How To Start A Furniture Business – The Definitive Guide (2023)
As people’s quality of life has improved, their demands for furniture have also increased. They no longer focus only on the price and practicality of furniture but also pay more attention to quality and design.
The scale and output value of the global furniture market will further develop and increase. It is worth mentioning that the development of e-commerce has integrated various resources, making it easier, faster, and cheaper to start a furniture business. Come and see if you want to know how to run your furniture business smoothly without spending too much.
There is data for your reference: starting a furniture business generally requires a starting capital of $5,000 to $60,000. The average could be around $32,000.
If you have only $5,000 or even less in starting capital, opening an online furniture store that provides custom furniture services is more suitable for you. Because you can save huge expenses such as renting a storefront, warehouse, etc., and more importantly, avoid the risk of overstocking—putting more money into running the online store and finding high-quality furniture sources.
If your start-up capital is sufficient, you can do more things: open a physical store, build a beautiful showroom, cooperate with several high-quality furniture distributors, suppliers, or manufacturers, conduct multiple online and offline business methods at the same time, even open your own furniture factory, and more.
Costs And Fees You May Need To Consider
Tip: If you’re on a budget to begin with, make every penny count. You may also want to consult a professional accountant or furniture business advisor for advice on budgeting and financial planning.
Who Is Your Target Market?
Before you start, you need to research the current development trend of the furniture market, i.e., which furniture is more popular, what new designs and styles are adopted, what price range is the most popular, and so on. This will help you better identify your target market.
If you want to target general residential areas, apartment floors, etc., then you can sell affordable, modern, or contemporary furniture, such as minimal, durable wood chairs.
If you want to face high-end hotels, resorts, etc., then luxurious, highly designed, ultimately comfortable, and extremely attractive furniture may be your best choice: for example, a high-end reception desk made of natural marble with beautiful silhouettes and a smooth touch.
Depending on your budget and personal preferences, you can determine the target market based on the following aspects:
Type of Furniture
Selling furniture locally, nationally, overseas and even globally affects the future of your furniture business.
Ordinary furniture, high-end furniture, and luxury furniture actually represent the income level of your customers to a large extent. Judging from the current development of the furniture market, it is not difficult to see that ordinary furniture has the largest audience. But as mentioned above, people’s income levels are rising, and their demand for ordinary furniture is shifting to high-end furniture. Understanding this shift will help you expand your furniture business in the future.
Although the audience for luxury furniture is only a small part, the advantage is that the quality of the furniture is remarkable and the price is high, which basically saves a series of tedious after-sales maintenance.
Use of Furniture
Furniture used in residential areas, commercial areas, resort areas, outdoor areas, or other public places has different use occasions and different manufacturing standards.
For example, commercial furniture is used frequently, wears out quickly, and requires easy maintenance. The furniture sold must meet the relevant quality and safety standards of the public place. If you manufacture or source commercial furniture, you must meet these production qualifications or work with qualified suppliers.
Can You Make Money Selling Furniture?
Furniture Market Outlook
According to Statista, the global furniture market revenue will reach USD 729.2 billion in 2023 (an expected annual growth of 5.03%, CAGR 2023–2028). With this development trend, selling furniture is profitable.
Especially since the pandemic started, people have been spending more time at home. Many adults work remotely, which fuels demand for home office furniture. And students from kindergarten to college are also taking online classes at home, leading to an increase in demand for desks, chairs, and other home learning furniture.
While people are no longer confined to their homes, these changes are likely to continue. Some businesses see the benefits of having employees work from home, and students and schools are becoming more adaptable to online learning or hybrid models. These changes have undoubtedly driven growth in the furniture market.
Furniture is Essential
A crib, a small stool, a bed that cannot be separated from sleep… Furniture is full of people’s lives. Regardless of age or gender, everyone is in your customer group. All you need to do is define a specific one, analyze their characteristics and needs, and sell your furniture to them in a targeted manner.
