From its inception 18 years ago, Moooi has always prided itself on disrupting the design status quo. Thanks to an exclusive partnership with Weylandts, Moooi is now primed to make its way into the hearts and homes of South African home owners on a much bigger scale. Moooi CEO Robin Bevers and Weylandts owners Chris Weylandt and Kim Smith tell us about the future of their brands and the importance of timing.
Robin Bevers: We just love the Weylandts brand. We don’t just see Weylandts as retail – personally, it appeals to me as a brand more than anything else. And there are a lot of things we have in common, a lot of values and ideas. But there are also a lot of elements where we complement each other. I think Weylandts and Moooi [together] bring a particular energy and personality – there’s synergy. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Robin: Moooi is a young brand – we’ve just turned 18, so we’re reaching maturity but we still don’t want to behave maturely. We still want to be foolish [laughs]. But we’re getting there. And we’ve reached the point where it would be a good fit for us to team up with a player of the calibre of Weylandts, which is, for us, the most interesting player in the South African market place.
So, yes, we’ve been available in South Africa previously, in various stages of our youth. But now, in our mature life, we’re going for it for real. Weylandts has 10 stores nationally, with two more stores planned. Moooi will be available in five of these as a shop-in-shop and our lighting will be scattered throughout the Weylandts showroom settings. If you have a walk around, I think you’ll see it’s a really good match. So, for us, this is a huge platform and we’ll be much better equipped to reach our target audience.
Design is, in essence, a democratic movement, so you want to reach as large an audience as possible.
Chris Weylandt: Timing is often the most important thing. There is a time for everything. When you’re in the space, you need to see who Moooi is, and you can only do that in a concentrated way – hence the display box. But then it’s diluted throughout our showroom to show the customer how to use the product. It’s not scary, it’s not intimidating, it’s easy. And those settings are elevated because of the addition of a unique piece.
Kim Smith: To add another point to the timing, we’ve always been known for offering a lot of big, bold pieces. A lot of organic pieces, a lot of timber. And as people’s lifestyles have changed, we’re adapting and changing too by focusing on the younger market living in increasingly smaller spaces. As we’re moving into the cities and embracing small apartment living, it all fits with where we as a brand are heading.
The beauty of Moooi
Robin: There’s an incredible amount of choice in our selection, something for everybody. We think you should buy a Moooi piece because you love it, not because you need a table or a chair. There is so much of that out there already, and there are probably a lot more functional pieces than ours. Okay, we offer functionality, which is fine, and our pieces are sensible and sustainable – the whole thing – but that’s not why people will buy a Moooi piece. They will buy it because they love it. And continue to love it. We never want you to throw it away – we want you to keep it forever.