Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy 2017 from Ken and EcoSelect

Another year has come to an end…

As I look back over 2016, I am grateful for the new friends and clients who have become a part of the EcoSelect community.

EcoSelect, in turn, has continued to welcome support and allies among those who share our belief that furniture can and should be both beautiful and safe.

Regardless of what transpires in terms of national regulations, EcoSelect is pledged to continuing to stand by its commitment to toxic-free sofas and chairs.

That means no fire retardants or formaldehyde glues. It stands for using sustainable materials including hemp and certified lumber. Equally important, we support the expertise of local craftsmen and women, who carry out the individualized labor that goes into making each piece of our furniture.

We couldn’t do it without you!

We appreciate your letters and your acknowledgment of our work through a five-star rating on Facebook. Your engagement, through ongoing interactions about the importance of environmental matters via Twitter, continue to inspire and inform us.

We are part of a larger picture is a given. It’s a mutual relationship. That is a given.

We create furniture that protects the health of families and the planet. You, as a consumer, choose to make a difference by purchasing our product. Thank you for all you do to make a positive impact on the environmental landscape.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Are These Furniture Items on Your Radar?


Our solid hardwood frames are designed to last
I always enjoy getting calls and e-mails from customers who are excited about the delivered items they have ordered.

Recently, “Jackie” wrote: “We received our loveseat today and it is fantastic. Thanks for making our third sofa for our home.”

“Joseph,” another repeat buyer, informed me about the sleeper sofa he was purchasing. He wrote, “I bought the exact same one in May 2015 for my studio apartment, and it held up so well I am getting another one to fill out the living room in my first house.”

Ironically, our loveseats and sleeper sofa are two items that customers are not always fully aware of as options.

Loveseats are designed to complement the seating of a sofa with an additional two seats in an “L” shaped setting. It creates the feeling of a sectional, but is more flexible in terms of placement. Most are about 65 inches long compared to the 85 inches of the average sofa.

In apartments, where space is at a premium, loveseats can be paired, by situating them directly facing each other. This allows for an intimate seating and conversation setting.

Note to Urban dwellers: The Savile sofa is our “apartment” size sofa at 74” long. It comes with two generous seating cushions.

Sleeper sofas also fulfill the function of space saver. All of our styles can be ordered as sleeper/sofas, except for the Malibu and Georgetown – due to construction constraints.

Sofa lines take a queen size mattress, with the exception of the Savile, Central Park, and Highland models which accommodate only a full (double) mattress.

The folding frame mechanism is top quality and weight. It has an anti-tilt function to ensure that contact with the floor is maintained at all times. A double-locking TV headrest position is included, to raise the head when desired. To guarantee no-sag support there are heavy duty tubes and wires, and the legs are one piece units for enhanced stability and strength.

Our mattresses are 5 inches thick, with a 312-coil spring unit encased by a damask cover. The mattress is hypo-allergenic.

And in case you missed it…

The Arlington, Central Park, Highland, Logan Square, and Presidio models can be ordered as recliners. Options include a swivel base or a tilt swivel base. No handle is needed to get to a comfy position! The recliner mechanism is a “push on the arms” style. The chair has up to a 350-pound weight capacity. The mechanism is a three position (sitting, TV, full recline) unit with excellent extension and elevation.
Store your remotes and magazines in the Club Ottoman


We also do a series of ottomans for folks who enjoy putting their feet up after a long day. Our multi-function Club Ottoman does well with city dwellers always looking for any extra inch of space. It is equipped with lift-lid magazine, newspaper and book storage, and a tilt-out tray for a television remote or other electronic controller storage. We all have plenty of those! The lift lid features “toy-box” spring loaded hinges which close slowly and under pressure, to prevent pinching and finger injury.

The Club Ottoman is sized for the club chairs in our line at 28 inches wide and 18 inches high. The height is a few inches lower than the seat height of chairs, designed for maximum comfort.

When it comes to choosing ottomans, don’t be afraid to mix and match. You can do a hemp covering even if you have a leather sofa or chair.

