Joybird Furniture — 9 reasons to pay attention to this new ‘manutailer’

New manufacturer+retailer of mid-century modern furniture —
made to order

midcentury modern sofa joybirdmid century modern style desk joybirdmid century modern wall unit joybird
Several weeks ago I started noticing ads for Joybird Furniture appearing on the blog… the ads looked intriguing… so I finally took a look at Joybird’s products. I liked what I saw and read, and a few minutes later I was on the phone talking with one of the company’s four co-founders. I was impressed — I count nine reasons why:

joybird furniture fitzgerald sova(1) The furniture is good-looking. For example, my favorite sofa (this week) is the Worthy design, shown in orange at the top of this page. I love the Dick van Dyke Show lines and ooooh, that tufting. I bet a lot of folks will also like the atomic-looking Fitzgerald sofa (in aqua, above). There are sleek lined-desks… and wall units that look to be channeling Cado and Royal Systems and Barzilay….

midcentury modern style sofa hughes by joybird furniture(2) Prices seem fair. “My” Worthy sofa — which was on sale recently — came in at under $1,500 (on sale). Yes: You may be able to find vintage furniture at better prices. But re: sofas particularly, while the frames can be amazing, reupholstering a vintage sofa can get very expensive, very fast — if you can even find someone to do a quality job.

Related to pricing, I learned a term that I had never heard before: Joybird Furniture is among a new breed of ‘manutailers’. That is: They are both the manufacturer and the retailer. Sounds like this eliminates the middleman markup, allowing for lower prices. And, this business model should help Joybird stay very close to needs and wants of today’s customers.

(3) Shipping is free.

(4) Two-pound foam — I asked about the quality of the sofas, worried that a relatively inexpensive price point would mean… lesser quality. The company said that it uses kiln-dried hardwoods for the frames, which sounds like it is pretty standard in the industry. What really sets their sofas apart versus some other similar competitors today, they claimed, is that that Joybird uses two-pound foam for their cushions — which is not so common industry-wide, he said. I googled the foam-weight issue a bit, and sure enough, it seems that foam quality can make a significant difference in how sofa cushions wear. I checked with another company that I’ve featured before — Younger Furniture, which has lovely mid-century style designs and is Made in the USA story, and Marilyn Spell told me, “Our standard is 2.0 high resiliency and our ‘Y Lux’ [an upgrade] is 2.5 high resiliency.”

Note, however: I am not an expert on how to assess sofa quality and certainly not company-vs.-company; we are not Consumer Reports here. I put this foam-weight issue on the list because the company called it out; sounds like this is definitely a factor to further research and add to your checklist if you are in the market comparison shopping and want to assess ‘value’ issues. To be sure, I’ve heard complaints about failing cushions on inexpensive sofas before….

joybird furniture fitzgerald chair(5) Made-to-order sizing — Joybird told me that they Furniture carry no inventory. It makes all its products to order. The company also offers customers the option to adjust their furniture sizes up, down, sideways — whatever. Want a sofa that’s six inches longer… or three inches shorter… or 2 inches deeper or how about different legs? Joybird can do it for you. They will also let you send your own upholstery fabric. I was told that lead times are four weeks for all orders, but that timing can vary depending on volume.

(6) Made in North America — Update Sept. 2015: The mass of the company’s production is in Tijuana, Mexico; they told me they also do some framing about five miles away in San Diego. They are also looking at starting up a manufacturing location in Canada. I have eliminated any text in this story that previously suggested “Made in the USA” since the mass of their production is in Mexico.

(7) Clever customer service — Joybird will email you a photo of your furniture piece at each key step during its manufacturing progress. For a sofa, for example, there is a seven-stage manufacturing process — so you’ll get seven photos along the way.

(8) Great website — Nice website, easy to navigate. Nicely done, Joybird tech team, I like it!

(9) Efficient communication — Well, this is very anecdotal, but when I first contacted Joybird — via their online chat — the service was surprise-and-delight excellent. Chat-box Hank was right there… Hank found me the right person to talk to right away… and they picked up their phone. In today’s phone-tree-push-a-button-get-disconnected-frustrating world, this certainly made a nice impression on me. A repeat interaction was equally efficient.

