Everyone can agree that hand-made things have more charm, beauty, and value. This couldn’t be truer in the wooden furniture business; as people are looking to decorate their homes to truly make them their own, they want high quality, long lasting furniture that tells a story as much as it provides a functional purpose. One family in Bosnia has recently rekindled their family business, producing just such objects.
The Niksic family had been carving wooden furniture by hand since 1919, using logs from the local forests near the city of Konjic in southern Bosnia. Konjic furniture, which had previously been exported to luxury destinations such as Paris and Milan during its peak production, saw its numbers virtually extinguished due to the 1992 to 1995 conflict. The Bosnian War, in which over 100,000 lives were lost, destroyed a vast number of the traditional woodcarving manufacturers.
Luckily, the Niksic family was able to revitalize their business after the war ended, and business boomed with the creation of their new brand Zanat.
“We blend traditional woodcarving techniques with modern design and our products made of high-quality natural materials are sold on four continents,” said Orhan Niksic, who co-owns the company with his brother, Adem. Now, the furniture industry represents about 4% of the country’s $16.8 billion gross domestic product. The family’s efforts and dedication to quality furniture production even led to Konjic woodcarving being named an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity.”
Americans expect their wooden furniture to last 15 years longer than other furniture — they may have found such durability combined with unparalleled beauty (and cultural heritage!) in the Zanat brand.
However, if they’re interested in looking for quality furniture a little closer than Bosnia, there is a suitable substitute in our own country: Amish furniture. With a history that dates to before the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Amish of America have had plenty of time to hone and perfect their craft.
They focus their lives on simplicity — no machines, vehicles, or electricity is used in their everyday life, and this transfers over to their production of furniture. Everything is done by hand and is intended to be passed down through the generations, so it is as practical as it is sturdy.