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Thread: Leather Paris club chair help

  1. #1
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    Default Leather Paris club chair help

    It's been several years since I was last on this wonderful forum, but I'm glad to be back. Anyways, I have a question about Paris club chairs & if anyone knows of reputable brands that make an authentic version, without actually having to go to 1st Dibs or Ebay to buy an actual 1930s antique. I'm looking for a chair like this Click image for larger version. 

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    This one is prefect, and exactly what I'm looking for, I just have no clue about the maker/brand Pasargad. If Duane, or anybody else is familiar with this brand, I'd love to hear what you think & if their price of $1,469.99 is reasonable for their build quality.

    Thanks, & so glad to be back 😊

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Sorry, not familiar enough with Pasargad to comment on them, However at that price I can pretty much guarantee you its a modestly made import. Domestic chairs made to a high standard will be double that.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Thanks for the quick reply, Duane. I remember enough of what I learned from you several years ago, to have expected your opinion on the unseen quality of this piece given its price point.

    I was hoping you might know of a B&Y, or H&M piece similar to this style of club chair off hand? If not, that's fine. I'll just checkout their websites & see if I see anything.

    I also wanted to ask, and sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere on the forum recently, but the furniture selling business has really changed since I was last here, back in 2016. It's become much more online focused. Many small to mid sized & local manufacturers have transferred over to becoming largely online sales only businesses. And, there's been some buzz about new retailers coming onto the scene with unique ways of appealing to a younger consumer base that shops completely different than their parents did. More & more high end, online only boutique furniture stores are coming on the scene, cutting out the middleman. They're claiming in doing business this way, they're able to offer true quality made, customizable furniture at prices that would've been unheard of just 5 years ago.

    I just read an article about one such online shop last night, called The Maiden Home. Their entire business is based off of ONLY selling made to order sofas, chairs & tables. Each piece is chosen online, ordered online & then their unique business model comes into play: the customer receives weekly email updates throughout the entire process, all the way through each step of the construction of the piece, the costumer is updated with pictures of their actual sofa or chair being constructed, & included in their update is a short bio of the craftsman working on that particular section of their piece. And...business is booming!! In the article, she explains that it's a win win because there's no inventory sitting around taking up retail space, so she's not spending money on purchasing inventory & she's not paying rent on a retail space. She doesn't have a warehouse or anything. I think she works out of her home & with the same 3 highly chosen North Carolina furniture builders she's contracted to make the pieces. That's it!

    Other small, online only manufacturers are purposely maintaining very streamlined product offerings, with no more than perhaps half a dozen models with the same amount of fabric/leather options.

    I really wanted to hear your opinion on this new stage in the industry & if this direct to consumer model via internet only sales will change the industry for the better or worse? Apparently, both manufacturers & retailers are seeing that the millennial generation does not go about making large purchases the same way their parents did. They are an all digital consumer base & the industry is confused on how to go about capturing the huge purchasing power of this group.

    Lastly, do you now believe this may be THE one way consumers can finally obtain high quality & craftsmanship in furniture at a much lower price?

    You've been in the business a long time, so I'm very curious to hear about what you think of direct to consumer selling trends in the industry & what's the industry buzz on this.

    Thank you & I apologize for the lengthy post. Oh, I've included the link to the article I read about this supposed new trend in buying furniture for the younger generations.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/40461435...made-your-sofa

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Closest chair I would have to that would be the H&M Boho:

    http://www.hancockandmoore.com/Produ...irs/Boho-Chair

    Yes, interesting reads on how people are trying to do everything on-line. That requires private label product, as the main stream producers won't even let us publish prices! It's a long ways off. I could easily do that myself, there are plenty of small makers that would love me to do a private label build with them, the issue of course becomes there is no uniform quality build standard that way. Taking photos during the build, automatic updates via email and the like, is all very cutting edge but its all smoke and mirrors. Making furniture is a time business, you have to do it quickly and efficiently. Putting in a system that does photos and updates requires considerable investment in money, software and hardware that doesn't improve the quality of the product and adds to production time. Cute, but its not getting the consumer a better product.

