In any case, Transformer Table says they've moved over 20,000 units since launching five years ago, a staggering figure for any furniture startup. Now they've branched out into a far trickier category: Seating, specifically sofas. Their Transformer Couch is essentially a modular sectional, where each component can take on several roles depending on how you set it up:
The components are connected together by these brackets:
The idea being that you can order as many or as few components as desired to create your own configuration.
The upholstery covers are washable, and they offer ten different colors.
From a capital investment standpoint, I would've thought this a tremendously risky undertaking. Tables and casework are typically the bread-and-butter of furniture startups who sell online, as customers will purchase these without needing to visit a showroom; the ergonomic requirements are lower, and a well-shot photo on Instagram can close the sale.
But of the newer furniture design/build firms I've seen, only the bravest will venture into chairs, let alone upholstered sofas. Seating is a far tougher nut to crack, involving more components and specific ergonomic requirements, with customers typically wanting to try these out in person before buying. I wouldn't think anyone would purchase a sofa, if not sight-unseen, then ass-unsat.
To my great surprise, the Transformer Couch has become a crowdfunding smash, landing $670,000 in pledges at press time on a $40,000 goal--and there's still 44 days left to pledge. The funding jumped about five grand just while I was writing this. A two-seater starts at $1,220, going up to a 13-seater for $6,354.
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I'm covering this to let those of you who have your own design/build furniture companies know what the Transformer Couch has pulled off. It might be worth taking a look at what they've done, from both a design and business perspective, to break into this market.