Thoughts on the furniture industry during the pandemic
This space has been sparse. In normal times, I've just found it incredibly difficult to find the time to share about what we're doing. Over the last year and a half, our business has grown a lot, from custom jobs, to large commercial office lobbies, we've really pushed ourselves to the limit creating American made furniture. Then it all came to a stand-still. We have an order headed to Paris packed and ready to go. We had an airport update immediately back out. This hurt. It's also given us time to reassess the landscape and reflect on our industry.
Our generation has seen an exponential change in the furniture industry. American and European built furniture used to be the standard in style and excellence. Names like Eames, Baughman, Juhl, Wegner were standard bearers constantly pushing furniture design to incredible heights.
Then the wave of flat-pack, cheaply made furniture, often from China, took the industry by storm. Style, functionality and craftsmanship no longer reigned supreme, instead, low-cost, cheap-to-ship, poorly made furniture has taken over. My industry is filled with discount couch sellers hucking $900 sofas built with little regard for style and longevity, packed with harsh chemicals and tons of plastic.
This has a cost. A big one. American furniture manufacturing has been decimated, and my hope is that this pandemic teaches a lesson: supporting local makers has an impact beyond what we normally consider when buying that next piece of furniture. When you buy a piece from local makers like PDXoriginals, Revive Designs and MC Lemay, your impact on the local economy is much greater than you think. Not only do we design new pieces, we update vintage ones, always striving to consider things like sustainability, longevity, and style over low-cost. We utilize locally sourced materials and makers. We support local furniture businesses, and we keep the money flowing thru our community, not sending it to far away nations decimating our manufacturing base.
I have no problem with globalization, but in times like this, we need to think globally, and buy locally, always being conscious of the environmental impact of buying poorly made furniture sure to find it's way to the dump in 5 years.