468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Monday, February 27, 2017

Montauk Sofa doesn’t just produce furniture; they create a vision of luxury 
As I walked into the Calgary showroom on Tenth Avenue South, I was awestruck by the vast warehouse punctuated with masculine slabs of wood, leather, and concrete. Its energy consumed me like I had discovered a museum and its heirlooms, and the minimal, ambient music seduced me further into the gallery. I was puzzled to see products lacking the pricing information and descriptions I had come to expect from similar boutiques. One armoire emitted a dank, musty scent, and it became obvious this was not a new piece of furniture; it was two hundred years old. 

The showroom attendant explained that Montauk creates custom furniture using old  
Monochromatic photographs of individuals, 
aspirationally weathered by their lives,
 find solace, joy, and relaxation.
world techniques, but also offers select antique pieces to complement their manufactured collection. She suggested I experience the products as I would in my home — to sink in and envision how the sofa might impact my space. 

This envisioning of a more ostentatious life is consistent across Montauk’s communication and is evident in the visual elements of their website.

Montauk has gallery-style showrooms in six North American cities, including Toronto’s design district on King Street and in New York’s culture-rich Soho neighborhood, but their products are manufactured in Montreal’s St. Henri quarter, historically known for its leather tanneries. Target demographic segments, such as middle-aged consumers who have settled into their permanent homes, are encouraged to choose fabrics and adjust dimensions as desired to create the ideal furniture for their room. The images on Montauk’s website also hint at target psychographic groups, specifically those who value bold aesthetic, individuality, and brand integrity

Minimal and masculine. The Harris sofa is accompanied by
Granite tables and Yumi lamp.

Montauk Sofa mentions their focus on sustainability in the ECO section of their website. This creates additional consumer value by defining the brand’s image and speaking directly to a segment concerned with the environmental impact of consumption. With prices starting at $5000 for a chair, sophisticated consumers will not be dissuaded by the absence of the signage which traditionally clutters the retail space. Rather, intrigue and artistic input are encouraged by the minimalist presentation.

My fascination with beautiful contemporary home furnishings also lead me to one of America’s modern design exports (or perhaps, imports): Restoration Hardware. On the surface, these two furniture giants occupy much of the same space, as both offer customizable luxury décor for the sophisticated consumer. Where the two differ is in the quality and authenticity of the products presented. Many of Restoration Hardware’s products are available for import on websites such as Alibaba at a fraction of the retail price. 

Restoration Hardware (left) inflates the 
price of East Asian produced goods
which are available on Alibaba (right).
This disregard for authenticity might be further explained in the distinct lack of images on their website portraying people interacting with the product. In contrast, Montauk Sofa creates emotional  attachment, drives narrative, and draws the consumer in through contextual elements which many competitors fail to capitalize on. 

The experience of Montauk Sofa is available at http://www.montauksofa.com/ or in showroom galleries across select cities.

Additional Resources:
Restoration Hardware - https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod1690022&categoryId=cat5700022


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