19 July 2024, 05:48
By Furniture News Jun 17, 2022

King's CEO on the brand's Aussie rules

King, a household name in its native Australia, landed on Tottenham Court Road last Boxing Day. The 8729 sqft unit, staffed by a team of 10, offers a glimpse of the brand’s line of modular sofas – a reflection of the ambitious Antipodean’s marriage of innovation and craftsmanship. CEO Anna Carrabs tells us more …

Can you give us a short breakdown of the business? 

Founded in Australia in 1977, King crafts and manufactures contemporary furniture designed to adapt to our customers’ changing lifestyles. Today, King is a rapidly expanding global brand, with 25 showrooms across seven countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Canada and the UK.

What does your role entail, and how has it changed since you started working with King?

As the CEO of a global business, I oversee every facet of the organisation and am extremely fortunate to have a highly skilled and effective senior leadership team to support me. My remit when I joined King in 2015 was to expand the brand to a global market, and we have achieved that goal with eight international showrooms launched in six years. 

What drew King to London?

London is a design capital of the world and ahead of the momentum, design news and influence. As a global design business, London is the ideal location for King to showcase our innovative Australian designs on the world stage.

Did the existing store space lend itself easily to refurbishment? What were the challenges?

The site on Tottenham Court Road is the perfect London location. The biggest challenge was developing the site remotely during the pandemic – many of our team were unable to travel due to Covid restrictions, which meant most of the communication was online and not face to face, which is always a challenge when working with a physical space … but we couldn’t be happier with the end result.   

I could not be prouder of our team. Their unwavering dedication and spirit underscore the King commitment to our customers.

How is technology incorporated in the store, and is there a complementary online channel?

We have a dedicated ecommerce website that works in tandem with the bricks-and-mortar showroom on Tottenham Court Road. 

Can you outline King’s product offer – and explain what sets it apart?

At King, we talk about the King Difference – a set of guiding principles that inform every part of the business. At the core of this difference is the steel frame and the Postureflex seating system, similar to the steel suspension system used in luxury European cars. It is the foundation that allows us to build modular furniture and craft designs that continually push the boundaries of what ordinary furniture can achieve.

Where are your products manufactured, and how have you overcome the supply chain obstacles affecting all global businesses?

We proudly manufacture at our state-of-the-art facilities in China, Australia and Thailand. The supply chain has been, and continues to be, a challenge for global businesses. But, because King owns and has complete control of all our factories, we have successfully offset many obstacles.  

Describe a typical King customer, and your approach to serving them …

A love of quality is the common thread that unites all our customers. I can confidently say this because we have a phenomenal track record with returning customers who buy one design and come back for other pieces. 

In Australia, we offer King Care, which is a variety of services that help our customers maintain and refresh their furniture. This includes a custom recovering service. On any given day, you will find a 20- or 30-year-old King sofa in our Sydney factory being recovered by our King Care team. Our customers choose to keep and recover their King sofas because they value the quality of the design and the craftsmanship.  

How does the Australian consumer’s taste, or the way they use their home, differ to that of the British?

British interiors tend to be bolder with the use of colours and patterns, whereas Australian homes tend to have a more restrained neutral palette. I think, perhaps, this is a response to the different landscapes we live in. 

Would you say there’s anything uniquely Australian about the brand’s identity?

King is fundamentally Australian – it’s inherent in our brand DNA. All our furniture is Australian designed, and I think the most tangible element is how our designs are made for indoor/outdoor living. In fact, three of our bestselling sofa designs – Jasper, Delta and Zaza – are also available as outdoor models. Designing pieces that work both indoors and outdoors is challenging, but this is a testament to the depth of the experience and craftsmanship of our team.   

Are there any other King developments you can share?

I can’t share too much, but I will say that our global expansion will continue with new showrooms coming to exciting international sites soon …

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