CEO and co-founder, Edloe Finch
As online furniture company Edloe Finch celebrates its third anniversary this year, co-founder Darryl Sharpton said he is pleased that business has steadily increased since the company’s founding in 2017.
“The pandemic has really amplified our revenue streams,” Sharpton said. “The company’s growth curve definitely isn’t going according to our projections. Demand has increased exponentially with the pandemic which is good news, but makes it more challenging to develop a new game plan and strategy.”
Sharpton, a retired NFL player who spent five seasons with the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans, and his wife Jessica, a former oil and gas consultant, founded the company. Sharpton said he sold furniture when he was in college. After retiring from professional sports, he got the itch to create his own furniture line.
The company started with the DTC Edloe Finch brand which works with marketplaces such as Amazon and Wayfair to drop ship sofas, chairs and tables. Then, the company expanded to add Albany Park, a line of affordably-priced sofas, about a year ago. It is now gearing up to launch a new bedroom brand called St. Albany next spring.
After looking from the sidelines at the explosion of the boxed mattress category, Sharpton said he had to get on board to add bedding. The company will be offering its own mattress, along with rattan and cane back beds and nightstands made from lighter woods that offer what he calls a ‘feminine vibe’ to go with the bedroom space for the new St. Albany line.
“We’ve also gone on a hiring spree. Before COVID we had four full-time employees, and now we are up to 20 full-time people. And we plan on hiring more,” Sharpton said. “Our customer service is based in the Philippines and Jamaica, and our new marketing manager is in Portugal, so we are quickly becoming more global.”
Most of the company’s product is made in Asia, with about 50% of current production in China and the other half coming from Vietnam.
Sharpton said COVID has also led to changes in the hiring process and the company‘s work culture. He said now that more people are working remotely, “the whole world has the opportunity to come and work for our growing new company.”
One of the more transformative areas that he is interested in, according to Sharpton, lies in creating African prints for both dining chairs and upholstery. The prints all have a story to them and are widely recognized by African Americans.
“The recent social justice movement has put a spotlight on these efforts for me as a black American. I recently did the 23andMe testing and found out my ancestors came from Nigeria,” Sharpton said. “As a reminder that we have a deeper and richer history, we are adding four new ankara and dashiki prints to our upholstery offerings by the end of the year.”
Sharpton said his long-term goal is to continue to develop the Edloe Finch family of brands, which will include upholstery, dining and bedroom and to continue to add new segments as they are needed.
“I think the move to online shopping will only continue after the pandemic has ended,” Sharpton said. “More people of all age groups are becoming comfortable with shopping on the internet. This is good news for us as our Edloe Finch brand continues to grow.”