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July 24, 2020

Timeless, Thoughtful, and Sustainable

Floyd is rethinking furniture. They make near-heirloom quality that you'll want to keep - possibly forever, and they deliver right to your door. Floyd is a different type of direct to consumer brand. In this episode, Brian sits down with Kyle Hoff, Co-Founder, and CEO of Floyd to discuss how Floyd is rethinking sustainability - by offering quality, comfortable, and beautiful furniture.

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In this episode, we chat with Kyle Hoff, co-founder of Floyd Furniture. 


What is Floyd Furniture’s approach?

  • Floyd started from looking at the amount of furniture consumed and thrown out after its use and the idea that furniture can be sustainable, adaptable, and kept for long periods of time.
  • They began with a Kickstarter campaign based around their core idea and kept it simple with one product at a time. 
  • There are few DTC furniture brands. Floyd focuses on connection with their direct consumers in sticking with a product, improving it, and evolving it over time. 
  • Furniture manufacturing is saturated around Detroit - so most materials are sourced as locally as possible, with the goal of supporting those local communities. Pride in those communities results in better work and building a stronger community. 
  • Floyd doesn’t only focus on the sustainability of the furniture itself, but sustainability all around - in US manufacturing, ethically sourcing materials, leaving the smallest footprint for its entire manufacturing process, and being able to adapt more quickly to changes - especially during COVID. 


How has COVID affected business and what’s the near future look like?

  • Originally had a drop in business in March, but since then, people have spent less money on experiences and more money on their homes - which includes furniture. 
  • As an eCommerce DTC brand, Floyd’s business has always been focused online, which is the only viable option during COVID.
  • Priorities might be placed on different products, but because of the long-term investment of furniture and the constant demand, Floyd’s plan is remaining unchanged for the most part.


Links


Have any questions or comments about the show? You can reach out to us at info@futurecommerce.fm or any of our social channels, we love hearing from our listeners!


Phillip: [00:00:00.62] Hello, welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip. Thank you so much for joining us today. Hey, little bit later here on today's show, we have Kyle Hoff, co-founder over at Floyd Furniture, joining us, sitting down for an interview with Future Commerce's Brian Lange. Stay tuned for that. It's going to be awesome. Floyd is the company. They're making flat pack furniture a little differently than maybe what you're used to, near heirloom quality pieces that you want to keep, maybe forever. But they're doing it differently and they're delivering it straight to your door. It's a different kind of a direct to consumer furniture brand, something I'm really interested to hear a little bit more about. Kyle's gonna spill the beans and he'll do that here in just a little bit. Hey, Retail Rebirth is our newest report. Very proud of it. Future Commerce, together with Gladly, have partnered to create this new market research report that tells you as a retailer how you can adapt to the new retail rhythm. There is a new retail seasonality. When you don't have back to school, and you don't have summer, and you don't have spring break. And we're coming up on a questionable holiday season. Retailers might be scratching their heads. You as a brand operator, probably scratching your head, saying, how do I adapt to the new retail seasonality? Well Retail Rebirth will tell you. Consumers have transitioned to a more digitally oriented existence more easily than we ever thought. It's a dramatic shift. But if you listen to what the executives in our Future Commerce expert network are telling us, this transition is providing more opportunity than it is risk. So get on the list right now. I want you to go get ready for this report. Comes out Tuesday, the 28th. Get it right now at FutureCommerce.fm/RetailRebirth. And I know you're not going to be disappointed. You're going to love this newest piece of content that we're putting out. I want to remind you that we have Future Commerce Insiders that comes out every Sunday morning and that essay just details things that we think are really informational or transformational. Things for you to think about to help stoke some ideas of how you may be thinking about the world around you and the environment that we're in and how the future of commerce might unfold with you and your customer. So this past week, I unpacked a brand new idea, something I've been tooling on for a little while that I call the New Formal. So you've heard of the New Normal. Brian wrote a piece earlier this year called The New Abnormal, which I think is a Stroke's album. Someone fact check me on that. And the New Formal really unpacks this idea that there is a return, a resurgence of the formal living room and the formal dining room. This return to in-home entertaining. This idea that we will bring people, welcome people back into our homes to share our homes as a space for living life together with those closest around us. Now, this looks a little different, depending on what stage of life you're in. I unpack that whole thing on Future Commerce Insiders this past Sunday. You can find it at FutureCommerce.fm. But you would be the first to know about it and first to read it if you were on the list. So subscribe to our Future Commerce Insiders newsletter. It's free for you, free to read. And I want you to share that with a friend, too. Please, let's help grow this audience. It'd be really awesome if you did that. And before we get into today's interview, why don't you do us one more solid? Go over and check out Stairway to CEO, our newest podcast launched by the venerable Lee Greene, founder and entrepreneur and host of Stairway to CEO. And she is creating a How I Built This style show where she sits down with founders and CEOs to ask them about, well, everything, their whole journey. What brought them to a place of leadership? What makes them tick? She asks them questions like what happened in their childhood that formed the way that they think about the world and how they attack and tackle problems. Such a compelling, long form podcast. A great interview podcast and a great thing to take with you on your next run or on your trip across the country as you take a little bit of a summer road trip. It's a great thing to subscribe to. So why don't you go and check that out right now? FutureCommerce.fm/StairwaytoCEO and drop Lee a line. Tell her how much you love the show because I love it, and it's my new favorite listen. Well, without any further ado, let's get into today's episode. As Brian sits down with Kyle Hoff, co-founder over at Floyd.

