When Netherlands native Siebe Baker settled in Michigan in the late 1800s, he found there was clearly a necessity for his cabinetry skills. He started out 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 then, 3 generations of Baker boys have managed the organization, now part of Kohler’s group of residential fixtures and furnishings, based near Hickory, North Carolina.
Within the last 125 years, Baker is becoming synonymous with high quality casegoods for top end homes. It had been the option of former NBA star Yao Ming, and can be found outfitting his Shanghai residence. Baker has furnished the green room in the Academy Awards as well as the American Express Black Card Holder VIP room at New York City Fashion Week. American presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have selected Baker to adorn The White House. Its traditional, transitional and contemporary styles interest buyers who wish to put money into timeless classics that can be passed down with the generations.
Anita Lin first encountered Baker six in the past. “I visited the factory and fell deeply in love with the company,” says the general 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 launch our two-storey flagship showroom in Shenzhen Bay. We see the brand new space as both a retail place to go for buyers as well as a place where designers concentrating on projects can visit for inspiration. A lot more than fifty percent of our clientele are designers, and there is a strong community of these in Dining table Hong Kong. We would like to have people on the ground to support 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 to their creations. Wood, expertly turned for gently curving legs and back details, is among the Baker staples. Additionally, through its Stately Home collection, reproductions of 18th century European masterpieces are for sale to those who can’t get an adequate amount of Chinoiserie cabinets. The 6,000-sq . ft . Shenzhen showroom is complemented by way of a more modest space along the lower percentage of Hong Kong’s Wyndham Street.
“Our products are continuously evolving,” says Brett Beadleson, Baker’s vice president, dealer sales. “We introduce a new collection about one or two times a year and therefore are very careful when adding new designers. Our products are meant to last multiple lifetimes. We don’t feel that we now have any real competitors, although there are some high-end Italian brands which can be at the same price point. However, their collections look radically diverse from ours. And the only trade fair we participate in is High Point Market, the annual furniture fair in N . C ..”
Beadleson believes the southern Chinese market has many room for growth, and then he looks to Lin for her expertise in the region. “Our distributors are more like partners, advisors and confidants,” he says. “They give mpdics advice and are very generous when sharing information. We feel it is important to remain in growing, dynamic markets including bar stool HK. I think we have now more in common with our Chinese customers than differences. Chinese consumers appreciate quality and brands with quality. We appeal to specific consumers who would like an actual Rolex. Counterfeits may appear to be our products but we construction and value inside every one of our pieces. In five years, a counterfeit would look very different next to our product.”