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Cinde W. Ingram

Treasure Garden grows to serve retailers' needs

Treasure Garden President/CEO Oliver Ma said he views its fifth first-place Casual Furniture Retailers' Manufacturer Leadership Award in the accessories category as proof his team serves the needs of more than 1,000 high-end patio shops in the United States alone.

Ma has witnessed substantial changes in the casual furniture industry since he arrived in the United States in 1980 with two suitcases and plenty of ideas. And he's played a role in promoting a shift toward more color choices and smoother mechanisms to operate shade products.

"Since 1984 when we started in the United States, we have tried real hard and learned from the patio shops what they needed," Ma said. "Patio shops need a lot of service, more than what we thought. That's why we spent a lot of time to learn what they wanted, what they needed and each year we developed a lot of new umbrellas. Now we have thousands and thousands of umbrellas.

"Umbrellas were always in the beginning an accessory, but through the years retailers came to realize one good umbrella can dress up a patio shop," Ma said. "We try to influence the market to bring in more color but even as recent as three years ago, what they would purchase was brown. Now, they're more willing to try different colors."

What's the current attention-grabbing color? Tangerine, he said.

Specialty retailers at first did not understand that by using "the right fabrics in the right shapes" they would reflect the better quality of all their merchandise, Ma said. That changed over time and so did Treasure Garden's challenges. For example, table sizes have grown over the last 26 years and require larger shade products.

Treasure Garden's newly introduced Easy Track Collection spans up to 13 feet and requires no crank, cord or pulley to open and close.

"We developed the mechanisms to handle large shade products that self balance with an easy track system," Ma said. "We own a lot of patents and we have a lot of people working in research and development."

Treasure Garden employs about 1,600 people in China, nearly 100 in the United States and about 150 in Europe. Its now runs seven vertically integrated factories to meet the needs of retailers worldwide.

"I think the whole market is growing and not just because of the baby boomers getting older," Ma said. "It's because the sun each year is getting hotter and hotter. People are willing to pay for value and an easy-to-use shade system with no headache or trouble."

Oliver Ma

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