Our goal at EcoSelect is to create a variety of potential ensembles so that all your furniture can remain free of toxic chemicals!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why are you waiting over a month for a sofa?



I ran across this article in the New York Times and it obviously speaks to the EcoSelect customer mind-set. While it might raise an eyebrow to promote my competitors, the small furniture owners featured share a common vision of the future we're trying to create and we face many of the same challenges mentioned throughout the piece.
 
There is definitely one statement an owner made near the end of the column that is part of our company’s mantra: Building furniture that is meant to last a lifetime and be passed down through generations.

It also speaks to the spirit of the individual who want to express themselves, not just with words, but with action -- it's important for shoppers to be part of the process of the products they buy, as it gives a greater understanding of the kind of environmental and economical impact caused before making a purchase.

It's a promising outlook for the conscious, younger shopper that wants to do business a better way,  moving away from the mega stores that represent a homogenized consumer economy with limited choices or too many choices (not quite right for you). Customization is part of our identity and sense of being, just like the type of shoes we wear to the apps we arrange on our smartphones – and when you think about it, many of us wait months for the next smartphone to be delivered after ordering it!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Witches, Goblins, and Toxins

October is the month of scary witches and goblins! Unfortunately, it’s also turning out to be more frightening than usual. With the extreme weather brought by Hurricane Matthew, here in Charleston, South Carolina, we were on guard, unsure of what the shifting patterns would bring to the area. All turned out pretty well here, though some clean-up was needed. The factory in North Carolina was not affected, despite the $1.5 billion in damage state officials estimated the storm caused. Our thoughts and prayers go out to families that suffered losses.

Climate change, chemicals in our homes, and toxins in our furniture are all pieces of the environmental picture. Ramifications connected to the disruption of nature may seem unrelated to our daily lives until we feel the results either directly or overtly.

We're experiencing the circumstances of disrupting and polluting our ecosystems as it becomes more evident the balance of our earthly cycles is increasingly upset.

Rising temperatures impact these natural cycles. The habitats and behaviors of birds and insects are a reflection of this fact as they try to adapt to new conditions and challenges. As a result, swaths of American forests are being infested with beetles, with trees suffering defoliation and dying. Forest fires have also become prevalent.

It’s all interrelated.

Toxins in sofa materials negatively damage the health of kids, adults, and pets. This can include skin, eye, and respiratory reactions. For our youngest children, harmful contaminants taken out of infant clothes but still remaining in fire retardants can translate into lower IQs, cognitive, and learning disorders. Among firefighters, who are on the front line of contact with the chemicals released in home fires, cancer is on the rise.

As Halloween approaches, remember that the ghouls and goblins we don’t see can have consequences. EcoSelect believes that each of us, whether as individuals or as a business entity, play a role in keeping the planet safe. When you enjoy your candy and treats this October 30th, know that when you sit on our furniture, there will be no hidden surprises lurking like ghosts!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Why EcoSelect is an Online Only Furniture Company

Solid hardwood-frame construction,
proudly made in the USA.
I want to answer a specific question that many of those new to EcoSelect have asked.

For some consumers, initially, purchasing a larger ticket item on the Internet may be a new experience. In the case of furniture, there may be some trepidation about not being able to sit on an actual chair or sofa.

However, particularly with the latest iteration of our website, we have found that clients are extremely pleased with the ease of navigation through our “Collection” styles, and in depth information on our back story and values.

As a family-owned business, we enjoy the personal contact we have developed with those who have connected with us via a search for toxic-free furniture, social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, Google+), in the green space, or direct shout-outs from the blogosphere (Check our kudos from Greenwake!).

Every day, I conduct conversations that morph from answering a few simple introductory inquires, to a deep dive on the story of how flame retardants got into our furniture in the first place. The dialogue inevitably becomes more personal and specific. What kind of household do you have? Are there children or pets? How big is your living space?

A walk through on these issues gives me a picture of which collections would best suit an individual’s taste and sensibilities. (Full disclosure: I’ve been in the furniture biz for 40 years!)

