Quality Rocks! (Part Deux): What Makes an Exceptional Shelf or Shelf System?
Before I get to those though, the nature of this question leads us to talk more about ourselves than generalities, so please bear with a little more sales pitch. I do have one promise for you: If you use these four principles as a rubric to examine any furniture, shelf, or shelf system you purchase, it will lead you to the best ones--whether you buy them from us or not. Furthermore, we default to putting furniture in our homes that is intended to last a lifetime. That is why these reasons matter to us and people like us. We think cheap stuff is only good-ish for a short time and then it breaks or looks terrible. So we avoid all types of cheap at all costs.
Here are the four things that make a shelf or shelf system--or any furnishing-- exceptional and the opposite of all types of cheap:
1. Quality materials
Every Shelfology shelf or shelf system is made of domestically sourced, sustainable materials. We go out of our way to purchase from American lumber and steel mills and their distributors. The quality you can get here at home is way beyond anything you can get overseas. Furthermore, we purchase only A-grade or premium quality lumber and steel. Meaning that the wood we use is 80%+ knot and check free, and our highest grade steel is produced in such a way that it will not warp or twist when cut. Each of these yield a superior result both in looks and use over time. There are even sweeter bonuses. First, we save thousands of gallons of fuel cost and thousands of pounds of carbon emissions PER WEEK to get stuff domestically. Second, we get the satisfaction--and you will too--of supporting domestic industries and the families that operate them. Third, we sleep well at night knowing our materials are truly sustainable. Our solid hardwoods come from all FSC Certified, sustainably managed forests and our steel includes a significant portion of recycled materials. We like to think that some of the scrap steel we recycle each week ends up back in our brackets. If not ours then the next guy’s.
If you are purchasing furniture or shelving, look at the materials used. Are they this good? Does the company you are purchasing from even tell you where they get their stuff? I would be wary of supporting companies that don’t have both, long-term quality in mind, as well as, long-term survivability on this planet.
2. Quality construction and lots of quality checking
We are serious about providing heirloom, lifelong performance and beauty through every piece we sell. Our incredible team designs each product to be built in the best ways. Inferior methods create inferior results, just like inferior materials create inferior results. Papa John was right! Better ingredients do make better pizzas! But he missed the opportunity to say “better ovens and cooking methods make better pizzas too!” We subscribe to both of these witty catchphrases with lots of exclamation points!!! Our methods and the people who utilize them are as important to overall quality as the materials that are used. Shelfologically speaking, we employ the latest furniture-grade lamination and joinery techniques to assemble our shelves. Our fabricators use the best equipment and strongest welds for every situation. Our finishers employ the latest in metal and wood finishing technology. We are constantly testing and improving our methods to ensure you get the best every time. We cut and rip apart welds and joints regularly to ensure they are up to snuff. Once it is built, every piece we make goes through a rigorous three step QC process to ensure it is defect free and will perform for a lifetime. Not sure what else to say about that. Quality is a big deal to us. Come visit us in Rexburg and we will show you what we do. It is easier to see it than read about it. (Don’t come on work-in-your-Speedo day though--that might be harder to see than read about).
3. Quality designs
We hinted at this above, but we design the ENTIRE sha-boing for each Shelfology product--from the piece itself and all of the details that make it look and work great, to the process to build it, to the in-house supply and stock systems, to the packaging, to the installation guides, to the product web page and website you purchase from, to the customer service everything, and anything else I can’t think of right now. I really mean everything. This isn’t something we just slap together. Rather it is a deliberate, sometimes painstaking labor of love. Don’t get me wrong, we live for this painstaking stuff--we are design and shelf geeks after all. The point is though, that we have the entire thing covered. We design wholistically so you don’t have to worry about your shelves falling off your wall, or having them look stupid next year, or having them sag in ten. That’s what we mean by quality design--we didn’t and won’t offshore anything. In other words, we care about and touch everything involved with getting your shelf system onto your wall, looking freaking sweet, and performing awesomely for the rest of your life.
4. Lots of love, sweat, and hard-working-American-awesomeness
Shoot. Just read the paragraph above again and replace “design” with “perform hard-nuggin, sweaty, what-built- America-hands-on-work.” That should get the point across.
Should I say, “Boo yah!” right now?
Ok the point? The point is if you want quality stuff--furnishings, shelves, shelf systems that it should be easy to see--almost be self evident--that the materials, craftsmanship, care, and overall design and presentation are all rock solid. In other words, it should be blasted obvious that the company you may purchase from cares about their product: where they get their materials, how they produce it, how they design their interaction with you, etc. If any of that sucks, vote with your dollar somewhere else. Life is too short (and expensive) to buy cheap furniture every other year, anyway. If you can’t find anyone else who lives up to these standards, we will always be here for you.
Kevin, Chief Shelf Nerd, etc.