sales prices like in this area?
Carley: The rental is much lower than the traditional retail space rate because you don’t get the same foot traffic. It’s a great value choice, but it’s important to advertise well to draw your customers and focus on great customer service to ensure return business.
YN: What is your shop footprint?
Carley: We’re a growing business, and have changed our strategy to focus more on meeting the needs of interior decorators, architects and developers. We have fewer browsers now, but those who come to see us specifically for our raw wood furniture are not disappointed.
YN: Do you have any expansion plans?
Carley: Yes, we’re really focusing on online retail right now, as people are too busy to drive from shop to shop. Our furniture is showcased on our website and you can get a quote online. There’s an increasing demand for our furniture in all areas of South Africa, so with an online presence, it’s accessible.
YN: What’s your most popular item?
Carley: Our mirrors are quite different, so they’re immensely popular, but so too are our handcrafted cabinets/TV units/dining tables.
See for yourself:
031 512 5112
Words: Anne Schauffer