I understand how a sleep sofa can create additional options for an urban dweller, and why a sectional is a perfect centerpiece in a large, suburban living room. Accents and details are key, so I make sure that purchasers feel secure about their choice of foot styles, wood colors, and whether they really want nail heads.

We send out samples of fabric and leather in potential color considerations, so that you can experience how they feel and look in your d├ęcor. Every item is made to order, so if you are exceptionally tall folks, we will also factor that into the equation. Once you have been through that process, read through our testimonials to see what actual buyers have said.

Finally, big advantages of not owning a showroom and inventory warehouse allow us to keep our carbon footprint low and pass savings to the customer by eliminating high overhead costs. And, while the factory is located in Hickory, N.C., our office headquarters is based in South Carolina, thereby allowing all out-of-state orders to be purchased without sales tax. This combination allows us to deliver luxurious, high-quality furniture at very competitive prices.

We are always a phone call (843-737-5701), or e-mail away. We're available Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST). If you leave a voice message, please tell us how we can help and preferred contact, and we'll always get back to you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

EcoSelect Furniture Joins EcoMall

EcoSelect Furniture is excited about becoming part of the EcoMall community, one of Google's top green living shopping sites, and was featured in Natural Home Magazine and Time Magazine!

We are proud to be part of this community that has been online since 1994, and based in the USA. 

I encourage you to sign-up for their Green Living Magazine newsletter that features numerous topics about living healthier and how to find better, sustainable products that are kind to our environment. It's easy to search the database site for your product needs too. They also feature a mobile app

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Power of Social Media

It is always gratifying to know that your company’s product has received a top rating from an established entity like the Better Business Bureau.

We just heard from the Better Business Bureau that our grade was once again an A+!

Over the last twelve months, 68 people checked out our listing to learn more about us. We are also a member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council and a certified Green Plus business.

Yet, the shout-outs we get on our Social Media platforms are our greatest sources of satisfaction. It is genuine customer approval, a word of mouth recommendation from one person to others with similar values and concerns.

On Facebook, we have a 5-star rating. We frequently get “Likes” and messages posted by those customers who are thrilled to have found a source for both safe, fire-retardant free furniture and designs reflecting style and elegance.

Recently, I got a personal note, which the sender told me I could share:

"Hi Ken,
I am so grateful to have a high-quality, non-toxic couch! The more I researched chemical flame-retardants and the other toxic ingredients of most sofas, the more I didn't want our family exposed to that. Most non-toxic sofas are rather prohibitively expensive, but I read several online sources pointing to EcoSelect.

Our sofa arrived a few days ago, and I am so pleased with how attractive and well-made it is and comfortable! It really adds a nice air to our living room, and best of all, no toxic smells. Your gracious and responsive customer service has been greatly appreciated as well. Thank you!

Blessings,

Kiersti

As the earth’s environment faces continuing challenges, we feel that the small difference we are making in our corner of the world is having ripple effects. The more consumers understand their options, the more they will push back against products that are harmful.

Thanks to all our customers for making us part of the solution!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pre-Summer Sale! Furniture items 15% off through June 20th

Central Park Chair, London Tan Leather: $2100
(SALE PRICE: $1785.00)
Every year we offer specific pieces in a pre-summer sale. We know that once the weather heats up, everything is about outdoor living.

This season, we have five items that were manufactured for the purpose of catalogue photography and our new website. Select any of the items in this post you like to be taken to the showroom website, where we are offering 15-percent off the regular price, plus free shipping.


For details, visit  ecoselectfurniture.com and use order code "PreSummerSALE" to receive the 15-percent off. For details, call me ("Ken") at 843.737.5701, and I'll be happy to answer any of your questions.

Free shipping can also reduce your overall cost by an additional 20-percent, depending on your location. The combined savings mean better quality (and chemical-free) furniture for much less than large big box brands.

The discount is in effect through June 20th. Fabric and leather swatches can be mailed to you, upon request, to give you a clear idea of color and texture. Please continue scrolling down to see all sale items.

