Bringing some polish to the furniture field

Newsroom 08/03/2010 | 14:24

Having taken, along with her husband, the leap of faith to resign their jobs and set up in business by themselves, Loredana Preda sees a promising future for Galeriile Noblesse. Despite the current crisis, she expects the company to post EUR 1 million turnover this year.

Anda Dragan

 

Loredana Preda and her husband set up their own company, Galeriile Noblesse, in 2006, drawing on their experience in the furniture industry – where art and the science of making money intersect. “We had both worked for a French furniture manufacturer – the subsidiary of an important furniture producer – since graduating from university, my husband as an engineer and I as an economist,” says Preda, general manager of Galeriile Noblesse. It was at this firm that they received their professional education. “In our management positions we both quickly had the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process in terms of organizing the manufacturing cycle, human resources management and financial and marketing activities,” says Preda.

Four years ago they were not entirely sold on the idea of starting their own furniture-selling company, but were convinced by their experience and passion for the field. The business idea came at a crucial moment. As employees they suggested that their French boss also sell in Romania the items the facility produced for export abroad. He rejected the idea flat out, having little interest in the local furniture market. “We visited almost all the manufacturers in Romania that produced for export in 2006, suggesting they sold their collections on the local market. Almost none agreed,” remembers Preda. “Now, four years later, they all regret they ignored the domestic market which they are now struggling to recapture from Italian and Spanish players.”

The two entrepreneurs started their venture by drawing on their professional way of working, a solid business plan and detailed market research. They constantly adapted their product range while attending various international furniture trade fairs and visited as many producers as possible. “We started with a strong belief and a lot of passion, driven by the idea of transforming Galeriile Noblesse into a distinguished, complex and authentic brand,” says Preda.

The couple’s most difficult moment was the start of the venture – not because they were unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices, but because the financial restrictions were significant and needed to be rapidly and wisely managed. “Talented people are hard to find and you must not be overcome with ‘panic’,” says Preda. But having a clear objective and doing everything with passion seemed to be the main ingredients in the company’s success. “Basically, when things are starting to work and your customers are satisfied, you feel full of life and energy, and so you are able to manage all the difficult problems in different ways,” says Preda. She has no regrets, adding that while she realizes that she made some mistakes she firmly believes that they are life lessons which played a part in her accomplishments in one way or another. “I have made all my professional decisions after great consideration, but also using my emotions. I put my soul into everything I do and work alongside with my team. I am completely dedicated,” says Preda.

The local furniture market is one of the most crowded, both in terms of number of players and companies with a tradition in the field. “From this point of view, the companies that got in on the ground floor have a market advantage, as they have already built up good will and enjoy the loyalty of some suppliers,” says Preda. She and her partner wanted to bring to the market a very clearly defined concept – selling not just furniture, but complete solutions for homes. “We positioned ourselves as ambience creators, no matter what style the customer prefers, offering him or her a solution for a coordinated interior,” says Preda. This year, the company has started offering its InSign service through partnerships with national and international designers of note. “It is the first service of this level that a furniture showroom has offered to its customers,” says the businesswoman. Also through InSign the company presents products from the perspective of the designers that created them.

As for the future, the company intends to improve its range of products and services and, when it is ready, to launch other showrooms. “The current crisis has shown us how dependent fields and economies are on each other. So our customers – generally middle and top managers and company owners – were more cautious in terms of new acquisitions last year. But those who appreciated quality continued to renew their collections,” says Preda. She believes 2010 will be a challenging year, with many projects, with an increased brand awareness and ongoing development among the most important objectives. “We all need to understand that the current downturn is nothing more than a virus that feeds on our fear of consuming, investing and developing. I think that the real change should come from each individual – both as consumer and as entrepreneur,” concludes Preda.

 

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