Rattan has long since been a great material for the manufacture of furniture and the reasons are simple.  The main reasons for the longevity of the rattan furniture trade are availability, strength, cost, style and demand.  If I look at each of these reasons individually we will see just why rattan furniture and more recently rattan garden furniture have proved such good sellers.   The availability of the raw material is first up on my list.  There are several different types of material which end up being classed as rattan furniture including cane, sea grass, banana leaf to name but a few.  The two things they have in common are that they are all woven in the same way and that they are relatively easy to work with.  Actually I could name another common feature which is that they are all fast growing items.   There is huge availability of rattan furniture as the raw material grows so quickly and is so plentiful that there is a never ending supply.

Next up is the strength of the raw material.  With the exception of the banana leaf which can be a little flaky the rattan materials such as cane and sea grass are very hard wearing.  For centuries we have seen items such as baskets made of wicker and cane and these are everyday hard working items.  The rattan furniture is no different.  These items are made to last and truly stand the test of time.  Not only is rattan strong it becomes even stronger when you weave it together in the interlocking way that we see in the manufacture of furniture.  This interlocking method makes the rattan furniture very strong and long lasting.   Cost is a huge factor in the success of any product in any marketplace and this is the next factor to look at in the longevity of the rattan furniture trade.  The fact that the raw material grows very quickly and is easy to grow almost inevitably means that it is cheap to purchase.  The low cost of production is maintained in the manufacturing process.  The rattan grows at its quickest in hot, wet countries such as Indonesia and there is an abundance of skilled labor to assemble the goods.  This abundance of labor helps keep wage price inflation under control which again keep the cost of production low and hence stimulates demand.  Sadly in the world we live in a low cost of production and therefore a low cost to the consumer are essential if a product is to survive for any length of time.

The style of the product is very important to its continued success and rattan furniture has a timeless design quality which is desired by the public.  The fact that the material is easy to work with means that many varied designs can be manufactured.  This means that the rattan furniture trade can design new and contemporary designs without a huge impact on the manufacturing process.  By that I mean that a new design coming through to the shop floor will not lead to hugely expensive new machinery or extra training for the staff.  The process for manufacture is the same and it is simply woven around a different frame.  This makes new designs easy and cheap to implement.  As mentioned above this low cost and swiftness to adapt to change makes this industry sustainable in the long term.   Finally the demand for the product is one of the major reasons for the longevity of this industry.  If there was no demand for these products then the industry would fade away.  It is not just a low cost product that will survive in today’s world as it is not all about cost.  Indeed it is not just a well made product that will thrive.

Any product needs the demand from the paying public to enable it to stand the test of time.  It is for all the reasons above that the rattan furniture business has been able to survive and indeed thrive in today’s market place.  I will be back soon with the newly immerging rattan garden furniture trade.


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