Web-based furniture retailer Bryght is taking a page from the playbooks of Sofa.com and Warby Parker, connecting high-end design products directly with consumers, and promising a hefty 70% discount on their furniture designed by Sebastian Herkner, Leonhard Pfeifer, Roman Bianco and others.
The company was co-founded by a group of young entrepreneurs including Fraser Hall, Aamir Baig, Sam Prochazka and Andy Prochazka. This reporter chatted with Baig, who is also the active CEO, about how it’s working and what the plans are for the future.
Tell us a bit about the "no middle man" business strategy.
The path that a typical piece follows through the traditional channel is from factory to importer to distributor to retailer's warehouse and then to your home. A retailer also has to operate showrooms adding landlords and sales people as two more entities. This way of selling high end furniture results in added cost and ultimately added price. At Bryght the pieces come straight from the factory to your door. We work directly with the designers and makers of the products, have a lean supply chain model involving minimal warehousing and sell online without any showrooms and sales people. This results in us delivering on our value proposition—high-end furniture without the markup.
How will you address a customer’s desire to “touch and feel” product without a brick-and-mortar location?
We put a lot of design and effort into presenting the products online. You will find the online experience to be far different from any other website—in terms of its simplicity, imagery and the level of detail presented. The one thing we can't offer through pixels on a screen is the "touch and feel" of the piece. To serve that need we send free fabric swatches and offer a 30-day, absolutely no risk satisfaction guarantee in our return policy. If you're not content we not only return you everything you paid, but pick it up at our expense.
Why did you choose this as opposed to opening a store, and will there be stores in the future?
This was the only way to satisfy the value proposition of providing high-end pieces at prices that were affordable. As soon as you add stores—the objective becomes difficult to achieve.
What are some of your best-selling products?
A lot, but some of my favorite best-selling ones are the Scott Glass Dining Table, the Ceni Coral Sofa, the Chanel and Zola dining chairs and the Conan Oval Dining table.
Scott Glass Dining Table
Ceni Coral Sofa
Conan Oval Dining Table
What is the biggest challenge with selling online? Have you answered that?
Trust is the biggest challenge with selling online. You have not met us and not seen and felt the products physically, so earning trust is harder. We have answered that and continue to answer it. It is something that we have to earn and keep perpetually and takes time. When we see great feedback from satisfied customers, repeat business, word of mouth referrals—we are encouraged to know that we are earning trust. It is something that we value a lot and will do everything we can to deliver on the trust our customers put in us.
Tell us a bit about the sustainability element of the company.
We make it a priority. We vet our factories for sustainability practices, we physically visit them. It’s important to us. A lot of our wooden pieces are made from Malaysian hardwood which is naturally felled after the trees have reached the end of their latex producing cycle. We like to work with companies whose leadership make sustainability a priority.
Are there any new exciting marketing initiatives coming down the pipeline?
Always. We are excited to be working with two fantastic Danish designers for some new collections we’ll be introducing soon. We are also working with some great artists for the decor and accessories section of our site.