Brian: [00:04:36.39] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm your host, Brian. And today I have with me another exciting guests for the show. Kyle Huff, CEO and co-founder of Floyd. Welcome, Kyle.

Kyle: [00:04:50.38] Brian, so good to be here and talk more.

Brian: [00:04:52.71] I'm so excited to have you. Your brand is incredible. There's so much to dig into here. You represent so many things that we love to promote on Future Commerce. And so I can't wait to hear a little more. But to get started, tell me, how did you get into the business? You're the co-founder. What led you to found Floyd? What's your ethos? What's your goal? How did you get into this?

Kyle: [00:05:21.12] I can give you first maybe the more recent background. It was about seven or eight years ago when I kind of first started thinking about Floyd. I met my co-founder Alex about seven years ago. And we both had been kind of like living in a number of cities, moving a few times and had moved to Detroit to help some friends in common launch a different business. And and, you know, while doing that, we really came together around this idea of furniture, having moved and tossed out our fair share of... Oh, I won't say the name, but malm beds and black tables. And in living in a number of cities we just really kind of nailed in on this idea around the furniture and how people consume furniture. And every time we're moving, we're throwing away something so large that there's so much embedded energy and materials that go into it and so we came really came together around this some this idea of how do you build furniture that people keep that, you know, is looks great, that's made of quality materials, and is intuitive to assemble and disassemble? And so at the time when Alex and I, Alex is my co-founder, Alex and I met in Detroit. I had this very first product that I developed after moving into an apartment in Chicago. And at the time, I was working in an architecture firm. And it was this table system that can attach to a flat surface and soon to be called the Floyd Leg. And the idea really around it was a product that one could help you upcycle in material that and when you go to move, you can pack it up and throw in a bag. And not to jump all over too much, but sort of the impetus for the very first Floyd Leg was I moved to Chicago, lived with three Craigslist roommates. Before Chicago I lived in Ann Arbor and lived in the Bay Area for a bit. I lugged the malm bed from Ann Arbor too, that I used in Ann Arbor, to Chicago. And these Craigslist roommates, while I liked them, I knew I want to be there very long, I figured my lease was about eight months and I was like, I just couldn't bring myself to go out to the suburbs and go to IKEA and buy something that I would essentially throw away again and in six or eight months or be a huge headache to move. So that was kind of the impetus of the first Floyd Leg that I designed and got manufactured. And then when I ended up quitting my job in Chicago and moving to Detroit, where Alex and I met, I brought them with me and we really, again, kind of came together around this idea. Fast forward about six months. We launched the business, kind of not the business, really, but this product on Kickstarter to see if this was just like a pain point for us or if it was something bigger. And Kickstarter was a great platform for us to really kind of distill the story. It really puts you in a place of being able to communicate the problem you're solving and tell a story of why. And what we ended up finding that there were about, I think, fifteen hundred people who bought the original set of the Floyd Leg and in about 30 countries. And it was something that definitely resonated with people. And I think that gave us the confidence from there, and that was January 2014, to really, really go beyond that. I mean, it was kind of our entry level into furniture. It was a table leg. I mean, I look back at it now and I'm like, it is the table leg? And but yeah, it did give us it gave us, you know, the confidence really like kind of distill still this mission that was we wanted to change how people were consuming and keeping and enjoying furniture and that was something we wrote down in, I think it was like March of 2014 right after the Kickstarter. And we kind of set out about like one product at a time. How do we kind of rethink how that product's bought, how it's kept, how it can scale with you over time and how you keep it. And so we've kind of just been over the last six or seven years, really one piece at a time, really kind of rethinking furniture and how you buy it, how you keep it, and I guess the brand and the storytelling around that. So that's kind of the high level in the last seven years.

Brian: [00:10:00.24] That's a great story. And it sounds like this is an interesting piece and that, this is true for a lot of founders, but you really started with the product and the sort of developing that product. And so based on what I know about your brand, it looks like you have a really, really deep connection with your customers, because from what I can tell you actually work with your customers to continue to develop your product line, which is not huge. It's not like a giant catalog, like some other furniture retailer that you did eventually mention. It's a lot more like smartly and very like specifically targeted. But talk to me a little bit about connecting with your customers and who your customers are and how you continue to evolve your product to best meet their needs.

Kyle: [00:10:56.23] Yeah, I mean, I think we're fortunate to have a very close connection with our customer. I think if you took a look at the furniture industry in general, there's very few furniture companies that both design and develop the product and also sell directly to the customer. So I think, you know, a lot of your furniture companies will either be the manufacturer and then they'll sell through retail. And so they're disconnected or you have your retailers who are essentially buying product, white label from a market and then changing it year in, year out. And so there's very little opportunity to even, you know, beyond being able to like source products that your customers are asking for, but very little opportunity to really help improve the product and then continue to evolve it and make the line better for that customer. So I think being a direct consumer company that designs everything in-house, that focuses on offering the same product year over year that people can trust, we're able to yeah, we're able to listen. And we always get better at listening. And I think even from the very first Floyd Leg, we launched on Kickstarter, and when you're on Kickstarter, you kind of have anybody who purchases the product as part of the presell or donates money or whatever has the opportunity to be very vocal. That's an open forum. And I think Alex and I very early on, I mean, we were two people, just two of us then, we really found that we needed to speak to the customer, answer the customer and get ahead of their questions and anticipate their needs and be transparent and tell people how the process is working and that it's getting manufactured, all these things. And I think that became a big part of the DNA of how we communicate with the customer and listen to the customer. And I think we've improved on that over the years, and it's helped us identify what products we want to be prioritizing as a business, what materials we want to be using. We launched the bed frame, which became a flagship product for us, and to this day still is a very big product for us. But we launched it just as a platform bed that was kind of modular panels that could go from a twin to a queen to a king. But we quickly found the people wanted the headboard. They wanted storage for it. And that was getting the product out in the world and getting that feedback helped us really build on a lot of the aspects of the product itself. And even things like improving some of the connections based on feedback have been a big part of how we operate. And just I think we're a very, to your point, we're very kind of distilled line of products. You know, we have one bed frame. We have one sofa right now. We have a bookshelf system, a table. We offer that product year over year. And that's a big part of our sustainability mindset, is that we stand behind the product for decades. You know, people will trust that they can buy it, keep it and continue to look good. It can become timeless because Floyd offers that product is still, you know, something that we service and and take care of for people. And so I think that building that trust with a customer does take time. But I do think for us, being able to listen to the customer and improve on what we're doing has been a big part of making the product better and continuing to improve the value prop of it.

