A FAMILY TRADITION BEGINS
Eaststyle Furniture began in 1956 as a small business located in Wolseley Parade in Kensington, Victoria. Post-war Australia was entering a golden consumer boom and protective tariffs on furniture and a strong European market helped to boost manufacturing. A resourceful 23-year-old Geoff Eastmure applied his upholstery skills to recovering and refurbishing old lounge-suites to sell to a number of the local auction houses. The quality of his work brought repeat sales giving him economy of scales to buy frames and materials to create batches of ten chairs at a time.
REPUTATION FOR QUALITY
The emergence of retail stores followed by the establishment of larger furniture chains increased demand for Australian furniture. Eaststyle’s reputation for producing quality furniture continued to grow and Geoff saw the need to find a factory to house production. He purchased a property in Elizabeth Street Kensington. The company began supplying a number of furniture retailers including Paterson’s, Scott Berkowitz, Lawfords, Maple’s and Malcolm Reid along with a number of smaller independent outlets. Finally, large department stores such as Myers and David Jones opened the interstate market for Eaststyle and they realised orders of up to 100 lounge suites at a time.
By the 1970’s, the factory had expanded into surrounding buildings and the company employed over 40 qualified craftsmen. As the popularity of department stores increased, Eaststyle Furniture expanded their customer base to include Anderson’s, Guests, Norman Ross (the fore-runner for Harvey Norman stores) and Burns & Phillips in Sydney. The company was supplying groups all over Australia and employed 70 permanent craftsmen and 30 outworkers.