In our Brand Story Hero series, we shine a regular spotlight on different brands that we think tell their story well. Here we take a look at Floyd, the furniture company committed to building furniture for keeping.
Product: Furniture, focusing on beds, sofas and tables.
Founder: Alex O’Dell and Kyle Hoff.
Year founded: 2014.
Mission: Design and create furniture for keeping.
In our Story Studio, we have a table that sits on Floyd legs. These legs have supported countless meetings, strategy sessions and lunches. They are easy to assemble and disassemble, meaning the table has been moved around and adjusted to fit in with our activities.
A few years ago our CEO Jack Murray came across Floyd and fell in love with the company.
A Detroit-based furniture company, it was founded in 2013 by Alex O’Dell and Kyle Hoff through a kick-starter campaign. At this time, Floyd launched with a few key pieces: a bed, a desk, a shelf. Their brand is based on the direct to customer approach. No middlemen or company necessary.
Floyd is seeking to change the way people buy and engage with furniture.
As they state; “Our products are built around the idea that well-designed furniture should be accessible, long lasting, and ship to your door (not to mention beautiful!). We create innovative products that challenge the common convention of furniture and the experience buying it.”
One of the company’s founding initiatives was to give Ikea a run for its money with American-made, non-disposable furniture. For a number of years, they have been doing just that, creating similarly designed pieces, but with a better twist. Floyd furniture, unlike Ikea, is designed to be collapsed and rebuilt many times so you can take your stuff from apartment to apartment.
Floyd is a venture-backed company. In 2018, Floyd announced a $5.6 million Series A funding round. This injection of funding will let the company expand its operations and release new products. It is a hoped the investment will help Floyd continue to grow their mission of creating better furniture and a better experience around furniture.
The first step in this growth was to announce a new product in their small but aspirational product line, a sofa. This was something their customers had been demanding for years. Unveiled in August 2018 “The World’s First Floyd Sofa,” first began shipping to customers in October 2018.
The sofa, as it has turned out to be, was billed to be a success. It was exactly what its customers are looking for because it was developed in direct collaboration with them.
Their storytelling lessons
Lesson #1 Keep it simple
Floyd sells three types of furniture. Tables, beds and sofas and furniture hardware.
Yes, each piece of furniture has different options, colour spec and designs but at the heart of their company, they focus on three staple pieces of furniture. Three pieces found in every home.
By keeping it simple and only focusing on core products Floyd has allowed themselves the breathing room and space to perfect what they do. They are not busying themselves trying to compete with bigger markets and cover all bases. The team know their strengths and what their company is good at.
This simplicity allows them to become a leader in their field and demonstrates their commitment to their products.
Lesson #2 Market yourselves as a problem solver
When you market yourself as a problem solver, people will listen.
Disposability is one of the biggest problems facing our planet today. Floyd is a company that has committed itself to help reduce this with “meaningful design”.
“We’re thoughtful about how our products are made & how they become a part of your life.”
Floyd believes furniture is for keeping. So their products are marketed as such. They are sustainable and for the long-haul. Not the landfill.
Lesson #3 Research and test your products before you go to market
Known for building impeccable tables and beds, Floyd took a leap in a new direction when it started to develop its sofa strand. Finding the perfect sofa is a notoriously complicated undertaking so they knew they had to get it right.
To ensure they were successful the team undertook research and vigours product testing.
They started by asking customers about their couch habits. Their findings showed that 87 per cent of people reported that they eat on the sofa; 62 per cent said they live with pets.
They also feelings about how exactly they wanted to sit on a couch. People don’t like sofas that have arms they can’t lean against. To combat this, the Floyd Sofa has ample padding on each arm, with removable cushion covers in durable, pet-proof materials.
It can be assembled and disassembled in minutes.
Once built, the team made sure to test the sofa to make sure it was perfect. As their website states, “to ensure that The Floyd Sofa would last, we tested it. We dropped super heavyweights, pulled repeatedly on the backrest & tried to bend the legs in every direction to simulate 10+ years of use.”
Including the research and testing as part of the sofas story to market lets the audience know that it is a product they can trust. It builds trust with the sofa they’re buying and the company they are buying it from.
Their storytelling tools
1) Make a beautiful website
When the majority of your customers live online it’s important that the website they’re visiting is easy to use, informative and nice to look at. With only one physical shop in Detroit, the majority of Floyd’s customers purchase products through their website.
The team has recognised that their audience are digital natives. They choose and purchase products online. They need to do this on a website that shows them everything they need, answers their questions and can deliver an experience that will be as high quality as the product they’re purchasing.
Floyd has succeeded in delivering a website that is all of the above. It is sleek and stunning yet simple and easy to navigate.
The images and graphics allow users to become more aware of the products and understand their uses fully. The design and information accessible on the website mean potential customers get everything they need in one space and can make their buying decision that much easier.
2) Stay Floyd – Letting your audience experience your product before buying
‘Stay Floyd‘ is an ingenious way that Floyd has developed to allow their audience and customers to experience their products before buying.
Partnering with another one of our Brand Story Heros Airbnb they reached out to the owners of their favourite homes on the website to furnish them with their own furniture. The rentals are across America and Canada, with locations including California, Portland and Toronto. The locations are all detailed on their ‘Stay Floyd’ website and linked to Airbnb so you can rent straight from them.
Floyd wanted their customers to be able to see the furniture where it’s really meant to be, in a home.
This technique lets their audience experience the products without buying, shipping or assembling. It’s an innovative idea and allows customers to make sure the products are right for them and visit a new place all at the same time.
3) Show your work – R&D Lab
The R&D Lab on the Floyd website is where the team showcase the design process behind their recent products and new products in the pipeline.
Images and short stories about the process let customers behind the scenes of how they’re shelves, beds and sofas are being made.
It also lets them know that the products are designed and tested. The customers are reassured that a new product is not simply thrown together for the market in a few days. Instead, the page shows customers that all new products are loved and nurtured through their progress to market. All products put up for sale are ones that Floyd are confident about and proud to sell.