Our founder, Stephen Culp, was a law student at Stanford University
when he visited Yahoo in 1998. At that time, Silicon Valley was in
its infancy, and the tech bubble didn't exist. Yahoo's massive
growth resulted in a major complaint: they couldn't find furniture
to keep up with their expanding workforce and demands. Inspired,
Stephen went to work designing a new type of furniture that would
satisfy the needs of this new, exciting tech frontier.
Working out of his professor's garage, he invented Smart Shelves.
Consisting of interlocking boards that assemble without tools,
Smart Shelves were customizable, expandable, and easy to use. They
were everything that a newly-emerging tech world would need.
Smart Furniture was born.
Appropriately, Stephen opened an online store to begin selling his
groundbreaking products. In the late 1990s, web purchasing was
still in its infancy, and buying furniture online was a thought
that most people had never considered before. Stephen was
undeterred, and his Smart Shelves became a hit. HGTV even featured them on a special design show!
As the company grew, it was relocated to Chattanooga, TN, where
manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution were more accessible
than in Palo Alto. The move proved to be especially prescient. In
2010, Chattanooga built a smart grid fiber optic internet
infrastructure, providing us with the fastest web speeds in the
country. Technology company: meet booming tech city of the South.
We still kick our tires here to this day.
Technology has been at the heart of Smart Furniture's growth from
the beginning, staying at the cutting edge of internet sales and
boldly trying things that other companies don't. The original
SmartFurniture.com featured custom 3-d renderings and integrated
Google sketch up tools allowing customers to design their own
unique shelving systems. Stephen's vision was to allow the customer
to design the furniture that they wanted. Smart Furniture thrived
under the mantra, "Design on Demand." Furniture shouldn't just be
what other people tell you it is. It should be yours.
We realized that we could take our design on demand philosophy and
apply it to other types of furniture too. We were the first place
online where a customer could customize a sofa, office chair, desk,
or table by color and finish and see it in real time. While some
companies were figuring out how to sell shoes, we were looking at
new ways to display sectionals in true color.
Since technology is changing at such a rapid pace, it's imperative
for online sellers to stay current on all of the newest gadgets and
features. Learning new programming languages, configuring the site
for different devices, and optimizing speeds are just a few of the
things we do every day to ensure that we stay on the cutting edge
of the web-sales world.
We also invent our own cool technologies.