Custom furniture is hard. Either you’re talking about something high-end with all sorts of frippery or something deliriously low-end like a countertop. What about the middle? The folks at Meble.pl, a Polish furniture manufacturer, are aiming for that interesting (and lucrative) market.
First off, bear with me. The Meble.pl website is awful and the company has been around since 2008 as a sort of domain hijacking service that took over a number of popular Polish domains, the Polish equivalent of kitchen.com, chair.com, and the like. Then, over the past few years, the company received an infusion of $5 million and another $3.3 million from the Poland-based Internet Investment Fund is on the way to improve the company considerably. What the new meble.pl (literally “Furniture.pl”) is doing is offering custom-cut particle board and plywood furniture at scale, something that many have tried but few have mastered.
The goal was simple: to allow users to create furniture online and have it delivered in two days. This includes cabinets, drawers, shelves, and the like in multiple colors. Robots cut out the parts to order and everything is flat-packed and shipped. Due to demand, however, the process now takes five days, an issue the company is currently working to remedy.
“Meble.pl takes orders purely from internet where customers can choose out of a variety of furniture styles either individual or whole sets. The customer tailors the furniture according to his needs–changing sizes, shelves, drawers, individual colors of various parts, accessories (quality of hinges, drawer rails, holders) which can affect the price dramatically. While customizing the customers sees the price changed in real-time. The moment he accepts the purchase, the production process starts,” said Rafał Styczeń, a lead investor and advisor.
The team has produced 1,000 units a month since 2013 and they expect some interesting growth next year. By creating a precision pipeline for custom furniture, the team hopes to move away from the portal mode and into a true online furniture source. After all, Polish furniture is (nearly) the best! “Poland furniture market is one of leading in Europe,” said Styczeń. “Poland is the number three top producer of furniture in Europe, and number four worldwide.”