Step into Just Anthony and you might just spot a piece of furniture or accessory that would fit perfectly in the home of your grandparents, or better yet, a museum.
With a history dating back to the 1970s, Just Anthony is one, if not the pioneer of Chinese Lifestyle furniture in Singapore, selling an array of items that include collector’s antiques, beautifully restored centrepieces, and common antique household furniture.
The aforementioned name of the shop refers to none other then the owner himself, Anthony. A former employee with the Housing Development Board (HDB), his job in relocating people from the kampongs to HDB blocks would see him come across countless leftover piece of furniture that were too bulky to bring over.
Sensing a business opportunity, coupled with his love of Chinese culture, Anthony first began dabbling in the sale of Peranakan Furniture in the 1970s, but would soon move on to the sale of classic yet modern Chinese Furniture sourced from various provinces in China.
Like many Chinese businesses, family involvement is never too far away. First it was his niece, Angie, who came into the picture, followed by his own daughter, Danielle, who now runs the day-to-day operations while regularly accompanying her father on sourcing trips to China.
For Danielle, who first started out working as the cashier during her University days, getting into the family business never really crossed her mind.
“I had zero knowledge about Chinese furniture when I first started, but upon several trips with my dad to China, I began to appreciate the beauty that went into crafting these everyday household items”.
She recalls a visit to a village where she saw homemakers store vegetables and produce in their kitchen cabinets, something a similar piece would more often be used for ornamental purposes back here once they are refurbished and worked on by a team of dedicated experts.
For Danielle, her role in re-shaping the business to suit the trends is important in keeping the business fresh and alive.
“When we first started, it was mainly expats who bought our stuff. In fact, many Singaporeans were eager to get rid of their antique furniture in place of more modern ones.”
Today, the yearn for nostalgia and access to design catalogues that marry traditional and modern styles has seen a shift in the clientele, with close to half of them now being not just local, but young couples as well.
“There aren’t many collectors out there, so we find ways to cater to a younger audience looking for classic but trendy pieces for their home. Lamps for example, are often great centrepieces that liven up a room”, says Danielle.
Beyond what you see at the store, Just Anthony also does custom made pieces, classic reproductions, and even their very own designs done up by none other then Danielle and her father.
It probably helps that the store is located in what is probably a very old Chinese styled house, a perfect place for appreciating the beauty of the pieces on display.
Just Anthony is located along 379 Upper Paya Lebar Road. Nearest MRT being either Tai Seng (Circle Line) or Serangoon (North East & Circle Line).
http://www.justanthony.com/ | https://www.facebook.com/justanthonysg