Introducing a new era for sofas: comfort based on functionality and sustainability
Lithuanian manufacturer Vilmers has discovered the secret to a comfortable living: furniture that combines practical, functional design with sustainability. The Lithuania-based Scandinavian capital company mainly produces sofas, and is making great strides in the German market –around 70 orders a week are received from Germany, and almost a tenth of the company’s production is exported to the country.
Quality is a key ingredient in the German market
When asked the secret of the company’s success in Germany, Ovidijus Jalonskis, CEO of Vilmers, is quick to reply: “People in Germany eat, sleep and breathe quality. German consumers value craftsmanship and attention to detail,” he says. “Luckily for us, years of working with partners across Scandinavia and Western Europe have taught us to pay close attention to every piece of furniture that leaves our 25,000 sq. metre factory.”
Jalonskis says it didn’t take long for the company to build its customer base in Germany – Vilmers’ orders in the country usually come from large furniture galleries, and now account for eight per cent of the company’s sales.
According to the CEO, German customers are willing to go to great lengths in search of sustainably made, functionally designed furniture that reflects their individual preferences. “German customers order almost 70 custom pieces from us every week,” he says. “I think it’s safe to say that our German customers appreciate the opportunity to customise their furniture. And it doesn’t stop there – customers continue to be blown away by our exquisite craftsmanship, quality materials, and timeless design.”
Pioneers in sustainability
Growing awareness of environmental issues has increased pressures on business worldwide to reduce their environmental impact – and the furniture industry is no different. At Vilmers, sustainability is an everyday practice: the company uses only recycled plastics in its packaging, paper is a long-forgotten relic in its paperless office, and a new project is in the works to power the company’s factory and office buildings using solar energy.
The company continues to invest in technological development. In 2018, Vilmers became the first company in the world to install Industry 4.0-compliant ‘Lectra’ fabric-cutting technology. In addition to minimising fabric waste, it sped up the firm’s production line, which can now produce and ship out a sofa in as little as three business days from the date the order is confirmed.
“Ordering the perfect sofa for your lounge is an almost seamless process,” says Jalonskis. “It’s the result of years of refinement in our manufacturing process, training our team, and developing relationships with our designers and fabric vendors. But the great thing is, we keep evolving – so people can simply relax and enjoy the best in custom-made furniture, and we take care of the rest.”
Vilmers has been in the custom furniture business since 1997, when the company made its international debut at the Furniture and Light Fair in Stockholm in 2014, where it was nominated for the award for fastest soft furniture purveyor. In the same year, Vilmers showed its customisable sofas and accessories at the MOW expo in Germany, and in 2017 participated at IMM Cologne. Vilmers currently sells its products across Western Europe, the Scandinavian countries and the US.
With the world becoming more complicated every day, it’s great to come home to simplicity. To create a natural oasis of calm and cosiness, German consumers are increasingly choosing to surround themselves with the beauty and simplicity of furniture and other household goods that are made using natural, sustainable materials.
To achieve success, it’s often said you need to “think big” – and for one family of master jewellers from Lithuania, it’s literally true. Their leap from jewellery-making to furniture design might not seem the most obvious move – but by putting their creativity and expert metalworking skills to work on a larger scale, they have produced a range of subtle, nature-inspired tables and other items they call “jewellery for the home”. And after finding favour with buyers at home and in the US, they now hope German consumers will fall in love with their innovative designs too.