When shopping for outdoor furniture, there’s quite a lot to consider – cost, durability and whether or not these items will encourage us to spend more time outdoors. Mobelli provides a trusted solution to all of our outdoor furniture needs. Its products are affordable, can withstand harsh weather conditions and are trend-conscious. Founded by two brothers who saw an opportunity to provide great furniture items, Mobelli is set to open a new showroom in Pretoria (it’s already in Cape Town and Durban), where it will collaborate with WOMAG to satisfy a much-needed design fix for their clients. We chat to Alon Sachs, marketing director of this innovative local furniture company, about the brand’s beginnings and where it is today.
Can you give our readers an overview of how you started Mobelli?
Mobelli SA was born out of my frustration with the high prices and poor offerings of outdoor furniture while looking for a sun lounger for my Cape Town home. I searched through specialist importers and mass-market retailers, but it was either too expensive or of such low quality that it was coming apart on the showroom floor. I eventually found a well-known retailer in Cape Town that had wooden sun loungers. The price was right and the shape was amazing. This was the lounger I wanted and if they had, had stock at the time, it would have been the lounger I bought. The bench needed too much attention for someone always on the go, so my brother and I wanted to bring outdoor furniture to people that they could enjoy without having to spend too much time cleaning it – that’s how Mobelli was born.
Which products launched with the start of your new business?
We started out with wicker products that we needed to assemble piece by piece. This was so we could save costs for the consumer. Thereafter, we decided to have them made out of one piece – it costs a bit more but is worth it in the end.
What are your top three best sellers?
Our top sellers are lounge suites and dining tables. The bestseller has to be the Grandé Extendable Dining Table. Then we have the Modena Wicker Lounge Suite followed by our new Bravo Upholstered Outdoor Lounge Suite.
How has outdoor furniture changed throughout the years?
Outdoor furniture follows fashion and as technology improves, so do materials. When we started out, the plastic components had a limited, short lifespan and as research increased so did the quality of the engineered wicker. Then came the advent of aluminum powder coating which is scratch resistant (unique to Mobelli) and with it the fabrics we use became softer and even more durable – so much so that we can leave fully upholstered furniture out in the open, come rain or shine.
Are there any particular styles that South Africans always flock to?
Even though new wicker styles are few and far between, in SA we still have a love for wicker items because they basically make an ‘I’m outdoors!’ statement. The Mobelli Palermo and Modena Lounge Suites are still popular as well as the wicker chairs – they are simply more comfortable.
We love that you are sharing a space with WOMAG in Pretoria. How did the space collaboration come about?
Both WOMAG and Mobelli cater for the same consumer, albeit at a different stage in the cycle. Many people buy furniture when they are renovating and so having them browse tiles and counter tops while being exposed to furniture offers great synergy for both brands. Obviously the shops, when combined, can be bigger and this is ultimately a cost saver for the consumer.
Your dynamic business model and approach to furniture makes Mobelli highly successful. What advice can you share with young emerging creatives?
Nothing is unique anymore and creativity is at an all-time low. Even if someone comes up with the best design for outdoor furniture, you can rest assured that within six months it will be copied. Quality is also easy to come by – it just costs money and so does customer service. The only thing that you either have, or don’t, is credibility which is achieved by honesty. Be honest with your customers and ensure that they get what they need and want rather than what you have to sell.
Summer is around the corner. If we plan to change our pool patio space that will be shared by the family, which products would you suggest for us?
As we gather in bigger and bigger groups (family and friends), pay special attention to the individual. That is why our personal shade sun lounger – the Rhodes – is such a success. If you want shade and others don’t, simply pull up your personal shade visor and voila, your face is protected while your body tans. The biggest destroyer of outdoor furniture, and our skin, is the sun. Choose products that are easy to move around so you can control the shade. All Mobelli’s sun umbrellas can be moved, tilted and rotated to give you complete control. We advocate staying outside more often, but also to do so responsibly.
For more information please visit mobelli.co.za.