When Netherlands native Siebe Baker moved in Michigan within the late 19th century, he found there was clearly a need for his cabinetry skills. He began making doors and window blinds with a fellow Dutchman Henry Cook; both formed Cook, Baker & Co. in 1890, the precursor to Furniture Hong Kong. Since that time, three generations of Baker boys have managed the company, now part of Kohler’s group of residential fixtures and furnishings, based near Hickory, North Carolina.
Within the last 125 years, Baker is becoming symbolic of high quality casegoods for top end homes. It had been the choice of former NBA star Yao Ming, and can be found outfitting his Shanghai residence. Baker has furnished the green room on the Academy Awards and also the American Express Black Card Holder VIP room at New York Fashion Week. American presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have chosen Baker to adorn The White House. Its traditional, transitional and contemporary styles interest buyers who would like to put money into timeless classics that can be passed down with the generations.
Anita Lin first encountered Baker six years ago. “I visited the factory and fell in love with the company,” says the typical manager of Atelier A , Baker’s exclusive distributor in Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Hainan Island, at her Shenzhen showroom opening in September. “In 2012, I opened the Hong Kong dealership. And … we are proud to produce our two-storey flagship showroom in Shenzhen Bay. We percieve the new space as both a retail destination for buyers and a place where designers concentrating on projects can visit for inspiration. Greater than 50 % of our clientele are designers, and you will find a strong community of them in Wood furniture Hong Kong. We want to have people on the ground to aid them through this showroom.”
Baker’s designer collections feature leading American and European names such as Barbara Barry, Thomas Pheasant, Laura Kirar, Bill Sofield, Jacques Garcia and Michael Smith. Although their suites for living, dining, bedroom and studies primarily are wood based, many incorporate metal, glass and luxury materials within their creations. Wood, expertly turned for gently curving legs and back details, is one of the Baker staples. In addition, through its Stately Home collection, reproductions of 18th century European masterpieces are for sale to people who can’t get an ample amount of Chinoiserie cabinets. The 6,000-sq . ft . Shenzhen showroom is complemented with a more modest space along the lower percentage of Hong Kong’s Wyndham Street.
“Our goods are continuously evolving,” says Brett Beadleson, Baker’s vice president, dealer sales. “We introduce a new collection about a couple of times per year and are very careful when adding new designers. Our products are meant to last multiple lifetimes. We don’t believe that we now have any real competitors, although there are several high-end Italian brands that are in the same price point. However, their collections look radically different than ours. As well as the only trade fair we participate in is High Point Market, the annual furniture fair in North Carolina.”
Beadleson believes the southern Chinese market provides extensive room for growth, and he looks to Lin on her behalf expertise in the area. “Our distributors are more like partners, advisors and confidants,” he says. “They give mpdics advice and they are very generous when sharing information. We feel it is important to be in growing, dynamic markets like Office chairs Hong Kong. I believe we have more in common with our Chinese customers than differences. Chinese consumers appreciate quality and brands with quality. We attract specific consumers who desire a genuine Rolex. Counterfeits may look like our products but we build quality and value inside each one of our pieces. In five years, a counterfeit would look completely different next to our product.”