Brian: [00:14:38.69] That's amazing. Being able to have that connection with your customers and help foster that two way street with communication is just it's unique, especially, I think, in the furniture industry. Something else that sort of struck a chord with me is your focus on sustainability and building something made to last. We talk about, I remember when I was a kid, when my parents were buying furniture, it was a very considered purchase. It was something that when they bought a piece of furniture, they knew it was gonna be in their home for a significant amount of time. And so they were very careful about what they bought. Compare and contrast that with furniture purchasing now. And it's not just IKEA. It's everywhere. Furniture has sort of become on demand, actually. It's almost like Spotify has been applied to the furniture industry. And you can just browse through and it's become almost like an impulse purchase because of the price point and quality point of the furniture. You can sort of burn through it pretty quickly. And this is something you try to combat through a number of different means and obviously having a better connection with your customer, offering them a product that you want to service for years, that's part of the equation. But also you focus on manufacturing and keeping the products focused on the US. Talk me a little bit about your manufacturing process and why you've chosen to manufacture in the US.

Kyle: [00:16:27.48] Yeah. Yeah. And one thing I just to make your point earlier, first is that like keeping furniture is not a new or novel idea. It was the way we buy furniture in the past. You know, the last couple of decades have I think just there has been this big shift to consumption of furniture. And it is something we're trying to combat. And I don't think we're trying to, you know, like we're combating it from like making the product out of materials that last, designing it to be something that can grow with you and adapt over time, that if something breaks on it... Things break. It happens. Not every weld is perfect always. And things can happen. But you shouldn't throw out the full bed frame because of that. And we can replace a part that, in the end, is only maybe five percent of the product versus, you know, the whole thing.

Brian: [00:17:20.61] I love that.

Kyle: [00:17:20.61] So I think that is a big part in it. And I think we do have a lot of work to do still. I mean, I think there's plenty to be done. And from a sustainability standpoint across our packaging, our materials to continue to get better. We like to think that the the biggest impact we can make out of the gate is creating something that people keep that can withstand the the life cycle of furniture many times over what you would buy at a place that's selling something at the cheapest price point or at the not considered design price point, I guess.

Brian: [00:18:00.85] Yeah.

Kyle: [00:18:01.29] And so I think that's where we see the biggest impact, because at the end of day, you can make a table or a bed frame out of recycled material all day long, but if it's being thrown away in a year, what's the point?

Brian: [00:18:13.02] Right.

Kyle: [00:18:13.02] It's still so much embedded energy, so much movement and time and all these things that go into it that ends up being thrown away, that ultimately, if we're making things out of thoughtful materials that last, I think that's the biggest, most important place to start. But again, like ensuring that things are that we're being as effective as we can with packaging, that everything is sustainably forested. And all these things are really important too, that we're continuing to work on and improve on. And I think that does segue into manufacturing because we do build our product in the US. There are materials we have to source sometimes internationally. But I think we try to as much as humanly possible, keep the concentration of building things in the US and in making the things that are bigger is all done here. Like there's some some wood, birch, we get from Poland, things like that. But we choose to construct and manufacture here because it does... One, it's less air that is shipped around the world, but also it allows us to be very nimble with the process and make sure that if to the point earlier, if we need to adapt or change anything, it's very quick. And we have a really great relationship with those partners. And a lot of them have been building furniture for a half century or a century. And I think their expertise is extremely valuable to us being a seven year old company.

Brian: [00:19:55.56] That is such a good point. I think we've talked a ton about what local actually means on the show and how we're moving into an interesting time and I want to talk about COVID here. And I think there's a lot we can get into with what this means. But the start, we see a huge sort of spreading out of talent and people right now due to things kind of being shut down. People are not commuting into a city. They're staying in local communities. People are moving out of the city, out to smaller communities and suburbs. And there's an opportunity here for, I think, a lot more sense of ownership and pride in your local community and what you produce. I think manufacturing in those towns is part of that. How have you seen your like net impact start to spread out as some of these communities that you work with? Are you seeing that like people are taking pride in what they do? Is it building up towns? Is it building up places that maybe were depressed before? Are you manufacturing in, you said you lived in Detroit. You grew up in Ohio. Are you sort of working with those communities to build your product?

