DUBUQUE, Iowa, Nov. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Flexsteel is upping the ante in the build-your-own-sofa arena with Moxy, a custom program that marries personalized choice with the company's famed blue steel quality story for the first time.
While dealers have long benefited from Flexsteel's extensive fabric library that allows customers to cover a silhouette in their choice of color, texture or pattern, the company has not previously offered the ability to change an existing frame's arm or leg style. Until, that is, the introduction of Moxy, a simplified custom program featuring a semi-attached pillow-back frame available with a choice of four arm styles, two leg types and two seat cushion styles.
Ranging from contemporary to classic, Moxy's arm selections include a sleek, straight track; a simple, rounded mailbox for a clean look; a traditional roll; and a more casual, curved sock arm. Round turned legs or square tapered legs in three distinct wood finishes—light, dark and warm—further personalize a desired look, as does a choice of either square or T-shaped seat cushions.
A Heart of Steel
But it's what inside the sofa that actually makes the Moxy program so special, according to Tim Newlin, vice president of product management. Namely, Flexsteel's durable blue steel spring, a seating system which thousands of consumers have associated with quality and durability in upholstered furniture for generations.
"There are certainly plenty of build-your-own programs currently in the marketplace, and many of them offer more style options than Moxy, but our dealers tell us that the Flexsteel quality story that many of their customers are already familiar with has been setting Moxy apart on their floors. So much so, that they asked us to expand the program first launched last spring to include a fourth arm and second cushion option to round out the style choices."
"In creating Moxy, the feedback we received from dealers was clear," says Sharad Mathur, vice president of marketing. "As much as consumers want furniture that reflects their personal style preferences, and as important as special-order options are to retailers' bottom lines, custom furniture programs can often overwhelm shoppers with too many choices. In deciding to marry the Flexsteel quality story with a build-your-own program for the first time, we wanted to streamline the available options to make it easy for a shopper to create a look they love, while having great confidence about what's underneath the fabric."
The Inside Story
Flexsteel has been building its reputation on the blue steel spring story since 1910, when Swiss engineer E.W. Schlappritzi invented the spring that would eventually revolutionize upholstered furniture manufacturing. A watchmaker by trade who immigrated to the U.S. at the turn of the century after working on town clocks across Europe, Schlappritizi arrived in America with the knowledge that unlike wooden gears, the blue steel springs used in those town clocks was the only part that never actually wore out. Once he arrived in the U.S., he began to experiment with using the blue steel as seating springs. As the story goes, he first sold the concept to the railcar industry in Minneapolis, before introducing it to the furniture company that would eventually move to Dubuque and become Flexsteel.
"The blue steel spring seating system is known for its durability and lasting comfort and has been a true differentiator for Flexsteel for more than 60 years now," Newlin explains. "In fact, it is such an important point for our dealers on the sales floor that we don't put a cover on the bottom of our furniture to hide the frame. During the sales process, salespeople can tip over any piece and show how the spring covers the entire piece from arm to arm, and how the cross bars not only stretch from front to back as is typical in other brands, but also left to right. This is what guarantees consistent seating comfort and support because a Flexsteel frame will never sag.
"What's interesting," he continues, "is that no other furniture company in our industry has ever attempted to imitate the seating system, instead opting to use thinner, less desirable materials like webbing that simply don't provide the same coverage, support, or durability. That's most likely because the investment required for the machinery used to construct the blue steel springs in today's dollars would be enormous, and the high-temper steel we use is actually manufactured specifically for us. It's not something that can be simply purchased off the shelf at the local steel mill."
Indeed, made to flex again and again (hence, the name Flexsteel), the tempered blue steel spring is designed to bend, but never break. "Every time you sit on a Flexsteel sofa, the spring flexes and then returns to its original shape," Newlin says. "It won't give, or degrade over time, as will even more expensive eight-way hand-tied units that, despite conventional wisdom, do eventually wear out over time because of the nature of string and rope which will eventually stretch and fray, and the natural variations inherent in anything created by the human hand."
Unlike eight-way hand-tied units that are attached and tied to a sofa's wood frame, Flexsteel's unit sits on top of the frame, in addition to being attached to the frame. "This means that when you sit on a Flexsteel sofa, your weight is distributed through the frame to the legs to the floor. When you sit on an eight-way hand-tied sofa, weight pulls inward from the wood frame toward where you are sitting and that puts a lot of extra stress on the frame. Simply stated, an eight-way hand-tied unit will never maintain its shape like a Flexsteel will over the life of a piece of furniture. No doubt that's why our furniture pieces are reupholstered more often than any others in the industry."
Designed By You, Made to Last
Of course, until the release of Moxy, shoppers had to look at every style that Flexsteel produces to find exactly what they wanted. "This program gives consumers the flexibility to say, 'I like that arm,' and 'I like that leg,' and then quickly and easily put it together," says Sharad Mathur vice president of marketing at Flexsteel. "Dealers love the program because it can be shown in a very limited amount of square footage and their return on investment is much higher than anything else in the same space, while retail sales associates love Moxy because the program provides the choice and versatility their customers want, without overcomplicating the design process.
"The real beauty of Moxy however, is that everything we stand for in quality construction is on the inside, so consumers can create a look they love, without the fear of making a costly decorating mistake. And they'll have a piece they can enjoy and depend on for many years come.