From the same factory turning out high end furniture for Herman Miller and Living Edge comes a new design-your-own flatpack range with grand designs on taking a chunk of Ikea’s market.
Young entrepreneur Priyanka Rao has furniture in her blood. Her dad Sudhindra owns furniture manufacturer Luxmy and runs her new venture with her. But the idea for Evolvex actually came while shopping for furniture for her younger sister who was moving to Canberra for work.
“She couldn’t find anything she liked when we went out, but she really needed new furniture for the new place, so she bought stuff that would just have to do. Most of the flatpacked products broke on the way home in some way or another so Dad carted the lot to his furniture factory to fix it up,” says Priyanka.
“In the process she requested a few customised features and when we chatted about the experience later we dreamed of an online flatpack furniture store where only high quality, eco-friendly furniture was made available and the customer had the option of customising the furniture to fit their particular needs.” Three years later Evolvex.com.au launched.
Her father (known as Rao) started Luxmy Furniture (the parent company of Evolvex) in 1997 after successfully establishing and running manufacturing companies in various industries. Priyanka studied architectural design, worked in the industry, and then did an MBA while working in various roles in the recorded music industry. “I joined Luxmy Furniture in early 2011 after Dad and I finally decided that we should bring Evolvex to life. I find my design and marketing background complements Dad’s operational background really well.”
Luxmy Furniture manufactures for just about every major furniture supplier in the commercial sector – Herman Miller, Living Edge, Haworth, Stylecraft, Zenith, Corporate Culture and so on. In partnership with their clients, they’ve manufactured furniture for the offices of The Prime Minister’s Cabinet, Optus, Facebook, IBM, Louis Vuitton, 3M, Commonwealth Bank and many more.
So Evolvex is producing affordable, quality, customisable flatpack furniture in this country. What’s more, it’s eco-friendly. “We found that the majority of the flatpacked furniture on the market was made from MDF or particle board with high levels of formaldehyde and this is something we have made our mission to change,” says Priyanka, 25. “We only use the highest quality ‘E0’ rated MDF board that has been certified by the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS). This is extremely important for us ethically. Because the customers are getting the product direct from the manufacturer we can maintain a great price point.”
So does Priyanka really think she can take on Ikea? “We aim to the number one provider of high quality flatpack furniture available online in Australia and given IKEA doesn’t sell online for their east coast stores, I think we’ve got a great chance at winning that race,” she says with a cheeky grin. “We come to you online from the convenience of your couch and we even deliver to you so you don’t have to move.”
Evolvex has positioned itself in the ‘low to mid’ market, with its target customers being students, families with young children, young renovators and small businesses with less than 10 employees.
“Our ideal customer has gone through their ‘Gumtree/eBay/found on the street’ furniture phase and is now looking to invest into high quality furniture that will last them for the next five-to-10 years. They’re also time poor and would prefer to have someone make their lives easier by delivering furniture to them that fits their needs.”
Their most popular products are currently their storage cubes and black and white TV cabinets. The most popular colours chosen are white, black and beige.
“Our product is unique and patent pending, as we let customers customise furniture to their needs via an online application. As the product is made from interchangeable modular components, the pieces can be rearranged at a future date to make an entirely new piece of furniture. They can buy additional parts and increase the size of their original design. We named the business Evolvex as you can evolve your design by exchanging different parts.”