The brothers who went from turning over $900, 000 to $22 million in 24 months
Prior to the lockdowns that brought the world to a halt, our family business was ticking along fine, however as soon as our shop doors were forced to close, my brother Casey and I knew we were in trouble.
While we were making ends meet before, and we both were making a small profit, when those lockdowns hit, and revenue decreased, it became more challenging to pay our staff and pay off our stock. We had to make a call to go all in or to throw in the towel and get jobs on a farm.
McPhails Furniture was founded by my dad and mum, Keith and Bev McPhail in the 1960s. Dad was a fourth-generation farmer, who wanted to change the mold and run his own business in a different industry. He and Mum ended up buying a removals business, and Dad soon discovered that lots of people would throw out unwanted furniture when they were moving house, and a lot of the items were in great condition. Dad rented a shed and started collecting the unwanted pieces and auctioning them off at the end of each month. This was how McPhails was founded. Dad passed away in his early 50s, so my older brother Casey took over the business with another brother of ours. Ten years later, I joined, our other brother went onto a new venture, and now Casey and I run McPhails. These days we both source and design our own pieces.
How we came back from the brink
When the lockdowns hit, our revenue plummeted and we could barely keep our heads above water. Casey and I both mortgaged our homes to get some cash, I called a few contacts that I had met at uni and we developed a game plan, a big part of that being to move online, and to resolve a pain point for lots of furniture customers. Here are the things that made an impact.
Delivery: A big pain point for customers, is that a bulky furniture delivery can cost them $150- $250 to get delivered to their house. We decided to do a flat rate of $59 to any customers within a 1500 radius of our store. We can service most of the East Coast of Australia for this fee. This saved customers from a major pain point that can make or break the experience of buying furniture for them.
Facebook: Facebook has been king for us. We spend a lot of money each month on our ads and it pays back four-fold. The ad that really took off for us was the $59 delivery fee announcement, as again, it solves a pain point. Now we alternate between that messaging, new products, best sellers, and anything we are clearing.
Online: We tweaked our website to make it easy to navigate and to really showcase the product well.
Our store: Our store was not beautiful before, and as people come to purchase furniture to make their homes look nice and comfortable, it wasn’t speaking to our brand. We gave our store a huge facelift, it looks inviting now
We listen to our customers: Casey and I still work on the shop floor, or at least pop in most days. Therefore we can see what our customers are buying and ask what they want. Now that we make enough revenue, we have started creating our own pieces based on customer feedback and timeless trends
We purchased more trucks: With more demand, comes more deliveries. We ordered more vino trucks and hired more drivers. Wangaratta is right on the highway so it is easy for us to get around from our location
The big thing for us was to solve customer pain points, find new ways to reach our customers, and also create an in-store experience that customers who want to shop in person will enjoy. Since our upgrade, we regularly get travelers coming into the store who made the trip simply to shop with us. There is no doubt that the last 3 years have been a huge learning curve, however without the kick forcing us to adapt, it may have taken us longer to get to the place where we have landed.
About Taylor and Casey McPhail
Taylor and Casey McPhail are brothers who run McPhails Furniture, which is a family business that was founded by their parents in the 1960s. Not only do they have a great story and a rich family history in the area, but their product is exceptional. Most pieces are based on rustic or Hamptons designs and they name their ranges after the places that inspired them.