Finding the right café furniture suppliers for you obviously depends on a variety of factors. But most new business owners tend to focus on just a couple of factors, particularly price and variety, without considering some of the more important points. Considering the amount you need to do to get your business up and running (see here to get a basic idea), this is understandable. However, give your furniture purchasing the attention it needs so that later on you don’t end up with an empty café!
Price, Quality, Variety and Delivery Time
You want the best price, right? Everyone does. However, where smaller or family businesses may prioritise price, larger companies may not. Of course, no one wants to compromise on quality, but a larger company may feel that delivery time or even a larger range of products takes precedence over price.
I would advise that anyone with less than a month to open look to buy from local café furniture suppliers. The price will be high and variety may not be there but at least you will get it quickly.
For those with a little more time, checking-out Chinese café furniture suppliers is a must. Price will certainly be lower and there will be more variety but you will need around 2 months. And quality? If you pay attention you can certainly get a very high quality at a moderate price.
My recommendation is, if money isn’t an issue and you don’t need anything too different, buy locally. If you would like to save some dollars or want to do something unique, and time isn’t too tight, look to China.
Within China, unless you are China savvy and ready for a few trips back and forth, I would advise being careful buying directly from the factories for the following reasons. Firstly, factories specialize so you will either be limited to a certain type of product or they will be buying from other factories anyway. This means you will probably need to find four or five different factories and keep an eye on them all. Secondly, it takes a long time to build a reliable relationship with a factory (click here for more information on developing relationships in China). They are quite often extremely friendly right up until you pay the deposit and then no longer prioritise your needs. (This of course is not always the case. We have met some fantastic factories and worked with manufacturers that bend over backwards to help at all stages of the project).
The other option is to buy from a trading company. The benefit is they will already have that relationship with multiple factories so you can get your variety and more reliability. Many will also provide quality control services as well. This would be the option I advise if you are only making one or two (or very occasional) orders.
Consider very carefully how much time you would like to invest in getting your furniture. Are you the type to flick through a catalog, spending no more than 5 minutes circling the items you want, or do you take a long time to tweak every piece, choosing colors, fabrics styles and finishes to match and create the perfect ambiance?
More so though, are you willing to spend time problem solving, negotiating, asking for pictures, traveling and checking quality? If not, either pay the large price locally or find a good middle-man to work it out for you.
Having spent almost a decade dealing in China, I can safely say that it takes a long time to learn the ins and outs of the business culture here. The language itself is difficult but you also need to know the common attitudes like, for example, contracts are often seen as more of a guideline than a binding agreement, or chabuduo (loosely translated as ‘good enough’ for things that aren’t quite up to standard).
So Which Café Furniture Suppliers should you use?
I may be biased but I feel my advice here is logical. If money is no issue but time is, buy in Australia (or locally wherever you may be). The products you get are possibly made in China anyway, but the suppliers sometimes hold stock.
If, however, you would like to save some money, find a trading company, such as Serenity Made, in China. You will have access to a huge range of furniture at low prices without the hassle of having to find, organize and develop a relationship with four or five different factories. Moreover, we will do the quality control and provide all the documents you need. As an added bonus, I am Australian, so you don’t need to worry about language barriers and I am familiar with Australian policies such as fumigation and due diligence requirements.
If you have any questions about dealing in China or café furniture suppliers, feel free to browse our other blogs on the topic or shoot me an email on the below address. Happy sourcing!
- Matthew Nagy
Note about the author: Matthew is a director and co-founder of Serenity Made. Although born in Australia, he currently resides in China focusing on developing the company and expanding their Australian market. If you wish to contact Matthew to discuss how Serenity Made can help your business, you can email him at [email protected] or visit www.serenitymade.com.