Garland Love Seat, Taupe hemp fabric: $1675 
(SALE PRICE: $1,423.75)

Garland Sofa, Taupe hemp fabric: $2195 
(SALE PRICE: $1,865.75)
Central Park Recliner, Loden hemp fabric: $1375
(SALE PRICE: $1168.75)


Club Ottoman, Taupe fabric, flared foot, closed position: $775
(SALE PRICE: $658.75)

We are not required to collect sales tax on these sales unless you live in SC.

Call 843.737.5701 for further details, or visit ecoselectfurniture.com and use order code "PreSummerSALE" to receive free shipping.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

EcoSelect and Larry David: We Respect Wood

One of the top-repeated bits in the Larry David pantheon of comedy is his earnestly posed question, “Do you respect wood?” Brought on by an incident where a wet-bottomed glass left a ring on an antique table, Larry went on a quest to uncover the guilty party and determine if others in his circle respected the beauty and importance of wood -- regardless of high or low origin.

Too bad Larry never got to meet J. Sterling Morton, the founder and innovator behind National Arbor Day.

Morton moved to the territory of Nebraska in 1854. There, while editing the Nebraska City News, he promoted the planting of trees. Morton emphasized both their value in industry, as well as their importance in the larger ecosystem. He understood that trees could provide relief from the heat and protect the topsoil of the plains, which was at risk of being displaced by gusty winds.

Using his position as secretary of the Nebraska Territory, Morton introduced the concept of a tree planting commemorative day, which he named Arbor Day. He proclaimed, “Each generation takes the earth as trustees.” His state planted over one million trees on that first holiday. When Morton served as Secretary of Agriculture under President Grover Cleveland (1893-1896), he was active in setting up America’s “national forest reservations.”

The holiday is usually celebrated the last Friday in April, although some localities pick dates within the month that are more conducive to planting saplings in their specific area.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stated, “The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating twenty hours a day. One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”

Just like Morton, EcoSelect understands that trees help to clean the air, produce oxygen, serve as a home to birds and other animals, and yields innumerable paper and wood products.
Deforestation is a primary contributor to CO2 additions to global warming. It is responsible for about 24 percent of the CO2 additions. This is especially apparent in areas including Southern Asia and China.

The good news for the United States is that our forests are growing, and expected to jump another 15 to 20 percent by 2050. This is important because over the past half century, there has been a 39 percent increase in the volume of wood and paper products produced per cubic foot of wood input.
The lumber for all of our furniture is completely sourced in Western North Carolina and Tennessee -- not from national forests. The mills we use are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and follow their guidelines for forest management. The local sourcing also means that there is smaller carbon footprint, since transportation costs are low.

Maple or Poplar is the genus of wood that we use. Both are plentiful and fast-growing, which makes it a sustainable species. Additionally, they are moderately dense and straight grained, which allows for good screw- holding ability and reduces warping or twisting.

Our frame construction utilizes smaller dimension stock and short lengths to maximize the yield from any single tree, and because we use only hardwood lumber (no plywood), absolutely no formaldehyde adhesives are used.

So, yes Mr. Larry David, EcoSelect respects wood!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ken’s Tips for Spring Cleaning

It’s March, and we’re sure Spring cleaning is on your to-do list.

When you throw open your windows to bring fresh air into your home one thing you will never have to worry about is off-gassing from EcoSelect furniture contributing to indoor pollution concerns.

There are no fire-retardant chemicals in our components, and our wood is certified lumber. Also, absolutely no formaldehyde from glues that are used to form particle boards.  Our foam meets the “Certipur” standards for the absence of heavy metals and other toxins.

With climate change hastening an earlier and longer occurrence of the pollen season as well as increased carbon dioxide levels from man-made emissions those with allergies are looking for any remedies that will minimize their exposure to irritants.

We have one! Indoor pollution is as concerning as what is transpiring outside, so we have recently implemented a new option in response to customer demand. We are offering dust mite proof fabric for application to the bottoms of our sofas and chairs. The weave of this white material is “extra tight.”

