Yesterday we discussed the struggle local makers face when it comes to showcasing their designs in our story about Floor Factory–a new furniture design market, opening this weekend in Industry City, that puts locally designed furniture more in reach than ever–but more frequently today, indie designers like Katy Skelton, looking for something more permanent than a pop-up but with less overheard than an actual store, are finding better luck connecting with customers by opening online shops.
“Having an online-only store keeps my overhead low and allows me to offer my furniture at competitive prices,” says Skelton who lives in Crown Heights and moved to Brooklyn two years ago from Georgia. “I also sell directly to the end consumer, cutting out the middleman, which also takes out an unnecessary markup from a third party.”
Skelton got her start designing for commercial furniture manufacturers like West Elm, but ultimately decided to give creating her own line of bedroom, dining, living room and home office furniture a try–a tremendous undertaking in that her business model centers around creating pieces at accessible price points that are made here in the United States, as well as other socially responsible locations overseas that are affiliated with the World Fair Trade Organization.
Her collections strike a middle ground between modernism and nostalgia, with original designs that incorporate classic elements, colors, materials and accents that are created for a modern world, in which people actually use their living rooms for something other than a special occasion.
“I am greatly influenced by mid-century Danish designers, which is apparent in my Desi collection, which marries clean lines and a natural finish to create a design that is simple and enduring,” Skelton says. “I like the idea of vintage pieces that are functional for modern uses, which is the thought behind my Vintage Media Cabinet. My Industry collection is made from steel and is very simple and utilitarian. I work with skilled domestic craftsman to ensure that each piece is of heirloom quality.”
Skelton’s shop, which opened Oct. 9, is currently selling six designs, ranging in price from $75-$1,975. You can find it online here.