mergers & acquisitions | Mar 1, 2021 |
RHF acquires Marge Carson case goods library

Rock House Farms, the parent company of Century, Hickory Chair, Maitland-Smith and more, has acquired the design library of Marge Carson’s case goods collections.

The acquisition was set in motion after luxury furniture and upholstery brand Marge Carson announced in January that it would stop offering its case goods collections. The move was due in part to supply chain disruptions in Asia, where the line was manufactured. At the same time, the company moved its domestic upholstered furniture production in Mexico, where it has produced upholstery and custom bedroom furniture for more than two decades. The company had produced its case goods and exposed-wood upholstery frames primarily in factories in Indonesia and the Philippines, but in recent years began exploring the capabilities of its Mexican manufacturing partners. “Some of the more recent [exposed-wood frames] we just introduced from Mexico,” Marge Carson president Will Sharp told Furniture Today in January. “We have proven to ourselves that we can execute that in Mexico.”

A sale price was not made public, but RHF’s acquisition focuses only on the intellectual property for the case goods designs. The company now plans to reintroduce Marge Carson’s pieces under its Century and Maitland-Smith brands—predicting that the first group of legacy designs under Maitland-Smith will be available for shipment in the fall, with additional pieces rolling out after that. "Maitland-Smith is known for their elegant and stately designs," says Alex Shuford III, CEO of Rock House Farm. “They utilize lavish materials to create some very unique pieces, and some of Marge Carson’s designs are a perfect complement to this point of view. Century, on the other hand, has a range of case goods designs, and we merchandise those into lifestyles. There are designs from the Marge Carson library that would work very well with some of these lifestyles.”

Shuford says that this process differs drastically from acquiring a brand in full, as RHF has done several times in the past few years. “Where one is the purchase of a brand, its facilities and all of its inventories, this approach was the purchase of just the designs that would have disappeared from the marketplace,” he says. “We will curate those into something that complements our own brands and lines, but ultimately, this is just a layering in of great designs.”

Marge Carson, founded in 1947 by California-based interior designer Marjorie Reese Carson, is now owned and operated by the LaBarge family. “Over the years, Marge Carson and [company CEO] Jim LaBarge created an expansive and iconic library of wood products designs, many of which remain relevant today,” said Shuford. “We are excited by the prospect of reintroducing some of these beautiful forms back into the marketplace. We believe that good design endures, and we are honored to be collaborating with Mr. LaBarge as we edit and curate the design library going forward.”

Homepage photo: Marge Carson upholstery and case goods | Courtesy of Marge Carson

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