Moreover, since the pandemic has passed, the rapid recovery and development of the global tourism and hotel industries, coupled with very popular camping, self-driving travel, and RV travel, have made the market demand for furniture even greater.
By formulating a reasonable and effective furniture business development plan, finding excellent furniture sources, conducting targeted advertising, providing thoughtful customer service, balancing costs and profits, and, most importantly, identifying customer needs, your furniture business will be highly marketable and profitable.
Finding The Right Brand Name For Your Furniture Business
Your furniture brand name is the beginning, not the end, of your furniture business. Your future customers will develop an attachment to the name based on your brand, values, and products.
Think of a good name for your furniture brand. Here’s some naming inspiration:
Do you have a favorite furniture brand? Think about how these furniture companies you like are able to tie names, logos, corporate culture, etc. together.
Match your furniture brand tone with your brand name. For example, if your furniture is affordable and has a friendly style, then your name needs to give people a genial and approachable feeling rather than being cold and distant.
If you don’t have a clue, associate words related to furniture and explore the concepts and meanings of these words. For example, “oak”, “luxury”, “comfort”, “furniture”, etc., the names derived from this include “Oak and Oasis”, “Luxe Furniture”, “Comfitbed”, “De Side Furniture”, and more.
Don’t forget Google; type in the word or phrase that comes to mind to get even more new ideas. Maybe you can also associate the furniture brand name with a related mythological or historical figure—who can guarantee that these do not have their origins in furniture decoration?
When choosing a name, don’t forget to start imagining the logo design, story, corporate value, website image, and other visual content (such as videos or advertisements) associated with the name.
Try to get unbiased feedback on your furniture brand name idea from a few people you don’t know. Get their input.
There are two constraints to consider: trademarks and domain names. Remember that all countries have slightly different trademark laws, but these are the basic rules. As for your organization’s requirements for trademark registration, it is recommended that you consult professionals in this field later, so we won’t repeat them here.
Naming a furniture brand is a brainstorm. Perhaps you already have a better idea.
Ways To Save Costs
Is there anything that can reduce the cost of selling furniture? The answer is obvious. It doesn’t matter whether you want to open an online furniture store, a physical furniture store, or even both online and offline. However you want to sell furniture, opening an online furniture store is indeed the most cost-effective way.
Compared with brick-and-mortar stores, online stores save on rent (and renovations, utilities, cleaning, etc.). It is estimated that if you open an online furniture store, you probably only need to consider storage fees and showroom fees. Use e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento to save on website development and maintenance costs.
Use online chat tools like Google Meet, or Zoom to communicate face-to-face with your customers—anytime, anywhere, and quickly. You can also use these tools to present your furniture showroom to them at a low cost and with high efficiency.
If your budget is limited in the early stages, don’t overspend on advertising. You can give your customers some gifts (throw pillows, tablecloths, etc. with your furniture brand printed on them) and, if they like, invite them to mention your furniture brand on their social platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram.
Through word of mouth and your customers’ social circles, you can let more people know about your furniture brand without spending a fortune, while maintaining a good customer base.
In addition, as you know, inventory risk is likely to be a huge expense. So when you first start selling furniture, it is best to keep the inventory cost within a certain range and not exceed it.
For example, instead of choosing many types of furniture, you can purchase a few types of furniture, but in slightly larger quantities (not so much). Then you can get a lower wholesale price. Although there are fewer styles, you will increase your chances of selling furniture in the future. As your sales volume increases and your profit rises, it is not too late for you to expand your furniture types.
As you sell furniture, you will find more ways to save money. For example, when you rent a storefront, you don’t necessarily have to rent the first floor (because it’s usually a bit more expensive); you can also consider the second and third floors, which can save you a lot of money.
Start Your Furniture Business with a Distributor, Wholesaler, or Manufacturer?
If you aren’t going to open your own furniture factory to manufacture and sell yourself, buying from distributors, wholesalers, or manufacturers is your ideal method, and it will depend on your furniture business budget, target market, and business plan. Here are some considerations for each channel:
Focus on sourcing furniture in bulk at lower prices and selling it at wholesale prices. They are usually middlemen for manufacturers and distributors.
