Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a new startup from yet another Apple alum aims to shake up an industry. This time around, we’re not talking thermostats or smoke detectors, but low-cost furniture shopping. Entrepreneur Brad Sewell aims to challenge the conventional furniture market by providing direct-to-consumer seating without store-based supply chain overhead. Campaign Furniture is like a grown-man’s Ikea, featuring higher quality builds and no in-store headaches. Just order online, and the furniture comes straight to you for easy assembly.
In short, Campaign furniture aims to do to the furniture industry what Tuft and Needle did to the mattress market. Heads may or may not roll.
Campaign furniture was built on a new set of supply chain principles that allow it to keep costs low. The furniture is shipped directly from the manufacturer in California to customers via standard UPS/Fedex packages. Brad Sewell and his team worked to develop flat-pack furniture that fit in smaller-than-usual packages to allow for easy, low-cost transport. Meanwhile, his competitors maintain international warehouses and shipping chains that ship to domestic stores or warehouses. Then the products are either shipped again to customers or they are picked up in-store. Campaign keeps it simple, direct, and cheap.
Here’s the thing — shoppers aren’t going to care how much a company is saving on supply chain costs unless that savings shows up on the sticker. In the case of Campaign Furniture, it certainly does. At first glance, the $495 starting price appears to be at or above Ikea’s prices for some of their comparable furniture. The difference is more difficult to see until the package arrives — it’s the quality that sets them apart.
Campaign furniture’s products are made in the USA, right in Emeryville, California. They’re made with high quality materials that are designed to outlast Ikea and just about every big box furniture retailer it will compete with. They’re made with powder-coated laser-cut steel frames. The wooden legs are sustainably grown in the midwest. They aren’t veneers wrapped around balsa wood, they’re solid, strong and built to last.
Now, setting aside all the positives about Campaign furniture, there is one thing that might leave some people wanting. The design options from Campaign are still very limited. There’s one style of furniture in three different seating arrangements (chair/loveseat/sofa) available in a handful of colors. The style is quite basic — it’s seating without frills. That’s perfectly okay if you prefer minimalism and want your other furniture to do the talking. On their own, however, I’m not sure many shoppers are going to immediately fall in love with the look of this furniture. Personally, my head says “yes” but my heart says “maybe”. Since design is very much an emotional language, some shoppers probably won’t be swayed by the low-cost/high-quality approach to the product.
Campaign furniture will begin shipping in November, 2015, and is available now for pre-order. It’s an exciting concept, and we’re looking forward to seeing expanding product lines and more dynamic furniture from Campaign. [campaignliving.com]