Could These Minimalist Pieces Be the Future of Furniture?

Published July 2018, Hour Detroit and

Floyd Detroit is crafting beds, tables, and desks that are meant to last


departure from the extravagant furniture displays at suburban retailers, a large, minimal bed frame greets guests at the door of Floyd Detroit’s Eastern Market headquarters. Side tables hang by their legs on a wall, and a sleek dining table is lightly staged with carefully crafted mugs and florals. Like modern artwork in a finely curated gallery, the simple setup is more than what meets the eye.

Fronted by co-founders, Kyle Hoff, 30, and Alex O’Dell, 28, the new space, called The Shop, is the physical embodiment of the company’s mission —  and the problem they’re trying to solve. “9.9 million tons,” reads a sign on a wall, “the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills every year in the U.S.”

Prior to Floyd, Hoff lived a nomadic lifestyle. Throughout his early 20s, the Ohio native relocated for work and school, not yet purchasing or furnishing a permanent home. He found himself repeatedly buying budget-friendly, poorly made products for his apartments, then discarding them prior to moving to a new city.

“I had been living in Chicago, the Bay Area, and moved quite a bit,” says Hoff, who was working as an architect. “The first product stemmed out of that pain of going to Ikea, buying, moving, throwing away furniture.”

To ease those frustrations, in 2013 he created The Leg. Simple, yet revolutionary in design, the 16-inch leg featured a clamp that allowed Hoff to turn any flat surface, like a wood plank or linoleum slab, into a table. Instead of throwing away the piece when it came time to pack up, he could easily disassemble the furniture. And, if part of a leg were to break, it would only require Hoff to replace one piece, rather than an entire table.

When Hoff moved to Detroit, The Leg in tow, he met like-minded O’Dell, who had studied public policy. Living in the same Corktown apartment building and collaborating on a project, the two bonded over their shared approach to high-quality, sustainable design.

“People are moving more, and they’re purchasing differently than even a few years ago,” O’Dell says. “There’s also a growing awareness around responsible consumption, and we realized we’re not the only ones who were tired of the cycle of buying and throwing away disposable furniture. It’s that desire to own less, but to have those items really last.”

In 2014, the duo launched a Kickstarter campaign. The goal was to raise $18,000, which allotted $1 to manufacture each table leg. The reception to the product, however, was so strong that it resulted in the co-founders raising well over their goal — more than $250,000.

Since then, Floyd has grown to a team of 17, with Hoff and O’Dell serving as CEO and COO, respectively. The company, which has now secured more than $5.6 million in Series-A funding, moved from Ponyride, on the city’s west side, to its new headquarters in April. The product lineup, which now includes The Leg, The Bed, The Table, The Desk, and The Side Table, can be ordered on Floyd’s website and at The Shop in Eastern Market.

“It’s cool to have people come in [to the space] who have the product, who have thoughts about the product, how we can improve and change,” Hoff says. “We want to make products that people want to keep, that are timeless, and can look good in a lot of spaces.”

These spaces range from the East to the West Coast and everything in between. And, because of ‘Stay Floyd,’ an Airbnb partnership that places pieces from the company’s lineup in select U.S. rental units, the furniture can be found in homes in the West Hills of Portland, Joshua Tree, Calif., Toronto, Detroit’s own Quonset Huts, and more.

“Seeing how [the product] works in a small studio in New York City, how it can work in a beautiful mid-century home on a cliff in L.A., how it works in an apartment in Detroit — it’s really exciting,” says Hoff.

Like the original table leg, Floyd’s products come with easy-to-assemble pieces, which can be replaced if needed. All parts are manufactured in the U.S., and for San Francisco and New York customers, the advantage of Floyd’s relationships with stateside factories is evident in the form of same-day delivery. Moving forward, the company plans to offer this perk to more cities — including Detroit — as well as continue to develop its product portfolio from Floyd’s in-house research and development lab, located behind The Shop.

“Floyd is solving problems through original design: products that ship easily to your door, require no tools to assemble, and [are] designed to last,” O’Dell says. “We don’t offer hundreds of different options like every other furniture company, but instead focus on making the few essentials you need, the best we possibly can.”

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