Kyle: [00:21:34.99] Yeah, I mean, I think it's an interesting point and something that's always been kind of on my mind. You know, I grew up in in Youngstown, Ohio, which was a hotbed for steel manufacturing. And everybody, literally everybody in my immediate family worked in a steel mill from my grandparents to aunts and uncles. My parents met in a steel mill. So it's something that has always been very much part of how I think about things, because in the 70s, that industry left Youngstown. I think you had 12 to 14 mills that I think is now down to one. And seeing how that I can impact the community really does put a lot of things into perspective of who has left that community and how that community has adapted and functions now. So I've always, and Alex as well, we've always been really interested in manufacturing. And I think when we started the company in Detroit, there was this kind of access to resources around manufacturing that are in the in sort of the Great Lakes region. And I think that has allowed us to have a little bit of a leg up of producing things, thinking about manufacturing that works differently than a lot of companies and furniture differently than a lot of companies that seem pretty obvious to us. But maybe not to most furniture companies. So we have been pretty passionate about which partners we choose. And early on, we did try to keep all our manual manufacturing in Detroit, for instance. And then there are certain types of manufacturing that don't happen in certain cities. Detroit is an auto industry first and foremost. You're not going to find, you know, a lot of wood manufacturing here. So we had to look other places. But at the same time, we started wood manufacturing in North Carolina and Virginia and that was an area that produced a ton of furniture back in the, actually only a handful of decades ago that ended up being outsourced. And then also looking to the other side of our state where you have some of the greatest  furniture companies in the world. You have Herman Miller, Steelcase, Hayworth, you know, Lazy Boy is 40 minutes from us. There's a lot of furniture knowledge in this state and a lot of manufacturing knowledge in the state around furniture. So a lot of our wood production will come from the west side of Michigan as well. So I feel great about supporting a lot of these communities in some ways with our work. But a lot of them that have been there for years, have like the tacit knowledge and I'm pretty fascinated with just what type parts of the country and regions become really great at certain types of manufacturing. I think the west side of Michigan with wood and furniture is one. I often think about, like the auto industry being in Detroit. Well, you had like Toledo as a place of producing glass. In Akron there was rubber. Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Cleveland, were a lot of the steel and it all like kind of, you know, ended up feeding a lot of the auto industry in Detroit. So I think there is that kind of idea of local, but also just like tacit knowledge and knowledge of manufacturing that comes to different parts of different regions and different parts of the US.

Brian: [00:25:22.18] This could be a way forward for us as we experience the lasting effects of COVID. And we'll get into that now, I think. We used to have pride around specific things like the town that I live in, used to have pride around their butter. Producing their butter. {laughter} Enumclaw butter was like their best butter. That's not true anymore. But I think that there is something really, really wonderful about having your place that you live in be known for something and being able to play into that. I think pride actually results in better work and also in stronger communities, which results in stronger products. So I love this focus on finding places that are good at things and then helping build them up. That's awesome. Now, I would imagine that given COVID and the impact this had on the general furniture supply chain, that a lot of people are looking at you right now and saying, man, we wish we were in the position that Floyd was in. Tell me a little bit about how the process of going through like the initial stages of dealing with COVID when it first came out, what happened and then how have you been able to adapt afterwards?

Kyle: [00:26:45.61] Yeah, yeah, I mean, it was kind of in the early onset. I mean, I think first and foremost it was we took pretty quick action to have just our team be fully remote. We have about thirty five people that are based out of Detroit, from product designers to marketing to tech and customer experience and kind of the people who manage our supply chain also. So that was our first move then I think being in close contact with our manufacturing partners to ensure the safety of their teams and understanding how they planned to operate. And we did have a number of facilities that closed down. And I think for us, we were fortunate to have regional manufacturing, some redundancy in our supply chain so we could shift to different partners a little bit heavier. And then, yeah, some paused maybe for two weeks to a month, which was acceptable. But I think as soon as they got back on line, we were able to move product, catch up for the most part. And we still can be delayed on some things. But yeah, it has allowed us to react pretty quickly. And I think in general, again, I think it's important that we offer a very like kind of select number of products that allows us to manage that in a little bit more of a probably efficient way. And we carry inventory of some, but we also try to keep a pretty lean inventory on product in general. So there were some instances where we did run out of some things, but again, I think being US based, we're not waiting for a plant that shuts down in Asia to then fire back up, and then have things sit on the water for six to 12 weeks as they come to the US and then try to give them into the US. So I think it's just allowed us to be very, very nimble during COVID, and we don't know. There are just like all of these continued unknowns around it. And I think we feel confident to have a little bit of footing now. But I think we're trying to be, to the best of our knowledge, prepared for any other phases that happen, and then always just ensuring the safety of our team and the people who are in the factory, first and foremost, as we're producing product.