    There are only two components that come into play in building furniture and determining the prices 1) Quality of materials 2) How skilled and costly is the labor pool?. Everything else is in support to those two criteria. If you want to cut costs to sell it for less, you have to take something out of the build, or the labor force. Cheaper frames and materials, more standardization, no customization, Lower skilled labor, off-shore labor, etc. is the only way to get there. At some point you lose your build quality and reputation, it happens time and time again.

    One thing I hear every week is "I don't want it made in China, I want it USA made." Well, the USA made product is $ 1,000 more, because we don't pay our workers $ 3 an hour and have OSHA, EPA and Health Insurance looking out for them. Now, do you still want domestic or is the import OK?

    Ever hear of Casper bedding? Comes in a box. All the Millennials order it. It's also the # 1 bed brand picked up and taken to the landfill by 1-800-JUNK. So not only is the money wasted, but the landfills are full of this kind of stuff. The kids will learn over time. My customer base is not the first time buyers that are young. For one thing as a group they are very distrustful and think everything is a sales pitch in general, so they tend not to be buyers. My customers are the ones tired of putting things in the garbage to be hauled off and they want high quality, durable pieces that perform well over time.

    What would really make a difference however, is if the mainstream domestic builders would let us put prices on-line. It would make life so much easier for everyone, but dealers are all over the map on pricing and the second I post up a price that a particular sofa can be had for $ 2,879, the guy with it on his floor at $ 3,999 is on the phone screaming bloody murder and threatening to drop the line unless they shut that lower-price dealer down. It's a vicious circle that makes it hard for internet shops for all of us.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Yes, I saw that chair today on the website. It's close, but there was another one that struck me as even more similar, the 9761 Harbison chair. Lol, I know the arms are more classic roll arms...but it just clicked with me as being the closest body style.

    Yes, I know your customer base is not exactly the millennial demographic, but many companies are changing their business models to keep up with that generations' shopping habits.

    I'm a Gen X'er, myself. So I was born in & grew up with the old school way of doing things & loved through the dawn of & evolution of the internet. Lol, I remember when Amazon first came on the scene as a website that just sold books...now look where they are!

    There are many brands that typically do not post their prices & if you go to their websites & look up dealers, then go to the dealer's website there won't be any prices listed, not even a "starting at $X" price. Most don't even have any of the options to look through so you can build your desired piece out, then request samples & a quote, similar to how car manufacturers have the "build your own" section on their website, which you go through, THEN can submit that to your preferred dealer for a direct quote.

    However, with some clever Google skills, it's fairly easy to get a price on a piece. Especially since Wayfair now carries many of the higher end makers & other internet only mass furniture dealers.

    I keep hearing about the death of retail with the internet being where most people do their shopping now, & you keep hearing about mainstay brick & mortar stores shutting down every year, so I was curious to hear how that trend is playing out in the furniture industry.

    I think Wayfair, Joss & Main, Amazon, Overstock, & the other massive online retailers will be the future for the consumer shopping in the Cosco, Ashley, Rooms 2 Go, etc market. The low tier retailers.

    As more & more higher end brands decide to also sell on those platforms, I thunk that could spell trouble for your typical mid tier furniture dealer. In Houston, where I live, that means Star Furniture, & Ethan Allen possibly could also get swept up in that, which would not be cool. If you're wanting decent quality for not a small fortune, Ethan Allen is a good product. It's still made in China trash at the end of the day, but I think you see what I'm trying to say.

    For the true high end products, you have to still seek those out & 90% of the time, that still means visiting a brick & mortar dealer.

    I read your old thread from 2013 on all this, & how you predicted back then that people seeking the lowest price possible would gravitate to the internet & we'll all have to see how this plays out.

