Written by Amelie Mills | Monday, 26 March 2012 09:34 Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 March 2012 08:34 by Amelie Mills
WINNER OF THE START-UP HERO AWARD
If you’ve ever walked into a designer furniture store that stocks those especially sleek and sexy Scandinavian lounge chairs you’ll soon know that high-end aesthetics equals high-end prices.
Bill Huynh certainly noticed the desire among shoppers for these sorts of fine design objects and thought he could source similar products but at a lower price.
Ploughing $20,000 of his savings into the venture, Huynh took a trip to China - that great and vast source of so many modern consumer products – and started to feel his way through the tricky business of negotiating product supply lines with reputable manufacturers who could make good quality replicas of European design classics.
Huynh candidly admits he was walking relatively blind into a world he knew little about.
“I had no business knowledge, little money and took the risk to quit my 9 to 5 job at 24 years of age,” the 26-year-old says.
“Money was initially the first motive. Then it was about beating the competition and ultimately maximising customer value.”
Huynh had cannily noticed the rising demand for “lifestyle living” and that many furniture and interior wares stores seemed to be stocking the wrong sort of furniture.
His aim was simple: “To provide designer lifestyle living at affordable prices, even to the average Joe renting or buying their first home.”
Interior Secrets’ online store offers shoppers replica versions of such interior design classics as Eames lounge chairs, the Le Corbusier chaise lounge, and the classic ‘Egg’ chair.
Taking the plunge and starting his own business has been a thrilling experience for Huynh, a mixture of amazement that he has managed to make it work so far and exhilaration at the sense of liberation it has brought him.
“Every day that I go to work; I no longer miserably look at my computer screen and question, 'What the hell am I doing here?'
“I now go to work knowing the sky is the limit.”