We recently realized that this application is suited to outdoor use as well. Now, with the explosion of the outdoor-furniture market, we’re really poised to take advantage of that.
Where do you see this business in five years?
We would like to have a few quality stores in carefully chosen places. Oneonta is an interesting place to start. It’s a very discriminating market. There’s not a lot of supply for high-end, sophisticated design, and people really have responded to us. Business has been about twice of what I expected.
It is, as you can see, a unique, focused line. Most stores are eclectic, selling a lot of different styles, but we’re selling only this. It needs to be focused in this way so you can focus your attention on the product. It’s almost deceptively simple at first glance, but there is really a lot to it.
Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:
When I first applied for a patent, my lawyer kept submitting it and the examiner kept rejecting it. It was such a simple design, he didn’t understand what made it unique. My lawyer actually said, “We’re going to go down to Washington and show him this design in person.” So we did. We hauled (a futon) down there, we got it up to the building, into the elevator, and down the hall to the examiner’s office. We set it right there on the floor and said, “Here it is.” When he sat down on it and started moving it around, he started telling us what to patent on it and how we should describe it. We call the design a fourbar linkage. The furniture converts very easily with one hand from an upright position, to reclining at any angle, all the way down to laying flat. It uses a counterbalance, so that when you lean back, it is completely stable at any angle.