The personal touch – the key to success

Dunke Design is a furniture and design company that has exclusive distribution rights for Vietnamese furniture company District Eight. With their exciting blend of French Colonial style and an industrial feel, District Eight’s products are becoming increasingly popular in offices and homes across Europe.

If Jörgen Brorsson and his wife Sara Ahdrian Brorsson had not visited Vietnam, Dunke Design may never have existed. Neither Jörgen nor Sara had any previous experience from the furniture or design sectors, but on seeing the furnishings in a café in Ho Chi Min City, they were blown away. “The furniture was like nothing we’d ever seen before, a beautiful, fascinating mixture of old French Colonial and rougher industrial style.” They immediately wanted to take a piece home and managed to find the designer, an Australian named Darren Chew who ran his own company, District Eight.

Exclusive distributor for District Eight
Back in Sweden, the couple tried to buy other pieces but realised that District Eight had no representation in Europe. For a long time they considered starting to sell his design in Sweden, but didn’t dare to take that step. “I had run a steel wholesale company and Sara was in the media, so neither of us had experience of furniture sales and distribution.”

Time passed, and a few years later they were on District Eight’s website when they saw a new collection of amazing furniture. That was when they decided at least to go back to Vietnam to meet the designer. The meeting went better than expected, the end result being that Dunke Design became the exclusive distributor for District Eight in Northern Europe.

District Eight has now grown into a company with 200 employees. Everything is produced on site and nothing is outsourced to subcontractors, which means they can guarantee a good working environment and good conditions, while they also have full control over everything from the design to the finished product.

Focus on furniture
For Dunke Design the product comes first, but logistics run a close second. And in some cases, logistics is the most important factor in the customer experience. “If the customer doesn’t get their product, it doesn’t matter how lovely it is.”

Dunke Design has been working with LGT for just over a year. Before that they used another distributor and were not happy with the results. “They didn’t know furniture, and that’s what we’re in the business of distributing. Even though LGT is a big company, they’ve managed to keep that personal touch – there’s always someone there we can talk to, someone who can sort out any problems. Working with a company that knows about furniture distribution and has a genuine interest makes a big difference.”

Expanding in Europe
LGT is handling all of Dunke Design’s distribution in Scandinavia and Europe. “We just call them and they sort it all out. I don’t need to worry about monitoring the delivery, they take care of everything, which is absolutely invaluable.”

Jörgen is currently trying to find more retailers in Europe and has recently found two, one in Amsterdam and one in Copenhagen. “We’re currently in a phase of building the brand. In Sweden we’re the distributor and retailer for both business and private customers, and we have a pop-up showroom at the luxury NK department store in Stockholm.  In the long term though, we don’t want to be managing the retail stage.”

Dunke Design currently markets and sells District Eight exclusively, and is not looking to include any further brands. “We have plenty to do as it is,” says Jörgen Brorsson. “Having said that, if we come across another designer with such a great combination of design, feeling and craftsmanship, and who shares our values, you never know; we might very well fall in love again.”