MakeDirect is a new furniture manufacturer based in New York, Singapore and Vietnam.
The company intends to sell factory-direct furniture to customers at prices of as much as 90 percent off what similar items would cost in a traditional retail store.
In MakeDirect’s view, furniture is taken from its original makers to the market by a chain of agents, importers, wholesalers and retailers. Everyone adds their own markup, and consumers pay a much higher price than they have to.
MakeDirect says that it cuts out the middleman (or woman), so no more importers, exporters, distributors, and even no more retailers.
The idea isn’t new. There are other web sites that offer furniture and other custom items, but these are generally high-end, low-volume handcrafted items. The idea is to link a custom furniture manufacturer in, say, Maine, with a buyer in Florida. The buyer and seller would never have connected by accident or even by design.
One of my favorite sites like this is www.etsy.com, which casts a wider net that includes all kinds of manufactured and crafted items, collectibles and housewares. A recent search for “wood” returned 428,000 items.
MakeDirect is a little different in that it is based on volume manufacturing and keeping prices low.
A recent check of the web site, www.makedirect.com, showed many outdoor wood items: an outdoor wood bench for $89, a small outdoor wood table for $61, a curving rocking chaise lounge for $137, and an outdoor hardwood armchair for $36. There were also indoor wood furniture pieces such as a wood bedroom nightstand for $253, and a hardwood queen bed for $215.
According to the company, MakeDirect’s founders have a strong background in manufacturing with such well-known names as Target, SkyMall, Amazon, Costco and Overstock.
Production for MakeDirect works like this: every seven days all orders received by the group are put into production. Only products that have been ordered in quantity will be manufactured. The goal is to ensure consistency and lower manufacturing costs.
The group reports that it will also work with small retailers to import directly from overseas sources.
For more information, see www.makedirect.com.
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