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Doug Rassi – CEO and Co-Founder of POLYWOOD – discusses sustainability, design and POLYWOOD’s Country Living collaboration.
Outdoor furniture firm POLYWOOD has been a pioneer in the ‘faux wood’ category, and was the first company in this sector to pick up the Lillian B. Winchester Design Excellence Award back in 1995.
Earlier this year, POLYWOOD teamed up with Hearst to launch a Country Living furniture collection, which spans items like patio dining and lounge furniture to rocking chairs and swings.
We spoke with Doug Rassi – CEO and Co-Founder of POLYWOOD – about sustainability, design and how POLYWOOD brought Country Living to life in furniture.
Doug, it’s great to connect. To kick us off, for anyone new to POLYWOOD, talk us through what you guys do?
Since 1990, POLYWOOD has been creating beautiful outdoor furniture made from sustainable materials, including landfill-bound and ocean-bound plastics. In fact, we recycle an average of 400,000 milk jugs a day.
All our furniture, from the classic Adirondack chair to our new PW Designer Series collection, is designed and built in our facilities in Syracuse, Indiana, and Roxboro, North Carolina.
A passion for design comes through loud and clear when looking at your ranges. How would you describe POLYWOOD’s approach to design? What kicks off your creative process?
POLYWOOD furniture is built to last for generations, so we tend to focus our design energies on timeless architecture that never goes out of style. Our engineers and designers take iconic pieces, such as the front porch rocker or the Parsons dining table, and reimagine them into durable, all-weather furniture made from genuine POLYWOOD lumber.
“Both Country Living and POLYWOOD appreciate the importance of connecting with your friends and family, and that often takes place on the front porch.”
Let’s talk about your recent collaboration with Country Living. How did the partnership come about?
We were introduced through Bill Murray with Brand Capital Marketing. There was immediate interest from both teams as this is such a natural partnership. Country Living has been a trusted source for the consumer in home decor for decades, while POLYWOOD is the centrepiece when creating your outdoor space. The Country Living team has been a delight to work with.
There may be some wondering how you translate a magazine brand into furniture… Talk us through the design process.
Both Country Living and POLYWOOD appreciate the importance of connecting with your friends and family, and that often takes place on the front porch. The first products that we launched as part of the collection – unique versions of our best-selling Adirondacks and rocking chairs, featuring traditional details that resonate with both brands – are all about bringing that cozy and comfortable look to your front porch.
Do you think there’s potential for all sorts of brands – TV shows, movies, bands, food brands, magazines! – to enter the furniture space?
One thing is for sure and that is that we love our brands! It’s at the core of why the Country Living collaboration is going to be so successful. I think there are many opportunities for partnerships when two brands discover their paths resonate when brought together.
“We are always looking for those special opportunities where two well-aligned brands can come together to create something exceptional.”
Absolutely – I saw your playful Wave collection and my mind went to SpongeBob! Looking ahead, are these kinds of collaborations something POLYWOOD is looking to do more of?
We are always looking for those special opportunities where two well-aligned brands can come together to create something exceptional.
Final question: How do you fuel your own creativity?
Casting a vision of what the future could be tends to be the best fuel for creativity, not only for an individual but for the entire organisation. POLYWOOD is a “do something that has never been done before” kind of brand and culture. I can’t think of a better way to fuel creativity than to rely on it as a necessity when navigating uncharted waters.
Great stuff. Doug, a huge thanks again for taking time out for this.
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