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Customers from Minsk furnished a 180 m² apartment in 5 days and are planning another purchase in China.
MBL Tour Cases

"I was skeptical": how buying in China changes opinions and home

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While Sergei was all for the furniture tour, Maria was a skeptic: she expected nothing from this trip but delicious Chinese food. In the end, neither the local cuisine nor the furniture market let her down. In 5 days on the tour, Maria went from a strict skeptic to a satisfied customer. The proof is in the couple's well-appointed home.

Task:

Sergei and Maria were faced with the task of furnishing an apartment of high quality but at a lower cost. They came on a furniture tour without a designer with a design project.

In the end, they were bought:

Textile
Plumbing
Furniture
Lighting
Decor

Step 1: Furniture tour

Clients spent five days on a furniture tour.

The first two days were warm-up sessions: Sergei and Maria got acquainted with the local furniture market. As usual, they were assisted by the accompanying manager from our company. This is an interpreter, guide, and the person who arranges the tour itinerary so as to save maximum time and find everything you need.

In the first few days, the customers were looking around, pricing, and taking pictures of some of the items so they could come back for them.

In the remaining three days, Sergei and Maria made orders. In the process, they could change colors or materials to more appropriate for their project.

It is possible to change the size and artistic elements: manufacturers increase or decrease furniture, add or remove decorative details. All changes are reflected in the price: it is possible to make some samples a little cheaper.

Gradually the clients chose everything that was planned. Maria about such record-breaking deadlines:

- The tour suits those who want to fill a house as quickly as possible and forget about repairs. Some people take 10 days to furnish a huge house and then snap and it's done. We, on the other hand, did it in five.

But not everything is that simple. During the purchase there was a nuance that made the task a little more difficult, Sergei tells us:

- If you're going on a tour without a designer, you'd better be well prepared. We didn't come fully prepared, don't do as we did. Because we had no direct communication with the designers.

Speaking of designers. In our practice, there have been cases where a client did not go on a tour, but sent a designer instead. You can read about what happened here.

But despite the nuances, the customers did well. When all the orders were placed and the 30% prepayment was made, they flew home. Now their goods will be handled by the quality control department.

Step 2: Quality control and waiting for the order

Customers have been waiting for their order for 4 months. During this time, all items were manufactured and checked by specialists from our quality control department in China. Here are some examples from the photo reports that Sergey and Maria received for approval.

Coffee table, $779. This is what it looked like during the quality inspection
 
And the chandelier, $451. It's already taken its place of honor in the customers' 
living room

 

If everything is OK with the product, it corresponds to the color, size and has no defects, it only needs to be packed. If there are nuances, the product is finished. Our quality control department makes sure that there are no such nuances, and if there were, they were immediately corrected.

We asked Maria to tell us about the long-distance approval process:

- Coordinating everything remotely is simple: when we made orders, we took pictures of everything we were supposed to get in the end. Everything is described: the cord should be black or white, the gold should be matte or glossy - this is all prescribed and photographed. The specification you get has all the original photos to compare it to.

Sergei was asked about his fears: after all, the order has to wait, it has to travel thousands of kilometers.

- There were no particular fears, because all that was left was a deposit, plus we were constantly sent pictures of how it was made and packaged. There were no questions - we just waited. By the way, we were in a period of coronavirus, so we understood that there could be delays. But still, we received the furniture before the finishing was completed.

Maria complements:

- The only excitement was when the borders were closed due to the coronavirus, and we were like: "I wonder what about our cargo: will it go through - won't go through. What's going to happen to it?" Managers told us right away that there could be a delay at the border, but we would know where our cargo was, what was happening to it. And so it happened, but it did not last long, plus we were informed about everything.

Step 3: unloading

A specialist from our company was present at the unloading - he checked that all the goods from the order were in place and had no damage. To minimize the risk of such damage, each item is carefully packed, and especially fragile items are reinforced with a special crate.

 

An example of such a crate

But even sturdy packaging sometimes doesn't do 100% to protect against damage. If this happens, we fix it ourselves.

Maria shared with us her impressions of the unloading:

- A huge truck arrived, it was quickly unloaded into the garage, there we broke the wooden skeletons. By the way, we sawed those frames, and then roasted barbecue on them :) Each box was signed, so we knew where everything was. All the furniture was intact - no questions asked.

Result: finished interior

Although Sergei and Maria went on a furniture tour without a designer, they had a design project. Now their house is almost all the way up to the last light bulb, so we can already take stock and see if expectations and reality coincided.


 

 

Kitchen: design project and result

 

Dining area: the design project and the result

Sergey talks about how the design project coincided with the result:

- I think in our case it's 95%. So almost everything that the designer drew, we were able to implement with the help of MBL. I lived in Milan for more than a year when we were just renovating, but I understand that there I would have to run around in showrooms and think about whether it would fit or not. I would have had to find translators, so it would have been more complicated. In China, you have a manager by your side, an interpreter, and they drive you around. The manager looks at the renderings and takes you to the right showrooms. You don't waste a lot of time, and you rest in the evening. And you furnish the house in five days. So it's quick and convenient.

Maria affectionately calls this chandelier "my precious. It costs $857
 
Another chandelier, $800. The biggest one in the apartment
 
And these are both chandeliers during the quality check
 

Even on the tour, clients talked about how some friends and acquaintances were skeptical of China, as was Maria herself. Sergey described what the couple's friends now say when they come to visit:

- Those who came  liked the quality. For example, we took a very long time to choose chairs. Because when you eat lunch or dinner, you have to be comfortable.

 

Those same chairs, $3,428 (8 pcs.)

 

And a photo of the chairs during the quality check
 

The Chinese, by the way, didn't understand why we were sitting on our chairs for so long. They brought food and drinks, they thought I was waiting for something, but no. It's just that for me, seats for "the fanny" are very important. My favorite sofa, for example, has arrived. It will stand in the library area: it's comfortable to lie on and read.

Sofa, soon to go to the library, $1,505

And the same sofa, but still in China for quality control
 

Maria talks about her criteria for choosing upholstered furniture:

- For example, the couch. When we were in China, we joked about having a "degree of softness of the sofa” (wallowing scale). I rolled on absolutely all the sofas and checked the degree of softness of the sofa. We gave this sofa a 10 right away, and that's what we chose.

And the same sofa during quality control in China
 

So, the task of furnishing the house is solved, but our clients have a huge terrace. Sergei and Maria plan to buy outdoor furniture and everything needed for the terrace in China, but already remotely, using a personal account. So our partnership  continues.

Sergey
MBL Client
It's impossible not to choose: when you arrive, you begin to understand exactly what you need
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