There’s not much we can say about the COVID-19 crisis that hasn’t already been said — it’s an unprecedented time filled with fear, uncertainty, and sadness. It has upended nearly every industry and left small businesses scrambling to adapt, whether that means figuring out how to still serve customers or sorting through piles of confusing loan applications.
Like many other American furniture manufacturers and retailers, Croft House has temporarily closed their factory and showroom. Fortunately, they pivoted quite quickly, working to find a system that would work well for both their staff and their customers. They began working from a home a week before any mandates were in place, and adopted new systems, including a new chat widget on their website that allows staff to help designers and homeowners navigate their interior design projects.
Today, we’re (virtually) visiting their stylish showroom on La Brea, and chatting with co-founders Riley Rea and Alex Segal, as well as senior designer Kari Streib, to learn how Croft House has adapted so well — and how they’re each adjusting to life at home.
How has Croft House adapted to the COVID-19 crisis?
Alex Segal: Luckily all our team members are safe and healthy, but quarantine has definitely been an adjustment! Our showroom team transitioned to WFH about a week before the shelter mandate, so they’ve been able to get into a bit of a groove at this point. We hoped it wouldn’t happen, but feared it might, so in preparation we built out a larger than normal supply of our standard material samples, in order to enable people to progress their projects to the degree possible in the meantime. Our factory is closed as well, and with manufacturing operations paused, we’re using this time to allow some of our management team to work on a handful (probably closer to two handfuls) of continuous improvement projects that we’ve been eyeing. Overall, we are doing our best to take advantage of the downtime.
Though the factory and showroom are closed, what are some of the ways new customers can work with your design team?
Kari Streib: The entire showroom staff is working remotely, and we are available via phone, email, and the newly added “chat” widget on CroftHouse.com. The website’s chat feature is managed by our team – the same smiling faces customers are used to seeing in the showroom. The team is there to answer product questions, discuss availability, collaborate on drawings, etc. We are still able to send material samples as well, so don’t hesitate to ask!
Tell us a bit about the showroom design. Who are some of the other makers featured in the space?
Kari Streib: In the Croft House showroom in LA, we have created a relaxed, peaceful ambience with an emphasis on showcasing the furniture and allowing customers to picture our products in their own home. The honed concrete and white walls are a perfect, subtle backdrop for our pieces, and the original ceiling was left to add a layer of character and depth.
The showroom is styled with like-minded artists, makers, and creators who share our aesthetic and ethos. Minna from New York and Sara Paloma in the Bay Area have been staples for a few years now. I am excited for the new addition of a few local California based artisans including Kudd Krig Home, Karen Tinney and Morrow.
Croft House is known for beautiful desks. What do you think every home office needs?
Riley Rea: I think a large work surface is a critical part of creativity. I do my best work when I can spread out my materials and look at them individually – it helps me stay focused. A large slab of wood or raw steel balances seriousness with natural beauty – I feel this combination keeps me productive and grounded, like sure I might be working for hours on end – but I don’t feel “stuck” at a desk. The week we went into quarantine, the first thing my wife and I did was convert our guest bedroom into an office with a Chambers Desk and installed recessed lighting – I have been so impressed with how productive she has stayed!
Finally, being L.A. locals, what have been some of your other favorite companies serving the city?
Alex Segal: Flask and Field in downtown LA is our one stop shop for all of our quarantine wine and beer needs. They do spirits as well and if this lasts much longer we’ll likely start in on those. Additionally, Highly Likely in West Adams has been our order-in one and only. They have a great to go menu and a ton of good restaurant-turned-grocer pantry items.
Riley Rea: Deliveries are just about the only thing going right now around here! We are absolutely so impressed that our favorite go-to’s have seamlessly transformed into come here’s! Specifically for take-out – Pizzeria Il Fico, and Noree Thai – minimum 1x per week in our household. Also we would be nowhere without Stanley’s Wet Goods (natural wine delivery) and of course Yummy which delivers very high quality groceries at a great price usually with in 30 minutes which is bananas ;). It’s such a small spot, but great to get deliveries from familiar faces we have been buying from for such a long time.
Kari Streib: Employees Only in West Hollywood is selling pre-portioned at-home cocktail kits (with purchase of food). The Besos Caliente has been my virtual Friday happy hour go-to.