Behind-the-scenes of fabric design, prototyping, and trial and error. Everything that went into building the Crown Bed!
If you told me a year ago that I would have moved back to Charlotte, started my own company, and have a patent-pending “invention”, I'd look at you like you were crazy - but here we are! We traded a Brooklyn apartment for a house with a yard, and compressing headboards is my daily norm!
I started planning Coley Home long before we decided to head south, but this was the perfect time to bring it to life. Plus, with North Carolina being the furniture capital of the world, we knew all of our resources would be right down the road!
As I’ve mentioned before, I was so frustrated while furnishing my New York apartment. I was tired of couches taking 10 weeks to arrive, beds with a million pieces and parts, and forget about bringing a headboard up five winding flights of stairs. I knew there was a solution for these inconveniences, especially the bulky headboard. After all, people were getting king size mattresses delivered in boxes that were the size of table lamps!
It seemed as if the foam mattresses were following me - I saw ads on the subway and all over social media, and I couldn’t help but think that I could bring this concept to headboards, too. With my background in textiles, I knew I could find a way to make these upholstered headboards out of the finest fabrics AND out of 100% foam - this was unheard of.
HOW I BUILT IT
Looking back on it, there’s no way that product development could have been possible in NYC. We met with countless vendors to find a foam that was not only sturdy, but also resilient. Compressing and rolling the foam is not exactly a gentle process- so this foam had to come back to shape. At one point, I think we had 8 different cuts of foam that we were comparing. We are self-proclaimed foam experts!
Next was the headboard compressing machine. This was a doozy. Not only was it a huge financial investment, but how were we going to figure out how to work it? We sourced the compression and rolling machine first in the US- but as a start up no one has six figures to hand over. A Chinese machine was our best bet. One day we’ll share the story of how we physically got this machine into the warehouse. We’ll let you just imagine it for now: a team of girls and a two-ton machine. Thanks @carolinacat!
As we got going, we toyed with the idea of developing an entire bed that was shippable, easy to assemble, and completely custom. If we were already knee deep in the headboard, why not go for the slam dunk with an entire bed? We worked with a local engineering firm that helped me translate my Photoshop cads into real-life prototypes. We started out with a wooden frame that required tools and screws, but we knew it could be streamlined even more - we needed this assembly to be seamless. After we snapped a few bed legs, collapsed a few frames, and completely exhausted our prototyping budget, we’d finally created a tool-free lock-in method for assembling the bed frame.
The bed industry is a HUGE ocean, and it didn't take us long to realize that we are the little fishes. However, we believe that our high-quality fabric line and beautiful customized options set us apart.
I’m a huge fan of the How I Built This podcast. I have been completely inspired by the stories of individuals who have created amazing products and brands by working hard, dreaming big, and persevering. But the host, Guy Raz, said it best: “I’ve learned that the way you think it is going to work out never matches the reality of how it works out. It’s always much much harder than you think it’s going to be.”
I can’t wait to share more of the How I Built This story via the Coley Collective, and maybe one day you’ll hear me on the podcast- until then I’ll keep riding this learning curve :)