As Ben Soleimani sees it, the furniture industry has a problem. A veteran of the design world who brought his family company, Mansour, stateside before joining forces with RH to produce rugs for the mega-retailer, Soleimani has gotten a firsthand look at the ins and outs of both big box retailers and high-end, design-center brands. And he thinks the gap between them is too large. "In the design world today, you have the big boxes that are very accessible, much easier than working with the design centers," Soleimani tells Natipernavigare. "Top quality though, is only being sold by design centers."
The designer's made it his mission to bridge the gap between quality and mass market with the launch of his own eponymous, direct-to-consumer company. Beginning today, BenSoleimani.com will offer a range of rugs, throws, pillows and accessories at mid-level prices. Furniture, tabletop, bedding, and more offerings will roll out over the next year, culminating in what Soleimani promises will be a "one-stop shop" for a well-designed home.
"It all starts with quality," says Soleimani of the concept. "I’ve been known for quality throughout the decades I’ve been working, whether at Mansour or RH, and I'm still doing that." Like the Brooklinens and Caspers of the world, he cuts the prices of those high-quality items by selling directly to consumers. Quite simply: "We are the source. There’s no middleman."
Though the offerings certainly aren't cheap, Soleimani points out that they are unprecedented for their level of craftsmanship and materials. "You go online, you can find rugs, sofas for $500, but they won't last," he points out. "Ours is at the top level. So that $10,000 designer sofa can be bought for $3,000 to $5,000. This brand is for the people who understand the difference and want to buy things at an honest price."
Down with the thought of buying online but intimidated by the choices? You're in luck: Ben Soleimani will offer one-on-one consultations with designers, free shipping, and white-glove delivery, where installers will even rearrange existing furniture for optimal layout. In Los Angeles, the company is testing a program in which clients can order multiple items, keep what they want, and return the rest. If it proves successful, it will roll out nationwide.
"Exceptional service is huge," says Soleimani. "Most online companies want everything to be automated. Here, we want to talk to you. We don’t want big returns. We want you to make the right decision."
If anyone can pull off the direct-to-consumer model with the notoriously expensive and convoluted category of rugs, it's Soleimani, who has essentially grown up in the trade. "Rugs are in my blood," he says. "Since I was 8 years old, I could tell you where a rug was made, when. Growing up, I was learning these things like a sponge."
Soleimani is designing all of the offerings himself, a fact he says leads to a better assortment: "At most of the big box stores, there is no point if view," he posits. As such, the company bears Soleimani's recognizable minimal palette and relaxed feel.
"It’s very clean—less is more," he says. "It’s about texture; I like things in the raw, real, clean lines. If you want over the top, I’m not for you. If you want practical, easy, soft, clean, aesthetic, that’s me."
The other bonus: Those simple, practical styles aren't likely to go out of style soon, making these pieces safe investments. As Soleimani says, "Everybody should have the opportunity to buy good property and not have to pay a dishonest price."