When Netherlands native Siebe Baker moved in Michigan within the late 1800s, he found there was clearly a requirement for his cabinetry skills. He began making doors and window blinds with a fellow Dutchman Henry Cook; the 2 formed Cook, Baker & Co. in 1890, the precursor to Furniture Hong Kong. Since that time, three generations of Baker boys have managed the business, now part of Kohler’s group of residential fixtures and furnishings, based near Hickory, N . C ..
Within the last 125 years, Baker has grown to be synonymous with good quality casegoods for top end homes. It was the option of former NBA star Yao Ming, and can be found outfitting his Shanghai residence. Baker has furnished the green room at the Academy Awards as well as the American Express Black Card Holder VIP room at New York Fashion Week. American presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have selected Baker to adorn The White House. Its traditional, transitional and contemporary styles attract buyers who wish to put money into timeless classics which can be passed down from the generations.
Anita Lin first encountered Baker six years ago. “I visited the factory and fell deeply in love with the manufacturer,” 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 have seen the new space as both a retail destination for buyers and a place where designers focusing on projects can visit for inspiration. A lot more than fifty percent of our own clientele are designers, and there is a strong community of those in table Hong Kong. We wish to have people on the ground to support them through this showroom.”
Baker’s designer collections feature leading American and European names including 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 probably the Baker staples. Furthermore, 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-square foot Shenzhen showroom is complemented with a more modest space along the lower percentage of Hong Kong’s Wyndham Street.
“Our items are continuously evolving,” says Brett Beadleson, Baker’s vice president, dealer sales. “We introduce a brand new collection about once or twice annually and therefore are cautious when adding new designers. Our products are meant to last multiple lifetimes. We don’t believe that we have now any real competitors, although there are several high-end Italian brands that are at the same price point. However, their collections look radically different than ours. As well as the only trade fair we take part in is High Point Market, the annual furniture fair in N . C ..”
Beadleson believes that the southern Chinese market has many room for growth, and then he is looking to Lin for her 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 essential to maintain growing, dynamic markets such as Office chairs Hong Kong. I think we have now more in common with our Chinese customers than differences. Chinese consumers appreciate quality and brands with quality. We attract specific consumers who want a genuine Rolex. Counterfeits may seem like our products but we construction and value inside every one of our pieces. In five years, a counterfeit would look totally different alongside our product.”