Trashiness factor aside, I regularly read the New York tabloids for local awareness, particularly on matters of crime. It's rare that I see the word "design" in a headline, but this week it's popped up, for lurid reasons.
Apparently there's an NYC-based office goods design start-up called Perch. The copy from their mission statement is your standard bland, unoriginal drivel:
"We started to wonder why are our personal workspaces were [sic] such a black hole in our otherwise design-driven lives? PERCH is on a mission to give our workspaces the love and attention they deserve."
"We're here to do something revolutionary - help you get excited about sitting down at your desk…. No detail was overlooked in the design and construction, with every joint and angle perfectly aligned, and each desk built to last a lifetime."
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In addition to two models of desk, they also sell--sorry, they "curate"--"a selection of the best workspace products to go with them." These include an $18 piece of pyrite (a/k/a Fool's Gold) that's "Renowned for its ability to enhance will power [sic], help overcome bad habits and establish new patterns of health and positive energy, this is a small but powerful ally to keep on your desk;" a $24 Clear Pen Pot made from acrylic "that provides you with a clear overview of all its contents;" and a $36 pair of bird's feet cast from pewter.
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Anyways, back to the newspaper stories. The company was started in 2014 by ex-Google-Account-Manager Lucy Lyle, now 30. A Post article titled "Office-design startup's founder ran off with investor's money: suit" reports that in late 2017, Lyle "vanished with [Angel Park Investors Russell T. Shepard's $350,000] investments, shuttering the doors of Perch," according to court papers.
A Daily News article titled "Ex-Google worker flushed out of Brooklyn 'safe house' after owing investors more than $350G over failed startup" reports that
"A former Google employee behind a failed office furniture startup is hiding from angry investors in a Brooklyn "safe house," a new lawsuit charges.
Lucy Lyle, the founder of the "design-focused office product company" Perch, was tracked to her hideout in Clinton Hill by a private investigator, according to the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by Russell Shepard, the manager of Angel Park Investors. The company says Lyle, 30, owes more than $350,000.
"Lyle appears to have vanished with the Plaintiffs' investments, shuttering the doors of Perch. Lyle is now living in a safe house in Brooklyn, NY in an attempt to avoid the repercussions of the apparent theft of Plaintiffs' investment funds," the suit reads.
Here's the thing. Perch's website is still up and running and the chatbot is still programmed to engage you when you open the webpage. I clicked on products and added them to the shopping cart, and found that the check-out function is still set up and ready to take your money.
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I don't know what the odds are that any of you were looking at this site and thinking of buying anything, but obviously you shouldn't. It also occurs to me that this can't be the first time this has happened; if you readers know of any other design brands that are defunct but still have operating e-commerce pages, please let us know so we can spread the word.