Sitting pretty: How B Seated went from furniture manufacturing to full fit-out

Sitting pretty: How B Seated went from furniture manufacturing to full fit-out

The NSW-based business originally created stylish seating which it sold to companies that hired out furniture for use at events such as weddings and corporate meetings. B Seated now has around 18 staff and not only supplies seating, but does full interior design services for some of Australia’s best-known cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Daniella Klein Menachemson tells SmartCompany B Seated expects to achieve turnover in the vicinity of $3 million for 2014, with the goal to grow it 20% each year.

My father had a 35-year background in hiring, he had a hiring company, that is how the business started.

At the start it was just the two of us. We managed everything by ourselves, but organically it just changed.

All of a sudden the event market started demanding more fashionable furniture, so we started creating more furniture targeted towards that.

Hotels, clubs, RSLs, and restaurants overseas were interested. So we started speaking to the architect and design community. Designers fitting out restaurants and bars were looking for our furniture. It happened naturally, and it was by broadening our product range that our customer base expanded.

Eight years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of going into a new restaurant and consulting on the entire fit out – and now we have the experience, knowledge and resources to do so.

We have brought skills into the business – interior design, graphic design, web design – as we want to give the customers a complete visual experience.  Some of our top projects are The Grounds of Alexandria, a well-known Sydney restaurant and lifestyle experience. Also Criniti’s restaurant in Woolloomooloo and Manly. We are very excited our furniture is included in (Merivale restaurant) Mr Wong. We work with groups of operators such as GG’s Espresso, and we have done work at the international airport – it is very diverse.

I’m passionate about finding furniture brands across the world. We go to India, we go to the Philippines, Italy and one thing we started doing early on was manufacturing in China.

It remains a family business. My mum came in and then we built up part and full-time staff. We have a very flat structure; we don’t have a hierarchy of people.

We are seeing very bespoke custom pieces become popular. People are going away from having everything coordinated to an eclectic mix of styles and finishes.

I oversee the financial side of the business. Also product sourcing, marketing and our website, client liaison, management and suppliers, export documents – a whole range of things.

There are so many challenges…but we believe you can overcome them. Today we are delivering stools to Pizza Capers in Mt Isa (Queensland) but they are tracking a cyclone wherever it goes, that is a logistical challenge.

When we make people happy, when they love our products, when you see it in the space, and it looks beautiful, that is our reward.

It is hard as a small business owner to switch off the job. I have three children so I am always inspired by people I read about who have work/life balance but I never have that 100%.

The kids love to be involved in the business, unpacking containers, and whenever we sit down on a plane, my son (aged eight) says to whoever sits next to us, do you need furniture, my mum makes furniture!

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