9 Ways Furniture Brand Article Prioritizes Profits Over Growth

June 10, 2022
2 min read

Grow at all costs. I mean – that’s what most DTC brands do, right? Not the furniture startup Article. 

Founded in 2013, Article was profitable by 2015. And they’re still seeing double-digit growth (45% YoY sales in 2021, to be exact).

Meanwhile, the big DTC names (*cough* Warby Parker; *cough* Casper) still haven’t broken even.

So, what’d Article do differently? The TL;DR version is that they: 

  1. Took on minimal funding. Article raised a small Series A and Series B but considers itself a mostly-bootstrapped, “founder-funded” brand. 
  2. Work within their cash flow. Meaning, Article keeps marketing expenses “proportionate with its revenue,” per co-founder and CEO Aamir Baig. 
  3. Built proprietary technology. And hired 100 Vietnam-based techs to manage it. 
  4. Don’t own its Asian manufacturing sites. Instead, the overseas team manages those relationships, providing better inventory visibility (a huge advantage amid supply chain chaos). 
  5. Work closely with manufacturing partners to “develop high-quality products at the best value.” This translates to better COGS and, consequently, bottom-line growth. 
  6. Rely on real-time data. Constantly analyzing market trends, sales data, and customer feedback to understand shopping preferences. Then, use those insights to inform production schedules and which new products to make.
  7. Maintain optimal inventory levels. Per Aamir, “Accurate product analysis and forecasting ensure we design and stock products that will produce a return, resulting in top-line growth.”
  8. Aim to own their fulfillment process. Article currently delivers 50%+ of its total orders. And last year, expanded its delivery network to 15 new markets (including San Francisco) and opened 3 new fulfillment centers.
  9. Stay online. “We don’t rule [brick-and-mortars] out,” says Aamir, “but not for the foreseeable future.”

In other words, Article prioritizes operational excellence by growing not just bigger but better. And because of this, profits always follow.

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