Contour Furniture is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of lounge furniture; they have earned this distinction through a long history of quality manufacturing and design. They specialise in motion furniture, home theatre, sofa and sofa beds, and have built a great reputation for quality supply to some of Australia’s leading furniture retailers, hotels and resorts.
A number of qualities set Contour Furniture apart from other furniture manufacturers. Near the top of that list is the fact that they are family-owned and operated, Australian-made and are ideally located on the Gold Coast in Queensland – where they were originally founded in 1977.
“We are one of Australia’s leading furniture manufacturers and we sell to Australia’s leading furniture retailers,” says General Manager Mark Manson, who worked for the business for a number of years before his family purchased the company in 2008. It was the company’s market-leading position that made them want to take the leap and run the company.
“We felt there was a lot of opportunity as an Australian-made manufacturer, even in the current environment, to make a go of it,” he says. “We had a shot and we’ve done quite well.”
Another point of difference for Contour Furniture is their diverse product range, which includes lift chairs and motion furniture, sofas, sofa beds, home theatre, lounges and electric recliners, and more. “In the past four years we’ve really focused on the motion side of furniture, particularly the lift recliners,” he says. “It is where we try to focus our business. We want to become Australia’s largest supplier of lift chairs to the aging population.”
Contour’s lift chairs are among the highest quality products of their kind, and Contour has developed a strong relationship with their supplier, which has led to an exclusive five-year warranty – another strong Contour Furniture advantage. “That was a big coup for us,” Manson says.
To ensure all of their products are of top-notch quality, Contour conducts a number of quality control tests at each step of their process. Each staff member is thoroughly trained to quality control the previous sections’ product. “We have framers who make the frames and then a pre-upholsterer, who webs the frame, who checks and makes sure the frames are made correctly before proceeding with his job,” explains Manson. “The work in progress then passes to the upholsterer – who checks to make sure all the previous production stages have been done correctly, including the pre-upholsterers work.”
Contour enjoys solid and positive relationships with their staff, many of whom are long standing. Some of the company’s staff have even been with them more than 20 years. “Coming into the business, we retained most of the staff that we had that was here,” Manson says. “We have a corporate culture of promoting from within when we find someone who is a keen employee – someone who wants to work and do well.”
“Our factory manager started 10 years ago sweeping floors and he worked his way up. He’s a good guy and a great employee and has really moved up in the factory. We feel that builds a good, strong relationship with employees,” he adds.
Contour’s relationships with suppliers are also exceptionally positive, which is a result of both parties meeting each other’s – and the consumer’s – expectations, nearly every time. “Issues are very few and far between,” Manson says. “Our suppliers are always there to back us up and to help us if we need to get something done.”
The company is also strong in many environmental initiatives. They’ve had significant success in the last two years in reusing waste product that comes through their factory. “We’ve gone from nine metres of waste a week down to two metres of waste a week by using recycling technologies,” Manson says. “We recycle our plastic and cardboard through our waste removal company, and they take it through and recycle the cardboard and plastic separately.”
“We get rid of our waste as much as we can to another valued source rather than just putting it in general waste,” he explains.
Moving forward, Contour Furniture aims to cement themselves as the leaders in the motion chair market. It’s an effort they’ve placed great emphasis and importance on in the last four years. “We feel that we’ve had a lot of success from that,” Manson says.
The next step for Contour is to branch out and offer something new, he adds. One strong possibility is adding an upmarket sofa range for as early as next year. “We’ve done well in our focuses over the last four years and moving forward we would like to have a look at something else.”
“There’s constant innovation and new products that come to market and we’ve had success by bringing those initiatives through into our current product,” he says.
Looking longer term, Manson says that it is difficult to plan too far ahead because of the current economic climate in Australia. It has been quiet now for the last few years on the retail and manufacturing front, and that may persist for another few years. Once the uncertainty ends, however, and businesses start preparing for growth, Manson says that Contour is going to be more than ready to “ride the wave.”
“We would like to be a bigger company in 10 years but if the markets don’t improve, well then we’re more than happy to just maintain and stay solid,” he says. “Rather than try to overreach in a constricted market, we’re going to endeavour to be the leaders in the market we’re in.”