The mastermind behind Melandas, Herry Chandra, talks with Prestige about the origin story of the brand, current trends in the industry, and more
For quite some time now, Melandas has consistently presented the most exclusive internationally-designed furniture and provided a new taste of what the world has to offer. With more than two decades of experience in the furniture industry, the brand always strives to deliver interior design and furnishings of the highest quality for the Indonesian market by focusing on service and customer satisfaction, and by bringing the world’s best furniture craftsmanship and technology to the doorstep of its customers.
To that end, the mastermind behind Melandas, Herry Chandra, believes that agility is one of the most important aspects of work. “This is the approach to doing business that I enforce in the organization. We will not be able to predict the unpredictable, but by being agile we can easily adapt to every situation we are put in,” Herry explains. Furthermore, he also notes that willingness, honesty, humility, as well as being humble, and always being grateful are the main values that he applies in his everyday work, and shares with those who work with him. Below are excerpts from Prestige Indonesia’s interview with the man himself.
We always like to start from the beginning. How did you come up with the idea for Melandas?
I started Melandas back in 1999. The business was started with one goal in mind, which is to improve the quality of Indonesian homes by bringing good quality furniture to the country.
Many of my friends back then did not see the furniture business as something that was “promising.” That was quite understandable because in the ‘90s, especially in Indonesia, most people didn’t see furniture as important. In fact, furniture was something that people bought once in their lifetime. I even witnessed many families back then pass down the same pieces to their children and grandchildren.
Starting up the business was a challenge for me especially because of all the scepticism and the fact that the Indonesian furniture industry and market were lagging behind international markets. But these challenges motivated me. I became curious, decided to go all out, and commit fully to the business. And now, it’s our 23rd anniversary this year. I believe it was a long journey we had but it was all worth it. If I had to start over, I would do it all again.
In terms of products, what gives Melandas an advantage over similar services?
We only represent brands that are internationally-renowned for their quality and style. Our core principles are to bring affordable luxury and the best quality furniture to Indonesian consumers. I believe this has been our strength in the market.
Speaking of which, Melandas delivers a variety of products from brands like Cattelan, Eichholtz, Natuzzi, and the Live Life Comfortably La-Z Boy. How do you curate or select which brands or products to bring to Indonesia?
We look for partners who share our values and vision. High integrity in business conduct has always been very important to us, and it is the first thing we focus on when we seek out sustainable business partners. Secondly, the quality of our partners’ products should meet our own standard. The product design and style should answer the needs of the market in Indonesia.
What would you say is the common thread behind that runs through the various brands from Europe and the U.S. who work together with well-known designers?
I’d say all our brand partners represent world-class craftsmanship through their own products and brand uniqueness. La-Z-Boy is special because of its 90-plus years of experience and reputation as the first recliner brand ever in the world. Natuzzi is the most recognised furniture brand globally among consumers of luxury goods. Cattelan Italia is known for creating interior masterpieces and award-winning collections. Last but not least, Eichholtz is unique because they draw inspiration from all over the world to create their furniture collections.
What has been the biggest lesson you can take from Melandas’ 20-year journey?
Business is not all about selling a product, but it is about how to sell a concept. In the furniture and interior industry, I learned that no matter how good your products are, it will not matter if it is not combined with good room designs and if it doesn’t fit the market taste.
And during those 20-plus years, how has the definition of luxury evolved?
Without a doubt, the idea of luxury has evolved at a rapid pace. The term luxury, which revolves around timeless values such as quality, elegance, and comfort has now become very familiar to the market, and Melandas is also evolving the products and services we offer to meet the changing tastes of our consumers.
What is your favourite part of the job?
I always look forward to meeting our front liners and customers, to listen and learn about what the market needs. So, every day is like a new opportunity for me to do better and improve Melandas into a business that can provide the best solutions to the market.
By the way, how were you originally introduced to the world of furniture?
The first time I learned about the world of furniture was from a mentor who was introduced to me. I visited his showroom in Singapore back in the ’90s and I picked up some ideas about the furniture trading business from him.
“This way we can promote our own heritage, culture, and richness, especially to the younger generations and international audiences”
In your opinion, what features cannot be missing from a home interior concept?
In my opinion, lighting and decorative items are features that should be considered seriously when designing a home. Lighting and home décor are what bring out the personality of larger furniture items and make a room lively. Lighting can accent certain areas or draw attention away from others, and decorative pieces can highlight the individual style of a space. These items add charm and character to any home.
Do you see any particularly strong trends in the industry at present?
I think that’s the beauty of this industry, there is no exact way on telling the trends. Because when it comes to a home, customers have their own way of translating what comfort means to them. It can mean bright colours or monochrome; it can also be classic or contemporary styles. But, since the pandemic hit us a couple of years ago, one thing for sure is that everyone has put more attention to home improvement.
In a way, your aesthetics are present in so many homes through your furniture and everything in between. But what kind of style do you choose for your own home?
Our own home is designed in the modern classic style. This style pairs the simplicity of contemporary design with the timelessness of classic furniture and accessories. This style incorporates traditional warm and neutral colours with a few touches of modernity. We enjoy this style because it is both simple and ornate. It creates a space that is aesthetically beautiful and harmonious.
Can you also introduce us to Dio Living?
Dio Living is a brand that differs from our other brands because it is designed and manufactured locally. We want to utilise Dio Living to share the culture and beauty of Indonesia with the rest of the world.
Is there something that you want to communicate through your selection of products in Dio Living?
This is the newest addition to our group of companies. We would like to bring a fresh perspective where “Anak Bangsa” – the children of the nation – can create products that are comparable to international brands. Highlighting the inspiration from various cities and cultures throughout Indonesia, we are also aiming to educate the market about the richness and the allure of this country through our products. Our tagline for Dio Living is “Furniture Karya Anak Bangsa” – furniture made by the children of the nation – and we hope to bring in more and more talented product designers on board through this business. This way we can promote our own heritage, culture, and richness, especially to the younger generations and international audiences.
Speaking about products, how was the recent collaboration with Rans Entertainment born?
Our collaboration with Rans Entertainment began because of our shared mission to bring Indonesian culture and heritage to the global stage. I would say this has been one of our most important milestones for Dio Living. Looking at the market response, we can’t wait to produce even more interesting products in collaboration with Rans Entertainment.
Where do you see design furniture heading in the next five to ten years or so?
I believe that the ongoing digital revolution and easy flow of information will continue to affect the furniture industry. For example, it has become easier to obtain information about key design trends all over the world. I believe this ease of information exchange will create rising demand for trendy designs and related products, especially if it is complemented by growing residential and commercial constructions.
Last but not least, what are your future plans?
This year, we will be opening several stores in Jakarta. This is our main area focus as the economy re-opens. In the future, we will continue to expand the business to represent the products our brand partners have entrusted us with and to ensure more customers in Indonesia are able to get a taste of the “Affordable Luxury” furniture products we provide.