At home in the future

13th November, 2015

True to its dictionary definition, the word abode conjures up images of home, comfort and relaxation. This is exactly how you feel when you walk through the showroom doors of Abode Living in the leafy Melbourne suburb of Camberwell.

Blonde-wood flooring sets the tone, whilst a carefully curated collection of handcrafted furniture pieces takes pride of place. Draped on the furniture, and displayed on tables and shelving, are some of the finest locally made textiles, quilts, pillows and bed linen.

Egyptian cotton. Japanese selvedge denim. Italian linens. Australian wool. These are just a few of the fabrics and materials used in the products on display. All of them made with love in the Abode workshop behind the showroom.

To enter the showroom is to feel instantly at home, but it’s out back, in the warehouse and workshop, where the magic really happens. It’s almost impossible to believe manufacturing on this scale is happening here in suburban Camberwell. But it is.

Founded by Robert Adair in 1991, Abode has been trading and manufacturing in Camberwell since 1998. It launched a very successful online store in 2006. They also produce an 80-page catalogue in-house, which looks and feels more like a lifestyle magazine than a collection of products.

The Abode philosophy is a simple one – the best quality products at the most accessible prices. Couple this with a desire to ship items to customers within 24 hours and a business management system becomes an absolute must.

In an interview with Smart Company, Operations Director Ben Adair explained that the company had invested in a business management system, that struggled to keep up with stock control and customer records once the Abode online store took off.

“We wanted a system where a customer could order in-store or online,” said Ben, “and it would be processed with the same account. Likewise for stock, where we could update a record in one place for both in-store and online.”

The Abode team looked at a number of new systems, all of which promised great benefits, but were lacking in flexibility. “As soon as you need to customise something, or add functionality, it either gets expensive or it won’t let you do it,” said Ben.

Eventually they decided on MYOB EXO with implementation by BizPro. “EXO has everything we need,” said Ben. “We implemented it in two stages, as we are both a retailer and a manufacturer.”

Like any large system, it took a little while for team members to get their head around EXO. Ben says that BizPro was very helpful in bringing staff up to speed, with a couple of very minor issues quickly resolved.

Thanks to MYOB EXO, Abode is now able to make and ship orders within 24 hours to a rapidly expanding global customer base. Which is vital, given the importance of the internet as a sales channel today.

Of course doing things the old-fashioned way still has its place in our modern world, especially at Abode. It’s very common for long-term customers to bring back their pillows and quilts for rejuvenation or refilling.

It’s this dedication to craft and quality that sets Abode apart. But it’s their hunger to constantly challenge the status quo that will ensure their success well into the future.

Visit Abode Living online or in person at 331 Camberwell Rd, Camberwell, in Victoria.

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This article was originally published in the second edition of MYOB’s broadsheet, Insights, also available on iPad.