Made-in-USA furniture in an unusually pain-free online shopping experience
Newcomer furniture brand Maiden Home sticks out from the well-known names we've grown up with, tackling a pretty difficult industry to enter. The e-commerce company offers made-to-order, customizable furniture built in the US at a price point you wouldn't typically see. The company's aim is to offer affordable furniture, with much less stress—not an easy task when it's an online experience.
Founder Nidhi Kapur felt the stress personally when trying to find a nice set of furniture for her own "maiden home." A lot of things were wrong: poor quality despite paying thousands of dollars, having to sift through hundreds of sofas online, the lack of information about each design to make an informed decision, the sometimes 12-16 week waiting period for special order furniture, not to mention the exorbitant in-home delivery fees. Wanting to solve most of these upfront—even the details furniture shoppers wouldn't think of, such as having attachment clips on every cushion so they stay put on the frame—Kapur launched Maiden Home earlier this year, with a tightly edited assortment of classic chair and sofa silhouettes that have been given a modern update.
"In the city, what's interesting is that you have a little bit more access, obviously. There's a bit more in terms of boutiques where you can get more unique things. Whereas people in the rest of the country are really shopping at the same three or four big brands," Kapur tells CH on a tour of the appointment-based Maiden Home showroom—her own apartment in Tribeca. "But even in my experience, having access to a little bit more variety, I felt like there were still so many pain points in the process. I think the first thing that we always talk about is quality to value. If you kind of dig in and understand the industry, you see that over time, brands have taken quality out of the product and increased the mark-ups to pay for massive retail space and catalogs and all these very outdated forms of marketing. My perspective, coming at it from working in e-commerce, is, 'Oh, these things are not necessary for the modern consumer who prefers to shop online, is looking for everything online.'"
So what makes a Maiden Home piece worth talking about? First is how and where it's made: by craftsmen in North Carolina who have been producing bespoke furniture for generations (hence the lifetime guarantee for the frames and springs). The Minetta chair, for example, has 18 fabric channels cut, sewn and upholstered by hand that takes a team of two about two days to complete. Out of the 40 or so fabric (and leather) options, many are performance fabrics which are liquid-repellent and stain-resistant, so people with kids or pets can dare to own a practical white sofa. Even their high-resilience cushion fill—a formulation that's unique to them—addresses a big issue Kapur was adamant on solving—that dreaded "butt" divot from sitting in the same place on your sofa. "Which is unsightly but also uncomfortable," she notes.
Kapur has tried to make the typically overwhelming furniture shopping experience as painless as possible: choose a fabric, a wood finish, size (for sofas only), and the piece will be delivered—the white glove service is free—within six weeks. Most important is the pared-down selection of just four sofas and four chairs, each with their own comfort profile and purpose. The vintage-inspired Leroy chair, for example, features thin, exposed wood arms carved by hand; the other armchair option, the Downing, offers upholstered arms. The generously proportioned Sullivan sofa, with one long single bench cushion for added comfort, is one for the whole family to clamber on. For a few weeks, we've been living with the tailored Minetta chair in velvet (a material that doesn't interest the cat's claws for once, but it does noticeably attract a lot of pet hair and dust, so just note you might be dusting more frequently). But be it cat or human, everybody looks and feels good sitting on it.
Kapur's grand vision for the brand is to eventually offer almost every product you might need for the home, at a quality standard she stands behind, out of this clean, modern Maiden Home aesthetic she's created. "This customer that we're talking to, she's just purchased a new home and it's empty," says Kapur, "And she just needs to fill it efficiently and doesn't want to have to think that much about every step of the process."
Lookbook images courtesy of Maiden Home, all others by Cool Hunting