The history of family-run business Expormim, whose name is a conflation of exportadora – meaning exporter – and mimbre (wicker), is the story of a company which started life in an 18th-century building called La Venta. Part of the cultural heritage of Mogente, Valencia, this is now the company’s showroom.
Expormim, which originally made wicker baskets, has, in the past four decades, made a successful transition to specialising in manufacturing outdoor furniture. Today, this highly reputable company employs over 50 staff and, thanks to its shrewd business philosophy, its products are sold in over 40 countries all over the world. Its success rests on two key factors: its international presence and expertise in high-quality, handcrafted manufacturing methods.
Expormim experienced its first major turning point in the 1980s, when the rise in the price of natural fibres resulted in the company starting to use synthetic materials, such as plastic, instead of wicker and rattan. Its new products soon became the company’s bestsellers.
Another big development took place in 2005, when Expormim decided to set up its own research and development department, headed by Alberto Ales. As Ales puts it, ‘From that moment on, we began to invest in innovative forms in response to new needs and trends on the market, creating collections suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, while preserving the character of the company and the added value of its tradition of handcrafted manufacturing.’
All of Expormim’s products have a strong identity and exude a flavour of the Mediterranean area they hail from. Its signature pieces include the collection of Air Chairs sunloungers, chairs and stools, designed by Ebualá and launched at the Valencia Furniture Fair in 2009. These are now one of the company’s most iconic designs, thanks to their stunning colours. Later, in 2011, Expormim launched its stackable Ulah rocking chair, designed by Mut Design, the popular Outline collection, dreamt up by Nieves Contreras, and Nido, designed by Javier Pastor. These are suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Most recently – this year – the company decided to return to its roots, using rattan in its collections and revise and refresh some of its most iconic pieces in collaboration with well-known designers. It recently unveiled its Fontal chair and Nautica hanging chair, created by Oscar Tusquets and Mut Design respectively. The resulting pieces made use of rattan in a way that differed from its traditional use to create lightweight, contemporary pieces.
The company’s commitment to protecting the environment is another of Expormim’s main principles. Its products are made of recyclable materials and wood from managed forests.
Mercedes Laso, a third-generation member of the business, says, ‘We like our furniture to communicate our brand values – authenticity, simplicity and the wellbeing epitomised by Spain. We want our clients’ lives to be enhanced by our designs and to enjoy outdoor living all year. We want to bring to their attention furniture with a strong Mediterranean character and rich history.’