The story of Hugo & Hoby, a company that produces flat packed, highly customizable, and sustainable furniture using domestic skills and materials, is an unlikely one. As two graduate students, all we wanted was some affordable, nice desks for our apartment. Yet all we found from the usual suspects - big box stores, professional carpenters, “authentic” brands, and online retailers - were tired designs, expensive products, and unsustainable business models. None of the companies we came across seemed overly concerned with providing a truly great customer experience or even a good deal, much less their impact on local communities and the environment.
We were surprised. What happened? Where did the excellence in American furniture manufacturing go? Economists will tell you that domestically manufactured furniture started to disappear from America because of labor competition from abroad, a lack of quality domestic wood and steel, a shortage of manufacturing skills, and customers that only care about low prices. To us, these seemed like excuses. Was it really so hard to build and sell quality furniture at a reasonable price using American traditions and modern manufacturing techniques? We still cannot find a satisfying answer for why this should not be the case.
With no intention of becoming professional furniture makers, we started to build a company that would reflect the values we wanted to see. Sustainable lumber. Local skills and labor. Durable and customizable designs. Affordable prices. Easy ordering. Quick shipping. Straightforward assembly. We named the company after our grandfathers - skilled carpenters in their time and the ones who taught us how to build - Hobart Young and Hugo Kükelhaus.
We have no idea if we’ll be successful. But the more time we spend designing a sustainable business that focuses on delivering an excellent product in a sincere way, the more convinced we are that it is an idea worth exploring. There’s adventure to be had here and we’d like to ask you to join us. We’ll be sharing updates monthly and your feedback, thoughts, and ideas are most welcome. Welcome to Hugo & Hoby - Quality American Furniture.