Responding to trends in consumer desires is what this company is all about. And one of these very significant trends today is focused on family togetherness. Noticing how families are planning more together time, Minson Corporation took its outdoor patio furniture designs to the next level – and that is just beyond the family sliders. “We’ve gone beyond just offering patio furniture – what we offer is a full line of furniture that really creates outdoor living rooms,” says Brenda Pereyda, assistant vice president of sales and marketing for the Montebello, Calif.-based company.
Luxury under the Skies
With the re-introduction of deep seating, Minson has taken the industry from designing and manufacturing furniture that looks like outdoor furniture to outdoor furnishings that are counterpart extensions of people’s cozy living rooms. “The trend in the industry is now to make the outdoor patio more of a living space,” says Merv Conn, vice president of sales and marketing. “We were one of the first companies in our industry to introduce the concept of deep seating for outdoor living and enjoyment.”
Deep seating is the industry term for those familiar and cozy furnishings in our living rooms, such as couches, loveseats, club chairs, club ottomans, and even coffee tables and end tables. Minson’s full line of furnishings – just as one would find in a specialty furniture store – also includes swivel rockers, bar stools, bar tables, chaises and settees. “This concept has gained in popularity and people don’t just want those white resin chairs in their patios – but they want to choose and display furnishings that help define who they are and their personalities,” Conn says.
Minson furnishings are completely weather resistant and are upholstered with Sunbrella fabric, which is an acrylic fabric engineered specifically for durability for outdoor use. “We are positioned as one of the top five leaders in the industry of deep seating furnishings sold in specialty furniture stores, independent dealers, and niche retailers,” Pereyda says. Minson takes seriously its responsibility to provide its customers with designs and color combinations that are fresh and fashion-setting. “The choices we make each year with our designers and our R&D department really set us apart from our competitors,” says Pereyda.
Turning around prototypes quickly – within two or three weeks’ time – has earned Minson the distinction of responding quickly to design and color requests. “Having our own R&D department and our team of in-house and commissioned designers allows us not only to produce new products very quickly, but it also allows us to make changes on the fly,” Pereyda says. “For example, if we decide we don’t like the way an armrest looks, we can change that quickly because of our lean management structure – which includes our R&D department, our designers, Merv and me.”
With complete manufacturing capabilities under roof in its 380,000-square-foot facilities, Minson can do everything from bending, welding, cutting, casting and finishing in the company’s new and state-of-the-art paint line system. “We can start from scratch – basically from an idea and take that idea all the way through design to prototype to our upholstery department until we have a finished product which we then ship right out from our factory doors,” Pereyda says.
Creative and innovative designs are the company’s lifeblood. “We don’t sell just one particular type of product,” explains Pereyda. “We can offer our customers three distinct types of products, thanks to our designers and our R&D department who continually develop new product ideas for us to introduce to this growing market.”
Furniture is manufactured with all aluminum, or with an aluminum-cast combination, or with cast aluminum, which is 100-percent cast, Pereyda notes. For example, the aluminum-cast combination might include a cast armrest, while the remainder of the chair is made from aluminum, which can be bent, welded and then painted. “Now we are able to weld a cast aluminum arm to an all-aluminum chair and this area is showing significant growth for us,” continues Pereyda. “With the introduction of cast aluminum to our processes, we are able to make even more unique and bold designs,” Pereyda says. “With aluminum, you can only bend it so much in a certain way – but with cast we can form a nicer-looking armrest or back, with flowing design. This gives the furniture more eye appeal and it’s a lot more comfortable to sit in. This has really helped propel our company to the next level of product development.”
Minson prides itself on its signature finishes, which requires a lot more processing than just a run through the paint department. “We do a three-stage painting process which we have discovered gives a lot nicer appearance and feel to our furniture,” Conn says. “We move the product through our paint line, where a solid color is applied. Then we have people who hand-paint another two colors to the product to give it a unique look to the finish. Then the piece is painted again in our paint line.” Minson is the only company offering hand-painted finishes on their products. “Our process gives the furniture a two-tone type of look rather than just a flat, solid finish look.”
Sales increased about 33 percent over the last five years, even despite the rocky and uncertain economic landscape. “We attribute this healthy growth to the innovative products we continually introduce to the marketplace,” Conn says. Minson sells its products through a dealer network of about 450 dealers in the United States and Canada.
The company began in Los Angeles in 1955 as Mallin Casual Furniture and in 1991 Minson Corporation purchased the company to add to its portfolio of a complete range of products for outdoor use. “When Minson acquired us, it allowed us the financial security in being able to expand our product line,” Pereyda says. “We now also have offshore manufacturing facilities and connections in Taiwan and we are a family-owned business with roots in Taiwan, where we do some outsourced manufacturing for some of the components for our products.”
The company expects to maintain its leadership role in the industry by continuing to keep step with the needs and desires of its customer base and by continuing to offer its dealer network a single source from which to purchase the wide variety of products they require for their own customers. “We are very quick to respond to consumers’ color preferences and we work very closely with manufacturers and designers of fabrics so that we understand the emerging trends in fabric colors and designs,” Pereyda says. “We also keep a close watch over what the indoor furniture industry is doing in terms of colors and fabrics. This is because the trend now is that people look at their houses as a whole now and they try to take the whole home concept and bring it outdoors. Earth tones like varying shades of brown and taupe have been very popular over the last few years. People are more sophisticated shoppers and decorators now they want more distinctive looks – which we can give them in our upper-end-looking products for their outdoor enjoyment.”