With a passion for beautiful things and a mind for business, Nestify founder MARGARET SELLERGREN found her calling setting up her home furniture online boutique in June 2018. She talks us through why she did it, and what we can expect from her collections, including sustainable teak furniture and mid-century styles.
What motivated you to start Nestify?
Two of my main interests, beautiful things and business! I had worked for my father in the family businesses (including translation) for much of my life. In fact, it was my dad who taught me about quality and continuous improvement, which is now my business and life philosophy.
My family had also been running a furniture business in the US Virgin Islands since 2003. When I moved to Singapore, it made sense to set up a furniture online business and leverage off their experience, suppliers, products and processes. The home should be a nurturing place, and my aim has been to produce pieces that help create a cosy, interesting and beautiful space. The name Nestify, reflecting the idea of turning a house into a home, emphasises this aim.
What’s your own personal home furniture style?
Nature and the environment are strong drivers in my personal aesthetic. I live in a very open black-and-white walk-up built in the 1930s, with a tropical deco vibe; Nestify furniture works well in this type of setting, including teak furniture and hand-woven cane pieces.
I’m obsessed with colour, and have lots of colourful upholsteries on my furniture, plus throw pillows, throw blankets, plants, and art on the walls. I’m also very attracted to geometric patterns, stripes and bold prints in the fabrics I use, and in the art on my wall and inlay on the furniture. I love an array of warm and earthy materials and textures, such as wood, velvets and marble accents, which I have in my upcoming collection.
My bathroom is also a little art gallery for my family and friends’ art that I collect, and other items I pick up along the way. John Ruskin once said that art is the manifestation of the spirit in physical objects, and I definitely strive to reflect my true spirit in my home; warm, calm, loving, at peace, colourful, free. My home is an expression of the positive way I choose to live my life.
How important is sustainability to you?
Very. We use sustainably sourced teak furniture wood, and my key mantra is to reduce, reuse, recycle, reupholster and repair. I don’t believe in just purchasing, collecting, hoarding, but rather identify what my need is, and wait for the moment to come, through research and reflection, and finally decide on the right piece that will fulfil that need. We have to choose our objects wisely.
Do you have any tips for setting up a business in Singapore?
I have a great accountant who has done all of my business setup, as well as processing my Employment Pass and my taxes. So, I recommend finding someone who you trust; clear communication is also important.
I had a lot of fear of not being able to do this business. But I realised that no one really knows what they’re doing when they first start out; part of the process is figuring it out through trial and error, testing and tweaking ideas and results.
How do you create your own ‘noise’ in the home furniture marketplace?
Number one is our focus on quality. I share a lot of the same suppliers with our family business, Sweet Lime Furnishings in St. Croix, and working with high-quality suppliers is really important to us. We bring in high-quality, classic, contemporary designs to your home that will last.
I also have a strong interest in design history, where I get a lot of my inspiration. The Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Modernism, Mid-Century and Postmodernism really influence my style.
Describe your customers’ experience.
I offer free delivery, and most pieces can be delivered within a week or so. I work with some of the best craftsman in the region – in Jepara, Indonesia, a place where craftsmanship is in their blood. Customers buying furniture online with us can be assured of our quality-control processes. I am very hands-on; I’ve made numerous visits to the factory to inspect the work, see how the products are made, and exhaust them with my questions.
Any plans for a physical retail space?
A retail space is something I’m looking at for the future; I do understand that people really want to touch and feel the pieces. But online furniture shopping is also a great space to be in. Right now, I’m able to show the items in my home by private appointment.
Is there a new collection we can talk about?
Yes! With my 2022 collection, I’m bringing in a larger array of items for bedroom, bathroom, dining room and living room. I’m super excited for our Bobbin four-poster bed, a stunning teak furniture piece.
For the bathroom, I have you covered with some new cabinets and drying racks for towels (always a challenge in Singapore). I also have a lovely dining table and two chair options.
Side tables are also coming, some with marble and other elements along with the wood. Then there’s a dressing table and chair set. I prefer to sit while I put on my makeup, and I know others do too. I also have bookcases and a cabinet with shelving and a mirrored back coming in, as well as lots of cool accent pieces!
2 Woking Road, #01-01 (by appointment only)
8261 4138 | nestify.shop
For more gorgeous home furniture ideas, head to our Homes section, or have a (virtual) nose around our readers’ homes.