    Well, now we have Wayfair that sells everything from $25,000 Ralph Lauren sofas all the way to $50 particle board side tables meant for nothing more than maybe a college dorm room.

    I personally have evolved into being a "if I can do it online, that's how I'm going to do it" kinda person as I've gotten older(I'm only 41, LOL.) I hate getting in the car, on a day off or after work fighting traffic to window shop, deal with parking, pushy, rude, or uneducated & poorly trained salespeople, when I can just hop on my phone & do it all in a few minutes.

    My parents, who are in their mid 60s & early 70s are kinda opposite. They'll look over a product online, then go out & buy it. They don't "trust" doing it online. Haha

    I think you're doing what works for you. Not posting prices may lose you a quickie sale every now & then, but it's also very quick & easy to fire off an email asking for a quote. Or, if the potential costumer knows about you & your shop, presumably they're aware this forum exists & can also use this as a guide on prices.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Oh yes, I get in TROUBLE if I post prices, and get a call from the CEO of the company to stop doing it. What point is a shopping website with no prices and cart? Can't do it. So here's the structure of how the furniture industry works.

    First discount level is Decorators/Architects. They are considering non-stocking and get a commercial discount, but not at the level of brick and mortar stores.

    Next up is the basic wholesale account. These are brick and mortar dealers that invest in floor models and carry the minimum buy-in. They will get a discount appx 20% deeper than Decorators.

    After that is the Big Boy wholesale account. They get another 5% off the standard dealer wholesale for doing volume, or some other discount. Or, they buy into specialty programs that are not available to regular brick and mortar dealers.

    These various discount levels account somewhat affect various price differences from one store to another. My store is a top dealer in Hancock and Moore and I have all the programs in place, however I am not a top tier dealer for Bradington Young as an example, because I don’t want to buy as many floor models as they require for the deepest wholesale pricing.
    That’s a choice I make, because quite frankly Hancock and Moore is a superior product.

    It's also a low margin business for the dealership, which is why you see so many furniture stores going under. They cannot make enough margin on sales to support their overhead costs and make a decent living. Most are in debt up to their eyeballs. As such, I will never say "Dealer X is over-priced". He has to charge what he does to stay alive. I own my own building and have no employees or health insurance costs (my wife works for the County Schools, so we use her medical). That means I'm about as lean as a business can possibly be. That translates into generally lower prices without sacrificing customer service. I have a 30-year old sign on the building I need to replace for example, but it costs $ 5K for a new sign, which is why I don't. Jack Glasheen, founder of Hancock & Moore never put a sign on the factory / sales office because he famously said "Signs cost money, Duane". That's how thin margins are.

    Most stores cannot afford a slick website, they are too expensive, much less fancy configurable ones. Those can run into thousands of dollars to develop. Nice, but expensive. I still use hand-written receipts on 2-part paper because they are cheap! At age 65, I'm not innovating except I'm getting a new phone system to kill off the 100 or so spam calls each day. Other than that, business as usual. Been doing it 35 years now and would love to have a beautiful store and slick website, plus a staff of workers, but my customers would rather have $ 500 more off their sofa. And I'm still around when I've seen hundreds of furniture stores shut down or go bankrupt. And, one of the things I'm most proud of, I've never missed a single payment to a supplier.
    Last edited by drcollie; 4 Days Ago at 11:31 AM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Yep, like I said keep doing what works for you, it's obviously been working. The others have to do what works for them.

    Speaking of your store & websites, is your "product lines" list up to date? It lists McKinley Leathers, yet I saw an old post saying you dropped them. It looks like the CEO replied to that post addressing the issues you had raised. So, I didn't know if maybe y'all had worked it out offline & you're still carrying them, or if it just hasn't been updated?

    I didn't see Councill & Jonathan Charles listed either, & I was under the impression you still carry them?

