Yale School of Management

Alumni Entrepreneurs: Hugo & Hoby, Five Years In

When Ben Young ’16 and Fred Kukelhaus ’16 met at Yale SOM, they discovered they had a lot in common, including a desire to start their own venture and a focus on having a positive impact on the society around them. Five years later, their company Hugo & Hoby has evolved from crowdsourcing furniture designs for the consumer market to building sustainably sourced and locally produced furniture for businesses and institutions ranging from Sam Adams to Patagonia to Yale Law School. 

Even though the company is growing, the two say their approach to running Hugo & Hoby has pretty much stayed the same.

“You just won a big sale—great. But the warehouse still needs to get swept, tables still need to get screwed in, someone just called and they need something touched up or fixed,” says Young. “A lot of times, that’s Fred and I. And it’s super fun. We just get to learn a gazillion different things.”