By Marina Sidorova, Lesnaya Industriya Journal
SPYNDI furniture is designed to resemble a human backbone. It consists modular components that consumers can assemble into a personalised chair or desk. Original, fun and creative furniture is a trend around the world now, says co-founder Andrius Pateckis from Vilnius, Lithuania.
Q: How did the idea to establish a furniture company come about?
AP: It was about nine years ago when our designer Mindaugas Zilionis invented the unusual Spyndi chair. He submitted it for a competition in Lithuania and swept the first prize. Since then, the technology has only remained as a concept, with the prototype sitting in his gallery. A year before, I visited the gallery and bought the chair. I suggested to Zilionis that we should launch a company and produce Spyndi furniture. He agreed and we started, together with another partner, Raimonda Klimasauskaite.
We all come from different backgrounds. Zilionis is a furniture designer; he has a degree from the Art Academy in Vilnius, Lithuania, and has always been interested in ingenious modern furniture. I was engaged in architecture components production and Klimasauskaite has over 20 years of business development and enterprise management. Each of us was somehow connected with furniture and construction and have some market knowledge. So we all knew what to do to drive the business forward.
Co-founder Andrius Pateckis from Vilnius, Lithuania
Q: What was it like to start from scratch?
AP: We had to do everything from scratch: Creating a logo and finding the right location for the factory. We tried to present our technology on Kickstarter, a crowd funding online platform for creative or scientific projects. It turned out to be an instant success, receiving over 100 orders in the first month. We needed EUR 35,000 to launch the product, and received EUR 110,000, almost thrice the sum.
Our production is located at Vilnius. From there, we deliver to 37 countries, including Russia, Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Canada and Norway. Our furniture is also in demand in Singapore, Korea, and China. About one third of our exports goes to the USA.
Q: Can you share more about your furniture and technology?
AP: About 80 percent of our items are hand-made. This is what makes it unique. Of course, we plan to automate some processes, but a majority of the work will still be made by hand. To make a high-quality item, you need to feel the wood! Currently we use birch plywood from Finland and will consider Russian plywood in future.
Our furniture technology is patented and are of the same profile made of birch plywood. To assemble, chair pieces are connected with the fastening system. This is a very important part of the kit. After receiving the box of components, buyers may use them to assemble a chair suitable for their taste and height by changing the folding angle. For example, a person who is 150cm tall should have a different chair back different from a 200 cm-tall person. Studies have shown that a person can sit in a hard chair longer than in a soft one. Spyndi components can also be used to assemble a rocking or lounge chair, or table. You are only limited by your own fantasy. This is what makes our furniture unique too.
Q: Which consumer segments are SPYNDI furniture targeted at?
AP: SPYNDI furniture is a high-end one. We offer two models – SPYNDI ORIGINAL and SPYNDI ROYAL. SPYNDI ORIGINAL is a bit shorter than SPYNDI ROYAL and includes 61 components, while SPYNDI ROYAL consists of 76 ones. SPYNDI ORIGINAL costs EUR3,800.
Q: Which locations are profitable for furniture production now?
AP: Until recently, many companies manufactured in China. However, conditions are not as profitable as they were many years ago. In Europe, Poland and Lithuania are good places to produce furniture. I cannot say the workforce is very cheap there but they are professional, and this forms the basis for every enterprise’s success. You can be using state-of-the-art equipment but who will be using them? It is difficult to find capable people like that – often, they are already taken. Of course, a profitable company also needs benefits, tax reliefs and cost-efficient raw materials. But we believe that people are the most important resource.
Q: What is your view on the demand for creative furniture like yours?
AP: It is a fact that such furniture will be in demand. Some people still prefer classic furniture but others like original, creative ones. Our chairs combine the classical and modern styles and suit urban and countryside living. Of course you can choose IKEA furniture, yet a majority of customers want to have unique items in their homes. This is the key trend, in my opinion, not only in Europe, but also for the rest of the world. And manufacturers strive to comply with this request.
Q: What the key elements for success and where do you see your company in five years?
AP: The most important thing is to have a reliable team. Besides, you need to have a clear strategy and understand what you want to achieve. When you have a strategy for at least two years ahead, with a good team, you will be able to achieve a lot. We have plans to be a big company with a large-scale production line, making chairs out of wood and other materials. We are now looking into this.
This article was first published in Panels & Furniture Asia (Mar/Apr Issue).