All of Tequila Kola's 'new' furniture is old wood from condemned buildings or from approved plantations. QUIZZICAL customers are always coming into Tequila Kola and asking owners Geoff and Michelle Fuller how the speciality furniture store got its name. Was it some exotic drink the couple once shared on a romantic moment together at some Latin American resort? The answer is more prosaic. The Fullers initially planned to import their furniture from both Indonesia and Mexico, hence Tequila. While Kola is a jibe at Mr Fuller's inability to pronounce his wife's maiden name, Koller. 'I'm Australian so I can't say the H,' he said, grinning. The name stuck, even though the container of Mexican furniture languished in their apartment and the Indonesian items sold within a week. Four-and-a-half years later with sales growing by 100 per cent a year, the Fullers do not have to worry about bringing clients back to their flat. Tequila Kola's United Centre showroom is the largest furniture showroom in downtown Hong Kong, says Mr Fuller. Tequila Kola might be the first local example of 'global village marketing' which has proven so successful for other environmentally correct retailers like The Body Shop and Esprit. Mr Fuller buys their teak hardwood furniture from Indonesian and Philippine villages, and it is then refurbished in a Java factory. All of their 'new' furniture is old wood from buildings awaiting demolition, or government-approved plantation wood. The perfectly preserved wood, often more than a century-old, would 'just be burnt otherwise', he said. The iron for the sofa and bed frames is rewrought in Filipino factories on the island of Cebu. Tequila Kola also sells Indonesian batik fabrics and antiques, and gifts from elsewhere in the world. 'Our stuff is stylish, chic and young, aimed at customers in their 20s to early 50s,' Mr Fuller said. While not exactly posh, Tequila Kola's furniture and antiques appeal to an upmarket clientele. Tequila Kola sells five different CD cabinets, mosquito nets with a retro-glamour feel and wrought iron bedframes for $10,000. 'We're a lifestyle store that knows our customer,' Mr Fuller said. Tequila Kola is 'the dominant supplier to the professional expatriate' and many Westernised Chinese. Like many successful ideas, Tequila Kola was an inspiration born out of necessity. 'My wife has a technical background in fashion. But when we first came to Hong Kong, she had trouble getting a job.' As business boomed and the number of employees grew from two to 40, Mr Fuller quit his job two years ago as a salesman for a financial news service. He handles the business and marketing side, cheerfully admitting, 'my wife is the visionary force. She's in touch with what she likes, and what she likes our customers seem to like'. With Tequila Kola's growing reputation, the Fullers recently created a mail-order catalog for its overseas customers. Japanese tourists and expatriates who have moved back to their home countries are willing to pay trans-shipping costs for Tequila Kola merchandise, Mr Fuller says. With local customers, he expected it 'purely to be a promotional aid. But people have been ringing up and ordering items without coming down to visit the showroom.' The Fullers also hope to open a Tequila Kola store in New York City, where Ms Fuller hails from. They expect America, where East-West cuisine originated, to embrace their furniture. 'It's a bit exotic, being a blend of Indonesian and Dutch,' Mr Fuller said. 'But mainly, the rustic look of real wood looks good.'