John Thomas Furniture’s Curated lineup narrows options available to customers

Limited number of finishes, table tops, bases and dining chairs helps simplify selection process

HIGH POINT — Custom furniture manufacturer John Thomas Furniture is fine tuning its custom offerings in order to ship product more quickly to customers seeking those options.

This past April, the company launched a program called Curated, which pares down the list of finish options available to consumers to five, compared to the more than 48 paints and wood stains available in the John Thomas Select program.

The company has also narrowed down the number of dining table tops to three —two rectangular versions and one round — compared to 200 tops currently available throughout the line. It also is narrowing the base options to a standard pedestal, leg and trestle compared to about 300 base options available.

In addition, Curated is offering four chair styles compared to 60 currently.

A worker applies a custom finish to a chair frame in one of the spray boots at the John Thomas wood furniture plant.

“We are listening for special orders coming in, which is really the consumers’ choice and we watch that really closely to see what paint colors are trending or what wood stains are trending,” said Bryan Sprinkles, vice president, sales and marketing. “That is the beauty of having a fairly comprehensive and expandable custom program — you really get to see what customers are choosing.

“So we took our better selling styles that we have in the line and our better selling finishes and we honed it down to a very small assortment and we are going to make those sets in those finish combinations and we are going to stock it that way.”

Sprinkles said this creates the custom approach without the custom wait, which is a new tagline for the program.

Lead times, he said, are significantly lower than for typical custom product. While demand has softened some in recent weeks, lead times are still high, between 16 and 20 weeks. Once the Curated program becomes available by the fall selling season, Sprinkles said the product is expected to ship in about 30 days from the time of order.

Of the options ultimately available in the program, Sprinkles said that it came down to what chairs and finish options and combinations are the bestsellers in the line.

“So if you look at paint colors, for example, black and white are always going to be your top-selling colors,” he said. “But after that you go to blue, and almost any shade of blue is super-hot right now and has been for some time. But you also need a medium wood tone and you need a darker wood tone…It’s really just looking back at sales history and using that sales data to be able to make some educated decisions.”

He said that same principal guides what colors to add or drop in the Select program.

“Every 18-24 months we make changes in the finish options, where we drop four or five and we add four or five,” he said, adding that a similar process will happen with its new custom fabric program for its dining chair line.

Similar decisions will occur in Curated, although it will affect a smaller number of wood and painted finish options.

“As the trends and the fashion side of the business evolves, we will go along with it,” Sprinkles said.

Below is a look inside the company’s custom finishing operations in High Point.

A worker at the John Thomas plant is seen hand finishing a dining table top.
These are chair frames that have been finished or partially finished at the plant.
A worker is seen hand applying a finish to a table base.
A worker sprays a finish on part of a dining chair frame.
Blue is one of the popular finish options in the John Thomas line. Here an employee is seen putting some finishing touches on a sideboard.
A lot of handwork goes into the finishing of chair frames and components.
More hand finishing is seen being done on a table base.
Chair frame assembly also takes place at the High Point plant.
Another worker is seen assembling a chair frame at the plant.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

View all posts by Thomas Russell →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our Newsletter for breaking news, special features and early access to all the industry stories that matter!

Sponsored By: