King Living’s one-stop online shop for young players

King Living has just launched a new store called Design.Online, which aims to redefine the way Australians interact with furniture online and focuses on sustainability, flexibility and convenience.

According to King Living, Design.Online is its own separate business and will be tapping into a newer, younger consumer.

Currently, the brand sells only three products – a sofa, a bedframe and a mattress – the core of any domestic household, according to head of product David Hardwick. 

“It was a great opportunity for the design team to start from scratch on something,” Hardwick told Inside Retail Weekly

“Furniture needs to be more flexible than ever. Our research identified that people tend to move house more often, and so there were complexities with that with more traditional ways of producing furniture in terms of size and ease of assembly.”

Design.Online’s customer is younger than Kings, but could be anyone who regularly moves from unit to unit, or house to house. 

To cater to the market, the design team worked towards making a sustainable, modular product that is easy to assemble, doesn’t require tools and can be delivered within three hours. Currently, the business only operates within a 30km region of Sydney, but there are plans to bring it to other capital cities in the first six months of 2020, with an international expansion to follow. 

“It was about designing with [sustainability, longevity, and flexibility] in mind all the way through the process,” Hardwick said. 

One way the business does this is by utilising the recycled ingredients of King Living’s manufacturing process, ensuring excess foam and dyes don’t end up in landfill, and instead will see new life in Design.Online’s products. 

The three core products are only the beginning, according to Hardwick, with rugs to launch shortly, followed by an outdoor and indoor dining set. 

“The idea is to be able to build out this range of products so it becomes a one-stop shop – the kind of place you can go to to set up a full home,” Hardwick said. 

“We want our customers for life”

The journey of Design.Online started about a year ago, according to King Living managing director Anna Carrabs.

“It came about for two reasons. The first was that we started to look at the byproducts of our manufacturing, and asked how we could utilise it rather than throw it away,” Carrabs told Inside Retail Weekly.

“The second part was that we want our customer for life, but we want to start right at the beginning. We wanted to create an offering that would bring customers into the fold from the start, rather than when they get into their mid-30s.”

By making the products easy to assemble, competitively priced, and easily repaired – with each product sporting a removable, washable and replaceable cover – Carrabs notes once customers own a Design.Online product, they can easily keep it for many years. 

But, eventually every piece of furniture will wear out its welcome. And Design.Online has built recycling into its business model for that very inevitability. 

“Both David and I really hate seeing furniture on the side of the road in council clean ups, so we really wanted to create something so that if it does get to the end of its life, we can recycle the materials,” Carrabs said. 

According to Hardwick, while items in good condition will be donated to charity for further use, the products have been designed in a way that are easy to deconstruct – and the specific materials used in their construction can be sent to relevant recycling plants. 

“Usually it’s just a rip in the cover, or a stain or slight indentation in the foam or something – something fairly cosmetic,” Hardwick said. 

“There is the option to replace the covers, since they are usually the thing that deteriorates quickly. The recycling component is really a last resort, but it’s been considered in the design of the product to make that an easy option.”

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