Simplicity Sofas – A History of the Company
In 2003 designer/inventor/master craftsman Glenn Laughlin and furniture industry veteran Jeff Frank teamed up to solve a perplexing problem faced by thousands of consumers each year -- High quality sofas and loveseats were too big to fit through many of the narrow doors and stairways found in older homes and apartments.
Glenn and Jeff spent four years perfecting the revolutionary technology that became the world's first (and only) high end custom-built self-assembly upholstered furniture. Together they created a unique line of Made in the USA Sofas for Small Spaces and Tight Places.
In 2007 Simplicity Sofas opened a factory in High Point, NC to manufacture their new designs. Three months went by before the company made its first sale.
The new company encountered several significant challenges, beginning with the national economy:
- 2 weeks after opening the new factory, President Bush announced that the U.S. had officially entered a Recession.
- The furniture industry was one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy. 40% of American furniture manufacturers closed their doors over a 4 year period from 2007 through 2010. Some moved overseas, but most just disappeared.
- During that same period Simplicity Sofas grew from $0 to $750,000 in annual sales, outgrowing the original factory and moving production to a larger facility nearby.
Simplicity Sofas faced other challenges as well:
RTA (Ready-To-Assemble) furniture is universally perceived as being low quality and low priced. The primary appeal of RTA furniture worldwide was that it was cheaper than "normal" furniture.
- In contrast, the custom-built high quality seating introduced by Simplicity Sofas actually costs more to build than conventional sofas with similar quality. Simplicity Sofas furniture was more than double the price of every other RTA sofa being sold.
- Furniture retailers completely rejected the idea of selling high priced RTA furniture. They were certain that their customers would refuse to buy expensive furniture that needed to be assembled.
Simplicity Sofas had no other option than to to sell its furniture online direct to the public. At that time Wayfair and other large online furniture retailers did not exist. Only a very small percentage of furniture was being sold online.
During the company's first three years, every piece of Simplicity Sofas furniture was built and upholstered by Sergio Diaz. After leaving Simplicity Sofas in 2010, Mr. Diaz started his own custom sofa manufacturing firm, Dimarmel.
Sergio and Simplicity Sofas got back together in 2014 when Simplicity Sofas subcontracted its manufacturing to Sergio's company, Dimarmel. Since that time, Dimarmel, has manufactured all Simplicity Sofas furniture.
Mr. Diaz purchased exclusive rights to manufacture Simplicity Sofas furniture in 2017. He has brought an interesting new perspective to the business.
The original concept had been to create a furniture line that would be easy and inexpensive to repair if any part of it ever became damaged or worn out.
Mr. Diaz' goal is that the furniture should be so well built it will never break down or wear out.
Some Simplicity Sofas milestones include:
• Simplicity Sofas opens its original factory in High Point, NC.
• Simplicity Sofas outgrows its original factory and moves to a larger facility, still in High Point, NC.
• Simplicity Sofas introduces a new patented design for modular sectionals. These small sectional sofas were designed to fit through narrow entranceways as small as 8” in width.
• Introduction of new smaller scale apartment sofa and small chaise sofa designs.
• Simplicity Sofas discontinues use of 1.8 density foam in seat cushions and switches exclusively to 2.5 density Ultracel High Resilience foam.
• Simplicity Sofas is named a finalist for the CX (Customer Experience) Innovation Awards presented by the 1500+ member Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.)
• The new Megan style sofa receives a "Best of Market" award at the International Home Furnishings Market.
• Simplicity Sofas is awarded the $20,000 Grand Prize in a national competition for Most Innovative American Small Business.
• The ManCave TV show features Simplicity Sofas. The show purchases a fifteen seat sectional measuring 17 ft. x 17 ft. to fit down a 24" width curving stairway.
• A new line of quick-assembly sleepers is introduced. Like all Simplicity Sofas furniture the new sleepers can be assembled in 15 minutes without tools and fits through 15” width doorways.
• The company's new sleeper design receives a "Best of Market" award at the International Home Furnishings Market.
• Actor and author William Shatner invites Simplicity Sofas’ owner to be interviewed for his new book about entrepreneurship. During the interview Mr. Shatner quips, "Simplicity Sofas boldly goes where no furniture has gone before."
• The Washington Post publishes two feature articles about Simplicity Sofas. Numerous articles about Simplicity Sofas appear in other publications and blogs worldwide.
• Manufacturing is subcontracted to Dimarmel, Inc., a High Point, NC manufacturer owned by Sergio Diaz.
• Simplicity Sofas moves into a new 31,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and showroom facility.
• ConsumerAffairs.com, a huge independent review site for all categories of consumer products, gives Simplicity Sofas the highest rating of over 50 furniture companies reviewed. (Simplicity Sofas has maintained that highest rating every year since.)
• Simplicity Sofas introduces leather and American made high performance fabrics.
• Simplicity Sofas launches its new e-commerce website.
• Simplicity Sofas restructures its ownership. The company licenses its designs, patents and trademarks to High Point, NC furniture manufacturer Dimarmel, Inc. owned by Sergio Diaz. Mr. Diaz had previously manufactured Simplicity Sofas furniture under subcontract from 2014 - 2017 and personally built every piece of Simplicity Sofas furniture during its first three years prior to starting his own company.
• Simplicity Sofas was listed in an industry study as one of the top 10 most influential companies in the international RTA (Ready to Assemble) furniture industry. Other companies in this list included IKEA, Walmart and Wayfair.
• Simplicity Sofas named Best Sofa Sectional Made in the USA by independent review site AllAmericanReviews.com.
• Simplicity Sofas named Best Sofa Sectional Made in the USA by independent review site AllAmericanReviews.com for the second year.
• Simplicity Sofas named Best Sofa Sectional Made in the USA by independent review site AllAmericanReviews.com for the third year.
• While much of the furniture industry has been shut down by the Coronavirus Pandemic, Simplicity Sofas has continued production and shipping on a restricted basis throughout April and May. Full production is being resumed as of 5/29.