I like the look of these products and the ‘manu-tailer’ business model. I will keep my fingers crossed that it’s all a big success — good for Joybird, and good for we mid-century modern and -modest enthusiasts and decorators, too!

Link love:

Note, just to be clear, this is NOT a Sponsored Post — nobody be paying me to write this. If and when you ever see a sponsored post here, it will hit you across the head, okay? FYI, how we make money here.

Update: In late fall 2015, Joybird began advertising directly on this site. This is an advertising deal only, does not include product placements or links in stories, etc.

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Comments

  1. Jane says

    Any plans to offer the Justice pieces separately? I have been hunting high and low for shelving like that but, alas, don’t have room for all three pieces.

  2. Mark says

    For anyone following Thrive v. Joybird after noticing the similarity between their products and websites, there is literally a lawsuit between them.

    Joybird’s founding management is made up of former Thrive employees, who left to start their own company in late 2013. Thrive is accusing them of using company time to plan the new venture (it launched pretty early in 2014), as well as stealing designs and other IP infringement.

    Personally, I strongly sympathize with the argument that you can’t steal something that is itself an homage to a specific vintage design, and you can’t copyright a business model. I do admit to being a little irked at how similar the design/layout of Joybird’s website is to Thrive’s, however.

    Of note, Thrive was an independent company until 2010, when it was acquired by a larger film. This may (and I’m just wildly speculating here) have lead to the eventual splintering of high-level staff.

    Keep in mind that this all comes from a Press Release published by Thrive announcing the lawsuit, so the story is thin on details, but things appear more than a little sketchy on both sides.

    For we consumers, however, the only thing that matters is design, quality, and service. After spending the last few days comparing the two company’s offerings and policies, I tend to agree with the majority in this comment thread that Joybird (even with it’s slightly higher prices) is the way to go.

  3. Shannon says

    My husband and I bought a bed last year from THRIVE and wouldn’t hesitate to do so again. It is so sturdy, it doesn’t move or squeak when you get into it. In addition, they have an excellent return policy. You may return your piece for any reason within 7 days and shipping is on them. You may return within a year if you pay for shipping. We ordered a bed during one of their sales and the longer you were willing to wait the more of a discount you got. It was supposed to ship in 12 weeks but it shipped in 8. We were thrilled.

  4. Jeff Olsen says

    We ordered the Eastwood loveseat and chair. Should look very nice on the new hardwood floors we installed ourselves.

    • pam kueber says

      Please note: There is so much fraud in review comments, that I likely will only allow readers with a history of commenting here to respond to this question. If I even allow that.

    • Heather says

      I bought a Calhoun sofa about six months ago and still looks brand new. I was nervous to buy without trying but it’s the most comfy couch ever. I’m a photographer and have it in my boston studio. It’s in a few photos on my Instagram account heatherparkerphotography

      Its not stiff like a lot of modern stuff I tried but the cushions haven’t sagged either so I am happy.

      One of my photo clients also ended up buying one in a custom size. Feel free to look me up online and shoot me an email if you are wondering about the couch. If you are near boston and can prove to me that you’re not sketchy I’ll let you try it out! 🙂

      • Rachael says

        Thanks for the response Heather and the offer to test it out. I am philly though. You said you have it in an office, do you lounge on it much? This would be the main couch in my LR, lots of lounging and tv watching. Thanks!

        • says

          My studio is a live/work space as I’m a photographer. Where I live is a loft and my living room and office are the same. 🙂 I sit on the sofa every day and also lay down and read just about every night. I’ve also fallen asleep on it more times than I should admit to. I’ve had guests stay over and while I offered for them to sleep on my bed noting that I’d take the couch, they declined and slept on the couch, waking up full of compliments. If I had more space, I’d buy more. I saw a photo on either their instagram or twitter of one of their couches in leather that is to die for. I want it badly. I’m sure that soon enough, I’ll find a reason to need a side chair that will work nicely with the couch. When I was shopping for furniture, I looked a lot at CB2 since they have a place to try out in person near my other home in Chicago. I remember liking some of their designs but CB2’s couches weren’t comfy at all, either too firm or awkwardly deep with short backs. My profession work a lot with architects and interior designers photographing both residences and hotel properties and have the opportunity to check out a LOT of new furniture in person. So far nothing has compared to my own couch, even the fancy $4k pieces that are in spaces I get to photograph.

