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Homegrown furniture brand Castlery opens a new wing at Delta House

SINGAPORE — Where do you go to if you want a mid-century-inspired sofa that will not cost you an arm or a leg? Try furniture start-up Castlery.

There will be more than 200 new Castlery furniture pieces launched with the new wing this Sunday as well.

There will be more than 200 new Castlery furniture pieces launched with the new wing this Sunday as well.

SINGAPORE — Where do you go to if you want a mid-century-inspired sofa that will not cost you an arm or a leg? Try furniture start-up Castlery.

Since the Singaporean company started as an online outfit in 2013 with only a 900sqf basement warehouse in Ubi, it has certainly found its way into homes here with its range of stylish, functional pieces at an affordable price tag.

On Sunday (July 31), Castlery is launching a new wing at its Experience Centre at Delta House, bringing the total floor space of its showroom from 7,000sqf — when it first opened last December — to its current whopping area of 12,000sqf.

Not bad for a business that began as a side project for co-founders Declan Ee, Fred Ji and Zhou Zhiwei. The trio had spent 10 days coding the website to get it up after Ji discovered that he could get cheaper furniture directly from factories in the region while in the process of doing up his own place.

“We thought maybe there are others like us who want to buy nice quality furniture without a hefty price tag. What surprised us is the response we got — people who kept wanting to see the furniture to make sure we were not a phantom website,” recalled Ee with a laugh.

The orders started coming faster than Ee and his partners expected. “Within nine months of starting, we were looking at a six-figure monthly revenue,” revealed Ee.

With demand off the charts for their offerings, the founders buckled down to control the supply chain on one end while creating a great customer experience. In the past two years, Castlery assembled its own design team, tied down exclusive partnerships with suppliers, built its own factory in Guangdong, China, hired a head of quality control and opened its Experience Centre.

“We realised that customers still want to see the pieces in person, to ask questions and find out more,” said Ee. “All the customers who first visited our warehouse in Ubi had already been on the website. Essentially, customers would want to see something they will own for a long time. Nobody buys furniture and say they’d change it next month if they don’t like it.”

With the opening of the new wing, customers can do more than just suss out the furniture. For one, more than 200 pieces of new furniture will be showcased and they are arranged to create different rooms or spaces in the homes — be it a home office or a living room.

There is a concierge service where customers can get advice from design consultants about how different furniture pieces and home accessories such as lamps can fit your style. A full customisation room is also available for those who would prefer a more bespoke experience — where they can see, touch and choose the material of the fabrics they prefer for their sofas.

There is already keen interest in the Experience Centre, with more than 50 appointments made to meet up with design consultants. Ee is confident the brand will continue to grow, fuelled in part by a social media generation eager to put their stamp on their possessions and show them off.

“Everyone is now a publisher with his or her Facebook account. Your home becomes an extension of your personality and home decor helps you express it. Moreover, a home is a big investment and it is where you are most of the time,” he mused.

Castlery is also planning to expand its own line of original design collection, offer different price tiers, and strengthen its supply chain by building its own warehouse management system.

Ee is unabashed about the fact that he is taking a leaf out of Ikea’s playbook. “We admire Ikea as a company — it is a furniture company that operates like a technology firm as it makes decisions based on data. A big reason why we started Castlery was because we saw a gap in the market for customers who may not want flat-packed furniture. It’s okay if we’ll never be as big as Ikea — just one per cent of its size would make me a happy guy,” he shared.

Ee is also more than aware that at three years old, Castlery is still new to many in the local market. He is not looking to expand overseas just yet, explaining he wanted to build a brand with personality, for customers to feel for it and root for it.

“We’re still defining our brand — we’re not just a furniture store. At some point, there will be someone selling furniture cheaper than ours. It’s more important to have a good brand and design.”


The Castlery Experience Centre is at 2 Alexandra Road, #01-03A Delta House, Singapore 159919

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