    Jonathan Charles is on Wayfair now. He didn't use to be. Not sure if Councill is, but I do know they're carried by a "fine furniture" discount online retailer, & for pretty decent prices compared to the dealers who've made the choice to list their prices on their websites. Google compiles all that info, then will let you compare prices. So, even if it's just a brick & mortar mom & pop somewhere, if they list a price, it'll be included in that Google search.

    That's what I was referring to when I was saying I'm now seeing more & more high end factory produced lines jump onto the online sales bandwagon.

    5 years ago, you didn't see that. They were strictly sold in select brick & mortar dealers. Fast forward several years & they're still sold at the those shops, but now they're also sold by several online only retailers. Those guys can afford to sell at prices that I'm sure are difficult for the brick & mortar guys to match. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out over time.

    I can see it both ways: it makes good business sense for brands like Councill & Jonathan Charles to expand out to include online retailers because their consumer base grows by multitudes overnight. But, it could also mean losing some of their brand exclusivity & opens themselves up to all the headaches that come along with online retailers who aren't physically nearby the customer to properly deal with service related issues. And then there's always that chance the retailer is running an unethical, fly by night operation & that has its own set of risks.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Yes, I need to go fix my website and remove a few things! Seems like there are more chores to do than hours in a day. No plans to reintroduce McKinley leather in my store, it was not a good match.

    Councill I have but sell very little of it. Jonathan Charles was sold off (Wildwood lamps used to own them) and they are trying new things. They have a lot of product SKU’s and I suspect sales are slow or flat so the new ownership is trying things to move product. Recently they had a sale period to dealers and I bought four pieces which just arrived and I hope to get in the store in a couple of weeks. Having a broken ankle pretty much put a stop to moving new pieces in for the moment.

    I find the average consumer is really not ready for a click and buy shopping experience in better furniture. My in-store customers typically take fours hours to buy a sofa over two separate visits and my distance customers typically involve twenty or more email exchanges on average over about three weeks (plus samples). About once a year I have a single customer come in the store (or call) and say straightaway “ I’d like to buy that sofa over there, here’s my credit card”. That’s an instant sale and almost never happens. Most people have questions and require more information to come to a comfortable buying decision, hence the need for dealers that are knowledgeable and competent.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    Yes, I see that as well. That's how my parents shop. Lol, no offense to any of the older folks here ☺️

    It's generally the millennial generation & younger doing the click & buy thing, even for big purchases like cars, appliances, electronics, furniture, etc. What I've noticed though is they're very quick to drop money on whatever the hot, new thing is no matter what it costs, & they'll absolutely pay a premium for convenience. But, many, if not most, lack the knowledge of what exactly makes a quality, high end piece high end.

    I can't judge, because there was a time when I didn't know what exactly made some expensive furniture high end & actually quality from just marked up landfill trash, UNTIL I came across this forum. I read as many of the older, informative threads as I could & began researching the terms & construction methods. It was like having a light switched on in a dark room. Everything I thought I knew about good furniture was turned on its head.

    I, like most people my age (mid 30s - late 40s) thought Pottery Barn, RH & Arhaus were THE places to go for quality, of the moment furniture. Ethan Allen was very, very nice, if you were looking for more of a traditional, classic look. B&B Italia, Fendi Casa, etc for that minimalist European look. Lol...basically any brand running ads in Architectural Digest, etc I thought was the good stuff. I'd never even heard of Hancock & Moore until I read about them here. And since then, I think I've only ever seen 1 H&M print ad. I also have yet to see a single H&M piece in a feature article in any of the major home & decor magazines, but I do see a lot of the overpriced, trendy stuff like RH, etc...so, I guess even the interior designers aren't knowledgeable on what quality furniture is either?

    I can't speak for anybody else, but for myself, I'm very grateful for the info you've provided. Without all that I've learned, I would never have known the difference. Many of those VERY expensive brands featured in the design magazines are nowhere near close to a quality build standard, yet they charge astronomical prices.

