Editor’s Note: This post is part of a regular series profiling NetSuite customers who are changing their markets through innovation. For more interviews in the series, visit the Profiles in Innovation(opens in new tab) landing page.
“To be disruptive, the three biggest things we’ve written down are, be audacious dreamers, make things happen, and be willing to fail.”
Lovesac is rethinking furniture by creating a modular couch system made up of two pieces that can be reconfigured as your needs change, whether you move to a smaller space or have to accommodate an overnight guest. Customers can also customize their couches, from the seat and sides to the washable covers.
Ryan Johnson, Chief Operating Officer of Lovesac, shares how the company’s cultural values help them to disrupt the furniture industry.
How is Lovesac uniquely positioned to the disruptive retail industry?
At Lovesac, we are a branded-product company. Our product is the best in the industry. We have couch that has four patents on it. It’s the only washable, changeable, configurable couch that’s out there. It’s very unique in its approach. It answers questions customers don’t even know they have. All we’ve got to do is go out there and educate people, and we’ll win in our industry every time.
What characteristics does a company culture need to be innovative?
We talk about this a lot. To be innovative, the three biggest things we’ve written down are, be audacious dreamers, make things happen, and be willing to fail. The biggest thing that I would add to that is being positive because it’s very hard and you fail a lot of times. You need positivity around you to not go home crying. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have big goals, you’ve got to get stuff done, and you’ve got to have everybody around you pitching to help.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned when looking to enter and innovate in a market?
The biggest lesson we’ve learned the hard way, in many ways, is staying focused. Once you figure out what you’re best at, and what the customer needs the most, do that. At any cost, avoid doing anything else because it will just dilute you and get in your way.
What piece of advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to disrupt a market?
The advice I’d give to an entrepreneur is, really define how you’re different. What’s unique? Where is the customer under-served? How are you different in that? If you can come up with a tangible idea, go do it. Take action. Don’t wait. Someone else will come up with it. Go do that idea. Work really hard at it, and stay very focused.
How will Lovesac improve the online or in-store experience this holiday season?
Well, for us, it’s kind of easy. We’ve gotten too fancy and tried to do too many things. We’ve got 60 stores, showrooms, across the United States. We’ve got a great website. We need to have one simple message across all those channels and focus by telling new customers about our product.
We are trying to do less, to do it more simply, and to do it consistently across all of our channels.
How will the internet of things impact what retail will look like in the year 2020?
In 2020, in the retail of things, I see it making things much more personal and contextual, meaning that customers are going to want a custom experience to them, understanding their data, understanding how they’ve acted, understanding their needs. Also, feel that you’re a local service provider in their market, even though you’re a global company, with that global commitment around it. It’s going to be
personal and contextual. They’re going to want a lot of service with it.
Can you share a story where you had to make a bold decision that you were uncomfortable with, but you got comfortable with being uncomfortable?
The number one hardest thing is people. Letting people go that aren’t the exact right fit for our company. It’s very hard, especially when you’re small. Emotionally, you care a lot about the people around you, but making sure your team works well together is imperative to moving forward.
To learn more about innovation and the rapidly-changing landscape for business, download the white paper, The Physics of Business are Being Rewritten(opens in new tab).