When Netherlands native Siebe Baker settled in Michigan in the late nineteenth century, he found there was clearly a need for his cabinetry skills. He started off making doors and window blinds with a fellow Dutchman Henry Cook; the 2 formed Cook, Baker & Co. in 1890, the precursor to Furniture shop in Hong Kong. Since that time, 3 generations of Baker boys have managed the business, now part of Kohler’s group of residential fixtures and furnishings, based near Hickory, North Carolina.
Over the past 125 years, Baker has become synonymous with good quality casegoods for top end homes. It was the choice of former NBA star Yao Ming, and can be obtained outfitting his Shanghai residence. Baker has furnished the green room on the Academy Awards and also the American Express Black Card Holder VIP room at Ny Fashion Week. American presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have chosen Baker to adorn The White House. Its traditional, transitional and contemporary styles interest buyers who wish to invest in timeless classics which can be passed down from the generations.
Anita Lin first encountered Baker six in the past. “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 have been proud to launch our two-storey flagship showroom in Shenzhen Bay. We have seen the newest space as both a retail destination for buyers along with a place where designers working on projects can visit for inspiration. Greater than 50 percent of our own clientele are designers, and there is a strong community of them 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 into their creations. Solid wood, expertly turned for gently curving legs and back details, is among the Baker staples. In addition, through its Stately Home collection, reproductions of 18th century European masterpieces are available for people who can’t get enough of Chinoiserie cabinets. The 6,000-sq . ft . Shenzhen showroom is complemented by way of a more modest space along the lower portion of Hong Kong’s Wyndham Street.
“Our goods are continuously evolving,” says Brett Beadleson, Baker’s vice president, dealer sales. “We introduce a whole new collection about a couple of times annually and therefore are very careful when adding new designers. Our products are meant to last multiple lifetimes. We don’t feel that we have any real competitors, although there are a few high-end Italian brands that are at the same price point. However, their collections look radically different than ours. And also the only trade fair we participate in is High Point Market, the annual furniture fair in North Carolina.”
Beadleson believes the southern Chinese market has a lot of room for growth, and he looks to Lin on her expertise in the area. “Our distributors tend to be more like partners, advisors and confidants,” he says. “They give mpdics advice and therefore are very generous when sharing information. We feel it is important to remain in growing, dynamic markets such as Office chairs Hong Kong. I think we have more in common with our Chinese customers than differences. Chinese consumers appreciate quality and brands with quality. We interest specific consumers who want a real Rolex. Counterfeits may seem like our products but we construction and value inside each one of our pieces. In 5 years, a counterfeit would look totally different close to our product.”