Furniture, friends and family: The daily life of Interior Secrets founder Bill Huynh

Bill Huynh hasn’t always been passionate about furniture. Unlike many entrepreneurs, he never imagined he’d be running his own business, nor did he have any knowledge about the furniture industry when he started out.

Huynh first discovered furniture while he was a university student. His parents had moved into a new house and he volunteered to furnish it. Huynh was given a budget of $5000 to $10,000 and told whatever he didn’t spend, he could keep.

Huynh quickly discovered it was incredibly difficult to furnish a house for that kind of money and nearly gave up, but in one store he discovered a sticker for a furniture wholesaler and this sparked the creation of Interior Secrets.

After a few rejections, Huynh managed to furnish his parents’ house affordably by sourcing furniture straight from the wholesalers, had money to spare and applied his new found knowledge to the creation of his business – an online store selling designer furniture at low cost.

Since launching in 2009 the business has gone from strength to strength. Profitable in its first year, the business turns over $1.8 million annually and it’s grown to seven staff, with hopes of bringing in three more in the near future. SmartCompany spoke to Huynh about expanding the business, establishing a presence in the sector and effective marketing strategies.

Name: Bill Huynh

Company: Interior Secrets

Location: Sunshine North

Mornings

Huynh always tries to keep a balanced routine and he’s up by 7.30am every day.

“I review the week’s agenda on my phone while I brush my teeth.

“I have to make sure I have time to exercise, keep fit and eat right. When I’m in the right routine I find myself working more productively,” he says.

Huynh arrives at work between 8.00 and 8.15am each morning and he’s moved closer to work to make the commute easier.

“I’ve moved close to work to save on travel time. I only live ten minutes from work, so that’s helped a lot,” he says.

Daily life

At the moment the Interior Secrets warehouse is located in Sunshine, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, but Huynh is working on setting up a new, larger factory in the nearby suburb of Derrimut to allow the business to expand.

“It’s not a small process and I’ve got no one to guide me, it’s just me and the builders.

“Before this I was much more into the day-to-day activities, but now my focus is on strategy predominantly to do with gaining market share and growth factors like improving the website and investing in marketing,” he says.

Huynh is primarily focused on gaining market share from the established competitors in the furniture industry.

“We’ve got a number of tactics which help to achieve this goal including reducing our prices and temporarily squeezing the margins to give the consumers the best prices,” he says.

At the moment Interior Secrets is investing heavily in digital advertising and expanding its product range to help increase its customer base.

“In the early stages we were focused on pay per click, but we dropped that after two to three years. Now, we’re obviously using search engine optimisation techniques like every other business, but I feel like this is getting weaker, so overall our strategy is a combination of marketing avenues and we use banner ads and eBay as well.

“We’re constantly improving the website because, for us, the website is the store front. It is the single most important aspect of the business and any business,” he says.

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