A lot goes on here at Few and Far before you can find the piece of your dreams and then a place for it in your home. Not long after the recent unpack of our shipment from India, our content editor asked us some questions to gain insight into what it actually takes to source products, fill a container, organise delivery to our warehouse and orchestrate a swift unpack, assessment, tag and store of every single piece. We wanted to share our answers with you. Yes, it really is a huge job. But it is so rewarding!
Once we have unpacked the pieces and are seeing them again after so many months, it feels like we are being reunited with an old friend. We are instantly reminded of our time in the country where the pieces were sourced and all of the smells, sights, tastes we encountered on the trip.
Here, we share the unpack process with you to let you see behind the scenes of Few and Far.
Danny and Tara x
What do you love the most about India? Why do you continue to source special pieces from India?
India has an amazing culture of traditional Indian heritage fused with British colonial influence. That mix comes out in everything that the artisans produce. They work with beautiful timbers and their craftsmanship is so unique and full of personality. We don’t look at Indian furniture and think nothing of who made it. The evidence of that “made by hand” craftsmanship is so strong and each piece really is so unique. It’s like filling a container with stories!
The craftsmen have a way of producing amazing work that patina beautifully over time. Then you throw in some of those quirky characteristics of function where pieces are built for specific purpose, which makes things so interesting! For instance, we have sourced old postal cabinets, counters, doors, school desks, and tent tables, to name a few. Sourcing from India is like being a kid in a lolly shop!
What do you look for in a piece?
We look for a difference. We seek a clear essence of the maker and I love the quirky functional pieces that we get to re-purpose. We buy so many pieces with so much variety (which is also something that is so attractive about Indian furniture), so, if you are looking for something different then India is the place to be! It is hard sometimes to find the ‘same’ piece again and again, but that’s the magic. One of a kind really means one of a kind.
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
I love this Almirah and I envisage a beachside home where it can live and look absolutely amazing! The blue and white on teak is so classic and coastal.
A lot of the pieces sourced are from Rajasthan and Goa. Why do these areas appeal to you the most when sourcing pieces?
Both Rajasthan and Goa are regions with beautiful histories and a strong colonial influence.
What physically needs to be done to fill a container and get it delivered to Australia?
Typically a massive amount of work goes into a shipment. Right now, because of COVID, everything has experienced a delay. To be honest, this year, shipment-wise, has been harder than ever.
We are lucky that we have established strong relationships with our suppliers over the years. Without this solid foundation in place, this year would have been a nightmare! We have thousands of pieces that we have sourced with them, and during that time they have taken the time to really understand our taste and what we are after. Literally every single day, Tara and I are buying things - little bits, here and there, to constantly build shipments. When one leaves, the other is getting ready to leave. There is always lots to source!
Once a container arrives, it’s delivered to us on a truck. The side loader cranes pop on the ground for us and we rip in and unload the whole shipment within 2 hours! This is all we are offered before our time is charged beyond the initial 2 hours. We usually have around 8 of our guys help with an unload. It’s a real team effort and a massive, whirlwind day!
Once unloaded, the container is quickly swept and cleaned and the driver is then good to lift the container back onto the truck. It then makes its way back to port in Botany, where the container is returned. In a full day we unpack all of the furniture, smalls, doors, mirrors and everything else in between! Weather permitting we leave the pieces outside the warehouse as we identify, tag and assess them all for any damage outside of the warehouse. We clean all of the pieces and then each one is lifted by trolley or hand into our studio where it is photographed and put away in neat rows in our warehouse waiting for the day it is bought by a customer and loved forever!
Photos by Michelle Fiona.