Worthen Custom Iron & Brass Furniture to make High Point debut

Company seeks to introduce its brand to a larger mix of designers, brick-and-mortar customers

HIGH POINT — Worthen Custom Iron & Brass Furniture will be making its High Point debut at the April 13-17 market.

The company, formerly known  as Brass Beds of Virginia, will showcase the new Worthen brand in about 800 square feet in Space 209 of Interhall.

The Chamberlayne bed by Worthen Custom Iron & Brass Furniture.

Along with an expanded domestic product mix that includes not only its traditional line of iron and brass beds, it will show cocktail and end tables along with ottomans and benches featuring the similar forged iron and metal components that go into the storied bed line. It also will show some of its domestically made mattresses as well as storage units with built-in shelving.

The Worthen name was unveiled in February 2023 out of the original Brass Beds of Virginia brand founded in 1975.

As part of the rebranding, the company set forth a strategy to grow its line more aggressively not only with new categories, but also new customers. For years, the line grew its reputation through word of mouth, establishing itself as a direct-to-consumer brand long before the term was officially recognized as a disruptive force within the industry.

Doug Rozenboom

“The brand has really been built customer to customer over time so people that would buy a bed from the company over the past 49 years typically would come back and buy more beds,” said Doug Rozenboom, the company’s recently named chief executive officer. “And they would tell other people, and that word of mouth has really built a base of customers that the company has had the pleasure to continue to service. And a lot of them have come back to the company 20 years later to buy a bed, or to essentially have their bed recommissioned by us.”

The beds also have a two-lifetime warranty. Thus, the warranty not only covers the bed through normal use during the lifetime of the owner — it also extends to those to whom the bed is passed down.

“The focus has always been on creating heirloom-quality beds, the kind of things that heirs will fight over,” said Rob Sterling, Worthen’s director of marketing. “That’s what we’ve always wanted to make. And we will still be making those. But we are also bringing our line into a more contemporary context as well with some of the designs that Doug is helping us to develop.”

Some of the brand recognition also occurred as the beds were showcased with mattresses both at retail and in supplier showrooms, elevating the category with traditional bed frames adorned with decorative custom castings and finials and custom finishes.

Today, some 50% of the business is direct to consumer with the other half to the design trade. Sterling noted that the line has been distributed to some furniture retailers in the past, but the company moved away from that model because it was not lucrative. It also didn’t have someone in place like Rozenboom, who has the retail relationships necessary to help cultivate that business.

By showing at the High Point Market the company is looking to expand its reach with designers as well as brick-and-mortar furniture retailers that currently do not carry the line. The company also has a pricing structure in place not only for direct to consumer and the design trade, but also wholesale accounts, Rozenboom noted.

“We can now partner with a retailer to work with us and retail that product,” he said, noting that the custom nature of the business — ranging from the custom finishes to custom heights and widths — will also be a draw not only for designers, but for retailers looking to expand their own custom offerings and designer business. “We are expecting to have some really great partnerships at retail at the upper-mid to higher price points and also really continue to develop our trade business, which is already half our business.”

That said, the company is excited about the opportunity to be in High Point.

“The key thing is that we’ve got the opportunity to meet a lot of people who need to be refamiliarized with our brand or to rediscover us,” Rozenboom said. “We want to partner with designers and retailers who love to discover new things. And when people find us, we want to leverage that.”

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 tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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