Following a family business restructuring, a newly formed brand in the FF&E sector expands its operations. Founded by two industry experts, the venture manufactures bespoke furniture, artwork, and decorative accessories, specializing in hospitality projects and high-end residential. What differentiates them is their offer: production experts beyond the traditional manufacturing skills- and this is going to shake the industry for many reasons.
“Manufacturing experts, product developers, suppliers, design collaborators – we cover all of the activities during the project.” says co-founder and CEO Paolo Della Casa. Having extensive and hands-on experience in all aspects, they want to use their expertise to modernize the furniture supply industry. The co-founder explains that due to multiple parties being involved from the design phase to the final delivery of the items, a simple process becomes complicated. This an industry where each party doesn’t have thorough knowledge and understanding of the project phases and where each step of the process often occurs in different geographical areas. This leaves a lot of room for intentional and unintentional avoidable delays, foreseeable issues, and unrepresentative prices.
“In the furniture business, the system has not changed in 40 years. It’s time to come up with something new.”
According to the founders, the problems in the market are countless. Design vs. budget is one of the most common. “On one hand, design integrity can be compromised because of the budget, and on the other hand, designers can draw furniture that will never be possible to construct within the budget. It causes a lot of frustration, and projects can be delayed, with no one able to foresee the issue in time. We come in at the very beginning to help the interior designer remain in budget, collaborating with them to design pieces whose quality we know is achievable. Thus we help the owner stay within budget while they maintain their designer’s original vision.”
Wood Couture’s solution is simple: a bird’s eye view perspective connecting the dots of all moving parts, and technology that supports the stakeholders in making important decisions.
With their combined experience, they understand everyone’s perspective from the owner to the designer, passing by the hotel operator and the manufacture. While they interact closely with the designer, their mode of communication eliminates the numerous backs and forth steps, using their custom software to make and share live design modifications with the designer and to produce the shop drawings instantaneously.
Wood Couture does not own manufactures. Instead, they have adopted the asset-light business model carried by pioneers such as Uber and Airbnb. Thanks to their experience (and they have learned the hard way), they have partnered with their long-term known factories to establish a total quality management system to produce different levels of furniture, from 5 stars to economy hotels. These partners have the know-how, and they fully adopted the Wood Couture system.
“We invest in people and in the process itself, not in inflexible physical assets.”
Through Wood Couture’s involvement and coaching, the selected manufacturing facilities turn the operations from static to dynamic, to adapt and adjust per project, and fully develop that flexibility. Once a project begins, Wood Couture is onsite to manage the fabrication process and live-track the progress. This allows the highest efficiency and assurance of the best possible quality. “Not everyone understands which skills and equipment are needed based on the specific profile of a project, but we do. We have vetted facilities that we now work with, and for each new project, we will pair accordingly. We are essentially manufacturing experts.” says co-founder Filippo Sona.
Simone Valente, a veteran in the world of high-end Italian furniture who used to work for Cassina, is their head of Technical Development and Innovation. “Our software is a small revolution in itself. Furniture designs can be altered with instantly viewable results during a live feedback session with the designers, which enables immediate and final approval of the shop drawings. At the same time, the owner can live track the status of every single step of the project right from their phones at any time. Once we have fully finalized our software, they will even be able to watch a live camera feed from inside the manufacture!” says Simone.
Wood Couture’s two co-founders have different backgrounds that complement each other perfectly, and that combination is key. But one thing they do have in common is the sincere passion they developed for hospitality during their careers. It is that passion that brought them together when they realized they had similar views about the industry’s current issues and that they could make a difference while addressing an unserved need.
Filippo Sona has over 20 years of experience in management consulting for the hospitality sector worldwide, understanding the intricacies on the management side. In contrast, Paolo Della Casa has been an entrepreneur in FF&E for the hospitality and high-end residential market for decades, understanding the realities of contract furniture. Both extremely successful in their fields; they decided to join forces and create something better, something new. With the combination of passion, knowledge, and technology, their unique process will undoubtedly change things for the better.
When asked to sum up the Wood Couture process, the co-founders answer: “We aim to bring a new and simplified way of working, through a collaborative process driven by our deep experience, aided by technology and guided by our ability to visualize every moving part of the project at once. We believe in delivering the right products at their just value.”