We were intrigued by the fact that there is a one page assembly instruction sheet for all Simplicity sofas and chairs. The instruction sheet has a total of 54 words and 6 pictures. The sectionals, like the beautiful piece above, do not require an instruction sheet at all. It is so simple it cannot be assembled incorrectly.
We had to talk with the company’s founder, Jeff Frank, to get the skinny on how such a beautiful American made product could be so simple in design.
When did you have the “aha” moment that this interest/passion could be a business?
When the largest furniture manufacturer in the world agreed to license my patents in 1991.
Were there circumstances that led you down this path, or did you always want to do this?
I have been in the furniture industry for over 35 years. I did not really consider an entrepreneurial path until I was fired from my job in 1989.
Business names are very important – how did you come up with yours?
The word “Simplicity” refers to the ease with which our products can be assembled. “Simplicity Sofas” is short, alliterative and easy to remember.
What is the inspiration for your style and design?
The basic principle behind our furniture is to combine high quality, classic styling and ease of assembly. All of our designs are a function of a modular customization process. Using only 30 different modular frame components, a few custom options and a selection of over 200 fabrics, we can create thousands of alternative looks for our customers to choose from.
Every product has various materials that compose it. What are some of the favorite materials you use in your design?
We build our furniture with heavy-duty materials that will hold up over the long term. Our solid oak sofa frames, steel spring systems and premium grade cushions are all backed by lifetime warranties.
Where do you source your materials?
We try to source as many materials as possible in the U.S. All of our frames, cushions and proprietary hardware are sourced within a few miles of our High Point, North Carolina factory. When we first opened six years ago 95% of our fabrics were imported. We now source nearly 50% of our fabrics from American mills and that percentage is growing steadily.
What is your favorite part of the creative and production process?
The challenge of figuring out innovative solutions to “impossible” problems.
What kind of relationship do you have with the people you work with?
Everybody in the company works very closely together and has multiple overlapping functions, including customer service. In our six years in business we have achieved 100% customer satisfaction. A happy and satisfied workforce is critical to achieve the “extreme” levels of customer service that we extend to our customers. Working with happy customers makes it much easier to maintain a happy and satisfied workforce.
What do you wish you had known when you were first starting out?
Innovation is not always appreciated by those you work for.
What is the most important philosophy you live by?
Treat others with respect and honesty and you can expect the same in return (most of the time.)
What is your secret to success?
- Hard Work.
- Surrounding myself with good people.
What advice would you give to others starting out?
When starting an entrepreneurial business find and develop a small market niche that has been overlooked or ignored by your larger competitors.
What has been your most cherished milestone so far?
I have two most cherished milestones:
1. The $20,000 Grand Prize awarded for the 2012 Most Innovative Small Business in America.
2. My company’s ongoing achievement that after six years and more than 2500 customers we have never had a negative review.
I simply want to continue to grow the business.Simplicity Sofas, Inc. 2726 W. English Rd. High Point, NC 27262 Toll Free: (800) 813-2889 Phone: (336) 882-2490