          I’ve yet to find a furniture retailer that manufactures their own pieces and is as transparent about everything as Joybird is. I was one of their early customers and while I had some frustrations with their early-on shipping process, they’ve got things going super smoothly now.

          My thoughts before ordering were that if its not comfy, I can send it back. I was so frustrated with local retailers having cheesy designs, IKEA being too cheaply made, and so many of the internet mid-century knock-off distributors selling absolute crap product. I took the plunge and couldn’t be happier with how comfy it is.

  5. Leslie says

    My sofa should arrive soon – it took me 2 years before finally decided to take a leap of faith and order it! I would be happy to post my opinion on the comfort for you Rachael. I have been impressed with the level of customer service.

  6. Erin says

    I had a Hopson chair in production when this article came out and I am truly happy with the chair’s quality and comfort. Everyone comments on how comfortable and swanky it is when they come over. Last week I saw a horrible, poorly made mod-century wanna be at Home Goods for almost what I paid for my beautiful, quality made in USA chair. I wish I needed more furniture.

  7. Kimberly Schultz says

    My husband and I just ordered the Hughes sectional and Hughes chair. Counting down the days to get them in. Having to sell my Kroehler vintage couch to make room though 🙁

  8. Marisa says

    This looks EXACTLY like Thrive Furniture. Are they doing what a lot of manufacturers do and twin-brand their furniture? The styles are identical, I cannot see how these are not the same company.

  9. Melissa says

    I just found Joybird and looked over their website and facebook page. You really should correct your article because Joybird is NOT manufactured in the USA. I just posted this question on their facebook page and this is their reply.

    Hi Melissa,

    Our upholstered and wood products are manufactured in North America by us, including in the US and our new state-of-the-art facility in Mexico. There are also plans to launch a new facility in Canada too. We’re working hard to service all of North America and hopefully soon, a global marketplace as well.

    We are an American based company with facilities and headquarters in San Diego, CA. Being an American company we do our best to source as much of our raw materials as possible from US suppliers. We do source most of our wood, fabric, foam and many other items from US companies. We’re proud to be an American company and proud to support other American companies!

    Let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Thank you for considering us, we appreciate it!

    I then asked them if they had any future plans to open a manufacturing plant here in the USA.

    This was their reply:

    Thanks for your response. At the time, we do not but we are always looking for expansion options that would benefit the brand. Our manufacturing facility in Mexico is in the North American free trade zone area.

    Thanks again for the interest and let us know if we can answer any other questions for you.

    So the reality is they are using US suppliers sometimes. They are a USA company but their labor force to manufacture their furniture is presently in Mexico with plans to expand in Canada. That is not MADE in the USA.

  10. Josh Stone says

    I was shopping some furniture and asked Joybird where their factory is located at. They said it’s in Tijuana – which while close to San Diego, is not in the USA.

  11. Jeremy says

    Hi. Their sofas look great. Do they use high resiliency foam or just high density? I hear the former is more desirable.

  12. Beverly Prevatt says

    Did you change your site? I have to have a half round couch that I saw on you site in dark turquoise or that beautiful light shell pink. the one I was on your site, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind and Ive been to every yard sale and thrift store and cannot find what I want. please help me!!!!! it was small and tall and I would love to find it again.
    Sincerely,
    Beverly

    • pam kueber says

      Beverly, we have so many stories I cannot guess which one you are thinking about. All our stories about sofas should be in the Decorate/Furniture category…

  13. Charles Hypes says

    Love your furniture but won’t be buying until you can say Made in the USA. I’m willing to pay more for that privilege.

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