Consumer Product Innovation – Simplicity Sofas Takes Aim at $1 Billion Void.

Why does America’s Most Innovative Small Business get no respect? Simplicity Sofas is overlooked by everyone but their raving customers who have driven it to the #1 rating on ConsumerAffairs.com.


In 2015 a study was released projecting rapid future growth for the multi-billion dollar RTA (Ready to Assemble) furniture category. A dozen leading companies were cited, including IKEA, Walmart and … Simplicity Sofas, a North Carolina manufacturer/e-commerce retailer with annual sales of $1 million.


If you have never heard of Simplicity Sofas you are not alone. The company specializes in a furniture sub-category that does not officially exist – expensive upholstered furniture that ships unassembled and can be put together by a 7 year old in 5 minutes without tools.


RTA furniture fits through narrow doors and stairways where conventional sofas and sleepers can’t go. A good chunk of IKEA’s sofas and futons are purchased by people who could easily afford to spend more than $799 on a sofa or sleeper – if only it would fit through the door.


Simplicity Sofas owns a worldwide monopoly on higher priced upholstered seating designed to fit through narrow doors and stairways — a product line including hundreds of variations of custom-built large and small sofas, sleepers, sectionals and reclining furniture ranging in price from $1299 – $8000+.


Every piece fits through 15” width doorways and can be assembled in 15 minutes. No tools are needed.


As actor/author William Shatner commented in a 2013 interview with Simplicity Sofas owner Jeff Frank, “Simplicity Sofas boldly goes where no furniture has gone before.”


Simplicity Sofas opened its factory in 2007, two weeks before the official start of the Recession. Minimal financial resources were available. The company did not sell through retailers. It rarely advertised. It did not participate in trade shows. Few people within the furniture industry knew the company existed.


That changed 6 years later with a phone call from the editor-in-chief of Furniture Today, the industry’s principal trade publication. His first question: “Who the heck are you guys?”


The call was in response to a press release stating that Simplicity Sofas had just been awarded a $20,000 Grand Prize in a nationwide competition for America’s Most Innovative Small Business.


The Grand Prize had been awarded for Simplicity Sofas’ modular design concept integrating quality, versatility, manufacturing efficiency and simple customer assembly into a single comprehensive product line featuring hundreds of product variations created from a small number of interchangeable components.


For example the company can make 648 different sofas and chairs using only 21 interchangeable frame components (arms, backs, bases, legs) and 6 different cushions.


The same arms and cushions can be combined with 10 additional frame components to make hundreds of additional sectional variations.


Each variant is available in over 200 different fabrics and leathers resulting in thousands of possible end product combinations with minimal parts inventory.


Using interchangeable (and replaceable) modular components also eliminates the high cost of repairs that is endemic in the furniture industry. If a dog chews a hole in a Simplicity sofa a new arm (or back or base or cushion cover) is quickly (and inexpensively) shipped direct to the customer.


The ease and low cost of replacing damaged parts enabled Simplicity Sofas to provide an “extreme” level of customer service never before seen in the furniture industry. More than a dozen articles have been written about this by customer service industry experts.


Combining high quality with astonishing customer service resulted in passionate, fiercely loyal customers, determined to see Simplicity Sofas succeed.


Selling exclusively online, the biggest initial marketing challenge was customer reluctance to purchase expensive self-assembly furniture they could not see or sit on.


Simplicity Sofas turned to its customers, creating a national network of volunteers showing off the furniture in their homes to prospective new customers.


More than 50% of people who see and sit on Simplicity Sofas furniture in another customer’s home eventually make a purchase. The Associated Press published an article about this unusual marketing strategy.


After 10 years Simplicity Sofas is on the brink of national recognition. It is rated #1 of 65 major furniture companies reviewed by ConsumerAffairs.com.


Simplicity Sofas enjoys a virtual monopoly for mid-priced and high end custom-built self-assembly seating. Barriers to entering this niche are extremely high.


There is a tremendous unfilled need for these products in the U.S. In Europe and Asia the need is even greater.


Release ID: 189817