By Nick Green, Teemo MD
Working in furniture right now reminds me of the toilet roll buying frenzy that many supermarkets in the UK faced at the start of Covid! Manufacturers are buying up raw materials like crazy. Prices are rocketing and there are major shortages. The higher the price, the more they buy… and so on. OK, it’s oak rather than toilet paper that’s hard to find, but you get my point!
Why is it happening? Well, during the past 15 months of lockdowns, people have saved up the cash they’d usually spend in restaurants, on fuel, holidays, and leisure. As a result, we are spending more on our homes and buying lots of furniture. Factories have never been busier, raw material demand never higher!
It’s a challenge but we’re fortunate at Teemo because we have a brilliant and extremely knowledgeable ten-strong team based in Vietnam. They have access to some excellent off-the-beaten-path factories that use less-common materials like acacia, mountain ash, American ash and rubberwood. Our Vietnamese team are even working with the manufacturers to advise them how to get around the supply-chain issues.
Our acacia pieces pictured below are a case in point. Acacia is a local Vietnamese wood but treated correctly looks stunning and is fantastically durable.
So, by working smarter, using different materials, and drawing on our team’s unique knowledge, we can sidestep an industry-wide problem that’s causing some major headaches. We’re able to roll with it, you might say!
Our Kimi range is made from acacia wood
A swatch of stained and treated acacia
Our Bali range (see below) uses woven rattan to produce pieces that have an intricate delicacy to their design language. This flies in the face of dark, heavy furniture that some love but others find overbearing. These pictures show artisans crafting our woven rattan furniture in one of the factories we use in Vietnam.
The result is the curvaceous, breezy oak creations you see below, inspired by the weaves and undulations of Michael Thonet-era furniture.
Above: Our Bali range. Below: Bali coffee table and sideboard.
Mission Zero Plastic
One of our highest priorities right now is increasing our sustainability as a business. We’re driving towards carbon-neutral certification, and that goal is within sight. As part of the journey, we’ve reduced plastic packaging by around 50% overall in two years, and we sell the benefits of zero plastic to all our clients whenever we can. There’s more to do, but we’re getting there!
Instead of plastic, we use five-layer cardboard with hard-paper corner protection for the edges, 20/25mm honeycomb board on surfaces, and plastic-free tape.
Our new Quinn range...
Introducing our new Quinn range – finished in oak or walnut and offering sophistication, functionality and beauty. Please contact us (link on the top bar) for more information on Quinn.
It starts with a sketch
Everything we do starts life as a sketch! This is our Grayson shelving unit. After coming up with the concept drawings, we complete the final design. Next, we create a sample, along with packaging and assembly guides. Then, it's to testing (with drop-tests aplenty!) and production. Finally, we deliver to store.
We pride ourselves on offering the complete product development service – from concept to retailer.
Recycled pallet pine: sustainability in action
We're currently planning a new project that uses reclaimed pallet pine to make beautiful, sustainable furniture. To research this, Matt – our man in Ho Chi Minh City – has been visiting Vietnamese factories that specialise in reclaimed pallet pine.
He sent us a few pictures that show this fascinating process.
First, the pallets are collected by 'picking' companies that gather them from wherever they can. Next, workers de-nail and sort the pallets (hard graft!).
Then, the wood is kiln-dried and conditioned. Even off-cuts are used, so the waste is very low.
Finally, the furniture is constructed.
The result is both beautiful and sustainable – two characteristics that we're extremely fond of at Teemo.
Watch this space for updates on our new pallet pine project.