Since entering the Indian market, Forestry Innovation Investment (FII) has been conducting product trials with local manufacturers to increase awareness and uptake of B.C. wood species within India’s domestic furniture sector. While many of these local manufacturers produce products for local use, FII India has also been exploring opportunities in India’s northern region–a primary hub for furniture exports.
Responding to the dwindling supply of local wood species such as Mango, Acacia and Sheesham, high costs and future availability constraints, FII India focused product trial efforts with manufacturers in the export-focused regions of Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi National Capital Region. In addition, trends within international furniture markets have shifted from heavy, antique styles to modern designs with clean lines and smooth finishes, which B.C. species such as Hemlock lend itself to. These factors have presented exciting opportunities for FII India to introduce B.C. wood products as alternatives to traditional hardwoods.
Through years of research and planning, followed by product trials, training workshops and technical assistance, FII India has successfully formed inroads with export-focused manufacturers that develop furniture and décor items for large international brands such as West Elm, CB-2, Freedom, Target, Arhaus and more.
The primary species used within the trials is western hemlock, which garnered positive feedback from manufacturers due to its strength to weight ratio, versatility and favourable finishing and staining properties. Manufacturers were pleased to learn of B.C.’s sustainable forest management practices and certified wood products –a growing requirement of many international customers.
Results of the trials have been positive, with large commercial orders placed for B.C. species. Through targeting efforts within this northern region, FII India has increased awareness of B.C. species within a new, high-potential segment of India’s furniture manufacturing market.