By Trish Holder
Dang. Why can’t a U.S. furniture manufacturer come up with a design like this and make it here?
(In about 10 seconds of publishing this I expect to be flooded by an army of angry American furniture companies who will be more than happy to tell me why; and their retorts will range from too costly U.S. labor to burdensome regulations. Blah, blah, blah. Save your breath. I’ve heard it all.)
Problem-solving ingenuity and design like this shouldn’t have to be confined to manufactures beyond U.S. boarders. Where there is a will, there is a way. People are willing to pay a high price for things that are really special. And this LOLLISOFT bunk bed system, as well as other space-saving innovations from Resource Furniture, an American-owned importer and distributor of modern furniture, is very special.
I found lots that’s special on Resource Furniture’s website, from their participation in any number of down-sized living initiatives to their blog which is so interesting, entertaining, and inspiring that it makes me a little jealous. Do the creative side of your brain a favor and take 15 minutes to snoop around resourcefurniture.com. You’ll not only emerge with an appreciation of the products, but the clever way this company puts itself out there.
Why Can’t (or Don’t) US Manufacturers Build Space-Saving Furniture Like This?
One thing that particularly impressed me about the Resource Furniture website was the fact that the owners and all key players list their direct email addresses right on the site. How often does a retailer or distributor give that level accessibility to consumers?
So I couldn’t resist contacting the owners to ask them the million dollar question:
“Dear Ron and Steve….. With all of the excellent engineering schools in America, and all the brilliant, innovative minds, why can’t I find a single American manufacturer who comes close to developing a line of problem-solving, space-saving furniture like what you import and sell?”
In a matter of hours I received this very thoughtful response from owner Ron Barth:
“I think the principal reason is that homes in the USA are much larger than homes in Europe where all this furniture is designed and produced….Europeans have long had to economize on space and the company that makes most of our furniture, Clei Srl, of Italy has a 40-plus year history of research and development in this area.”
Barth notes that the mindset in the US has always been that ‘People who can afford this quality of space-transforming furniture have all the space they need and those that can’t afford it are the ones that need it.’ But he begs to differ.
“We have long seen the fallacy of this ‘reasoning’ and have developed a business model of finding the best of the category of space saving furniture and multi-use furniture with the best mechanical systems and all of the accessory pieces including matching closets, cabinets, shelving, paneling, desks, and all the rest made in coordinated finishes and materials.
“With the world continuing to urbanize and the downtown core of all cities, large and small, now finding new revitalization and relevance, we find our furniture in demand everywhere – not just in New York City or the largest urban areas of the US — but everywhere.”
Making the Most of Whatever Space You Have
Barth went on to explain the nimbleness of their business model – how they seek out the right pieces to shape a line of furniture that meets the demands of a wide range of customers who simply want to maximize the useful space of their homes.
As I read through his response, I had a bit of an epiphany myself. Truly, one person can only occupy so much space at a time, so doesn’t it make sense to adapt a smaller space to meet a variety of needs, rather than build a room for such transient occurrences as “crafting” or and overnight visit from the in-laws?
Barth uses this very relevant example:
“The downsizing Baby-Boomer, moving to the downtown of their local area, wants that second bedroom to be a den, home office, guest room for four people, including one of their children and spouse as well as a couple of grandchildren. This is something we can do in an average size bedroom. Now that same space that merely had a queen bed sitting in it has multiple uses and is a space that is constantly utilized rather than dormant 90% of the time.”
Don’t believe they can do it? Just watch any one of the space-saving videos on their website and you’ll see they can do it, and apparently do it with some pretty sturdy designs as they have lifetime warranties on all their products.
I can tell you this much. Had I known about this company, my home office would be pulling double duty as a guest bedroom, as would my bonus room which currently only gets a few hours of occupation a week when my kids have friends over. Maybe then I’d be commanding more overnight stays from my extended family when they come to town.
Anyway, I’ve got my eye on Resource Furniture. And nothing would please me more than to hear of a savvy American manufacturer who comes up with a space-saving design that meets their high standard.