Naoufal Kahwaji, Influence founder.
How come you had the idea of launching the Influence brand?
The high-end outdoor market is dense, with great brands offering large collections of products, wide materials ranges, varied styles and colors renewed season after season.
For 20 years in the category, we have noticed a strong evolution of the professionals’ demand for timeless products and materials with a high added value… Added value in terms of weight, durability, resistance to the weather, in terms of material processing… We cannot forget that the professional is looking for outdoor products combining design and efficiency. For him outdoor furniture is both a work tool and an essential feature of decoration.
How do you create the collections?
All the products we imagine are exclusively influenced by our knowledge of the hotel and restaurant professionals.
We have listened to them talking about their job and their clients, and have realized how details are important to them. Details are at the heart of their job. Details at the reception, details in the presentation of the plates, details in service attention, details in comfort and elegance of the rooms… In short professionals are more than anyone addicted to these details which make the difference with their customers, who want to live unforgettable emotional moments.
To satisfy these demanding professional customers, we have created collections based on what the best of technology can bring today.
And for design, how do you proceed?
Our designers and us have 2 obsessions: the detail and still the detail. This is our motto! Because an Influence product is designed to last beyond fashion, we search forms based on the details of purity, simplicity, ergonomics and comfort. And because an Influence product is made to last over time, a hard work on the details of manufacturing and finishing is imposed on our designers. You know, I’m a trained engineer both the culture of precision and the quest for perfection are at the heart of Influence.
Influence ranges are relatively short and only 3 colors are available. Is it deliberate?
Absolutely, this is one of the essential points of the brand. We wish to be able to guarantee our customers the durability of the collections. We want to allow them to re-order products identical to those they bought 20 years ago.
As for the 3 colors, they have been designed for their ability to fit everywhere, in all types of environment. And that’s exactly what our customers are looking for. But apart from the permanent ranges and collections, we have developed a tailor-made service that will allow us to create, in collaboration with our R & D department, specific products. In parallel, we offer a color customization service.
So, Influence is a professionals’ brand for professionals?
Not at all! If Influence is a brand created to meet the very demanding requirements of professionals, individual customers must be able to benefit as well. I would say that it is an asset for the individual to have products developed for pros. An individual investing in outdoor furniture will be reassured by knowing that Influence offer him such a quality product. To serve the individuals’ specific demand, we have chosen to operate through specialized resellers. This network of ambassadors for the brand, distributed throughout the territory, will allow individuals to access all our collections.
Interview by François Beauregard.