“Most families will buy one dining room table over a lifetime,” notes Marc of Eclipse Furniture. How does a handcrafted furniture company adapt and thrive in today’s market? With nearly four decades of experience, the family-owned company continues to act as a trailblazer of handcrafted furniture in Australia. As a whole, the furniture industry is projected to grow by 5.2% from 2023-2028.
Eclipse Furniture is already steps ahead in delivering the customizability and sustainability driving this growth. With more time spent at home, more people are choosing to tailor their spaces to meet individual needs for function and comfort and support values like sustainability. Get a breakdown of how Marc and the team meet the demand to match those needs here.
As a family-owned business, generations of Eclipse Furniture held to the tradition of hand-drawing designs. Then an employee introduced the team to 3D modeling with SketchUp. As Owner and Manager of the company, Marc decided to integrate CAD into the business. Frustrated with how SketchUp’s mesh modeling system made concepting and editing designs a struggle, Marc needed a CAD software that could help him design faster. Already armed with an iPad, he wanted the experience of drawing out designs naturally with a pen.
When Marc came across Shapr3D, he found that the CAD tool fit his business needs. Shapr3D lets the Eclipse team concept designs easily and quickly with the 3D models they create which allows them to achieve precise geometry for manufacturing. Both Marc and Marketing & Sales Director, Joe, use visual 3D renders of models and 2D Drawings to communicate effectively between clients and the production team.
This allowed Marc and Eclipse Furniture to consistently deliver products on a short timeline and develop a market niche.
- Looking for CAD software that fits business needs
- Design miscommunication results in production issues
- Fast customization using 3D modeling for quick turnaround
- Accessible CAD speeds up design conceptualization
- Quick communication with Visualized 3D models pinpoints possible issues for early resolution
- Instinctive modeling enables customization & pushes business into a higher market
About Eclipse Furniture & Marc
Eclipse Furniture is a custom furniture design and manufacturing business run by the Triffit family in Sydney, Australia. The 12-person team is divided into front-of-house (FOH) and back-of-house (BOH). Marc and Joe work client-facing, handling marketing, point of sales, and relaying design orders to cabinet makers. The back-of-house team is run by Ross and Juli, with five cabinet makers and a finisher making up the Design and Production team.
Together, the company is known for its handcrafted, custom furniture manufactured in-house from ethically sourced Indigenous hardwoods such as Red Gum and Tasmanian Oak made using Carbon Capture. The company bypasses the carbon footprint of furniture shipped from long distances and keeps carbon in the timber, as the tree would have. This cuts down the amount of carbon that would have escaped into the atmosphere to curb carbon emissions.
Quick concepting, faster turnaround
Though SketchUp is often considered the industry standard for furniture design, Marc found himself looking for another CAD software that fit his business needs. After investing a lot of time into learning SketchUp, he still found it challenging to complete designs quickly and to fit his vision. A simple error could mess up his whole design, forcing him to start over. He needed a CAD software that could help him streamline his process.
“When I was using SketchUp, I would start with a body, then draw around the body, and push and pull until I kinda shaped it. Shapr3D has made me build components and connect the components. It’s helped me break down how I would construct and join each piece of timber. It makes me think about actually building it rather than just a design. This makes me break down each join and think about that join. In my technical drawing I can make a note about [what to do] for construction purposes.”
Since coming across Shapr3D, the CAD tool has become integral to his business. The initial process of learning Shapr3D was easy and now the CAD software is helping them excel. Marc and the team have used Shapr3D to speed up concepting and designing furniture pieces. Drawing out pieces feels natural for both Marc and Joe and they can make the construction process more accurate.
Now when the team meets with a client, they can model out the design there and then true to client vision. Marc and Joe’s ability to capture clients’ design goals down to the last detail has made them sought after in the custom furniture industry.
Client vision executed in one round
The 3D models that Marc and Joe create act as a bridge for directly connecting clients with the Design & Production team. The two parties have different vocabularies to describe furniture, making communication prone to error. While a client may describe a piece of furniture with generic terms, a Cabinet Maker uses vocabulary standard to furniture making. The disconnect between the two can result in a mismatch of vision.
Previously, Marc would have sent a job sheet to a client that included a written description of the piece ordered. Without a common vocabulary to depend on, written communication led to error. The result was the showroom floor was full of pieces that were mistakes from miscommunication. Now the team takes one round to create a piece of furniture exactly how the client envisioned it.
“[With Shapr3D] we take control of what [the design] is, how it looks, where the legs are, what the dimensions are exactly. There’s no gray area anymore. It helps minimize mistakes or miscommunication. It gets everyone on the same page.”
Since adopting Shapr3D, Marc and Joe include 3D model images and 2D Drawings of the requested piece on job sheets. Before manufacturing the piece in-house, Marc meets with the Design & Production team to discuss the 3D models and 2D Drawings.
They flag any potential problems and make suggestions to further improve the design. In turn, the client can note any changes to be made. How has this impacted design execution? “We’ve all but eliminated production issues,” reports Marc.
Product evolution reaches a new market
For generations of business, Eclipse Furniture specialized in traditional designs such as dining room tables. When the team started using Shapr3D, they realized that they could customize designs to fit clients’ needs exactly. This led them to delve into creating more and more intricate designs.
“We’ve pushed into a higher market and our product has evolved a lot with the help of Shapr3D. We couldn’t be where we are today without a CAD tool like Shapr3D.”
Now the company can reach a more niche market. With a more expansive design set of custom furniture from cabinets with wine racks to credenzas with clean detail, the company’s furniture is in high demand by interior designers who often need custom pieces. A typical wait time for furniture shipped from Europe or elsewhere outside of Australia is 6-10 months.
What about Marc and team? They deliver within 6-8 weeks. Eclipse Furniture’s reputation for its custom furniture design makes them the go-to for on-the-go interior designers who rely on the team for quick turnaround.