David Baron is out to prove the Nugget to be the easiest, most versatile and “funnest” couch out there.
December 3, 2014
Nugget Couch Hits Kickstarter Goal in a Day
UNC born startup brings North Carolina-made pool noodle foam to furniture
Or at least that’s what his Kickstarter campaign is claiming. The Nugget went live yesterday on the crowdfunding platform, with a mission to raise $20,000 and deliver hundreds of $249 kid-friendly foam couches to people everywhere. In less than 24 hours, he’s already surpassed the goal.
But Kickstarter is part of a broader effort to spotlight the world’s first recyclable couch and launch Nugget Comfort Co. as a leader in sustainable furniture innovation. Baron already has deals with Rooms To Go and Wayfair to begin selling couches in 2015, and future plans could include additional foam furniture and home décor products.
Baron’s early success was born from dedication and determination, which partner and mentor Mike Noel says inspired the support and investment of his family’s foam manufacturing business, Nomaco. The Zebulon company helped Baron with the initial prototype of the product, and after he proved the concept by making 150 sales, Nomaco team members worked with Baron to design the final product. Nomaco has since purchased the $25,000 machine now used to manufacture the Nugget.
It’s an unconventional relationship for the company, says Noel, a local angel investor and entrepreneur who also serves as Nomaco’s vice president of business development. Nomaco is typically contracted to manufacture products on behalf of its clients. But the Nugget gave the company insight into an entirely new use for its patented foam technology (also used in pool noodles, mattresses and wine corks), and a new market.
The decision to target kids and tweens, versus college students, came from research. The college market was too limiting—most sales happen in a single month of the year. Yet Nuggets were light enough for kids or teens to carry around their homes. They were safe for jumping on or building forts, and easily maneuvered for playing video games or reading.
Baron calls it “furniture for explorers” and “the perfect middle ground between beanbag chairs, futons and couches.” Rooms To Go hadn’t a single furniture option for the tween market, and viewed the Nugget as tapping into it for the first time. The company will begin carrying the Nugget in its showrooms and selling it online for around $299 in 2015.
Baron expects word of mouth to be important in marketing—the couch is angular and unconventional so it may not look cozy before sitting.
Baron’s other big challenge will be to manage his costs. Nugget can’t secure the competitive shipping rates of larger companies, so margins will be thin.
“I’m going to have to run a really tight operation that is focused and efficient,” he says. Direct-to-consumer sales and shipping will help.
Baron hasn’t raised any money so far. He’ll use the Kickstarter funds to acquire safety certifications and liability insurance. He expects sales to fund future production costs. Though he may eventually consider outside investment, slow and steady growth is his plan.
“I would rather delight 1,000 customers at a time than get in front of a million,” Baron says. “I’m focused on creating something people love.”
And when they’re done loving it, they can recycle it.