This furniture startup is taking on Ikea to make long lasting furniture for tech-savvy consumers
We live in the age where we throw things away after a few years of using them. We want shiny new things: new cars, new gadgets, new furniture and many more. According to survey conducted by Apartment Therapy, 54% of people think furniture should last twenty years or more. One startup is on a mission to change that. Founded in 2015 by Blanco and Bryce Williamson, the North Carolina-based furniture startup, Cardinal, makes mid-century modern furniture aimed at young, tech-savvy consumers who move around a lot. They started in New York. To save money and expand more cheaply, the company announced last year it was moving from New York to Hillsborough, North Carolina. But due to high expenses, the company decided instead to move to a different location.
Cardinal’s story is inspiring. The founders, Bryce and Dennis met on a ninth-grade Biology field trip. They became fast friends, went to college together, moved to New York City at the same time, and eventually combined their backgrounds in manufacturing and e-commerce to launch Cardinal Workshop out of a small shop in Queens. In 2015, after furnishing the first leg of their adult lives with a mash-up of personal projects, IKEA, and vintage finds, they felt ready to take a more grown-up approach to their apartments. The only challenge they had was that they couldn’t find the simple, long-term furniture they wanted — let alone a shopping experience that wasn’t prohibitively cumbersome or out of reach. So they set on journey and started Cardinal Workshop in response to creating a new take on American furniture to share with the world. They believe things in your home should never fall apart or out of fashion; they should be simple, age gracefully, and help you make thoughtful use of your space.
The woods for their furniture is sourced from sustainably-managed local forests, so you can feel good about putting trees in your home. Their furniture cost more than competitors. However, the longevity of their products will save you money in the long run. “When you buy cheap, you buy twice,” said Blanco, who previously worked for the internet-focused men’s fashion retailer Bonobos. It’s a common phrase the founders and handful of workers at Cardinal Workshop repeat about its competition. “When you buy IKEA you are probably going to have to buy IKEA again in a couple years,” he said. “You could spend $200 more and have something that lasts and moves with you when you move.” “Longevity is the name of the game. We make things that won’t fall apart or out of fashion — things that get better with age and use. No matter how many times you move, our products are made to move with you. Long-lasting furniture is better for your wallet and better for the planet,” the company said on its website
Their furniture uses lumber from a Pennsylvania mill. It is designed to be put together and taken apart easily, while sturdy enough to handle being moved from one apartment (or house) to another. Their craftsmanship is impeccable. They use a blend of old-school woodworking and advanced manufacturing that increases quality, reduces waste, and helps us bring American-made furniture to you at a friendlier price. They design and manufacture our full collection ourselves — including their recyclable packaging.