After spending four weekends darting between different furniture stores and showrooms across Melbourne, Ivan Lim was exhausted. The furniture-shopping process seemed inefficient and stressful.
“Is it the right style? Is it going to fit my home? Even delivery isn’t straightforward – you need to take a day off work,” Lim says. “I thought, ‘Why is buying a sofa so difficult?’”
Lim decided to use his tech skills (he’s worked in digital marketing and at website-design company Tweaky) to build something new. In 2014 he launched Brosa, a site where customers can buy furniture and homewares direct from makers here and overseas, cutting out the additional expenses that salespeople, warehousing costs and exporters add to the price of your item.
Now, Lim and his team have launched Brosa Studio, a Fitzroy showroom that’s brimming with mid-century-style furniture, timber pieces by Japanese designer Aoto Takada, concrete-topped dining tables, plush velvet sofas, and sofa-beds for $499.
Bring in a photo of your space and the team will convert it into a virtual room, then project different products onto it. You can create a mood board for one style – retro, mid-century, classic, modern – or experiment with different aesthetics.
If you’re not ready to buy, you can leave with a link to your wish list, take swatches home, and ask staff questions over the phone, on Instagram, through online chat or email – whichever best suits your needs.
“There’s no hardcore sell,” says COO Anna Stockley.
If you do decide to buy, Brosa has its own delivery drivers and tracking system. You’ll get a text with a suggested delivery day, and you can text back your availability. On the day, log into your account on the Brosa site to track your driver. “It avoids having to wait around a whole day for a delivery,” says Lim.
There’s even a White Glove Service, where a team will deliver and assemble your item for you (and take the packaging away).
Fitting around what his customers want is at the core of Lim’s philosophy. That’s why he opened up the showroom – to cater to customers who want to be able to drop in, take a walk around the airy, high-ceilinged space, and get as much or as little help as they need.
It’s also why every item in the store has a QR code on it. If you’d prefer to browse without chatting to anyone, you can scan the code for your item of choice and bring up the pricing, materials and dimensions. You can even purchase it on the spot.
This is what Brosa is all about, says Stockley. “The ability to be there wherever, whenever, and however a customer wants to shop.”
179 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
1300 027 672
Mon to Sat 9.30am–5.30pm