Love That Design met with the team to learn about their recent successes and challenges, and the future of Orangebox in the Middle East & Africa.
From 2009, when Orangebox Middle East & Africa first opened its doors in the region, their team has grown in both size and experience. And the year 2017 was Orangebox’s most successful by far in the Middle East & Africa, with 2018 looking even more positive.
“2017 was a breakthrough one for us in South Africa,” says Anne Barron, Regional Manager MEA. “But in the UAE, with the launch of our own Smartworking showroom in Dubai Design District, and headline products like Eva, 2018 is looking incredibly strong too. Beyond that, we are looking to grow the team and support our clients in the best possible way we can.
“We invest heavily in our Research & Development, to the point where it has had a tremendous effect on our product development and Smartworking portfolio. The research helps us better understand the challenges our clients face, and we can then create the necessary design solutions to address them,” says Barron.
The biggest triumph for Orangebox in the last fiscal year was growth in international exports. They opened two international showrooms (one in Dubai and the other in New York) in two different continents. The team admits that Launching showrooms is never easy as it stretches all parts of the business, from design to delivery, but it is apparent that Orangebox’s their love of exporting the brand is what drives them. The company is keen expand across the world so clients can have access to their collaborative working solutions in all markets.
“The fact that we are on the ground, and available for any support to customer queries, gives people the confidence to work with us” – Anne Barron, Regional Manager, MEA
On working in this region (Middle East and Africa)…
A lot of Orangebox’s clients are on big change programs, and the investment in their spaces is high. Furthermore, according to them, there is a tighter knit industry in the MEA region, which makes projects more enjoyable from start to finish.
“I remember Phil Robbins, Orangebox’s Export Director, speaking to me about their plan for the GCC, and I’ll always remember the clarity of it,” says Barron. “He said that our business had a core value – product innovation born from unbiased market insight. And he was right. There’s no truer place in the world where that value matches so harmoniously than the dynamic environment of the GCC.”
The Orangebox strategy, when trying to establish a presence in the Middle East & Africa, is the same as it would be in any new marketplace – putting in the hard graft required to build awareness of the brand and develop relationships with their customer base. This has given Orangebox a solid foundation to build on. Barron attributed their recent success to being there for customers and offering them a high level of support.
“A major contributing factor to our success is visibility,” she says. “Dubai is a very transient part of the world and we believe that being present, stable and consistent in this region makes us an attractive company to work with.” Clients and designers are more aware of Orangebox because the team is visible now with a constant presence in the Middle East. They have also developed strong relationships with experienced and reliable dealer partners, who helped them understand local requirements. “Plus the fact that we are on the ground, and available for any support to customer queries, gives people the confidence to work with us,” she says.