Kicking up a bit of a fuss with dissatisfied local customers, online interior store Kor Home is in the spotlight right now for all the wrong reasons.

One customer spoken to by Stuff waited four months after purchase for their furniture to arrive and eventually received a refund after filing a police report, another waited more than seven weeks for her chairs to be delivered, and another is still waiting for her goods to arrive, more than eight weeks on.

So who or what is Kor Home?

From the available information, the company appears to be a furniture importer, a retailer of haute designer-looking pieces that are produced offshore, most likely in Thailand or China.

The New Zealand furniture website claims to be local, but the same products are for sale by Mitten Home in Thailand. Delayed deliveries and poor communication have left Kiwi consumers feeling exasperated and confused.

Kor Home / Mitten Home

The New Zealand furniture website claims to be local, but the same products are for sale by Mitten Home in Thailand. Delayed deliveries and poor communication have left Kiwi consumers feeling exasperated and confused.

We have not been able to firm up whether Kor Home are onsellers of Mitten Studio, or whether they instead have a connection with the same manufacturing factory. But it’s clear that the photography and products are the same, although Kor Home uses different product names to Mitten Studio, and Kor Home offers a smaller selection of goods.

According to the NZ Companies Office, Kor Home was registered as a limited company within the furniture retailing industry on 10 November 2021. The sole company director is listed as Menglin Chen, who lives in Ilam, Christchurch.

Cosmetic tattooist Alana Meikle purchased two chairs from Kor Home for her studio and waited over seven weeks for them to arrive. She says she had to kick up a huge fuss before receiving them. “It shouldn’t be so hard,” she says.

Supplied

Cosmetic tattooist Alana Meikle purchased two chairs from Kor Home for her studio and waited over seven weeks for them to arrive. She says she had to kick up a huge fuss before receiving them. “It shouldn’t be so hard,” she says.

The company’s officially listed address is in Greenhithe, Auckland, whilst the store location as shown in Google is 18 Rennie Drive, Māngere, Auckland.

This all seems fairly standard. It’s in the About Us description on their website, which is where for me as a journalist, interior designer and consumer, things start to go awry.

This section describes the company like this:

”We are an online store run by a group of young Kiwis who love life, leading our own family-owned furniture manufacturing family business with over 20 years experience in furniture development and production.”

“We are passionate about providing local New Zealanders with ideas for different spaces and bringing you the most up-to-date, foreword (SIC), stylish and versatile urban furniture. We believe that stylish living is fun and affordable. Choose us to provide you with direct access to manufacturers, bypass retail markups and enjoy our strictly wholesale priced fine products!”

The website, in only slightly-mangled English, goes on to say that the company follows the “custom service of “order first, produce later“”.

The Pebble Sofa by Kor Home is an unusual design and with its lower price point, perhaps one that Kiwis are willing to take a gamble on?

Kor Home

The Pebble Sofa by Kor Home is an unusual design and with its lower price point, perhaps one that Kiwis are willing to take a gamble on?

The Bubble Sofa by Addy and Lou, a Kaikōura-based online furniture retailer with five-star Google reviews and a physical premises, but higher prices than Kor Home. This sofa costs $3690 compared to Kor Home’s $1850 for a similar product.

Addy and Lou

The Bubble Sofa by Addy and Lou, a Kaikōura-based online furniture retailer with five-star Google reviews and a physical premises, but higher prices than Kor Home. This sofa costs $3690 compared to Kor Home’s $1850 for a similar product.

“In order to make the mechanism cost-effective, we achieved zero inventory. This means that every piece of furniture delivered to you has been cut out of from the middleman.

“We have a reliable commercial shipping team, our own delivery company, our own factory. This allows our products to be delivered directly from the factory to you. Our advanced, mature processing technology enables you to order furniture can be personalized customization. Believe us, every penny you spend, are put on the quality of the product. This allows you to experience high-end luxury, design-filled furniture at the cost of ordinary furniture.”

There’s nothing wrong with a good-quality imported product, particularly if its production can be traced to ensure that it was made ethically. Honesty about the origins of products is not only required legally, it’s important for brand-building and creating trust with customers.

So how could a company like this, with mysterious origins, and lacklustre communications and delivery, get by on our shores? Clearly there is a place in the market for on-trend furniture at lower prices.

It seems that Kor Home is simply selling products that are either not available in other stores in New Zealand, or are more expensive elsewhere.

For example, the closest looking thing to Kor Home’s Chubby Pebble Sofa, $1850 for a three-seater, is Addy and Lou’s Bubble three-seater couch, $3690.

The Kor Home Roman Round Table, which is advertised for $1150.

Kor Home

The Kor Home Roman Round Table, which is advertised for $1150.

Similarly, Kor Home’s Roman Round Dining Table in the 100cm size is $1,150. The Delos Round Dining Table, also in 100cm, by Corcovado, a reliable local retailer who is transparent about its on- and off-shore production processes, is $4,940.

What’s the difference between a site like Kor Home and one such as Temu?

They are actually quite different, first in their product offerings and secondly in the way they appear to be structured. Kor Home is an online furniture retailer, whereas the biggest piece you’ll be able to buy on Temu is a side table of sorts, or more decor focused items like sofa slip covers or cushions, rather than the sofa itself.

The Delos Round Table in Oak by Corcovado store.

Corcovado

The Delos Round Table in Oak by Corcovado store.

Secondly, Temu “is an online marketplace that connects consumers with millions of sellers, manufacturers and brands”. It is more like AliExpress but for home and lifestyle-focused products. Kor Home, on the other hand, appears to be a retailer of a single factory’s product offering.

Time will tell whether Kor Home’s products are long-lasting as well as attractive. To date, customers who have actually received their furniture and left a Google review for the company have been satisfied with the quality of the products received.

Kor Home was contacted several times for a response to Stuff’s earlier story, but has not replied.

Canadian decor fan Kirsten Olson shows how simple it is to give your bed the perfect painted headboard. Check out @kirstenolsonhome on Instagram for more.

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