As entrepreneurs and owners of BoConcept New York, Niki and Shaokao Cheng are the embodiment of urban New York chic. And having a business that outfits the environs of fellow stylish New Yorkers couldn’t be more fitting: BoConcept, the furniture company born in Denmark in 1952, has now become a common sight on Manhattan’s streets as well as those of the surrounding metropolitan areas, thanks to the couple’s drive and determination.
Niki Cheng was born in Malaysia where she received her B.A. in interior design from the Malaysian Institute of Art. Shaokao Cheng had a very successful career as an information technology executive at both Citibank and McKinsey & Company after graduating from Johns Hopkins University with a Bachelor and Master degrees in Electrical Engineering. In 2002 while perusing shelter magazines for renovation ideas, a small line of type at the bottom of a BoConcept advertisement on franchise opportunities made them rethink their career choices. The couple invested nearly all of their savings to get their first store up and running. Shaokao’s management skills and Niki’s design background have resulted in the fastest growing BoConcept franchise, and one of the most successful BoConcept ventures in the world, with the gross revenue of their business increasing ten-fold since they opened their doors.
They are also the recipient of the 2009 New York City Neighborhood Achievement Award, Small Business of the Year, the 2010 Outstanding 50 Asian Americans in Business Award from the Asian American Business Development Center, and 2011 Top Ten Asian American Business Award from the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce the 2012 US Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Small Business of the Year Regional winner.
BoConcept design has been described as forward-thinking, affordable, and chic. The pieces are suitable for people who live in a limited space in New York, which can present challenging parameters at times. As seasoned executives, the couple also realizes there are many platforms to showcase their goods, television being one of them, with BoConcept furniture appearing on such shows as The Apprentice, NBC Today Show, and NBC Open House.