Producing affordable and accessible designer furniture that can be customised online is the driving force behind Sydney locals, Michael Grassi, Henry Gresson and Tomek Archer – founders of the new furniture concept NOMI.
With simplicity in form and function at the very foundation upon which NOMI is based, award winning designer, Tomek Archer of Tomahawk Studios, has designed a range that works for both residential and commercial applications.
“We wanted to offer something special and unique, something that hadn’t been seen in the furniture space before” says Co-Founder Michael Grassi “our vision was to provide affordable designer furniture and create a place where people could interact with our products in new and exciting ways.”
With prices starting from $1,199 for dining tables, $319 for chairs and $240 for storage pieces, the NOMI range makes desginer furniture easily accessible – and what we really love is that while the pieces arrive as a flatpack to save on production and delivery costs – no tools are required for assembly. Saving arguments in households the world over…that can only be a positive right?
We spoke to co-founder Henry Gresson to find out more about the ethos behind the brand – and the the team behind it.
Describe your product line.
Designed by award winning designer, Tomek Archer, the NOMI furniture range is designed with simplicity at its core, suitable for the home or office. We offer a series of every day basics, including dining tables, coffee tables, benches, chairs and storage units that can be customized online into a variety of sizes and shapes. Australian made, each piece is hand crafted in Melbourne from solid American Oak.
What motivated you to start a business?
The idea originated when my business partner was looking to purchase furniture. He didn’t want Ikea, he was after something a little more substantial that would last. All the great furniture pieces in boutique stores were extremely expensive. It became evident that there was a genuine lack of designer furniture at the mid-market level. We also noticed the wave of change that was taking place in the online retail space and saw that very few furniture retailers were doing the whole online thing well. We were motivated to solve two fundamental problems. Firstly, that designer furniture was expensive and inaccessible, secondly that online furniture experiences were dated and lacked innovation.
Where is your business based?
We are based in Sydney but all the manufacturing is out of Melbourne.
How did you come up with your business name?
The NOMI range is influenced by the traditions of Japanese joinery, our designs adopt a peg, lock and wedge joinery system used in Japanese carpentry. “NOMI” is a Japanese word for a type of chisel used by craftsman to make furniture.
What has been the toughest lesson you have learned to date?
The single biggest lesson that we have learnt is that things take time.
What do you love most about what you do?
It’s definitely the creative side. It’s was exciting to develop a new brand, a new range of products and a website that pulled it all together. It’s rewarding to look at the business now and think that we created that.
Where do you find inspiration to keep you motivated?
We take huge inspiration from other Aussie start-ups having a go and building innovative businesses. We are only just getting started, but we have big goals for NOMI…Our overarching vision is to continue to develop outstanding products, make these products accessible and affordable and allow people to unleash their creative side by customising products to their own personal liking. It’s this vision that keeps us excited and motivated.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
So far, our greatest achievement would have to be fulfilling our first order and speaking to a happy customer about their experience. It was a long journey from when we first spoke about the idea of starting a business to seeing our first order delivered, ironically into a Japanese restaurant.
Name one thing you’d be lost without in your business.
The NOMI team, Mike and Tomek. The entire business relies equally on each of us across product design, manufacturing, logistics, online technology, marketing and communications.
What are you reading?
Steve Jobs Autobiography (for the second time). It was actually the book that inspired me to pick up the phone, call Mike and say “Let’s start a business!”
What are you listening to?
Alt J – An Awesome Wave
What are you watching?
Flight of the Concords
Favourite blog /website?
Flipboard, I can get lost in it for hours!