The Insider’s Guide to Furniture
About the Owner/Author
Jeff Frank is a 45-year veteran of the furniture industry. He has worked directly with hundreds of manufacturers, retailers, designers, and suppliers.
Jeff’s manufacturing company, Simplicity Sofas, founded in 2007, won the $20,000 Grand Prize in a 2012 nationwide competition for “Most Innovative U.S. Small Business.”
In March 2022, Jeff retired from Simplicity Sofas after 15 years to devote full time to this Insider’s Guide to Furniture blog and review site.
Over his career, Jeff has been directly involved in all aspects of furniture manufacturing, retailing (both stores and online), and product design.
His origins in the furniture industry date back to 1976, hired out of college as Sales Manager for a 1 person furniture department in a discount department store.
Two years later, one of the Top 50 furniture retail chains in the U.S. hired Jeff as one of their corporate buyers.
Over an 8-year period, Jeff negotiated and purchased over $200 million of furniture and mattresses from hundreds of large & small furniture manufacturers.
Duties as a buyer included price negotiation, setting selling prices, merchandising, advertising, customer service, and more.
The retail chain Jeff worked for was especially known for buying and selling close-out and overstocked merchandise at deep discounts.
Subsequently, Jeff became a partner in a Sales consulting firm, specializing in selling a wide range of products to the U.S. Government.
Jeff managed the firm’s furniture clients, averaging over $15 million in annual government contracts. Clients included Ethan Allen, Flexsteel, and Bassett.
In 1990, Jeff came up with an idea for a new type of furniture to fill a vacant product niche – high-end seating that could be moved through narrow doors and stairways where other high-quality furniture could not go.
IKEA and its competitors sold huge quantities of low end RTA (Ready to Assemble) seating that fit through narrow spaces, but RTA sofas selling for more than $1000 did not exist in 1990.
Working with two partners, Jeff’s team invented a new type of furniture, and were awarded 5 patents.
The world’s largest home furnishings manufacturer licensed the 5 patents.
At that time, Masco owned 20 well-known furniture brands, including Henredon, Drexel-Heritage, Lexington, Universal, Maitland Smith, etc.
Masco created a new brand, Simply Together, to make and sell the furniture created by Jeff’s design team. Over a 10-year period, Simply Together sold more than $40 million of furniture.
In 2005, Jeff put together another design team, which was awarded 2 additional patents.
The result was a new brand, Simplicity Sofas, which opened two years later, in the midst of the Recession, under Jeff’s ownership.
Simplicity Sofas is still in business, making and selling high end Ready to Assemble sofas, sectionals and sleepers in the $2000 – $10,000 price range.
Simplicity Sofas was the first Direct-to-Consumer manufacturer to sell 100% of its furniture online.
This was several years before Amazon and Wayfair popularized the concept of online furniture sales.
Jeff retired from Simpicity Sofas in March 2022 to devote full time to developing his Insiders Guide to Furniture blog.
Over his long career, Jeff acquired a unique overall view of the furniture industry.
This includes a detailed knowledge of furniture construction, design & quality, cost analysis, retail marketing strategies, customer service practices and much more.
Jeff has published over 2000 furniture-related articles and reviews, viewed by more than 2 million readers, over the past decade.
What is the
Insiders Guide to Furniture?
“You get what you pay for!“
The statement, “You get what you pay for!” is often heard throughout the furniture industry.
It’s constantly repeated by customers who heard it from salespeople and interior design professionals.
Shoppers can easily spend thousands of dollars buying furniture that falls apart after just a few years.
Most mid-range seating used to last 10 years or more. Sofas, sectionals, & reclining furniture made by those same brands now seems to last only half as long.
It’s almost impossible for shoppers (and many industry professionals) to tell the quality or value of one piece of furniture compared to another.
The Insider’s Guide To Furniture was created to help its readers avoid expensive furniture shopping mistakes.
It provides detailed information and answers to all your questions about furniture and home furnishings.
IGF features over 300 articles on furniture-related topics, including:
- Detailed brand & product quality comparisons
- Retail advertising & pricing strategies
- Manufacturing construction & cost analysis
- Confusing & contradictory furniture industry terminology
The articles, answers, and opinions given in this blog are based on my 45 years working with hundreds of furniture manufacturers and retailers.
Thousands of articles are published every year on various furniture topics. Almost all of them are written from very narrow viewpoints.
Interior design professionals, who work exclusively with expensive furniture, create many of the most widely read articles.
High end perspectives of furniture products are not always useful to the 90% of shoppers who cannot afford to buy top-of-the-line quality.
Reviews are often written by individuals with very limited knowledge. Some are “influencers” who are paid to refer their readers to specific brands.
As quality has declined, consumers have become more and more concerned about how their furniture is constructed and how long it will last.
Salespeople are paid to sell, not provide accurate information.
Websites often provide product descriptions that are intentionally vague and misleading.
I created this Insiders Guide to Furniture to demystify the furniture buying experience and to help shoppers avoid costly mistakes.
Please send me your questions. I respond to most questions within 24 hours.