Local lifestyle outfitter BRU steps into traditional retailing
Until February BRU Creations & Productions had operated out of a workshop in Ap Lei Chau, custom making indoor and outdoor furniture and running its export and interiors businesses. The next logical step for the two-year old company was BRU Living, a 5,000 square foot retail outlet located in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Miramar Shopping Centre.
BRU Living is lifestyle department store. There’s no food or fashion, but BRU carries a wide range of unique products for the home with a conscious sustainability mandate. “Since we’re a sustainable company we use sustainable materials. There are towels that are made from organic cotton and coloured with organic dyes. For our teak furniture, the factory has its own mountain of forest and they replant as well. It’s sustainable and the factory itself has won a green factory award and they’re going for FSC certification,” explains Clive Chan, co-founder of BRU Creations & Productions. Along with his partner Rubi Alegado, the duo source and design almost everything in the store, whose stock includes a number of international brands that BRU distributes in Hong Kong exclusively.
BRU’s stock breaks down into two segments: furniture and accessories. The furniture lines are what you see first upon walking through the store’s entrance. Wooden items are made from Burmese teak (processed at the aforementioned green factory), which Chan hails as the best that money can buy. Tables, chairs, decking, doors, shelving and everything else are cut from enormous pieces of lumber that ensure solidity and a seamless aesthetic. There’s no particleboard here. Best of all is how teak withstands the elements if it’s outside, and looks elegant and substantial inside. And as Chan sees it, any piece is suitable for any location in or around the home. “We don’t make indoor furniture or outdoor furniture. We make high quality furniture.”
The other signature pieces are the woven rattan-styled pieces, made in the Philippines. But BRU’s diversity is its most notable trait. Alongside big ticket items are hand-blown glass vases and decorative items, renovation materials like interlocking floor tiles, memory foam pillows and cushions specifically designed for men or women, modular furniture, natural Japanese cosmetics line Aoyama, which uses spring water in all its products, bamboo, Indian organic cotton and 1,000 thread count bed sheets. Referring to the limited edition German linen sets, “There are only one of each design in Hong Kong. This is the finest cotton I’ve ever felt.” With rotating stock, will it pay to browse often? “Oh yes,” replies Chan.
It’s been a scant few weeks, but Chan proudly states that response has been, “Very good so far. A lot of designers come in, and we’ve had a lot of walk-in clients too. We’ve also seen a number of Mainland visitors who never expected to buy furniture.” Designing is one of BRU’s services, along with renovation consulting and furniture restoration and, of course, custom furniture. But BRU Living is, at its core, a shop you can browse in for a novel gift for a pregnant friend or for something for that empty corner of your terrace. Chan sums up BRU in manner as unfussy as the store itself. “What we like are beautiful, stylish products that are functional. We’re selling luxurious, comfortable lifestyle at an acceptable price point. It’s not just for the rich.”