If you've been following along on my Project Dream Home, then you know I'm building a home here in Mammoth. And, with that comes all kinds of home goods shopping and researching. So, I came across Medley while I was looking for new furniture options - which right now is is completely out of my budget as we are so over budget on the house. More on that in one of my next Project Dream Home posts... I've been telling Delaney we might not have a couch for months after move in haha.
But, I came across Medley and I loved their brand, approach to furniture, and of course I have my eye on a couch. But, mainly I wanted to share them with you because if you're looking for better furniture - Medley has it. I talked with Travis, who is one of the two brothers who founded Medley. Yes, they founded the company together and work together. I don't know how they do it! But, I guess people say the same thing about Delaney and me all the time - we own two businesses together and work together at both. I'm sure some people wouldn't want to work with their husband, but we make the best team and help each other out every day. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Read my interview below with Travis, and check out some of their amazing modern, organic, eco friendly, and of course stylish furniture.
Mimi: How long has Medley been around?
Travis: We've been making our own eco collection since 2005, but Medley in it's current form has evolved over time and in its current form launched in 2016.
M: So you went into business with your brother, what’s that like?
T: Yeah we started working together on this almost fourteen years ago, so we’ve been through a lot! In many ways it's a huge advantage because there is an implicit trust and very direct communication that comes from knowing someone your entire life. People ask us how we get along while running a company, but we have a great friendship and have a lot of respect for each other which helps. Plus, I think we recognize and value each others strengths which are different in some areas.
M: What did you guys do before this?
T: Before starting the furniture company, I worked at an advertising agency and Ryan owned a graphic design company. Both experiences have been really useful over the years, especially when we were first starting because I think it enabled us to feel a bit more established than we actually were. We still use the lessons and skills learned from our previous careers to help shape the brand and user experience.
M: What made you guys want to disrupt the furniture industry?
T: We didn't know much about the furniture industry and had zero experience, but the idea of a better way to shop for modern consumers was compelling so we went for it and figured it out on the fly! The world of furniture just seemed particularly outdated, so we felt a fresh perspective could have an impact. Instead of making everything overseas at volume using cheap materials, we wanted to flip that and make hand crafted pieces one at a time in the US.
M: Have you always had a passion for the environment?
T: Our parents were eco minded hippies before they had us and our father worked as a renewable energy specialist, so we were fortunate that we grew up with environmental concerns as a focus. Also, I think growing up in Northern California doing a lot of camping helped us feel connected to nature. In terms of its application for furniture, it was really after understanding what gets used in most standard products and figuring out how we can shift that to use more sustainable and non-toxic materials. Other furniture companies just don't make that a priority.
M: What kind of materials are you using that are so much better for your home and the environment? Tell me about it.
T: For our upholstered products, for the frames we use all solid alder wood that is FSC certified frames which ensures we don't use any plywood and the trees are harvested responsibly. We then layer in organic cotton for all of the internal lining and dust covers, zero VOC glue, and natural jute for the webbing. Our filling is either CertiPur regular foam, or people can opt fort the 100% natural latex filling on the entire frame and cushions, along with eco wool for padding and back pillows. The fabrics have no harsh chemical finishes, and we have a lot of natural fibers as well. For our wood products the options are FSC walnut or FSC maple, or bamboo on some products. They are then finished with a zero VOC natural beeswax.
M: How do you differ from other brands?
T: The biggest two aspects are the level of eco-friendly that we offer, and the personalization. So, in addition to the materials being unique, we make each piece in Los Angeles one at a time so we can make sure it's perfect for each customer and each space. For example, with sofas we can make them to the inch, and even change the seat depth and seat height. Much like Goldilocks, you can get it juuuuust right! We really focus on a better shopping experience as well, with free sample kits, and being able to try it out at home with no risk.
M: Tell me about the free design help and furniture stylists you guys offer?
T: Buying furniture is a big decision, usually one of the more expensive purchases people make. Plus, we're online only and a lot of people don't feel comfortable at first with buying online. To help with this, we have in-house interior designers that offer free design service for your Medley purchase. This includes helping with sizing, layouts, colors, textures, and any other aspect. We can look at photos of your space and have conversations to ensure that we make the best possible version for you and your home.
M: What’s your favorite piece right now?
T: We recently launched the Burr Chair which I really love. It's a nice blend of Scandanavian and mid century design, and goes really well with a lot of styles.
M: And, wow you offer free returns within 100 days! Why is this important to you as a business?
T: We totally understand that purchasing something as expensive and important as a sofa or bed is a big deal, and can be a bit scary to do online. But we also know that our products are very high quality and with the personalization our customers are more likely to get what they actually want. Because of these factors, we rarely get returns so it's not a big part of our business. Mainly, we want to make sure people are confident in the purchase and ultimately that they love their furniture. But if for some reason they don't love it, we'll take it back to help out.
M: What would you say the best couch is for sinking in, relaxing, and enjoying a plate full of cookies?
T: Just reading that question made me hungry. I would say the Strata. It has a deep and low frame so there is plenty of room to lounge, and the thick cushions and pillows offer a lot of coziness. Plus, the wide arms provide the perfect place to set the plate of cookies to make sure they are within reach at all times.