Details matter

Cumberland Furniture Revo table details

Cumberland Furniture Revo table details

There are many in our industry who like to argue that production is dead, distribution is where it is at. Making things is for chumps - marketing is where it is at. However, I believe that many people, like me, are in wonder of how things are made, crafted and how much love is built into the design and manufacturing of products. We want natural materials in our spaces because it keeps us in touch with the earth. Flaws in natural materials like leather hides, stones, wood all go back to the essence of Mother Nature - perfectly imperfect. The inconsistency of nature grounds us.

And the hard work that craftspeople do to produce consistently perfect product over and over again is also something we marvel at. We produce plastic and mesh products at an ever faster rate, and those products also end up in the landfill at an ever faster rate. Maybe it is time to slow down and re-connect with our manufacturers, draw back the curtain and watch the metal benders create beautiful tables, watch the woodworkers turn out frames that age with dignity, watch the upholsterers sew and adjust covers until they are just perfect.

When my company was just a few years old, the senior facilities person for my largest customer called me in for a meeting. I was worried he had discovered some warranty issues. As I came into the office he asked me to close the door behind me and sit down. He then began to cry and told me when they delivered one of my chairs to his office he realized for the first time he was a successful man. He said in his entire life he never thought he would be good enough to have a great chair. He did not just like his chair - it was a symbol of life achievement. He had earned a great place to sit. What made that chair great was the craft - the hard work, attention to detail and determination to make each chair perfect. All my selling, marketing and smoozing got the chair in the door, but the ladies and gents in the factory crafted a covetable gem. I will always be indebted to the craftspeople who make our products.