• Clint Engel

Interior Define launches online sales

Chicago - New furniture ecommerce player Interior Define has launched its website, aiming to sell high-quality custom upholstery at moderate prices.
     Led by co-founders Rob Royer and Steve McClearn, thesite has launched with 26 transitionalto modern sofa, sectionaland chair frames that customerscan customize in various ways,including by length, configuration,materials and colors.
     The goods are produced byunidentified supplier partners inAsia and most items will be deliveredwithin eight to 12 weeks ofthe order, the company said.
     A roughly 2,600-square-footphysical store, which will includecompany offices, is expected toopen in mid-January in Chicago.
     In a release, the companysaid its pieces are comparablein design and quality to thoseoffered by high-end retailers,"but available at prices closer toretailers in the middle to lowerendof the market."
    "We had the same experienceas many consumers whoaspire for high-design, well-crafted furniture; that priceswere completely out of reach,"Royer said. "The availablealternatives weren't attractive:mass retailers who all offersimilar, uninspired designs, or‘value' brands, who offer low-qualitypieces. So we decided tolaunch Interior Define."
     Royer has a marketing ande-commerce background, havingbeen one the first employees ofmen's clothing e-commerce siteBonobos and director of marketingagency DraftFCB.
    McClearn, CEO, has heldseveral posts in Sears' homeservice division, most recentlyvice president of e-commerce forappliances, the retailer's largestonline category

Russell sectional

The Russell sectional ($2,800 including delivery) can be ordered
on InteriorDefine.com in three fabric choices and left and right chaise configurations.

     With Interior Define, the business partners say their high design, lower-price approach is possible thanks to "unique factory relationships and a lean operating structure," enabling them to offer better goods and lower-than-average prices.
     McClearn told Furniture/Today its supplier partners haveagreed to make pieces individuallyand on demand as well asallow personalization. InteriorDefine currently employs ninepeople and nearly all are "customerfacing," he said.
     The company aggregates orders,sending them to its supplierpartners in batches, and has beenable to hit its 8-12 week deliverywindow, he said. All items areinspected by an onsite qualitycontrol team during production.The company also has a smallwarehouse near its suppliers andinspects each finished piece beforeit is packaged and shipped toconsumers.
     White glove delivery is includedin the prices, and thecompany has a 365-day returnpolicy if returned in "like-newcondition," McClearn said.
     Prices range from $500 forthe Taylor chair available in twofabric choices to $2,800 for theRussell sectional. Upon ordering,customers are put in touch with a"concierge" who will keep themupdated on order status and answerquestions, usually via email.

     McClearn said the companyis looking to expand into othercategories, including accessoriesand outdoor furniture later thisyear.
     He added that the companyalso is excited about its upcomingphysical showroom, noting thatInterior Define wanted to giveconsumers the option of touchingand feeling the quality of itsproducts first.
     "It also gives us a chance todiscuss our products and getfeedback from customers inperson," he said. "We love theWeb, but face-to-face dialogue isrewarding."
     The store, planned for WickerPark at 2027 W. North Ave., isthe only one planned so far, butMcClearn said it will consideradditional stores if the local responseis positive.
    As for the website, "We'vebeen overwhelmed with thepositive feedback from consumerand the media" since the Jan. 1launch, he said. "A new alternativein the category and (Interior Define's) positioning is resonatingwith people."
The company would not disclose projected sales.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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