Whether you're raising a baby or a business, there are more than enough rules on how to do it. The furniture industry is no exception. Right from the start, Mitchell Gold knew he had to break some of those rules to satisfy their customers. And it paid off big time.
In 1989 when the economy was unstable, he and his partner, Bob Williams, naively created The Mitchell Gold Co. Since then, despite tough economic times and upheaval in the furniture industry, sales have reached in excess of $100 million. The combination of Gold's years of marketing experience with Williams' talents as art director set the course for Mitchell Gold and changed the furniture industry. One of their earliest ideas, "Relaxed Design," was based on trends they saw in the apparel industry. Designing furniture Bob Williams would want in his own home - comfortable, classic, affordable - he dressed his pieces in relaxed slipcovers of pre-washed fabrics like denim, khaki and velvet. He also addressed the need for a less-intimidating shopping experience by limiting choices to avoid confusing consumers. Along the way, Williams has received numerous awards, including Design 100 awards from Metropolitan Home magazine.
And today, the line, which started with dining chairs, offers both slipcovered and tailored upholstery (including down-blend cushions, premium goose-down-blend and comfortable sleepers), leather, sectionals, beds, ottomans, recliners and yes.. dining chairs. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has won accolades from the media, as well as its consumers. Following are some innovations on the company's journey to success:
CUSTOMER SERVICE. "Our emphasis is on taking care of a small and highly select number of customers extremely well," says Gold. "And on training each store's salespeople so that consumers feel safe and satisfied buying from them." To do that, explains Gold, "we added a special group called TAPs (The Answer People), who travel the country doing no selling, but only sharing knowledge of our products."
RETAIL PARTNERS. The company is a leading home-furnishings brand, carried in such national chains as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Williams Sonoma Home, and Bloomingdale’s, as well as in more than 60 independent retailers nationwide. In addition, there is a growing chain of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores that carries exclusively their products, in cities ranging from New York to D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Portland OR, and LA.
COMMERCIAL VENTURES. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture is so popular that hip hotel chains such as the W Hotels or Rande Gerber's Whiskey Bars want to treat their guests to Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
BRAND BUILDING. "People want to know who makes the furniture they're spending their lives on and want to buy a brand associated with the lifestyle they want to live", says Gold. The right ads, the right publications and subtle "co-branding" with retailers have helped Gold do that.
ADVERTISING. It's not just advertising that makes people remember a brand, says Gold. It's the right advertising. Designed to "make a statement" and grab consumers' attention by pushing the envelope in style, content and theme, Mitchell Gold's advertising campaigns are always unexpected and a strong departure from typical advertisements in the industry. Besides, who said furniture ads can't be as provocative as apparel or cosmetics?
INSTANT ANTIQUES. Leather European club chairs that look as if they'd been in the family for years and go so well with flea market finds - but are proportioned just right for today.
FACTORY POWER. Where does 21 years of incredible growth lead? A big factory. In 1998 Mitchell Gold built a 267,000 sq-ft., state-of-the-art factory, bringing total manufacturing and warehouse space to 400,000 sq. ft. The new facility has a health-conscious café, employee gym and indoor walking track, and even its own on-site daycare center for its over 700+ employees (lulu's child enrichment center link) - the first one of its kind in the residential furniture industry.
COMMUNITY ADVOCACY. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams are honored to support grass-roots and national not-for-profits who champion for those less fortunate and individuals living with life-challenging illnesses. The company is proud to support groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, Empire State Pride Agenda, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation for AIDS), Friends In Deed, ALFA (AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the Leukemia Society.