Main photo by Purgula with virtual staging by VS24.
Transformer Table is capitalizing on the changing needs of consumers who want versatile, multifunctional home furnishings. Emulating the adaptable designs of their products, the company is transforming from a nimble startup to a significant international producer.
The Future of Quality Furniture is Transformable
In Southern California, homeowners spend a lot of time outdoors. Gatherings with families and friends are easy to arrange for the majority of the year, since we are blessed with an idyllic climate and are rarely concerned about being canceled due to inclement weather. Being able to entertain either indoors or outdoors requires the right tools, appliances, dining arrangements and comfortable seating that can meet the demands of your growing family and friends.
Having statement furniture pieces that can seamlessly serve multiple functions while simultaneously adapting to your changing lifestyle over many years has become the new benchmark for high-end furniture. It is no longer sufficient to pay a premium price for quality materials, expert craftsmanship and durability.
Discerning consumers want major furniture purchases to offer flexibility in daily usage, as well as to meet their evolving needs over extended periods of time. The growing adoption of multigenerational homes in the United States is further pushing demand for creative solutions to accomodate these changing norms.
This impact on consumer preferences is also being driven by technology, as tech savvy consumers have learned to look at major purchases as long-term investments. When making significant purchases, they want to ensure a viable path of continued usage that will meet their uncertain future needs. We call this new requirement Transformability.
Video and photos by Purgula. Virtual staging by VS24.
The Meteoric Rise of Transformer Table
In 2015, six friends from Montréal conceived of the idea of creating transformable furniture on a whim. The story is that the sister of Soslan Tsoutsiev, one of the co-founders and now President, had recently moved into a new condo with no space to sit that could accommodate their informal gatherings. The friends, with various backgrounds in engineering, marketing, mining, video production, defense and graphic design, conceptualized the idea of transformable furniture after discovering that no such product existed.
Using a Kickstarter campaign to generate operational funds, Transformer Table raised more than $3 million dollars, far surpassing their modest, initial goal of $38,000. The surprising results made Transformer Table Canada’s most successful Kickstarter campaign to date, and the largest furniture Kickstarter campaign ever funded, worldwide.
The Power of Video & Social Media
With the aid of social media, the company advertised mainly through Facebook video ads to illustrate the ease with which the table could be transformed to accommodate 1 to 12 people, depending on the number of leaves or panels inserted. The videos accentuated the ease with which transformations, from small to large and back to small, could be accomplished, as well as the durability, strength and beauty of the real wood products. Interested buyers were quickly captivated by the table’s versatile potential.
Over 20,000 units later, Transformer Table is on the map as a provider of real wood, transformable furniture. The company has expanded their initial vision from just indoor tables to both indoor and outdoor furniture – more on that later in the article.
The Challenges of Success: Scaling Production & Manufacturing
The transformer table was an instant success. In their first year the company achieved over $400K in sales. By year two, sales reached $1 million and by year four, sales were tenfold at $10 million. Sales continued to climb in year five, but something else was happening that often accompanies expansive, explosive growth in the manufacturing sector. Production and manufacturing issues began to affect the company in ways that would tarnish their reputation.
Social media, being the double-edged sword that it is, began to erupt with negative reviews focused on the company’s Customer Service and the long wait times for the product. Trust Pilot, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau’s website were rife with complaints from disgruntled customers who had not received their prepaid products.
To add insult to injury, the majority of these complaints were from Kickstarter backers who had invested in the company early on. Although the Kickstarter campaign contributions were technically classified as “pledges” and not “orders”, the company did sweeten the deal by offering “rewards” in the form of products (e.g. tables, benches, etc.), based on the amount of the pledge.
However, Kickstarter investors grew impatient when they became aware that new orders from online customers were being fulfilled before their rewards were shipped. Furthermore, an unreliable delivery partner at the time fueled even more complaints due to delivery issues, as some product arrived in damaged condition.
The Transformer team quickly jumped on the production issues by making the decision to increase their manufacturing operations in Asia, in order to meet demand. By sending a Canadian team to oversee and ensure production quality, they could deliver the exact product to their customers and assuage the growing backlog issue and the increasing sales demand. They also changed delivery partners to insure smoother, more reliable logistics across the globe.
Transformer Table’s Future Plans
Capitalizing on their patented technology and learnings from earlier generations of products, the company has developed additional product lines around the concept of transformable home products.
The idea is that traditional furniture is inefficient and not as versatile to meet the demands of contemporary life. Home furnishings need to be more adaptable and provide multiple functions to make better use of interior spaces, without sacrificing valuable real estate.
Furnishings with expanding and contracting functionality are more practical, cost-effective, flexible and, when well engineered, a great investment for current and future use.
To that end, the company has introduced the current product line, in addition to the Transformer Table (detailed below):
- Transformer Bench
- Transformer Coffee Table & Leaf Storage Unit
- Transformer Couch
- Transformer Table Counter Height
Transformer Table 3.0
The Transformer Table 3.0 is a multi-functional, solid wood, table capable of expanding to six different sizes, which are suitable for various occasions. Sold with five leaves or insert panels, the table arrives compact with a measured length of 18 inches. Each leaf adds 20 inches to the table’s length resulting in a maximum length of 118 inches or 9.8 feet of top surface space.
At 29 3/4 inches, the table is dining height, ideal for formal or casual occasions and perfect for wheelchair accessibility, as it comfortably clears the ADA compliance rule of between 28 – 34 inches in surface height.
