I like very much what made.com do. The philosophy behind their online furniture business (based in the UK, but I hear that it is branching out to the US soon) is that they believe that “the high street and expensive designer brands give consumers a raw deal. That’s because everyone along the way takes a cut, from agents to landlords. And you – our discerning customer – pay for that cut. So we’re making a stand: taking on the high street to offer you original furniture design at affordable prices.”
It’s a clever business model. They have no showrooms – everything is virtual, and the reason that they can sell fantastic-looking furniture so cheaply is because every 7 days, they combine all the current orders for a piece and put them into production. By only manufacturing what’s been ordered, they reduce costs, and pass the savings directly to the consumer. They also have a seven day return policy which is handy. The main drawback is the wait: it’s estimated at dispatch within 10 – 14 weeks (you can track your order), and the shipping, which added a not inconsiderable £44.88 onto the total.
I’d been contemplating a new sofa for my office for a while, but wanted something that could be slept on by me or a guest if necessary – I have a one bedroom apartment – but which definitely wasn’t a fold out sofa bed. (There’s no room.) I love this alternative: it basically just folds flat.
I do take slight issue with their projected savings tho. The glorious Bouji chair I have fallen for is £189 on Made.com – they believe it retails on the High Street for £799, but I saw it in Graham & Greene in Primrose Hill last Saturday for around £250…it’s still substantially cheaper, (maybe they bought it from Made?!) but nothing like the projected saving.
But, having looked around, my sofa is about £100 cheaper than its nearest competitor, and an awful lot nicer. (The John Lewis version is £299, doesn’t have fabric covered legs and looks much more basic.)
I ordered it on 04 March – it’s not estimated to arrive until 10 June. You do have to wonder why it takes *quite* so long…basically I’d ignore the whole, we put it into production every seven days part of the spiel and just accept that it’s going to take a bloody long time!