Charged with leading Schiavello in Southeast Asia, Anton Schiavello talks regional strategy and how he plans to further strengthen the highly successful Australian family business in this part of the world.
20 January, 2015
In Australia, you can hardly go anywhere without coming across or experiencing a Schiavello product. From skyscrapers to office furniture and wine, the Schiavello brand – founded by brothers Tony and Joe Schiavello in 1966 – is indelibly etched into many aspects of life in the country.
Two years ago, to further strengthen its presence in the Asia region, Anton Schiavello, grandson of Tony Schiavello and son of now Managing Director Peter Schiavello, was appointed to head the business in Southeast Asia, a move that required him to relocate to Singapore, where the company has held its showroom for 15 years in its current address at Central Mall.
“It was all just perfect timing coming to Singapore to continue to grow Schiavello in the region – commercially the focus has been on Schiavello becoming an international brand and company. Personally, myself, and my wife Bonnie were looking to gain experience outside of Australia,” says Anton.
While only 24, ask Anton how long he has been working in the family business, and the answer would be a good 15 years.
“During the holidays as a child, I was on the factory floor, sorting out nuts and bolts, and later this progressed to assembling furniture,” Anton recalls. He says the reasons were twofold. “I looked up to my Dad and as he was developing new business ventures, I was driven to work with him, and ultimately work in the wider business as well.”
Having gained firsthand insight into many aspects of the business, and with a keen interest in construction, Anton joined the company following his graduation with a diploma in construction management five years ago, which was doubtlessly the most natural of moves.
Now, as Director for Schiavello International, Anton says his main task is to drive the Schiavello business in the region, particularly targeting markets in Southeast Asia.
The Schiavello Group of company’s services and products are exceedingly wide ranging, enabling the various businesses to leverage and share a rich wealth of resources and knowledge. In Asia, however, Anton says the emphasis will be on its furniture, which historically has been the business’s core focus, along with construction.
“Our business is people and knowledge. Our efforts in the space of workplace research psychology help us understand the relationship and interaction between people and their physical workspace. We also study technology, demographics and trends in human behaviour that will impact future ways of working,” says Anton.
“The fundamentals of the Schiavello furniture range are corporate focused. Workstations in particular have always been a key product, and a key part of our offering. There’s quite a high chance that if you work in Australia you’ve worked on a Schiavello workstation.”
Apart from its own line of furniture, Schiavello also partners with leading furniture brands from around the world such as Humanscale and Tecno. In Singapore, the latter is the most recent collaboration since Anton took up office.
“The Humanscale notion towards ergonomic design is unique and we believe when you sit on their products or interact with them, they speak for themselves,” says Anton. “It’s also very exciting to work with such a historical brand like Tecno. The technical detail of Tecno’s products and affinity for Italian design has made a wonderful contribution to the design community in Europe.”
In addition to these successful partnerships, Anton says the other biggest achievement over the last couple of years has been grounding Schiavello in the region and providing the same level of service, quality and product that clients in Australia get to enjoy. “This is one of the key aspects that I have been working on [since coming here],” says Anton. Schiavello Singapore has been involved in numerous notable projects to date, including Procter & Gamble, Goldman Sachs, Facebook, Linkedin, Lucas Films and Credit Suisse to name just a few.
Looking ahead, Anton says his goal will be to acquire an even better knowledge of Singapore and regional markets. “Understanding the specific requirements of each market is key,” he states, “so we can ultimately tailor and start to focus our offering based on the requirements of the region. Ultimately I look forward to continuing the vision instilled by my grandfather when he founded the business 49 years ago, a mantra that anything is possible.”
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