Standard Furniture sues China factory for labeling water buffalo hide as top-grain leather
December 8, 2016 | 11:13 am CST

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Standard Furniture Manufacturing Inc.filed a complaint against its Chinese suppliers for delivering chairs and sofas labeled "top grain leather" but using water buffalo hide instead.

Standard Furniture alleges to U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, that LF Products and True Designs Inc. shipped $600,000 of its newest celebrity Joanna and Chip Gaines furniture line in unsalable quality. Standard Furniture filed the complaint November 23, 2016, against several China-based business entities that also operate in the U.S. -- including LF Products PE, Alton Irvine Inc., doing business as True Innovations; True Designs Inc.; and Does 1-10 -- which it says delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars in shoddy leather goods, which now sit, worthless, in a warehouse.

Samples of good quality examples of the furniture were culled for review by Standard Furniture, and it approved the shipment overall. In its complaint, which calls for a jury trial, Standard says the acceptable quality pieces represent less than 10 percent of the $650,000 shipment.

"This  'bait  and  switch'  was  discovered  in  an  embarrassing and damaging manner for Standard and IFM when their licensing partner Joanna Gaines was shipped and opened a box containing the defective furniture," says the complaint. "It was immediately apparent to Ms. Gaines that the product was substandard and unsaleable." Read the Standard Furniture complaint here>>

Standard Furniture asked for restitution and the disgorgement of all earnings,  profits, compensation, benefits and other ill-gotten gains obtained by defendants,  the approximately $650,000 paid for the defective products and related freight and customs charges, as well as damages, including  punitive damages, for "defendants’ tortious conduct, in an amount to be proven at trial, but believed to be in excess of $2 million."

Standard Furniture Manufacturing Inc. and its sister business International Furniture Marketing operate manufacturing and distribution facilities in Bay Minette, Alabama. It's website says it has nearly a 1,000 employees including domestic and overseas workers in its supply chain network, "with more than 80 percent of our workforce based in the U.S., our 1.4 million square feet of manufacturing space, 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space and fleet of 40-plus trucks enables Standard to provide delivery options to meet any retailer’s needs."

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user billesler
About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.