Many customers who order our garden furniture made from basalt rock fibres usually seek something out of the ordinary. At the same time, there are many people who do not trust new and unknown things. This forces us to work patiently and explain, said Maffam Freeform project lead Gatis Silenieks in an interview to BNN.
Maffam Freeform has been active since the end of 2010. The company offers clients in neighbouring countries, USA, Russia, Australia and a number of European countries garden furniture made from basalt rock fibres and decorative interior elements. Considering how unique this product is and that everything is hand-made, the average price is approximately EUR 800. Production process is carried out the following way: basalt fibres are mixed with eco-friendly resinous substance. Then everything is coated with a polyurethane coating. This helps protect furniture from natural elements and sun rays. Basalt absorbs UV rays, radioactive and electro-magnetic radiation, as well as X-rays.
What are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?
Maffam Freeform exclusive garden furniture niche is narrow but stable. We haven’t seen any grandiose events so far. We just try to achieve our goals.
Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?
Throughout the years we have concentrated on exports. Domestic market is of little interest to us. However, I have to admit that we have received a record-large number of orders from clients in Latvia throughout this season. This happened in spite of the fact that Latvia’s market is too small to sustain our company. Maffam Freeform was first founded during the economic crisis. Since then, the company’s turnover has only grown year after year. Although we cannot say this happens because of economic growth. We have invested a lot of work in realization of our products. I believe it is no small thanks to improved economic conditions in the country.
How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?
We actively use government programmes. I have to admit – it helps us a lot. We have used benefits provided by the ‘Conquering external markets – external market’ programme of Latvian Investments and Development Agency. It has helped us attend multiple international exhibitions in recent years. We gained a lot of experience in attending national stands organized by LIAA in previous years. Creative Andrejsala incubator helped us make our first steps.
How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?
Because we are rather passive in the domestic market, Latvia’s policy has a very little impact on our company. Of course, a stable and predictable tax policy is vital for any company, us as well.
How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?
Maffam Freeform manufactures exclusive products. We don’t have any direct competitors anywhere in the world. Although Latvians like local products very much and are big patriots, our neighbours make more orders annually than local customers do. Why is it so? We don’t know either.
What can you can call your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?
As I’ve said, Maffam Freeform manufactures exclusive products. It is both our trump card and Achiles’ heel. Many of our customers search for things that are out of the ordinary. They can definitely find it in Maffam Freeform. At the same time, we have to invest a lot of work to tell and show people what materials are used and what they can expect. People don’t trust new and unknown things. So we have to be patient to show and explain everything.
What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?
We will continue actively developing markets in which we have gained recognition. We will also make efforts to explore new markets and come up with new furniture collections.