New U.S. marketing, sales arms of overseas factories emerge to serve industry retailers

Asian factories also hire key industry veterans to run these new divisions

The term U.S. marketing arm is hardly anything new in the furniture industry. In fact, when imports overtook domestic case goods manufacturing more than 25 years ago, these entities sprang up as another layer of competition not just for U.S. manufacturers but also for other importers.

Some of the biggest names that emerged over were Legacy Classic, Fairmont Designs, Fine Furniture Design & Marketing, Home Insights, New Classic, Resource Décor, Napa Furniture, Sunny Designs and FD Home, along with companies later acquired by Asian producers including Universal, Craftmaster, Rowe, A.R.T. , Schnadig (now Caracole) and Jonathan Charles, to name several.

And of course let’s not forget other major Asian producers such as Kuka and Man Wah, which also established a U.S. marketing and distribution presence not to mention an expanded manufacturing footprint just south of the U.S. border in Mexico.

More recently, we’ve seen others come to the market as well from Asia that include the following:

+ Luxfort Home, a motion upholstery resource that was formed by industry veterans Lee Boone and Peter Shi in early 2022. This company sells and distributes a line of motion upholstery and more recently functional motion bedroom in the U.S. market that is produced by two main factories in Vietnam that operate as Leather Master.

+ Yatas Bedding and Enza Home: Both companies are part of Turkey-based Yatas (pronounced Yatash) Grup, which owns and operates some of the largest bedding and furniture manufacturing facilities in the country. The brands debuted their respective lines in High Point in 2021. Industry veteran Chad Turney is the top officer for the company in the U.S. market, and this past summer it also added industry veterans Jason Kennedy, brand manager for Yatas Bedding, and Mark Price as brand manager for Enza Home, the upholstery and wood furniture division.

An aerial view of some of Henglin Home’s Asia production facilities

+ Henglin Home, a Chinese seating manufacturer that announced in late January it is opening a North American marketing and distribution division to be led by former Lane executives Todd Evans and Ruff Thomas. Evans will serve as division president and Thomas has been named vice president of sales. The company, which already produces some product on an OEM basis for the U.S. market, will sell a line of promotional to middle-priced motion and stationary upholstery produced at its facilities in China and Vietnam starting this year. The line itself is expected to debut at premarket in September.

Morris Home’s factory in Haining, China

+ Royal Morris Living, a marketing and sales arm of China-based Morris Home. The company will produce motion and stationary upholstery for the U.S. market at Morris’ factories in China and Cambodia. The company also hired industry veterans Steve Lush as president and Peter Halunen as vice president of merchandising and product development. It is making its debut at the April market with more than 60 new models of sofas, sectionals, chairs and other seating.

What these Asian manufacturers have in common is a desire to expand their presence in the U.S. market. They have the facilities and available capacity to make that happen, not to mention a growing track record of performance either through their past OEM relationships or the product they’ve already shown and sold in the marketplace.

Another key ingredient? The availability of well-known and respected executives in the industry, some of whom have been displaced because of cutbacks or closures as in the case of United/Lane and Home Meridian. In other cases, the execs were simply in the right place at the right time to be able to share their expertise and industry contacts. In either event, these execs are tremendous assets for the Asian factories as they know the market and will serve as direct links to retail customers.

Industry observers have told Home News Now that despite challenges with the economy in general, the timing also makes sense because of the lowering of freight costs in recent months. While not necessarily reaching pre-pandemic levels, these reduced expenses create opportunity for Asian producers looking to expand in the U.S.

“Retailers need better goods at the right price points,” one source noted, adding that these and other producers are in a position to compete and gain market share.

Steve Lush of Royal Morris Living added: “There was a push to move away from Asia when freight rates were through the roof and now the freight rates are incredibly competitive,” he said, noting that his company also is tied to ‘an incredibly efficient factory.’ So from a supply chain perspective, it is an advantage to be in China. We feel we can compete with just about anybody.”

In the coming weeks and months, we will listen out for similar developments along these lines as overseas plants look to fill available capacity.

Of course, while a prolonged downturn in the U.S. could upend some plans to grow as quickly as they would like, these companies don’t appear to be in it for the short term. As with any decision to enter the U.S. market, it’s likely all part of a long-term strategy, not just one based on the next several quarters.

Stay tuned as we continue to cover these and related developments in the industry.

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.

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