Brian: [00:29:27.43] Interesting. So you did have a blip on that because everyone did effectively, whether you were here in the US or you were sourcing abroad, it didn't really matter. Like everybody had to shut down to some degree. But being here in the US, I think, which I'm hearing you say allowed you to get back on your feet more quickly, get the supply chain moving more quickly and be able to be responsive to your market. And actually, that's kind of what I want to ask next is in terms of purchasing patterns, I'm assuming that initially you probably saw some sort of a blip in your demand in purchasing, traffic, all the above. What happens after that initial shock of the disease wore off? Did people start coming back and purchasing? How are you looking at in terms of traffic and your sales goals for the year? What's that look like?

Kyle: [00:30:31.46] Yeah, we did see a bit of slowdown in March and so much was unknown at that point in general. And I think there's a number of factors at play here. So it's kind of challenging to distill exactly what it is. But we have been exceeding what we were aiming for for the year. And I think there are a number of things. I think there is this idea that we are a digitally native brand. I think there's been just an acceleration of kind of transition to eCommerce that we always knew was happening. And we've been always focused on our our site, Floydhome.com being the place that people can come and understand our product, tell the story of the product and give people confidence in buying online. So I think we were pretty well set up for more people coming online to buy product because retail was closed. And so I think there was that piece. There was the piece of people spending more time at home. I mean, I know I've done this. It's, you know, a little bit of like nesting, making your home feel great. You're not spending money on experiences. You're spending money at your home. You're spending so much time here now and you want to make it feel as good as you possibly can. And that's kind of always been part of our ethos. It's just creating spaces. Your home is a place you love. And you spend a lot of time there. You start your mornings there. A lot of your emotions are spent there. You share moments with friends and family there and it should be a place that you feel good about the products you're touching, you're sleeping on, and that you enjoy. And they bring, I think, good vibes and positive vibes into your life. And so I think a twelve dollar coffee table when you're spending all that time in your home is not necessarily what you want to be putting your feet up on at the end of the day. And so I think just like maybe this is kind of long winded, but just like people spending more time at home has I think also sort of benefited how people are thinking about furniture. So, yeah, I mean, I think there's been just a number of things at play. But yeah, right after the initial onset of COVID things really did pick up. And I think we were in a place of being able to really tell a succinct story around product online that a lot of furniture companies haven't built their model to be ready for, I guess.

Brian: [00:33:22.46] Yeah, that's a really good point. There's two points that I want to address. The first is, I think the DTC component. We saw a lot of criticism of DTC brands, digitally native brands, that coming into February we saw challenges at Outdoor Voices and some of these, you know, brands receives a lot of attention. And even going into COVID, I think people are like, oh, yeah, no one's gonna use DTC brands now. But actually, I think it's kind of been the opposite. Every single DTC brand that I've talked to on the show recently has actually seen lift to this year. As you said, the shift to digital has been significant and the brands that have been set up to address it best, AKA sort of the modern DTC brand or the digital native brand, have been able to be there and ready to sort of open new customers and return customers with open arms. The other thing that I want to talk about, and I think we can explore this a little bit further is you kind of touched on something that my co-founder Phillip, has coined, the New Formal, which he's sort of describing as as we have spent a lot of times in our homes and have been holed up with our families and our roommates and haven't done much, in the upcoming months, as we sort of create our little bubbles, of people that we know that we're gonna be in contact with and sort of trust to bring into our homes, a lot of the experiences that we used to get from outside of our home where we would go out to a restaurant to have a good time or we would go out to go to the movies or to go shopping or whatever it is. Those experiences are coming back in. And like you said, we're learning to re appreciate our homes and we don't want to put our feet up on a twelve dollar coffee table. We want to be able to feel like we're in a comfy cozy, like a place that's meant to last that's something that's worthwhile. It's our lives now and we want to share that with people around us. And so we've seen minimalism have had a huge effect on our society in the past few years. But actually, we may be moving towards coming to having sort of ownership and clutter take its place in some ways. Not clutter in a bad way. Maybe like it's a new minimalism where we're buying things that we want to keep for longer periods. You can't even call disposable purchasing ownership, in my opinion, because you're just going to throw stuff away. And so I think you're stepping into a moment and I want to hear your take on what Q3 and Q4 are going to look like. As we are stepping into a place that's high unemployment. But Americans are going to spend money on things. There's no doubt about that. What do you expect going into fall where people are going to want to be inside naturally more anyway and into winter and into holiday? How do you expect that to affect what you're doing and how you're going to address your customers?

Kyle: [00:37:01.14] Yes. Well, I think first I want to make a point on the New Formal. I think I love that way of looking at it and that idea. And I will say the way we think about product is in a way that like we're creating a quality piece that looks good. We like to be extremely thoughtful about design. I'm looking at my bed frame right now as I'm cooped up in my bedroom because that's where my desk is. Looking at this Floyd bed frame, and I think it really is about this product. And I think we look to products from like Charles & Ray Eames and to create something that's timeless it doesn't mean it just is like fitting into minimalism or a certain sort of esthetic of a time or an idea of a time. But it's something that can go in different spaces. It can fit in. It can look good like an Eames shell chair in a beautiful, glass home on a cliff in L.A. but also can go in a school. It can also go in a studio in New York. It can go in a bungalow in Iowa. And so I think just the idea that you're when you think about a good design and a good quality product and something that you offer year over year, it needs to be be able to fit into any space and look great alongside other products and understand that design preferences are different. You know, homes are different. Esthetics can change with time, but the product itself should be resilient in that way. And so I think that's just kind of part of the way we like to think about product. It's not the loudest thing in the room. The shelf is a great example. It's about the things you put on it. It's a great system. It's a platform for you to share your books, stories about who you are, and not about the shelf itself. The shelf should adapt and be thoughtful about how you keep it and how it grows over time with you. And it should be good materials and good, good design. But good design doesn't equal loud and a statement always. I guess for us, good design is about does it reflect the people who live there and the stories they tell?

Brian: [00:39:26.76] I love that. I love that. I think you're absolutely onto something. I think it sounds like furniture is one of the most challenging things in the world to design, because it is something that's going to last for a long, long time. And people's tastes do change. So being able to create something that can adapt naturally. And you talk about things put on a shelf. I think about what goes on a couch. And it's actually people. What goes around the couch? And it's the things that they care about. And so it's like everything that you create is actually a platform for other things to be featured on. Very, very interesting.

Kyle: [00:40:11.37] Yeah. And I think it relates maybe to your question about what is the Fall. What do the next three to six months hold for us? And honestly when we entered COVID and right now we keep reiterating this with our team the strategy doesn't change. Furniture is a long, long cycle, it's a long term play. People will always need furniture. They have always needed furniture. And for us our strategy for the Fall... I mean, while there are tactics that will change, our strategy for the products we are launching doesn't change. And I think we continue with the same mindset and principles about how we develop product and how we talk about our product and speak to our values as a company. And I think that those definitely will stay the same. We might prioritize certain products a little bit differently, given some situations. But for the most part, really, our plan hasn't changed. And I think that the time horizon of furniture just being the way it is, I think does... And maybe it is the way we think about it, because we design it in-house and develop it in-house and kind of go one product by product. I think that gives us the advantage of being able to think longer term. I think we're thinking about our business in terms of decades where a lot of maybe DTC companies only think about their business in terms of years, which I think can lead to less thought about product and more thought about other things that maybe aren't as, at the end of the day, important to the customer. So I think that's just maybe a little better insight into how we think about it.

Brian: [00:42:05.32] You're building a company the same way you build a piece of furniture.

Kyle: [00:42:15.37] {laughter} I like that.

