SEPTEMBER 2007


Since purchasing the Cane and Wicker Furniture factory three and a half years’ ago, we have designed a lovely range of furniture suiting style and trend and we are competing well with the overseas market.
We have not neglected the basket side. In fact we have enhanced style and are of the few manufacturers who are able to manufacture curved baskets, which is very suited to supermarket stores.
In the last three years, it has been of interest to us analyzing the market we are in. The following has been our findings:

Negatives

1. Product Knowledge
Many customers refer to Cane Furniture as “Bamboes Meubels.” People generally think that Cane grows in the veld in South Africa. They are unaware that Cane, our raw materials are imported from the East, The only place where it is grown in the world. A Product Manager from a supermarket group was astounded to see Cane in its raw state. He said: is this what sugar cane looks like”! He wasn’t blonde either.

2. Price
This is a factor. It is a consideration that raw materials are expensive and this is mainly due to the R-$ exchange rate. Also that Cane is fast becoming a sought after commodity as materials are becoming more and more scarce. Labour is certainly not cheap in South Africa. Our Craftsmen and Craftswomen are highly skilled and should be rewarded accordingly. Secondary raw materials, like wood, stains and varnish, glass, foam, fabrics are also expensive. In a nutshell, we do not manufacture a cheap product. More about this scenario on the Positives.

3. Market Place
Price reflects the quality of merchandise. Local stores cannot offer continuity of product; neither can they offer a choice in colour finishing nor fabric variety. Cane Furniture is now considered to be expensive and is not found in most furniture outlets.

Positives:

1. Product Knowledge
On a very small scale we have educated our customers and people who visit our website: www.considercane.com where we have written about the History of Cane, The Myths of Cane, About Cane and How to Care for Cane Furniture. Once people have been exposed to a good product they know what to look for when they are in the market to buy and upgrade their furniture and will then Consider Cane as their household furniture.

2. Price
There is that slogan: “Quality is remembered long after Price is forgotten”. How true that saying is. If you are happy with your purchase, you will rave about it for a long time. A 10 year guarantee on the Frames of Cane Furniture is a huge discount on the price you are paying for a period of 10 years!

3. Market Place
Good quality Cane Furniture is to be found more in what we term the “Mama and Papa” stores: meaning sole proprietors and entrepreneurs who take the trouble to source style, trend and craftsmanship in furniture lines. These stores need to be more astute as to their purchasing so that they are unique in offering furniture that is not available in the Chain Stores.

PROJECTION OF CANE FURNITURE

We are of the opinion that Cane Furniture is going to become more and more scarce. Our reasoning is twofold: the cutters of cane in the jungle have to go deeper and deeper for thick canes and the jungles are not being regenerated, as they should be. Secondly, good quality raw materials of cane are becoming less and are being affected by price. We foresee that Cane Furniture is to be one of Modern Times heirlooms of the future. The consumers of Cane Furniture are investing well with their purchases.