It's been a tough few months for modern furniture retailer Design Within Reach. The company, which prides itself on authenticity, was exposed for knocking off famous product designs. What started as a catalog-only business had expanded--too quickly--into the retail world, and costly store space was weighing down on the company. Now, as DWR tries to get itself back on track, it will close store locations of its accessories line, Tools for Living. (New York's SoHo store is presently still open.)
When CEO Ray Brunner left DWR at the end of last year, John Edelman stepped in as his replacement, encountering a staff that was "hand-shy, like a dog that's been hit," due, he said, to his predecessors' "mean and dictatorial" nature.
In December, Edelman told FastCompany.com about the long road ahead, recognizing that saving the company would take time. His goals included doing "better with fewer" stores and creating a tighter Tools For Living collection, making it available in all DWR studios.
So the closing of Tools for Living stores—which featured an overwhelming selection of everything from $25 Swedish fire starters to $200 wooden monkeys—seems to be keeping in line with his original plan. As the company carries out the process of shutting down locations, "Tools for Living as a category will continue to live on in select DWR Studios and on the Web," Chris Hope, VP of marketing and creative, tells FastCompany.com. "We're excited about creating a narrower and more focused assortment."
Edelman was not yet available to discuss the change, but here’s hoping this is one of the first of many steps in reviving DWR.