Prices on Banana Leaf (bananaleaf) furniture have been due a price check since the beginning of this Summer and, sure enough, prices have gone up.
The makers (or weavers, if you prefer) blame the increase on higher fuel and transportation charges on raw materials as well as increases per kilo or cubic meter on the banana leaf itself.
Long story short, you’re looking at a 10-20 percent increase over the old pricing.
For example, BLF-400, a 2-seater Banana Leaf Sofa, used to cost just under US$150.00, now costs US$184.00.
Technical Details on Handmade Balinese Banana Leaf Furniture
Banana Fibers (also known as abaca fibers, abaca-banana fiber, musa textilis) have a high tensile strength and resist rot. Historically they have been used to make rope. They are environment friendly and renewable.
Banana Leaf furniture is hand woven from Banana fibers. The fibers arrive at the factory already treated against parasites and bugs.
The process starts with the building of frame out of wood. At this point in the process, once can select from a variety of wood options but usually banana leaf furniture is woven on top of fairly low quality wood.
We inspect the wood before production on our orders to ensure moisture content is in range (i.e. the wood is dry) and that the wood is free from bark.
The banana fibers are then woven to the furniture frames by hand, treated again to avoid insects and mould and then painted, stained and finished with a clear gloss top coat (you’re welcome to request alternative finishes for your orders).
We’ve uploaded a video to youtube so you can see exactly how this furniture is made – please click here to see the making of banana leaf furniture:
Depending on fiber stock and the complexity of an order, a 20’ container load of banana leaf furniture can usually be finished within 5 weeks.
Uses of Banana Leaf Furniture
The range includes mirrors, coffee tables, loungers, dining chairs, sofas – practically speaking any type of furniture can be adapted to be made from Banana Leaf.
Importing, Wholesaling and Retailing Coconut Wood Bowls
I do like banana leaf furniture in Bali… by which I mean I like it here as product to use here – we have a banana leaf sofa set in the office and one more in the warehouse. We’ve had them for years and they’ve stood the test of time pretty well.
We did see a little unraveling towards the base of one of the armchairs but were able to fix it pretty easily by gluing it back in place.
I’m not completely convinced about the general merits of exporting the banana leaf furniture. It’s inexpensive but bulky which means it takes up a lot of space inside a container. One banana leaf sofa set (2-seater sofa + 2 armchairs + 1 coffee table) can easily take up 3 cubic meters inside a container.
That means, you could quite easily fill a 20’ container with US$4,000 worth of product or less.
That’s a low value 20’ container and I really have no idea on what kind of returns you would be looking at… my guess is that this furniture is best imported either by specialist furniture outlets with the ability to retail sets and pieces at high volume or perhaps as just occasional pieces when your order is ready to go but you still have a few cubes of space of available.
I would also recommend against online only retailing simply because Ebay and price comparison websites routinely show, for example, banana leaf dining chairs at around the US$60.00 mark which is roughly the price we see them at here.
Obviously, we’re not talking about the same quality product but it’s almost impossible to judge that online.
Visit our banana leaf furniture online by clicking here:
As always, if there’s a style you have in mind but can’t find in our catalaog, go ahead and send us images and details — if we can’t find it, we can have it made for you.
Conclusion & Final Word
A nice product made in an interesting way but not a ‘get rich quick’ import.
A little too bulky to be hugely profitable but potentially a useful, inexpensive addition to your container if you have empty space or you are a high volume furniture retailer. Rating: