Over the last several years we have started to see more quality, affordable furniture become available online. Gone are the days where your only option for a nice sofa is a fancy and expensive showroom.
Campaign is one of a handful of companies leading the furniture revolution online.
We recently had the opportunity to connect with Campaign Founder and CEO, Brad Sewell. During his career, Brad has had stops at Honda and Apple, among other companies, where he has taken on a variety of different engineering and design roles.
Continue below for our full interview Campaign’s Founder, Brad Sewell.
Can you tell my readers a little bit about your background, where has your career taken you?
“I was born and raised in southern Ohio and have always had a passion for building things. My father was a carpenter and I grew up surrounded by tools, wood and furniture. This passion for building led me to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
I began my career in the automotive industry where I held various engineering positions, most notably at Honda Research & Development. I then moved to California in 2010 joining Apple as a Manufacturing Design Engineer, working on various iPod and iPhone projects. I went on to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School, which is where Campaign was born.”
What helped lead you to found Campaign?
“My past experiences building products with Honda and Apple showed me successful businesses are committed to building high-quality products at an affordable price.
I didn’t believe this existed in the furniture industry and set out to re-design and re-engineer the sofa from the ground up – to improve not only the quality of the product and its materials, but the entire experience by bringing it all online (this was 2011 mind you – the beginnings of Amazon, Warby Parker, Everlane).”
What was the design process like for the first Campaign sofas?
“Our design process was built around improving three fundamental issues we found in the traditional furniture industry: shipping, quality manufacturing, and consumer experience.
First, we wanted to bring this industry online by shipping furniture through the most efficient channel possible. Traditional furniture is plagued by high shipping costs due to freight delivery requirements.
We set out to design our furniture to fit within the constraints of UPS and FedEx ground parcel carriers, allowing us to ship faster at a fraction of the cost. All of our products are delivered within 4-7 business days after ordering. Campaign is the fastest-shipping custom sofa on the market today.
Second, we were tired of seeing poor-quality furniture head to the landfill after a few years of use. We wanted to build a quality product that could get better with time.
We leveraged our design and manufacturing experience from other industries to build our products using high-tech equipment and untraditional materials known to the upholstered furniture industry. This resulted in our laser-cut steel frame that is lighter than our plywood competitors and has been tested to withstand a lifetime of use.
Last, we wanted to create a delightful customer experience. We wanted the entire post-purchase experience to be a joy – including assembly and use. We designed our products to be easily assembled in less than 10 minutes with our solid-wood legs acting as the only assembly tool needed.
Our steel frame also created flexibility to offer removable and serviceable fabrics. Customers are able to remove the fabric to spot-clean, wash or replace with completely new covers, which we sell as “accessories and parts” on our website. We put a lifetime warranty on the frame, which will always be compatible with any new fabrics or cushion configurations we release.
This literally could be the last sofa you would ever need.”
Do you have any personal favorite Campaign pieces in your own home?
“I have a brushed weave midnight navy sofa with mahogany legs in my apartment and just added our newly launched ottoman to it.”
Online, offline, big box store, department stores, boutiques, and more, there are many places to buy a new couch. What’s the best reason to buy online direct from the manufacturer?
“Buying direct online provides the best value to the customer. Campaign has less expenses than tradition furniture stores. We don’t have expensive showrooms, extra sales staff, or high freight shipping expenses. This allows us to focus on offering a high-quality product at an affordable price.
Imagine you find an $800 sofa at a big box store. To cover their high store expenses and freight shipping that sofa was likely built for $100 overseas. Customers should ask: How long will this product last? Are you willing to spend more for quality?
Campaign is not the cheapest product on the market, but we’re confident we use the best materials available and cut no corners in the process.
As a side note, we understand customers will want to sit on a sofa before they buy it (some of our employees at Campaign feel the same way!), which is why we’ve partnered with existing stores around the country, outfitting them with Campaign pieces. All our Outposts are listed on our site for people to learn about and visit.
Our swatch program has been great for customers to feel the fabrics families and see the colorways in person before purchasing anything.”
Does Campaign have any plans for products beyond couches, chairs, and pillows?
“Absolutely. We recently launched a line of ottomans. There’s much more coming down the pipeline, too, but we want to take our time and make sure we’re building the best products for our customers.”
As a furniture expert, what is your best insider secret to help consumers shopping for a new couch?
“Don’t be afraid to ask A LOT of questions about the materials and manufacturer’s warranty.
A sofa may look great, but if the manufacturer is using the cheapest foam on the market or five legs to the support the sofa (no sofa should need more than four legs), it’s just not going to last. It may be tempting to go the cheaper route, but if you need to buy two or three sofas in a 10-year span, are you really saving?
We know it’s not helping our landfills.
Just like a car, invest in something that can be with you for the long haul, and replace the accessories and parts as you need or want.”
My thanks to both Campaign and Brad Sewell for taking the time to answer these questions and for his valuable insights!
Please note that Campaign requested a few small changes to the original interview questions I posed, which I granted. They asked to refer to their product as a “sofa” and not a “couch” (in order to be inline with how they refer to them on their website). Also, they asked to refer to the company in several places just as “Campaign”, and not “Campaign Living” (again, to be inline with the actual company name, and not just the website name). Lastly, they also asked for a link to be added to their outposts page (which I did add).