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This couch will make you rethink how (and why) you buy furniture

Floyd’s first sectional wants to follow you from an apartment to a house.

This couch will make you rethink how (and why) you buy furniture
[Photo: Floyd]
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The Detroit furniture company Floyd has distinguished itself by making a few simple products. A solid wood bed frame that won’t let your mattress sag. A couch that ships in boxes and is easy to move. And a shelf that can be reconfigured from a bookcase to a media stand at will.

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But today, Floyd is announcing its literal biggest product launch yet: The Sectional. (Yes, that’s both the descriptor and the name.) It goes on sale on April 13 for a still unannounced price.

Sectionals are nothing new, of course. What distinguishes The Sectional is that it’s designed to solve a lot of problems with buying and owning these large seating systems.

[Photo: Floyd]
First, the way you configure it isn’t prescribed. Each of its nine components can be arranged and rearranged however you like, without getting that sensation that someone’s couch is only half-finished. But on top of that, The Sectional is something of a promise from the company. It’s a basic piece of furniture that Floyd is committed to keep making well into the future, offering the same fabrics and geometric design so that you can expand it, not just when you first buy it, but for years to come.

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“Seeing a lot of our customers going from an apartment to a home, [we wondered] how could we give them something that could grow with them over time?” says Floyd cofounder and CEO Kyle Hoff.

In many ways, The Sectional is a portrait of how Floyd the company is growing up. Founded in 2014, Floyd’s aforementioned Sofa was designed in part to move from apartment to apartment, for young furniture buyers who knew their lease could be up every year.

[Photo: Floyd]

Growing up with millennials

The Sectional, on the other hand, seems aimed at the aging millennial. When no one was watching, millennials, despite having the worst financial mobility in two generations, have been buying homes. One recent poll found that as many as 59% of millennials are now homeowners.

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Hoff was unaware of this stat, but he wasn’t surprised because it echoed what the company has been hearing from its fans: They wanted some more substantial furniture pieces that could fill a larger footprint and accommodate a lot of people.

That insight drove the last 16 months of The Sectional’s development. What Floyd created was built alongside an undisclosed U.S. company with 100 years in furniture design, which will make the product domestically.

The Sectional is built with a bare aesthetic by design. Its nine monochromatic pieces are tough to distinguish if you aren’t looking closely, including two lengths of left and right chaise lounges, an ottoman, and even pillows that you can add to your purchase. The cushions promise to let you sink in but also be supported, thanks to three different layers of foam, each with a different density. Meanwhile, an integrated walnut table—one of those nine sectional pieces—can connect directly to the seating system.

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[Photo: Floyd]
To connect one piece to another, Floyd spent six months exploring different connectors. What they opted for is a relatively simple latch that hides underneath each piece, so they’re invisible whether they’re connected to another. It’s this latch system, largely, that makes arranging the sectional so flexible.

Meanwhile, the back is relatively low, while the armrests are surprisingly thick. “We said we want to create the above ground conversation pit,” says Hoff, “something people can sink into, entertain and spend time in.”

To that point, Hoff says that the backrests are low slung to encourage you to turn to someone seated next to you, while resting your arm on top. Meanwhile, those thick armrests are intended to double as seats unto themselves, allowing you to casually half-sit during a party atmosphere while chit-chatting. (Though, in my house, I can assure you that my kids would immediately lay across that armrest, just like in The Sectional’s publicity photos).

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[Photo: Floyd]

Shipping big seats

The other notable part of The Sectional’s design story is simply how it will be delivered to your door. Floyd is a direct-to-consumer company that relies on shipping, rather than local storerooms, to grow. Up until now, all of Floyd’s furniture releases have been designed to ship in flat-pack boxes, meaning services such as FedEx or UPS could bring them right to your door.

But for its sectional, Floyd designed it to be its first piece of furniture that’s not flat-packable. Instead, it will need to be delivered by a dedicated freight delivery (like all large furniture traditionally is). That means Floyd was able to avoid the countless, small compromises that turn large pieces of furniture into puzzle pieces for transit—which is helpful for such a substantial piece of furniture.

However, despite the door-to-door service, customers shouldn’t pay more to receive this particular piece of furniture. “The cost [for freight] is honestly about the same as sending FedEx or UPS,” says Hoff. “We’ve been in business for seven years, we’re young compared to a lot of furniture companies, but we’ve been on the forefront of how you get products to people. And it does take a hybrid approach.”

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Note the integrated side table. [Photo: Floyd]
To Hoff’s point, he says that Floyd has already introduced freight and white-glove delivery options for its furniture that can be flat-packed simply because putting a sofa in the mail doesn’t work for everyone. While it’s less an issue during COVID-19, he says some customers have complained about a sofa being left at their door during a workday. And the truth is that a two-hour delivery window can work a lot better than a FedEx shipment with a propensity for delay. The other advantage of adopting freight delivery is that, as Floyd offers more furnishings, the company could ship a room’s worth of furniture on a single truck.

However, Floyd is trying to hand-deliver furniture in a way that mitigates plastic waste. The current plan is that The Sectional will arrive at a customer’s door on a palette, wrapped in cloth, instead.

[Photo: Floyd]
All in all, The Sectional is almost like a visualization for Floyd’s increasing maturity as a furniture company. With sales that have doubled every year since 2014, Floyd isn’t a startup anymore. While Floyd will keep its successful strategy of selling the basics, it will be smart enough to adopt the proven practices of the industry too.

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“As we look at the future, we’re building a long-term company,” says Hoff. And yes, that future includes a big sectional, shipped on a truck, designed as much for the chaos of late-night parties in the city as young families in the suburbs.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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