King Living founder and chairman David King notes during the launch of the brand’s flagship store in Bangsar that the brand has been met with scepticism when people discover the premium furniture makers are Australian.
“When people think of furniture, they often think of Europe and big name brands, but I must say, if there’s one thing Australians excel at, it’s relaxing,” he says, grinning.
During a one-on-one interview on the first floor of King Living’s showroom, King expresses his pride at the brand’s new milestone and at how well it has been doing in Malaysia.
“We’re really proud of the showroom. It’s something special. We’ve been at Ikano Power Centre for two years and we’ve been highly successful in the KL marketplace,” he says.
“Due to that success, it’s given us the confidence to open this store. And what we love about this store is the location. It’s vibrant, it’s an upmarket area of the city.
We’ve got great confidence in the future of this region and the area.”
With a history spanning more than 40 years, King Living is at the forefront of Australian furniture design, with a rich legacy of designing and manufacturing original, contemporary, high-quality and award-winning furniture.
Known as the “Masters of Modularity”, the brand is constantly innovating to meet the evolving needs of contemporary living, enabling customers to furnish their homes with the ultimate flexibility.
It is known particularly for its sofas; its design philosophy focuses on longevity, as every sofa is built on the brand’s famously engineered steel frame, which comes with a 25-year warranty.
It all began in 1997, when King and his mother Gwen would lug their foam furniture to Paddy’s market in Sydney, where they garnered quite a bit of interest.
“My mother came up with an idea of modular furniture. And back in the 70s, modular furniture was starting to be a big thing,” King recalls. “People were buying bean bags and they were these quite uncomfortable things to put in the home. She had the idea of foam furniture that actually formed your shape, you could sit in them and be quite comfortable. She also had the idea of putting stretch covers on them.”
And so, with the then 26-year-old King running his own business at the time and Gwen working as an interior designer, they began making furniture. He would make the foam pieces and Gwen would sew the covers on her sewing machine at home.
The furniture ended up doing so well that they started the business, and have continued to innovate to this day.
From incorporating charging tables and storage units into their sofa designs to the creation of gesture control technology, King Living’s products evolve with the needs of modern living while remaining the ultimate in comfortable furniture.
When you do something successfully, others are bound to copy you, so how does King Living continue to stay ahead of the competition?
“For us, it’s been a godsend because it makes us try harder and to think of the next big thing,” he notes. “And you know, we’re not selling foam furniture anymore.
We’re selling much more sophisticated furniture that still has all the attributes, but does so much more.
“It sounds easy, but it’s not. There’s a lot of consideration, a lot of thought ... a lot of work goes into the design process, challenging ourselves to go to the next level.
For instance, design features like gesture control, you just swipe your hand, and the chair remembers your favourite position and goes to that position automatically.
They seem like little things but they make a difference to your life.”
He continues,“Because these moments that you’re spending in living room furniture are the best moments of your life. You work hard, you go home, you chill out on that piece of furniture. It’s the focus of the home, it’s where the family gets together, it is one of the most important parts of your life.”
King believes that while things change around us, it’s the comfort of home and creating that warmth for the family that remains their focus, and every bit of technology that goes into the creation of their products is centred around making life better.
“People used to sit on the sofa and watch TV with a remote on them, but now they’ve got a device in their hand. That’s why we have charging tables, it’s all part of it but it’s still that focus at the end of the day that’s important.
“It might be after dinner or before dinner, where you spend all that time with your family, that is the essence of having this really great life, and that’s where our products come in.”
King Living, doesn’t just stop at making great products, it prides itself on having stellar after sales service, an element to business which is so important, yet at times sorely overlooked.
“There are a lot of furniture manufacturers in the world. And all they do is make furniture. And they take orders from other retailers. We have control, we design. We have our own factories and they are the world’s best upholstery factories,” he explains.
“So we design, we manufacture, we retail it and it doesn’t stop there. We do the after sales, we supply new covers, we supply care products, we clean our customers furniture, we stay in contact with our customers. So it’s a long term relationship. It’s not just selling a product and walking away. Our best advertisement is our products looking great, and being in customers’ homes for the long term.”