Beware of "Fast Furniture"
Seeking Sustainable Alternatives to Mass-Production
For a while now our society has been aware of the dangers of fast food and more recently fast fashion is coming under a lot of scrutiny. But what many people still don’t know much about is what I like to call “fast furniture.” This is the increasingly popular and deceptively marketed furniture that looks great in the showroom or online but is made with cheap labor and cheap materials and does not last. We all known what we are getting when we buy an Ikea particle board shelf (full disclosure: I have one in my home office), but increasingly fast furniture is sold at higher end places at premium prices.
Thankfully, there are still great alternatives, but you won’t find them at your local big box furniture store. My way of addressing this problem has been to work with a furniture company that makes all of its pieces by hand in North Carolina. This company creates a “private label” for designers that customizes each piece to clients’ specific needs. I recently went to the factory in Taylorsville North Carolina and the tour demonstrated several key aspects of high-quality furniture that I wanted to share in our newsletter.
Local, Sustainably-sourced wood.
The private label uses locally sourced wood that does not have the dangerous chemicals and pesticides that must coat transported/imported wood. When frames are made with imported wood the chemicals can escape into the air and dust in your home causing off-gassing and health problems. The wood is also sustainably sourced to maintain healthy forests rather than using clear-cutting. Its a win-win for the environment and your family!
When wood is cut it has a significant amount of moisture in it. If it is not properly dried it will cause the frame to warp and shrink over time. Kiln drying is the only way to assure that all the moisture is sufficiently removed. Air dried hard wood takes a long time to dry and often is not completely dried throughout so your furniture will start to warp over time!
The only proper way to created a spring structure that will last is through a process called eight-way hand tying. You may remember us talking more about this in our previous article. It takes much more time that plopping a spring structure in the bottom of a wood frame but it not only gives more stability for the furniture piece, it will maintain and an even “sit” to the furniture piece for years to come. No sagging in these eight-way hand tied pieces!
There is something about seeing a craftsman build a piece furniture by hand as I did on the factory tour. All of our private label furniture is all made by hand not machines. That is something nearly unheard of these days.
In addition to the great craftsmanship, the private label is also highly customizable. We design each piece from the frame to fabric. This enables us to create the piece of your dreams where you are not tied down to five colors or only one brand of fabric.
And the kicker, which you might not expect, is that it is a great value. By selling direct to designers and cutting out the costs of marketing and distribution that big brands have, the prices of the private label are very competitive.
So next time you need a new piece of furniture, if you want to consider this custom hand-made American option that is a great value, get in touch with me about my private label.