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EBRD and EU support homeware manufacturer in Georgia

By Nina Tsintsadze

Tbilisi-based stylish design store co-founder Marika Chakhrakia and her co-workers

Funduki designs for young professionals and a simpler life

Funduki, a stylish design store from Georgia, manufactures unique, minimalistic furniture: their pieces are easy to assemble and even easier to dismantle. One can simply flat pack, for example, Funduki shelves into a special bag and travel with them whenever one wants to start a new home. High quality, durable, eco-friendly material and functionality make Funduki furniture hard to part with.

Together with the European Union (EU), we have helped the company to popularise their brand further and to reach out to their customers with a sound communication and digital strategy.

A home that suits your lifestyle

“We are designing handmade homeware for young professionals who value a simple and sustainable lifestyle,” says co-founder Marika Chakhrakia.

The creative duo behind Funduki, Marika and Sandro Tsivtsivadze, have long been in the business of producing gift sets for a vast base of corporate clients. Since 2012, they have been manufacturing goods imprinted with their creative vibe.

“Our Lego-like furniture stems from our nomadic lifestyle – we often change flats. We also wanted minimalistic pieces that were not available on the local market, for smaller apartments. Smaller spaces have also needed to accommodate home offices during and after the coronavirus pandemic,” notes Marika.

And then a true star was born in the form of their furniture collection.

“Our floating desk can be simply mounted on the wall with colourful straps and can be very practical if one wants to work standing or change office environment in a matter of minutes. Its popularity stems from its practicality,” she says.

Funduki goes beyond just interesting furniture: their store is packed with colourful souvenirs, from hoodies and rucksacks with original prints to even woollen handmade slippers – the snuggest pair for when the winter weather rolls in.

Gaining a digital edge

Since 2020, the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme, with financial support from the EU, has been helping local firms in Georgia on their digital journeys. After the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, SMEs in the country needed to rethink, re-skill and restart their operations while introducing digital tools for growth and successful sustainable operations. Dozens of companies have already benefitted from this support in the form of advisory projects, including Funduki, with many more to come in the future.

In Funduki’s case, leading Georgian digital agency Leavingstone worked with the company to diversify sales channels, and introduce a brand code, guidelines and a digital sales strategy. Funduki is now available on international platforms; locally, it sells its products in its physical shop and via social media channels. A dedicated e-commerce channel will also soon be in operation. Since these changes started, the company turnover has increased significantly, with the number of clients nearly doubling and Funduki able to grow its team.

What’s in store for the future?

The answer is simple.

Funduki is looking towards a more sustainable future: the company has already been reclaiming wood waste from manufacturing and producing its artsy mirror frames, panels, room dividers, coasters and more. Further plans are also in place to reclaim textile waste.

The business is also looking expand to new markets, attracting new loyal customers from abroad.

Marika believes sending the right message to customers at the right time using the right medium is one of the ingredients for a successful business, and she has confidence in the digital future of her company while loving what she is doing. These are her two ingredients to building a successful enterprise.

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