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While older Americans are loath to buy big-ticket design items online, Generation Y has inspired direct-to-consumer digital retailers that slash the risk, cut the costs and amp up convenience
Article is tackling this problem by creating its own final-mile delivery service, which debuts today in Los Angeles and New York. The idea is to have a team of staff who are well trained in customer service and familiar with every piece of furniture in Article’s line. Article says this new approach will allow it to deliver products to these markets two days more quickly than an outsourced delivery partner.
The company, headed by self-proclaimed logic-nerds Aamir Baig, Fraser Hall, Sam Prochazka and Andy Prochazka (engineers, all four), has seen sales skyrocket by a gobsmacking 56,581% over the past five years, to more than $100 million in 2017, placing the company very comfortably atop the 2018 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies.
Furniture startup Article, which designs and manufactures modern furniture and sells it direct to consumers, expects to double its sales this year, to $200 million, cofounder and CEO Aamir Baig told Forbes. If it succeeds, that would put it in the same league as successful direct-to-consumer mattress makers Casper, Purple and Leesa, and prove wrong those who’ve questioned the ability of startups to manufacture and sell bulky items where design is critical direct to consumers over the Internet sight unseen.
“The three-year-old startup is profitable and made around $50 million in revenue in 2016, according to Chief Executive Officer Aamir Baig. It’s expecting to go into 2018 making $50 million a quarter. Article’s growth puts it in league with other fast-growing closely held Canadian tech companies like social media manager Hootsuite, marketing tech firm Vision Critical and real estate data provider Real Matters.”
“This e-commerce firm is attempting to simplify the furniture business, selling modern-looking beds, couches and decor direct-to-consumer at a price point between IKEA and The Brick. It’s doing it without taking any outside investment.”
There's something interesting happening in the furniture world: a plentiful crop of online-only, direct-to-consumer retailers are popping up everywhere, offering incredibly good looking (and often much more competitively priced) merchandise with the caveat that you need to purchase sight unseen. With something as large of a commitment as a sofa, it might be easy to hesitate on taking the plunge, regardless of the upsides (quick shipping, generous return policies, modern styling, budget pricing). One of these companies (that you asked for enthusiastically in the comments of our introductory Sofa Squad post earlier this year) is Article.
“Chic design doesn't have to be synonymous with high prices—just take a look at some of our favorite mid-range furniture brands, of which cool-girl company Article is a favorite. Known for sleek metal accents, unique shapes, and original materials, we’re all for the mod look the company emulates. Think of it as the perfect addition to your living room or adornment for your entryway… and now, even your backyard is eligible for an upgrade.”
“Article for direct access to the world’s best designers and manufacturers so you can shop some of the most beautiful furniture out there. Beautiful modern furniture including designs like the Sven, Burrard, Triplo, and Soma.”
“A great return policy, $49 flat rate (and super fast) shipping no matter how many pieces you order, and high quality furnishings at an honestly low price are all reasons to check out Article.”
“Not only is Article's three-seater sleeper sofa a beautifully engineered unit for upright lounging, but its interior memory-foam mattress provides unmatched comfort for overnight guests! The tufted stitching on the heathered material, along with its one long seat cushion, provides seamless style to the design-focused space.”
“You won’t find a better leather chesterfield sofa anywhere. Available in three leather colors, this sofa will stand the test of time.”
Article is a company driven by software engineers who saw an opportunity to close the gap between cost and price of furniture while leaving some margin for themselves. It seems to be working.
“Now that this sectional is in here, man this room is prettier and more inviting than ever. It simplified the seating area and is the kind of sofa that goes with so many different styles of houses – so I knew it would appeal to so many different buyers. I was extremely impressed with it and we all commented how it just worked so much better than the awesome leather strapping sofa I had.”
“Article is an amazing furniture site dedicated to a modern aesthetic that cuts out the middle man to directly sell you the goods and keep prices low.”
Forget the usual sources of inspiration—the idea for Article came about after its founders took a trip to the Arctic Circle (seriously). Following that slightly unconventional conception story, it’s no surprise that the company itself seeks to disrupt the furniture industry, and is doing so by cutting out the middleman and streamlining production costs.
Article is a new, unconventional furniture company that focuses on simplicity and efficiency, offering modern designs at a fair price point.
"Once part of the bachelor pad starter kit, they now fit into the most stylish of spaces."
Article has the most "disruptor" origin story ever: "The idea behind Article came together on an adventure north of the Arctic Circle. Four software engineers, inspired by the beauty and challenged by the unfamiliarity of the environment resolved to radically change the way that people shop for furniture."
There are many reasons why a potential customer might forego a store to buy their new furniture on a website. Traffic, parking, cramped display rooms and persistent salespeople are just a few factors that might deter any modern shopper. “If you really think about it today—and it’s becoming more and more of a trend—the scarcest asset we’ve got is time,” Baig says. “We’re all struggling for time.” So for the time-sensitive consumer, a browse and a click-buy can be a very compelling way to furnish a home.
A new breed of online furniture manufacturers offers high-end quality and customization – and often a quick turnaround time – at low-end prices. When the Bryght website first went up in 2013, its “about us” manifesto stated that its sofas were produced at the same factory that made furniture for brands like B&B Italia and Knoll. That piece of information has since disappeared from the site, said Aamir Baig, the company’s chief executive, at the request of the factory’s owners, whose other clients didn’t appreciate the free publicity. Considering that Bryght’s prices range from about $700 for a loveseat to around $3,000 for a leather sectional with a Miesian vibe, that’s understandable.