Brian: [00:42:16.18] I love that as well. I love what you're doing. And actually, I think this speaks volumes to the business model. The fact that you don't have to change your strategy going into something like COVID is something that I think anyone listening to this podcast should have their ears just like ringing with because this is something that I feel like most brands out there can not say about what they're doing right now. And I know that furniture probably lends itself to this. But actually, if you think about it, like you said, many furniture companies out there right now have to significantly shift their strategy. And so if you're listening and you're thinking about what your next 18 months look like and you're thinking about how you have no idea what's ahead, because nobody really does, maybe start building strategies and executing on strategies that you don't have to change due to what's going on around you because you're building something to last not just through the next 18 months, but for 30 years. And I think it's a great lesson to take away from what you're doing, Kyle. And I absolutely love that. You've obviously been extremely successful. You've been able to raise ten million dollars, over ten million dollars in venture funding. How has that played into this process as well? Oftentimes venture's looking for very quick turn on their money, a very significant return on their money. How's it been working with venture with this strategy?

Kyle: [00:43:52.72] It's interesting. And I think our kind of passion for building what we're building is kind of the mission and vision, it's something that everybody on our team thinks about, cares about. It's something we visit every Monday. And I think that also is something that whether we knew it or not, we are fundraising and maybe it worked against us because, you know, we got a lot of no's. I think it did help us kind of find the right type of partners. And we have some more traditional venture partners. And we also have like Lazy Boy is an investor of ours and they are almost a hundred year old company.

Brian: [00:44:28.06] Yeah.

Kyle: [00:44:28.06] And they bring to the table like amazing advice and insights on building a furniture company that us being a young company you can really learn from, albeit a very different market and brand. There's a lot that they do that we take the heart in how we think about building a company. So I think it is really important for us to align with investors on what we're building in a very clear way before they come on board. And I think that we have amazing partners here in Michigan, one in the Bay Area, one in New York. But they're very aligned with the model and how we think about it. And yeah, so I think that setting those expectations matter. I mean, we have pitched plenty of investors, many of which tried to get us to move out of Detroit or tried to get us to move to other places or tried to push us to be like, OK, but you need more types of bed frames. We need something that hits like... Somebody I remember told us to like we needed a more of like a spa and chic look on and like it just doesn't align with what we're building. So I think that's often missed in a world of when valuation is what wins all. I think you miss finding the right partners often. So I think you just have to be as thoughtful about that as any other part of the business you're building.

Brian: [00:46:03.98] I love that. Actually, what I hear you saying is that you got a lot of no's, but I actually think that you gave a lot of people no's because you said, hey, this is what we're doing. If you don't want in on that, then we don't really want to work with you.

Kyle: [00:46:20.81] I wish you would've told me that while we were doing it because it would have maybe thought a little less depressed. {laughter}

Brian: [00:46:29.48] Yeah, totally. Totally. It's hard. Like you were sticking to your guns. You don't really recognize... It's hard in the moment to recognize something like that. When it's like, actually, we're telling them no. They're not telling us no. It's very hard when you're being principled to recognize that you're actually looking for the right partner. I love that. I love that you guys had the grit to get through that. I love what you've done, Kyle it's really to be commended. I'm super excited about what's ahead for Floyd. And actually, I don't have any Floyd in my house. It sounds like I need to go get some Floyd. I'm actually looking at buying some furniture coming up soon. So I think you might have sold me on this podcast. Thank you so much for your insights and your time. Where can people find you and hear more about what you have to say and what you're doing next?

Kyle: [00:47:22.85] You can obviously find this at Floydhome.com and on Instagram. And I think just the point out there is I think something we care a lot about is the design telling the story of design, making design accessible and understandable to more people. I think if you follow us on Instagram or visit our blog, you'll see that and continuing to tell stories about product, how it's developed, and all those things. But that would be the place to to follow us.

Brian: [00:47:51.47] Awesome. Well, thanks again, Kyle. And thank you for listening and joining in on this conversation. And we'd love to hear from you. And we'd love for you to lend your voice to this conversation and tell us what you think. You can reach out FutureCommerce.fm or on any social platform, you can find us @Future Commerce. Thanks so much for listening. Let's shape a better future together.

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