Most celebrities are pretty, and their good looks are used to sell lots of things including furniture. Consider supermodels Cindy Crawford (casual/traditional) and Kathy Ireland (affordable), former beauty queen Martha Stewart (New England style), Justin Timberlake (modern/edgy), Brooke Shields (comfortable La-Z-Boy), and now heartthrob Brad Pitt (expensive art deco). Furniture manufacturing is a lucrative business. Beauty goes only so far, though: it's not Warren Beatty but the studiously unglamorous Warren Buffett whose Berkshire Hathaway owns retailing operations that include four furniture chains and reported a 4.9% increase in sales last quarter.
For those against the idea of lining the already deep pockets of celebrities (pretty or not--Donald Trump has a line, too) and the mass market brands they’re attached to, there are alternatives. Local artisans and sustainable furniture companies are producing groundbreaking handmade furniture--even if a relative few are paying attention. Each piece is unique. Winners of the Groovystuff student competition this year included a rocking chair that reclines into a leisure chair and a coffee table made out of a teak xylophone. The pieces themselves are pretty and functional inside and out, like the students and artisans themselves, no doubt. Still, Kathy Ireland is worth almost half-a-billion bucks, most of which she earned while fully clothed. People really like her, it seems. And when it comes to furniture she does what people like Buffett--taking an old cue from Broadway producers--are looking for: she puts asses in the seats.
(Photo of Brad Pitt: Courtesy of Pollaro Custom Furniture for Architectural Digest)
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