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: Furniture brand Castlery rides Scale-up growth programme to expand to the US

SINGAPORE - Having faced challenges and taken some missteps in its expansion into Australia previously, local home furniture brand Castlery was mindful of avoiding the same mistakes in its foray into the United States.

Its participation in Enterprise Singapore's Scale-up SG programme in November 2019 gave it the opportunity to work with the government agency and programme partners such as consulting firm McKinsey on its strategy to expand to the US, and the company has seen some early results.

The programme, launched in 2019, supports high-growth local companies in their expansion.

Since participating in the programme, Castlery has reported a six-fold increase in revenue.

International orders, which used to account for just 30 per cent of its overall sales before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020, now makes up about 80 per cent of Castlery's revenue. Castlery currently employs about 250 people across six countries, up from 90 before the pandemic.

Castlery co-founder Declan Ee told The Straits Times that the company benefited from the expertise provided by the programme, with partners doing regular check-ins and helping the company fine-tune its expansion strategy.

He recalled how one of the consultants asked him: "Declan, what problem are you solving?"

Such questions helped the company to focus the thought process and be more precise in addressing specific goals and challenges, Mr Ee explained.

In comparison with how the company moved into Australia, its expansion into the US at the end of 2019 was "much more conservative", focusing on specific metropolitan markets and targeting customers who are urban millennials aged between 25 and 45.

At the end of its first year in the US, the company was distributing to about 15 metropolitan areas, Mr Ee said. As of March this year, Castlery has been able to fulfil orders in the top 50 metropolitan areas in the US.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.