Feedback on Modules, adjustable solid wood dressers.

Finding furniture that fits is difficult, but at Functional Furniture Creations we are pioneering ways to make the search for furniture that fits obsolete. Every consumer knows the struggle of dragging furniture through an ever changing lifestyle and living environment. These transitions in our life often raise some questions concerning the way traditional furniture is manufactured and sold.
Modules, our dresser by the drawer design attempts to solve many of the questions facing consumers buying solid wood furniture today. With Modules, you can complete a whole bedroom set with just one piece of furniture without having to match each new piece of furniture you buy. ​Functional Furniture Creations has a dresser by the drawer design that even allows easy maneuverability if the time comes that you ever have to move.
The idea behind the concept is to break apart a dresser, and make it so that it goes back together easily and securely. The dresser itself will be sold by the individual drawer. This helps to lower the cost of buying solid wood furniture so that the customer can buy and build it as their budget allows. It also makes it easy to transition the dresser from one configuration to another by merely sliding one drawer out and placing another one in. Modules would be great for so many different situations, they are literally designed to grow with your lifestyle and needs. It is the only solid wood dresser out on the market designed to grow with your family. From single status just starting out in life to growing a family, it could be the last dresser anyone could ever need.
Me and my business partner have over 25 years of woodworking experience and we are trying to get this idea out the door. We currently are patent pending with our design and both work full time. We do have an Indiegogo crowdfunder going right now in case anyone is interested in seeing the design or what we hope to accomplish with our business model.

This is a simple Youtube slideshow showing some of the different configurations that you can do with the same 6 drawers. We currently are in the prototype phase, as a little extra information.

Having done extensive research the number one reason why most people buy throwaway furniture like Ikea, Pier 1, and Walmart, is cost. We feel that if people could build their heirloom quality furniture slowly instead of paying $800 dollars up front that this idea could really take off. There are so many different possibilities with Modules, from platform beds with slide in drawers, to Entertainment centers with slide in, hide away game drawers. The list goes on and on.

I would like to get some feedback from some other people out there to see what they think. Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

Hi Matias,
Interesting concept. Easy to understand but I think you need to do more research in order to understand how, when and why people buy bedroom furniture.
The big factor is style. I think one of the biggest challenges will be the look of the furniture. Here are some comments:

  1. Design is pretty plain/traditional because of assembly method. Maybe your look should lean towards modern rather than traditional heirloom.
  2. How will everything come together securely? Will there be visible hardware on the end panels?
  3. How will you finish the tops? How will you resolve the bases/feet?
  4. Visible part lines will not be pleasing. I don’t think I would like my furniture to look like 10-15 boxes screwed together. Also, any slight variation in alignment will be an eyesore
  5. Maybe instead of individual drawers you have modules that come together to make up the dresser. 5 drawer module, drawer and door module, 3 big drawer module, etc. The key is to reduce the amount of part lines and visible hardware.
  6. Trends, colors, materials and your suppliers will change. I doubt I would be able to buy additional matching modules to add to my furniture 5, 10 years after my initial purchase.
  7. My tastes in furniture may change after 10 years.

We have done a lot of research on the whole process of buying furniture, our business plan is over 40 pages long, and 6 pages of it alone we talk about the buying process. But there is always new information coming out so we will try to stay on top of it as much as we can for 2 people working full time jobs and trying to get this business started.

As for the style, we agree with you and have a lot of design ideas in mind to help with that. This is simply a protoype and I have spent over $35K just getting this business where it is today, hence the need for our crowdfunding platform. I think that with some help we can go from prototype to AMAZING product.
1)We have 4 different designs that we want to actually do for the the product vs. the prototype that I linked and featured. One being a modern look with no handles but grooves for pulls instead. One thing we hope to do after we go into full production is offer the styles of drawer pulls and designs to fit the customers needs/desires
2)We actually have solid metal attachment brackets that are not featured on the crowdfunder, and attachment is secure and easily adjustable. We plan on using a type of veneer strip to cover the brackets when not in use so they are not visible.
3)The tops will be an additional 2 inches high, and 1 inch deep that feature a different degree of design options depending on customer needs/wants. There will be 2 separate tops we sell, the deluxe for 6 or more drawers side to side and the standard for the single stack. Bottoms will be very similar and will not feature feet. This will be because we need the base to be sturdy so that they customers can stack them and not worry about tipping or anything.
4) Every dresser drawer has separation lines between the drawers, and we have already altered the design to cover up more of the box look. The front face of the drawer will cover the whole Box and the only line that will be seen will be the ones on the sides, and the ones separating one drawer from the next. There will be no ugly screws to look at. As per the slight variations this prototype was all done by hand using some new techniques by myself, we hope to counter that via a CNC machine that will make exact cuts every time.
5) I hope within the next week or so we can Make a better looking prototype to show you the visual difference.
6) Agreed about the supplies, we used white pine for the prototype and in order to maintain similar color we would be suggesting that if they ordered white pine in the begining then they stick with it upon reorder.
7) Tastes do change, and that is why we hope to have a full catalog of different drawer pulls available for customers. This wont solve the whole problem but hey sometimes if you just change all the knobs it can take a different appearance.

We have been planning and researching for the past year and have thought a lot about how we would do this and do it right. I am a Marine and my partner is Prior Army, so we definately will see this through and make it an amazing product if we receive the funding.

Why? You should be able to explain why and how you’re doing this in 1 page.

This is simply a protoype and I have spent over $35K just getting this business where it is today

Can I ask on what?

This may sound self serving on a design forum, but the design of your product is the single most important thing for you to get right, and you have not got it right.

This style of modular Lego furniture gets mooted every spring when the new crop of design students graduate. It has never, ever caught on. You should ask yourself why that is.

More importantly: build some stuff and sell it! Start small! No research you can do, consultants you hire, or patent applications you file will ever substitute for making a product and getting it into people’s hands. Surveys are useless. Your friends will always say they love everything. Once someone hands you their money, that’s when you have some information you can act on.

Hire a designer- a couple thousand bucks spent there is worth far more than some unenforceable patent. Abandon all patent activity and stop throwing that money away- the kind of infringement first timers are so scared of is vanishingly rare, and you can’t afford to litigate even if it happens. Have professional prototypes made. Sell a few products at cost to your friends and get real feedback on all your (likely wrong) assumptions. Read about the sunk cost fallacy and be prepared to act on it. Don’t fall in love with your own work to the point that it blinds you.

Anyway, that’s my advice. (I’ve done what you’re attempting, starting with a website and shipping from my garage 8 years ago and slowly bootstrapping it up ever since. We’re exhibiting in Milan this year.)