Young America moves all production to United States
Brian Carroll -- Furniture Today, September 13, 2009
LIVE FROM MARKET – This week, Stanley Furniture’s Young America division announces that it will move its entire production into the United States, effective in November.
Company officials told Kids Today, “the new Young America promises to be ‘the brand you can trust’ with the overriding intention to lead the infant and youth furniture industry by delivering more than just products and continual improvement. The promise is designed to draw a line in the sand and ultimately define the Young America brand. Most importantly, the promise will distinguish Young America from all competitors and build credibility as a powerful brand that both retailers and consumers will grow to value.”
As of Nov. 16, Young America will not ship any sourced product, said Kevin Walker, vice president of product development for Young America. China- and Vietnam-produced merchandise previously made up about 25% of the line.
Because of the move on-shore, the company has promised four major commitments to the product line, including new levels of color, choice and customization; safety; eco-consciousness and quality.
“This new program gives the (retail) salesperson a reason to trade up, and gives the reason for a consumer to trade up,” said Glenn Prillaman, the recently-named president of Stanley Furniture.
“We view this strategy as a way of positioning ourselves in the marketplace as the leader,” Walker said. “We are providing options that no one else can offer at this time.”
Color and customization
“It’s very difficult in the youth business to differentiate in design like we do in the adult business,” Prillaman said.
To combat that, Young America is offering 60 new finish options, representing an increase of about 70% in the number of choices available to consumers.
The finishes are no longer pattern-specific, so they can now be applied to any style or any wood.
“The multiplicity of finishes across the product line creates an option story that completely unmatched in the marketplace,” Prillaman told Kids Today.
“After the tremendous success of our myHaven collection, we were confident that the ability to customize furniture with color was becoming more than just a trend,” said Prillaman. “That’s why we decided to take customization to the next level. Now consumers can mix and match styles, colors and finish effects to create the perfect fit for all design tastes.”
Young America cribs certified
free of unsafe emissions
Each of Young America’s cribs has received the GreenGuard Children & Schools Certification, company officials announced.
GreenGuard Environmental Institute is an industry-independent, nonprofit organization that specializes in improving public health and quality of life through programs that improve indoor air quality. Since its inception in 2001, GEI has been using environmental chamber technology to certify products for chemical emissions and uphold rigorous Indoor Air Quality standards that are specific to sensitive environments.
Products with the GreenGuard Children & Schools certification comply with the
State of California’s Department of Health Services Standard Practice (CA Section
01350) for testing chemical emissions from building products used in schools, offices and other sensitive environments.
According to Cristina Loth, Young America’s vice president of engineering and the
company’s newly appointed “Green Czar,” the health and safety of a child starts with where he/she spends the most time. Children spend about 85% of their time indoors where the air can be two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors.
“Naturally, the indoor air quality of a child’s room is largely attributed to the furniture within that space,” Loth said. “If the furniture does not meet strict emission level standards of pollutants like VOCs, formaldehyde and phthalates, a developing child -- unlike a fully developed adult -- is much more susceptible to long-term health risks. With all of these findings and Young America’s commitment to being the industry’s leader, GreenGuard certification was the most logical next step for us.”
“This is a highly-regarded third-party certification in the infant and youth furniture industry and beyond,” said Glenn Prillaman, president of Young America parent company Stanley Furniture. “We are excited and proud to be part of such an elite group of products.” – Jenny Heinzen York
All Young America cribs have been GreenGuard certified, referencing the emissions from the products (see sidebar at right).
Young America is also creating and publishing its own branded set of safety standards, which the company says will surpass all mandatory or voluntary product safety guidelines, including CPSC, JPMA and ASTM standards.
“The timing couldn’t be any better, considering all the recalls and the heightened awareness among consumers about safety,” Walker said. “I think we’re going to be sitting in the catbird seat in terms of timing this.”
In addition to the GreenGuard certification, Young America has pledged to reduce the amount of materials used to pack and ship the products, and to re-use and recycle more during the production process. The furniture will be made from certified American hardwoods, with nearly no rubberwood or engineered woods being used.
Young America is implementing a new five-year warranty against manufacturing defects, and has created a newly-engineered furniture packaging model that will reduce freight damage.
In addition to the finish options, Young America consumers will be able to take advantage of the brand’s customization prowess without significant price premiums or delivery delays, according to a press release from the company.
“The shift back to a 100% American manufacturing platform has enabled us to gain complete control over our products,” said Steve Bullock, vice president of operations.
“That means our own Young America employees affect the outcome of every unique piece of furniture we produce and the speed at which we deliver it - directly fromRobbinsville, N.C., not some overseas supplier.”
Eighty-five percent of the line will ship with two weeks, and the remainder will ship in less than 30 days.
Prillaman said the speed-to-market aspect, as well as the customization options, gives retailers the ability to order only floor samples, rather than investing in inventory.
“When you can place an order for quality, customized furniture and receive it within 30 days, there is really no need to house inventory,” he said. “That translates into considerable overhead savings for Young America retailers.
“With this move, we will, bar none, be the best manufacturer in the world of infant, juvenile and youth residential wood furniture.”
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