27/11/2015 - 13:27

New player, big interior design statement

27/11/2015 - 13:27

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The opening of Furniture Gallery’s third store in Osborne Park in late October capped a busy 18 months for two sisters behind the rapidly growing new entrant to Perth’s interior retail scene.

New player, big interior design statement
IN DEMAND: Sophie Langa and Chrissy Palmer (seated) say their stores have developed a loyal following. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The opening of Furniture Gallery’s third store in Osborne Park in late October capped a busy 18 months for two sisters behind the rapidly growing new entrant to Perth’s interior retail scene.

While the concept of opening an interior design focused, yet affordable, furniture shop had emerged in 2013, Sophie Langa and Chrissy Palmer established the first Furniture Gallery stores, in Joondalup and Cockburn, just 10 months ago.

The sisters are not without experience in the furniture industry, with Ms Palmer a shareholder in the Pine Discount Furniture chain; however she is not involved in the day-to-day running of the stores.

The new store at Osborne Park is Furniture Gallery’s flagship outlet, a shop designed to set new standards for interior design retail not just in Western Australia, but Australia wide.

“It was a creative vision to fill a gap in the Perth market,” Ms Langa told Business News.

“Basically my sister and I were frustrated a little bit with the lack of inspirational interiors and lack of eclectic interior types of spaces in WA.”

Along with all types of furniture, from bedding to bookshelves, to dining and couches, Furniture Gallery stocks myriad accessories to allow customers to enliven their living spaces.

But Ms Langa said the biggest point of difference for Furniture Gallery was that 50 per cent of the chain’s staff was qualified interior designers.

Customers at Furniture Gallery are encouraged to either bring in a photograph of the space they are looking to furnish, or book a home visit, to allow the interior design team to produce their desired outcome.

“When you market yourself like that, immediately you have passionate individuals who are drawn towards you,” Ms Langa said.

“It’s really exciting and wonderful to be known for that, particularly when you’ve only been around for months.”

The other key for Furniture Gallery, Ms Langa said, was providing products that looked high-end at competitive prices.

“Beautiful pieces can be reasonably priced as well, so we just thought there was a real need in Perth for something like this,” she said.

“We wanted to create a lifestyle type of company people would be able to associate themselves with and say ‘I can go to Furniture Gallery, I don’t have to worry about anywhere else’.”

Despite the rapid growth, Ms Langa said there were no imminent plans for new stores for Furniture Gallery.

She said the next 12 months would be focused on building the Furniture Gallery brand and its suite of services, with interior design workshops possibly in the stores’ future.

However, Business News understands Ms Langa and Ms Palmer are planning to open a pair of new concept stores in regional locations, but the pair would not be drawn on any further details.

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