Beyond Borders applauds the heritage and craft of handmade furniture.
“There is no excuse for doing anything that is not strikingly beautiful”, said textile designer, poet and novelist William Morris. This idea resonates in Bali where everyone seems to possess some sort of artistic skill whether it be painting, weaving or woodworking. This is also a key concept at Beyond Borders Imports, a global furniture company that draws on Indonesia’s rich artistic heritage to create stunning handcrafted furniture and accessories.
What is now an internationally recognized company with a client list spanning continents, Beyond Borders got its start as a small family-run furniture business in Louisiana. Co-owner Rebekah Osborn says, “It began 11 years ago when I jumped feet first into the furniture world. I had no knowledge of furniture, retail or even running a business at that point, but things quickly evolved and made sense. After one year, I decided to venture overseas to see how and where all these beautiful products were being made.”
Rebekah’s travels took her to India where she encountered master craftspeople creating exceptional pieces made with exotic hardwoods. This is where she started creating bespoke items for the business and discovered a passion for manufacturing. Four years later her ventures led her to Indonesia, where she fell in love with the people, the land, and the capabilities of production in Java and Bali.
Today all of Beyond Borders’ furniture is produced in their factory in Java where Rebekah oversees a talented creative crew, checks quality control and works on product development. She says, “Our inspiration really comes from all over. We have a team of designers who create and develop completely original concepts, and we are also inspired by antique products or antique elements that are repurposed, as well as everything from French, Swedish and Asian influences.
“We have almost 1,000 diverse designs, so it’s a vast collection that features many different styles and types of products. Our export customers can mix all of these items in one container, which is a very valuable offering, and our retail customers can come to one shop and find Rustic, French, Industrial, Swedish, Coastal and Tropical designs. There truly is something for all design styles.”
What sets Beyond Borders apart from other furniture companies is their belief in preserving the heritage and craft of handmade furniture. Nothing is mass produced here, but rather made one piece at a time using locally sourced materials and techniques that have been passed down through generations. And while they enjoy playing with new ideas, they never lose sight of function or the human element that goes into each piece.
Sustainability is also a core value, which is why Beyond Borders is focusing on putting eco-conscious designs and practices in place. Top priorities include controlling waste, repurposing and recycling materials, and sourcing natural materials that are plentiful and ever-renewing. They are also working towards becoming a member of the Sustainable Furniture Council.
Rebekah says, “Being a member of the Sustainable Furniture Council alone is not enough, but we are striving to impact the furniture industry and become more involved in the steps needed to continue the sustainable process. We also have several initiatives in place for 2018 regarding planting trees and adding recycling options near our factory location.”
Other plans for the future include developing a major warehouse in the States that will feature their top 50 best-selling designs, and expanding the Beyond Borders factory in Java, which will allow the company to increase their capacity for shipping, reduce production time and get goods out faster. They are also renovating a large space in the middle of the furniture district in Bali, which will triple their offerings in Bali.
For the time being, visitors in Bali can stop by their stores in Sanur and Canggu for furniture and accessories that are at the forefront of global design trends. As Rebekah says, “Typically we see trends happening in Bali that don’t hit the States for a couple of years, so Bali helps us predict international influence of design better than anything else.”
“Our Bali locations are open to anyone – wholesalers, designers and retail customers. There is always a wide variety of furniture and décor in stock, and new designs are frequently popping in. In fact, we have wholesalers that continue to use our Bali shop as a resource when they need to quickly fill containers, so our inventory is always changing, which makes the Bali shops exciting, fun and ever-evolving.” S.M.