GIG HARBOR, Wash. –
With so much recent news from China focused on product recalls, niche folding furniture maker TravelChair offers itself as an example to other US companies of how to avoid some of the pitfalls of manufacturing half a world away.
Since 1984, TravelChair, has manufactured and sold more than 2.5 million units of premium quality quad-folding furniture. The company that created and still defines the genre has been making products in China for more than a decade and has never had to issue a recall for any of its products.
Meanwhile, earlier this summer another folding furniture company that manufactures in China had to recall 68,000 lounge chairs that collapsed or fell backward due to faulty support brackets or weak frames.
Sally Greenberg, a senior counsel with Consumers Union said in a BusinessWeek cover story about Chinese product recalls: “It’s so important for U.S. manufacturers and importers to test and inspect anything they buy overseas. It’s not so cheap to source to China when you have these quality issues.”
TravelChair manufactures in China but has been following Greenberg’s advice for years. “We understand the daily challenges of selling a premium product in a category that has been diluted by knock offs and constantly combat price resistance in the sales chain,” said TravelChair Sales Manager Daniel Roso. “Testing isn’t cheap yet as the industry leader there’s no room for complacency. This strategy breathes life into this company on a daily basis. We will not build a lesser product that will deplete the integrity of our company and everything that it represents just for the sake of profits.”
Steadfast in its commitment to innovation and quality, Roso explains TravelChair performs random strength testing on its products to ensure their safety and structural integrity. The company’s chairs boast a weight capacity of at least 300 pounds. The lone exception is its tripod stools rated to 225 pounds.
Independent testing labs have conducted destructive testing on TravelChair’s best-selling Easy Rider chair. Static and dynamic tests using 300-, 600- and 1,000 pound weights found some bowing of the legs but no loss of structural integrity.
On another integrity front, TravelChair strives to be sure the Chinese manufacturers it partners with have good labor, safety and environmental records.
Manufacturing in China is a fact of life for myriad manufacturers faced with American consumers’ never-ending quest for lower prices. Roso believes TravelChair has been able to strike the right balance between traditional American manufacturing values of quality and dependability and price sensitivity that inevitably drives production offshore.
TravelChair started the whole quad folding furniture genre in 1984. Since then, TravelChair’s dedication to quality materials and innovative design has resulted in sales of more than 2.5 million chairs. To learn more about the company and see the full line of TravelChair products, visit TravelChair.com.