New Retailer Launches Vote-to-Produce Designer Furniture Business

The Design Within Reach, but actually within reach? Another Ikea? Threadless but for furniture? All those titles seem to stick, just maybe not quite, when reading the Guardian‘s profile of, a new online retailer which just launched yesterday. The site allows users to pre-purchase their favorite among a collection of contemporary furniture pieces by name designers and the chair, table, etc. with the most votes/purchases goes into production. Founded by Ning Li, the site has received a batch of capital to launch the outlet, with investors likely keen to the idea of “no unsold inventory and no wastage as the factory only manufactures the exact number of items ordered.” It’s an interesting idea. It’s hard to judge exactly how well-made the furniture is just by looking at the photos on their site, but idea alone, it scores points for novelty. Here’s from investor Brent Hoberman:

Hoberman reckons is part of a new e-commerce trend: “From an investment trend perspective we see an exciting transition from retailing to ‘me-tailing’ where consumers are in control, influencing which designs make it into production and with a more direct connection to the factory. is good news for talented designers who struggle to achieve scale production as it will showcase the best new talent to the buying public and generate demand for their products.”

Though after reading that, could you also start raising some anti-spec red flags?