Monday, November 29, 2010

Locally made with quality and care

In the tiny island nation of Fiji, there is a company that makes high-end furniture from a local palm tree wood. Its designed beauty and utility make it desirable the world over.

If a company in Fiji can thrive, those in the much larger island nation of Taiwan should be able to do so. Rather than buying that cheap furniture imported from China, which carelessly uses up timber of even rare species of trees from the tropics, Taiwan has the creativity and skill sets to locally produce more of its own high quality furniture. Industries like this will keep the young folks of Taiwan from having to move to China to get jobs.

Consider: Certainly students in cheap temporary housing will not buy expensive pieces of furniture, but many in Taiwan are moving in to high-end apartments and wish to buy lasting and beautiful interiors. Builders and architects with this kind of clientele could easily build into the design interiors made in Taiwan.

Taiwan's government would have to provide some careful monitoring and reasonable regulation to ensure greed does not drive people to unsustainable logging. Likewise, they would have to actively prosecute fraudulent labeling of products that actually were made in China instead of Taiwan.

Even more than the government, the building and design companies themselves could monitor their product sources to certify the origin of the interior furnishings.

And local companies who produce the furniture could band together to ensure the accuracy of labeling.

Since part of the marketing plan of these high-end fully-furnished homes would be to provide the customer with the satisfaction of knowing the interiors are made in their home country of Taiwan, the incentive of pleasing the customer would provide a motivating self interest in making sure these products are locally-made and sustainable.

Establishing this kind of high-end locally-made interiors certification would create a new industry and jobs base as not only furniture, but lighting, fabric, rugs, pottery, utensils etc. all are made in Taiwan.

Some of the rich after luxurious lifestyles will not care where things are made (or even prefer imports from Europe). But a significant percentage may prefer to buy locally, and China cannot compete with that no matter how many environmental corners they cut, or how cheaply the almost slave-level labor they can squeeze from their citizens.

It will take Taiwanese companies with vision, creativity, quality control, and good marketing to be successful.

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