General furniture upkeep is simple. As part of your daily routine, hemp coverings should be vacuumed frequently with an upholstery brush. Lift up cushions to check for accumulation of pet hair or crumbs! Spot cleaning can be accomplished with mild soap and water. Leather should be regularly dusted. Spills can be cleaned up by a sponge dampened with water.

Some advice from my wife, Ann: “Skip the heavy duty cleaners from the supermarket.” Her favorite remedy is a combo mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar. Sometimes she adds a few drops of lavender oil for a calming scent.

We have lots of plants in our home to counteract any lurking toxins. English ivy and the durable snake plant are two of our favorites!

Don’t forget to recycle those old newspapers and magazines you didn’t trash all winter. We just dropped off a box of home electronics to a local store that has a twice a year program disposal program.

Happy cleaning!

Monday, February 15, 2016

President George Washington and the Hemp Plant

Most of our customers are well aware of our use of hemp fabrics, which we offer in six colors (Expresso, Bamboo, Loden, Natural, Taupe, and Toffee). What they may not know is that George Washington grew hemp at his Mount Vernon plantation estate, and fostered its development.

Washington believed in the commercial value of hemp for its wide range of uses. He saw that at a time when ships predominated, it could be used to make rope, sails, and fishing nets. Additionally, he envisioned hemp fibers being turned into the threads that would create clothing, possibly rivaling cotton.

A “gentleman farmer,” Washington was interested in experimenting with agricultural methods in order to establish new practices that could create superior products. He was a sharp business man, and understood that the hemp plant could be cultivated even on land that was not terribly productive in yielding other crops.

In his diaries, Washington wrote about hemp over ninety times  including his objective of finding the best types of seeds. He was knowledgeable about the varieties that were grown in East India and New Zealand. He understood the importance of the fact that all parts of the industrial hemp plant could be monetized. Beyond using the fibers for paper (what the Declaration of Independence was drafted on), rope, and cloth, he had the seeds pressed to extract their oil.

In 1791, Washington wrote to the Secretary of Finance, Alexander Hamilton (the letter is in the Library of Congress), suggesting that growing hemp could help the average citizen. He added that it merited “the serious attention of Congress.”

EcoSelect has chosen hemp rather than cotton for its furniture for numerous reasons. We love that it has greater mildew resistance than cotton. The plant grows easily in a range of temperatures and soils, and the resulting fibers are stronger than cotton. It doesn’t need herbicides or pesticides, unlike cotton, which is the recipient of half the world’s pesticide usage.
We always send out samples of our hemp fabrics so customers can get an accurate impression of the color. In order to make certain that sofas and chairs match perfectly, we make sure that a complete order come from one dye-lot.

So, on this President’s Day, I would like to personally thank George Washington for being an early supporter and promoter of hemp!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fighting to Protect Our Children’s Health

EcoSelect Furniture - Malibu collection
Creating furniture without toxins, and utilizing traditional craftsmanship using natural, sustainable products and process is key to the EcoSelect philosophy. We know the chemicals that can be found in flame retardants and formaldehyde glues have been linked to a spectrum of health conditions  including those particularly dangerous to young children.

Neurodevelopmental issues leading to learning deficits and impacted IQs are the last things we would want to expose our growing youngsters to.Parents consistently seek us out as an option for furniture that does not contain organohalogens, a type of chemical widely used in flame retardant mixtures.

A petition, which was open to pubic comments, was filed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission with the goal of banning consumer products in four areas from containing organohalogens. Mattresses and furniture comprised two of these categories. Dr. Sandra G. Hassink, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of many organizations which signed on to the action wrote, “In order to grow and thrive, every child needs a safe and healthy environment.”

Two grassroots entities that are mobilized by mothers have been at the forefront of this concern. Moms Clean Air Force and Moms Rising have both made the safety of furniture in the home a priority. They are our allies in this fight for the future of our kids and their well-being.

As the new year progresses, we will keep you informed of actions geared to fighting to protect our children’s health from harmful chemicals in our lives. We are all in this together and make up part of a bigger picture.