5 Jun 2020

NZ furniture start-up commits to expansion despite pandemic and civil unrest

2:16 pm on 5 June 2020

A New Zealand furniture start-up is optimistic after expanding into the US during the coronavirus pandemic and growing civil unrest.

Shopper sits on mattress at furniture shop.

(File image). Photo: 123RF

E-commerce company Noho, which recycles nylon from old fishnets and carpets to produce ergonomic home furniture, launched in America in mid-April.

Noho co-chief executive Richard Shirtcliffe said the pandemic had "body slammed" its future financial planning, which affected salaries and cut the money it set aside to reinvest in marketing.

Despite this, the company chose not to delay its initial plan to open in April.

Shirtcliffe said the company had to be bold.

"Yes, we're launching in the middle of a pandemic and now in the middle of protests and it's a difficult time to be here and launch a business but we'll press on and I think we'll prevail."

The company, which is based in Boulder, Colorado, had been largely unaffected by the widespread protests that engulfed America in recent weeks over the death of George Floyd, he said.

Shirtcliffe said the current environment also presented unique opportunities for business.

"People want their homes to be safe, to be healthy, to be comfortable, to be aesthetically pleasing and that's a massive part of our proposition."

He said the pandemic had also created an appetite for New Zealand made products which it hoped to capitalise on, as their furniture was manufactured in Wellington.

Shirtcliffe said Noho was a sister company of the Formway Group.