    As to the brands you are selling, are there any that aren't listed, like new lines you saw at Market, or old ones you've brought back? I think you used to sell Kindel & their affiliated lines...or, maybe I just saw you recommend them for quality case goods in a post, I forget.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Leather Paris club chair help

    That demonstrates the power of Advertising and Marketing. With enough money, you can put out your message time and time again until people believe the message. It works, but is very costly to do. And there in lies the dilemma for the company, do we spend the money to do that? Some go to the banks and get loans for $ 500k or a million and throw in on the campaign, essentially betting the farm on it. Some pay off, some don’t. Or they spring for the pretty new store in a premium retail location. Customers love it all. But now you as business have to pay for all that, can you? It all comes back to the price in the product sold. Fancy stores and advertising has to be paid in higher gross profit margins. So either the quality of the product itself suffers as it has to be made cheaper, or the price of the item has to be higher.

    I have struggled with this all my business years. Being financially conservative, I have never gone for a bank loan to run the business, I’m a rare cash payer. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. No debt service means when there is a recession or a 09/11 event that collapses sales for 6 to 12 months, I can survive it. Others that create the debt load cannot, because sales or not the bank wants to get paid. They go bankrupt. In fact the surest way for a furniture store to go belly up is to move into a nice new location, projecting a doubling of their business. When it doesn’t happen, they’re dead.

    Notice all those stores you mention are private label? They have to go that route so they can’t be price shopped and can maintain their margins on what is essentially very mediocre product. For example, let’s say Pottery Barn has a chair for $899 “on sale”. They probably paid about $ 285 for that chair, and are tripling their money. At my store the $899 chair cost me $585, or $300 more than the Pottery Barn unit, double the cost. But that chair is better made, stronger, and more comfortable not to mention longer lasting. To the customer, they are both $ 899, but to someone with a trained eye they can easily see the chair I have is easily superior. I can give them twice the chair for their money as my store is not fancy, I’m not supporting an advertising campaign and staff, or paying for an expensive web site.

    So, the whole purpose of this forum was really my effort to educate people on how to determine what makes a good piece of furniture. It was never designed as a marketing project (believe me it takes far too much work), but really as a public service. When you are an informed consumer you can make informed buying decisions. I learned so much from traveling to so many furniture factories and workshops over the years that I can share that knowledge via this forum. I think we all have a duty to share knowledge with the next generation on subjects we know about, that makes us all better as a society. The reason so many people in the business are not knowledgeable is they don’t get dirty and go to the workshops and factories. That’s the only way to learn this business, you have to get to the source and spend time with the people that make it. Not the executives, the line workers. And those craftspeople are so excited when someone shows interest in what they do every day, they will tell you all about it.

    I actually envisioned this forum would be for all members of the trade and would become a great informational source. A few others tried to contribute, but they didn’t last too long as it required too much work and they didn’t see direct sales from it, so they faded away. Unfortunately that means everyone gets my viewpoint and not many others, and I try hard to be objective and limit any bias in my replies.

    I never got rich in this business, but my customers tend to be loyal and trust me, and that’s wealth of a different kind. Many years ago there was a chain of five stores named CL Barnes in the same area I am in. They sold crap furniture for a lot of money to unsuspecting customers. Remy Barnes, the owner, came into my store one day and looked around for some time.

    Remy came up to me and introduced himself, and said “You have really nice, high- quality furniture that you sell too cheaply, your business model is flawed.”

    I bristled and replied “I’ve been in your stores and you sell sub-standard product at very high retails, how do you get any repeat business or customer loyalty? How do you sleep well at night?”

    Remy said “In a city this size, I don’t need them to come back, I just need to get them the one time. You’re leaving money on the table Mr. Collie, and I sleep just fine”. And off he went.

    CL Barnes went out of business three years after that conversation. I’m still around! Think I won that one.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum
    I ask that you do NOT call my store with general furniture questions, that is what the forum is for

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