Manufactured in Canada, from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests, the Transformer Table is an investment that should last for many generations, if maintained and cared for, as one would for any heirloom. The quality of the table is evident the moment the cartons are opened, as the aroma of freshly cut timber permeates the room.
This is NOT an MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) engineered product. The weight of the table and leaves, is evidence that this is 100% pure, certified lumber sourced from around the globe. A note to those concerned about the use of real wood, and other sustainability issues, Transformer Table pledges to plant 10 trees for every table sold through a reforestation program in British Columbia.
Tables are available in a choice of four popular hardwood finishes:
- American Mahogany
- Australian Acacia
- Canadian Dark Oak
- Siberian Birch
Depending on the finish, the table can be modern, rustic or traditional. However all finish types illustrate the strength, sturdiness and craftsmanship of the manufacturing process. When fully extended, the table can support up to 750 lbs. of weight. Its finish is crafted of kiln-dried wood to protect against moisture, nicks, stains and heat damage.
Customers can order up to 2 Free Finish Samples from the website before placing an order to insure color matching to existing decor. Delivery includes a nail-polish size bottle of touch-up paint should you need to make cosmetic repairs to your table’s surface over the years.
We particularly like the gray hue of the Siberian Birch as its neutral tone can easily blend with a wide range décor styles. Depending on the light source and setting, its appearance can morph from almost black to medium gray, while still showing its striking grain patterns.
Leaves fit together via a peg and hole system, which is then secured by two under table buckles that lock them in place, by increasing the tension to tighten the joint, thereby eliminating gaps, while reinforcing stability. The result is a seamless and elegant piece of furniture that rivals any top-end retailer’s product.
Best of all, Transformer Table arrives ready-to-use out of the box. Just open the carton, insert leaves and you’re good to go – no assembly is required!
Dinner for 1 or 12
So how is the transformative nature of this table achieved? With aid of a patented, steel ball-bearing telescopic mechanism, the table easily expands and contracts from seating for 1, to seating for 12, with only an easy pull. Leaves or panels are inserted as needed, zero for a side table, 5 leaves for a party of 12.
The entire 118 inches of table top slims down to a console size unit that can be easily stored or purposed as a bookshelf, sideboard, or desktop when not in full dining mode.
Setting Proper Expectations Before Purchasing
Having inspected the table first-hand and reviewed countless customer reviews, we believe there are a few key factors of which to be aware prior to purchasing a Transformer Table. Most importantly, the latest version of the product, TT 3.0, has been well received in terms of quality, functionality and aesthetics. That said, to ensure your purchase experience meets your expectations, keep these points in mind:
- Curbside Delivery
- Though Transformer Table is actively pursuing the ability to offer white glove delivery (from truck into the residence), they currently only offer curbside delivery
- Bringing the Packages into Your Home
- Depending on the layout of your home, it can be challenging to safely carry the boxes into your home
- Have a plan and appropriate tools (e.g. dolly) if you are dealing with a high number of stairs or narrow passage ways
- Outdoor Usage
- Though we plan to use our table frequently outdoors, TT 3.0 is not manufactured as a permanent outdoor table. Understanding this, we plan to protect and care for the table appropriately when it resides outside for extending periods, such as protecting it against prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Manufacturing Country of Origin
- Some customers expressed concerns when Transformer Table, out of necessity, expanded their manufacturing operations to Asia.
- Before establishing a relationship with a new manufacturing partner, Transformer Table conducts due diligence to ensure their partner’s business operations are ethical and meet their non-negotiable standards of best practices and quality control.
- Every factory is visited on a regular basis to ensure these standards are observed and properly maintained.
- Traits of Hardwood Furniture
- The appeal of solid hardwood furniture is that each piece is unique in terms of color, natural marks, grain patterns and workmanship. Any noted differences are considered natural characteristics of the product. Thus every Transformer Table is truly unique.
- Due to the nature of solid hardwood furniture, all wood pieces will feature varying degrees of distressing, which may include: wood splits; filling; knots; distress marks; antiquing and more.
- Usage & Care of Hardwood Furniture
- Blot up spills immediately with a soft, slightly damp cloth
- Only use household cleaners intended for hardwood materials
- Use coasters, placemats and tablecloths to protect furniture during use
- Keep humidity levels at a good level year-round (40%-55%)
- Use hardwood wax polish every three months, which will protect and nourish the hardwood, while creating a long-lasting protective seal
- Add felt pads below your Transformer Table if you wish to protect your flooring from potential scratches and gouges
- Do not place your Transformer Table directly next to heating or air conditioning vents
- Storing the Table Leaves
- Given that it is recommended to store the table inserts lying flat, we highly recommend purchasing the Transformer Coffee Storage Table as a convenient, multifunctional method to store the table inserts.
- Transformer Table also highly recommends that you store your insert panels in the same space as your Transformer Table for at least two consecutive months. This is to ensure that both the hardwood table and leaves all adapt and acclimate in the same environment.
Additional Transformer Table Resources
- Transformer Table Website
- Transformer Table Instagram
- Transformer Table YouTube
- Transformer Table Unboxing Video
- Transformer Table How It Works
- Transformer Table Warranty
- Transformer Table FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Transformer Table Kickstarter Campaigns
- How to Apply Transformable Interior Design to Your Home
- Never Thought You’d Live in a Multigenerational Home? Think Again!
- Flexibility: The Only Home Design Trend that Matters
- The Many Benefits of Virtual Staging: Selling, Renovating & Decorating
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