Behind the Counter: How Bowerbird Home Builds a Reputation That Keeps Customers Coming Back

Welcome to Behind the Counter (previously Vender of the Week), a series that puts the spotlight on Vend’s amazing customers. These posts will introduce you to some incredible retailers, and you’ll learn all about their passions, practices and community.

Today, we’re featuring Bowerbird Home, a furniture and homeware retailer in Hong Kong.

The company has developed an impeccable reputation for offering high quality furniture, unique designs, and excellent customer service. As a result, Bowerbird Home generates a lot of business through word of mouth and repeat customers.

We recently caught up with the Bowerbird team to learn more about their business and practices. Check out what they have to say:

1. Tell us a bit about how Bowerbird got started. What’s the story behind the business?

Bowerbird Home is named after the Australian bird, the Bowerbird, which is known for building ornate nests, mostly with all things blue. We offer a thoughtfully curated collection of furniture and homeware accessories that will never date and always inspire.

Our 5,500 sq. ft. store showcases our styled collection, where the Hamptons meets ‘Classic Luxe’. Core products include porcelain, a range of dining tables and chairs, Belgian linen sofas, Chinese antiques, lighting, mirrors, designer soft furnishings and silk flowers. The chinoiserie element provides a unique edge and just like the nest of the ‘Bowerbird’, there is an abundance of blue and white, including hand painted ceramics, textiles and accessories from all around the world in striking colours and patterns.

Bowerbird Home was opened in November 2011 by New Zealand born, Philippa Haydon, after seeing a gap in the Hong Kong market for quality, European inspired furniture with a hint of the Orient. In February 2016, the company was taken over by Martin Graham, a British expatriate living in Hong Kong, returning after 24 years in India. With a sourcing and manufacturing background, supplying many recognised brands worldwide Martin has a great eye for luxurious, stylish, and quality furniture.

2. What’s your local community like?

I could sum it up in three words, ‘hectic but awesome’. For the size of our business, we are a relatively small team, which means we all wear about 10 different hats. It’s always busy in the office, but for us that’s the way we like it.

Because we are so tight-knit, we all help each other out where we can, and we decide upon everything as a team. It’s a true team community here. We’re all as important and fundamental to the business’s growth and success as each other. This is perfect for us as it really rules out any ‘office politics’ or ‘hierarchy’ which you can find in other organisations. We work hard… but with the big personalities in our office, we laugh even harder.  

3. What are the unique things about your store that customers love? How do you keep people coming back?

Our store has an impeccable reputation for i) high-quality furniture, ii) unique one-off designs and iii) outstanding customer service.

We travel around the world to source the magnificent pieces you see in our showroom. We like to bring home a part of all the places we go to and we pride ourselves on the fact that most of these pieces you see in the store has an amazing story behind it. Whether it be a traditionally hand-woven ‘Frazadas’ from Peru, a one of a kind hand painted ceramic from China, Indian hand-cut mother of pearl and bone inlays that take three months to complete, or an original vintage poster from Paris, our rare finds and unique pieces are the life and soul of Bowerbird.

Our sales staff have also been working in the showroom since opening in 2011 — they know the store and each product like the back of their hand. We often start a customer conversation with a sit down chat over coffee on one of our beautiful, luxurious sofas.  

We like to offer a truly personal and tailored sales approach — a big point of difference from our competitors. Taking the time to know and understand our customers’ needs is so important to provide them with memorable and outstanding customer service and what hopefully, keeps them coming back and recommending us. Old fashioned it may be, but word of mouth is hugely important to us.

4.  How did you find Vend? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like yourself?

We wanted to implement a reliable and user-friendly POS system that could handle our store inventory, be integrated into other programmes and that categorizes each product clearly without causing any confusion. We also wanted reports that would help us analyse sales patterns, customer buying behaviours and quickly identify popular stock and profitable stock. With Vend’s outstanding reputation in the industry, the decision was made easy.  

For a retail store like ours, Vend is a perfect management solution for inventory control, financial analysis, easy to understand reporting and great accessibility. The web browser aspect of the system means all of our team are able to use it on the go, any time, anywhere. For this, we would highly recommend it to other companies.

5. What advice do you wish you’d known when you started?

The team you surround yourself is so crucial in any business success. On a bigger scale, your team is not just the people you hire, but also the systems you put in place and the companies you chose to work with too. Having a reliable and trustworthy team on your side will make every difference in your success.

If we had known of Vend earlier we would have installed it at the outset. Most importantly, it’s easy to learn to use and very good value for the work it does.

Our team all share the vision of the business’ future, partnering with leading systems such as Vend allows everyone to do their job efficiently and effectively — which is great when timing is not on your side. Nothing can beat a positive attitude, especially when it’s teamed with good resources.


About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.