Unlike distributors, wholesalers often provide similar furniture and are slow to keep up with the latest furniture trends. Therefore, the styles or types of furniture you can choose from are limited. Although the purchase cost is low, purchasing from wholesalers will affect the uniqueness of your furniture brand, which, to a certain extent, is not conducive to increasing your competitiveness.
If you want to buy more generic furniture at a lower price and promote sales, wholesalers are worth considering, but if you are planning to go down the boutique furniture route, buying from wholesalers may not be for you.
They typically source from suppliers or manufacturers and wholesale to retailers or other middlemen at lower prices.
If you’re looking for existing furniture products and want to expand your range more quickly, a distributor may be a good option. They have a better understanding of trends in the furniture market and can recommend popular furniture to you. Also, they will give you a wide selection of furniture styles, but the prices may be higher compared to wholesalers and manufacturers.
Working directly with manufacturers allows you to purchase more styles of furniture at the lowest price, and you can even customize and design unique furniture products or series, improving your market competitiveness, which is great for selling sophisticated furniture.
Choosing a manufacturer means you have more say in the quality of your furniture. However, dealing with manufacturers may require more specialized knowledge, the ability to handle the production management process, etc.
Try Sourcing Furniture From Overseas for Your Furniture Business
Gone are the days when you could only source (expensive) furniture from local furniture suppliers. Especially in developed countries, the cost of purchasing furniture is relatively high. But it’s different now; buying furniture from China, India, Vietnam, or other Southeast Asian countries can save you a lot of money on your furniture business. Mainly because these places are rich in resources and labor, the cost of producing furniture is relatively low. So you can get quality furniture in a variety of styles without breaking the bank.
Use Google, LinkedIn, and some major B2B furniture sourcing platforms to find quality overseas furniture suppliers.
You can find almost any furniture supplier you want with a Google search. But with so much information available, you may feel overwhelmed. Relax and open a few furniture supplier websites, look at their products, services, qualifications, customer reviews, addresses, contact information, etc. in the upper navigation bar or at the very bottom, and then mark and compare one by one.
Did you know that LinkedIn contains information about many manufacturers in different industries? Search on LinkedIn to find furniture manufacturers that interest you, browse their home pages or websites, and contact them to learn more about their furniture products.
B2B Furniture Trade Platforms
When it comes to online purchases, these B2B furniture trading platforms are indispensable. They integrate information from many furniture suppliers around the world. In other words, they give you a more professional, targeted, and authoritative guide to suppliers than if you searched directly on Google alone. The most popular ones are Alibaba.com, Made-in-China, Global Sources, IndiaMART, etc. Choose the platform you are interested in, compare which one is more suitable for you furniture business, and find the furniture suppliers you are satisfied with.
Use the filter on the left to target furniture manufacturers more quickly. The supplier attributes that meet the requirements of trade assurance, verified supplier, and super month all have a relatively high reputation. Focus on browsing them.
When you open the website, you will find information about some major exhibitions, sometimes at the top. If you are interested, you can visit them at the appropriate time and place. Each company’s specific show information will appear on the upper left of their respective profile cards (as shown by the arrows in the image below).
There are way more options, and you can further filter based on your own situation or preferences. On these B2B trading platforms, like Alibaba.com, you can also enter the live streaming rooms of some manufacturers at any time, as prompted by the page. Go get these big trading platforms; they can help you start your furniture business a lot.
It is a smart move to source furniture from exhibitions. You’ll have direct access to loads of top-notch furniture manufacturers or suppliers, giving you plenty of opportunities to compare prices and save big on purchasing costs.
The road to starting a furniture business will be full of challenges, but you will get something. By now, you may already understand that running a furniture store involves all aspects, but you don’t have to be too restrained; find the right direction and use the right method. Just thinking of customers buying furniture from you and coming back full of praise can make you feel that everything is worth it.