zdjęcie otwierające z krzysztofem urbańskim

We are ready for changes

The pandemic has changed the lives of many Poles. The house became the epicentre of events. We talk to Krzysztof Urbański, Managing Director and co-founder of the NUKI brand, about the condition of the furniture industry and new plans for development.
Published 09/12/2020

Marketing activities carried out in the passing year.

Today, it is really hard to analyse marketing campaigns. It is difficult to compare them with each other, because so much has changed in our environment over the last year that it was necessary to significantly modify approach and communication. As NUKI, we deal with two types of clients. The first group are our retail customers who buy from us directly at the nuki.pl store. The other, equally important group for us, are our partners, mainly online stores offering furniture with interesting designs, and stationary stores, where we can show our products in traditional form, touch them and evaluate their quality. Communication with these groups, of course, has to be entirely different.

The fair has always been the most interesting event for our partners and us. This years, in particular, two fair events were extremely interesting – Maison & Objet in Paris and NY NOW in New York. Taking part in them is always a big organizational challenge for us, but it is the fair that constitutes one of our key marketing activities. Retail looks a bit different, as social media, search engines and campaigns with influencers are significant there. However, the most important idea is that the campaign should resonate widely on the Internet with a relatively small budget.

Main communication channels? How will this change in 2021?

Although we are open to novelties, the main assumptions of the communication strategy in 2021 will be similar to those of 2020. Since the beginning of the brand, we have been focusing primarily on our own online store, thus all communication is prepared in terms of acquiring customers online. As we know, due to the pandemic, many brands, which so far have operated primarily stationary, had to intensify their online activities. This made it much more difficult today to stand out and show your competitive advantage in the multitude of offers. The traffic and the number of shopping carts are on the rise, and so are prices, which consequently makes it difficult to keep the conversion at a stable level. Marketing budgets for social media activities have also increased. Nevertheless, the main communication channels in 2021 will continue to be Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, supported by cooperation with influencers.

The biggest challenges of NUKI.

Such young organizations as NUKI face many challenges. We absolutely do not complain about their lack. We even have the impression that we are constantly facing new challenges at every level of the company’s operations. This is obviously a very exciting moment. However, if I were to point out the biggest and most important challenges, implementation of new collections would certainly come to my mind. We are currently testing several solutions for children. In the time of the pandemic, maintaining good physical condition of our children is crucial. Therefore, we currently offer home, modular climbing walls, a collection of original swings with such hit products as SURF and SKATEBOARD. Soon the collection will be expanded with a multifunctional gymnastic ladder, which, in addition to its basic function, can be easily transformed into a great desk for children. However, the real challenge will be the new collection of furniture with the so-called “Viennese braid”. The task is even more difficult as at Nuki we send all furniture to our customers from all over Europe “flat” with the option of self-assembly. Therefore, the challenge is not only to create an interesting piece of furniture with an appealing design, but also to design furniture in such a way so that it can be easily folded.

The most important trends for you.

There are several of them. Our industry reacts fairly quickly to upcoming trends. Despite the fact that the entire process of designing a new piece of furniture, including the preparation for sale, takes a relatively long time. I think that the trend that accompanies wealthier and more aware societies will continue to develop – and I am of course talking here about the ECO trend. We strongly count on the fact that more and more customers will start paying attention not only to a price, but will focus on design, safety, quality and the origin of raw materials used in the production of furniture. I believe that customers will appreciate durability, so that the furniture will last for longer, and we can share and resell it. This extended product life cycle is extremely important.

At the beginning of this year, just before the first wave of the epidemic, we managed to introduce eco-furniture and accessories made of 100% ecological plywood to Nuki’s offer.

When designing our products, we try to make their construction both intuitive to assemble and easy to disassemble. With it, our customers can continue to share well made furniture and take advantage of another trend, which is hidden under the name SHARING. The culture of sharing is definitely the future, also in our industry. Another trend that we are observing with great attention is the interest in DIY in the furniture industry.

More and more often, our clients ask about the possibility of preparing “raw” furniture, that is furniture not covered with varnishes or laminates, so that they can “play” in creating a unique piece of furniture ideally suited to the interior. This is a small percentage so far, but it is impossible to turn a deaf ear to customer requests, which is why we are considering such variants in the future.

The condition of the industry.

This year is primarily characterized by a dynamically developing situation and the need to flexibly adapt to the reality that changes day by day. Despite this strange time, the industry is doing quite well. I have the impression that the lockdown period had a fruitful effect on our industry. It mainly required reorganizing our living space in terms of work or remote schooling, as well as spending more and more time at home and in apartments.

Furniture brands such as NUKI were also affected by the dynamic situation in Italy at the onset of the pandemic. Italians produce a large part of furniture fittings for leading brands, which consequently influenced the entire supply chain and the availability of furniture. At IKEA, there are some problems with availability of some furniture to this day, and in the case of other large players on the market, the lead time for standard collections has extended up to 6-8 weeks.

This is definitely an opportunity for smaller brands that are trying to stand out in the plethora of furniture available in Poland. Let us remember that we are the third largest furniture manufacturer in the world, but practically without recognizable Polish brands, we operate primarily as subcontractors with extensive experience and potential, but still just subcontractors of Western brands.

Investments. Plans.

The plans are of course ambitious. Starting from expansion into new markets, mainly southern Europe or the Middle East, to the implementation of a sustainable development strategy. This is extremely important to us, and that is why we sincerely hope that our customers will appreciate the eco product series and will open to new thinking about usage and sharing. However, we are only at the beginning of this path.

Krzysztof Urbański

Managing Director and co-founder of the NUKI brand – a manufacturer of modern furniture, hangers and decorative panels made of birch plywood, designed in the Scandinavian style. WWW.NUKI.PL

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