As entrepreneur, and owner of BoConcept New York, the Malaysian-born Niki Cheng heads 8 stores in the greater New York and New Jersey area. BoConcept is a chic and progressive furniture company originating in Denmark. Niki is a business woman with a background in design who, in 2003, took one store (located on Madison Avenue) and has now parlayed that into many locations all over the area; including Chelsea, Carle Place, UES, Soho, Dumbo, and Paramus and Edgewater, New Jersey. With the help of her husband Kevin Woon – who has a background in business – they invested almost all of their savings to start this successful venture. They both fit the bill of their chic store, and possess all the jazz that Bo Concept offers to its loyal customers.
Bo Concept’s furniture suits New York in style and functionality. “It’s the ideal furniture for New Yorkers who are looking for modular & affordable design pieces”, Niki says. Walking around the store is a fantastic, unrestricted experience, with beautiful pieces and great new designs catching your eye at every turn- sofas, tables, chairs, shelving units, and home accessories- all very practical, sleek and visually stunning. As an added plus, most items can be altered for customers to fit their specifications in the areas of size, colors, and price. The typical customer of Boconcept is usually around 25 to 40 years old, fresh and ready to adorn their newly bought apartment in New York. Niki describes her furniture as “modern, practical and affordable.” She wishes to attract more interior designers to the store, but warns she can’t give the steep discount they desire because she needs to keep the prices of her items affordable for everyone.
A typical day for Niki, who has two children, Cienna and Edin, starts at home where she prepares her daughter for school until the nanny takes her. She takes care of her little boy until the nanny comes back from the school. This is all before she heads in for work at noon, usually to Bo Concept where she takes care of the sales of the stores in the area. “Besides that, I manage big development projects with model homes or private customers,” this extremely busy store owner told me. I’ve seen Niki multiple times at the store and she’s always engaged with something or someone. And always wearing that wonderful smile. Whether it’s giving assistance and direction to employees, or helping customers, she’s always present and conscious of others around her.
At a recent event she held at the store, The New 2011 Collection and Housewarming party for Bo Concept, the line to get to Niki was three deep, with everyone eager to spend some time chatting with her. It was a great event where everyone wore a smile and carried good intentions for the night and also had a little fun. Guests brought donations of designer clothing and housewares for Housing Works, all in the spirit of community. There was also $5,000 worth of prizes being raffled off which added even more excitement to the event. Niki has helped a number of charitable organizations including Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, VH1 Save the Music, Ali Forney Center, the Rainforest Foundation, U.S., the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and the Asia Society. The evening also featured the debut of BoConcept New York’s commercial featuring….who else?… Niki! By the time I got to her amid the sea of people, I joked with her that she now has “on- camera” experience to add to her resume, along everything else.
But for the future, Niki plans on doing more traveling since the kids will soon be older. She’s looking to expand and talks of eventually opening a hotel – which I think would be one very grand and sleek lodging experience considering what Bo Concept is all about. Niki told me that if she wasn’t in the industry she is in now, she would be in the food or fashion industry-which made lots of sense considering she has a very artistic and creative entrepeneur . But for now, she will continue to cater to her stylish New York crowd who continue to enjoy her good taste. As for my review of the store, I give it two thumbs up – Niki and Kevin have done a wonderful job with BoConcept.