In an ideal world, we would all have full-scale, high-quality furniture pieces that we carry with us throughout life. However, for renters and urban dwellers, accustomed to minuscule spaces and frequent moves, the real world is fast-paced and in constant flux. It can be hard not to give in to the temptation and ease of buying furniture that can simply be discarded to the curb on moving day, making high quality furniture seem like an far-off luxury. The result is an abundance of throw-away pieces that might mean very little to us. Can there exist a happy medium for the nomadic urbanite? Enter Floyd. Founders Kyle Hoff & Alex O’Dell saw an opportunity in a hollow void of decent furniture options for highly mobile city-dwellers. Their goal was to create quality furniture that would be locally sourced, customizable, easy to assemble/disassemble (and therefore move!), and refreshingly simple. Launched on Kickstarter, Floyd’s initial campaign was an immediate success. The pair transformed an old garage in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood to serve as the Floyd HQ, and have since grown into an international market—primarily serving large cities like New York, San Francisco, and Toyko. We sent photographer, Ali Lapetina, into their studio to learn more about their design process.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your work.
We’re Kyle & Alex & we’re the co-founders of Detroit-based furniture company, Floyd. We design and manufacture well-made pieces that are simple to buy, require no tools for assembly, that you’ll have for the rest of your life, and show up on your doorstep a whole lot sooner 🙂
Floyd was originally funded as a Kickstarter campaign. Were you surprised by the initial success and attention it garnered?
A: Yes! It was super exciting. Within almost the first 24 hours it was live, we’d reached our goal…
K: It was a snowy night & I remember being out at a meet-up, and my phone just kept blowing up with notifications of people contributing to the campaign. It was really a moment of like “we’re onto something.”
A: Our original goal was to produce around 100 sets of legs, but we ended up producing over 1,400 and shipping them all over the world. We were global from the beginning!
Design at its best is about solving problems. What problems do you think Floyd solves?
A: We started Floyd because we were tired of buying and throwing away furniture. We were tired of weekend trips out to Ikea; the experience of being confronted by thousands of anonymous products that carried no meaning. Tired of lugging furniture home or waiting weeks for it to be delivered. The headache of figuring out how to assemble a product with hundreds of parts and screws. We were fed up with throwing furniture away on moving day.
K: Our solution is re-designing cumbersome apartment essentials like the bed frame, and making them easy to ship, simple to assemble (and disassemble!), and most importantly built to last.
What was the process of designing the Floyd Legs + Floyd Bed like? Any unforeseen challenges along the way?
K: When you’re designing products there are always unforeseen challenges: 🙂 Luckily, we have really great manufacturing partners that we work closely with who are always helping us refine our designs.
Each Floyd product is made in the USA. Tell us a little bit about your manufacturing process.
A: At Floyd, we are proud owners of none of our manufacturing process. Instead, we work with manufacturing partners who have been producing parts for generations. All products are manufactured in America and are designed to be simple to produce through standard processes, allowing us to replicate at other facilities whenever we need to!
You market your products as design for city living. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
A: Today, more people than ever are living in cities… our products are a simple aesthetic that go with anywhere, easy to move, and built to last — furniture for where you live and where you might.
Top 5 places everybody needs to visit in Detroit?
Motor City Wine
What’s next for Floyd?
Big things! Follow along on Instagram @floyddetroit