Smart Furniture was originally imagined in the mid 1990s by our founder and chairman Stephen Culp, a Naval Reserve Officer, attorney, and former Peace Corps Volunteer. At the time, Culp was a law student at Stanford Law School. The idea for the company came during a visit he made to Yahoo! during its startup years. The incredible growth Yahoo! was experiencing made it difficult for the company to keep up with the constantly changing need for space reconfiguration.
Culp realized that people needed an easily adaptable furniture system that allowed them to reconfigure spaces to their changing needs. In a small workshop in a professor's garage, he set out to create a furniture system that was both simple to assemble and easy to reconfigure as needed. He succeeded and received a patent on his Signature Line system.
By 1998, Smart Furniture was up and running in Palo Alto, California. Smart Furniture relocated to Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2001, where Culp expanded the company and founded a local manufacturing, warehouse, and shipment distribution system for the company's Signature Line products.
Along the way, Culp's experience in the Peace Corps provided a founding principle of Smart Furniture: Help people help themselves. This simple but effective principle was the basis for a business model he called Design on Demand. Smart Furniture's Design on Demand model was created to give both residential and business customers the opportunity to design their own spaces and customize furniture products to their needs, quickly and easily.
The next step was to make the model come alive through technology on our website, Smartfurniture.com. Our website's designer tool, free 3-D renderings, and integrated Google Sketchup technologies combined empower our customers to design, order, and receive everything from individual units to interior layouts, quickly and easily.
The result was a revolutionary solution incorporating state-of-the-art design, e-commerce and fulfillment capabilities that can deliver orders from concept to customer within a week. Such a short turnaround time is unheard of in the furniture industry.