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There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to be an adult and buy real furniture. Getting rid of your sticky plastic table from college is difficult, and paired with the thought of spending a lot of money on real wooden tables and chairs makes it much more tough to part ways.

I have no promises on indoor furniture, but if you want to class up your patio, you should check out Madbury Road. The outdoor furniture company doesn’t sacrifice quality despite how low-cost their sets are. I spoke to Brady Bartlett about why he wanted to start this company and how it was working out for him (spoiler alert: very well).

What is Madbury Road?

Madbury Road is a two-man outdoor furniture company. We provide high quality all-weather wicker lounge and dining sets at a price that are always significantly less than our competitors.

While we ship all over the United States, we'll personally deliver if you live near one of our locations.

 

 

What was the inspiration?

After college, we both had developed a different set of skills within the small business, online and importing world. After brainstorming together over a period of about six months we came up with the perfect way to combine our skills. We noticed the crazy prices that brand name stores were charging for their high-end furniture and realized right away that we could buy and sell the same high quality products for a fraction of their price. 

What is the story behind the name?

We went to the University of New Hampshire together, where we played varsity tennis and lived with a couple of other great friends from the team. We both studied business and often talked about how great it would be to start a company together. Our apartment was on Madbury Road.

 

 

How has business been doing since you started?

We started selling in March of 2011 and by the end of the year we had sold 83 total sets to residential customers. By the fall of 2011 we had both quit our full-time day jobs and traveled out to San Francisco to open up our second location.

In 2012 we hit the ground running with some experience under our belts and two locations operating full time. We sold 174 sets in New England and San Francisco that year. In late 2012 we added a new aspect to our business: providing restaurants with furniture for their outdoor spaces. We sold to one restaurant at the end of the year and in early 2013 we fulfilled four new restaurant orders in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  

In April of 2013 we had our biggest month ever selling 45 sets! As of May 10th we have sold a total of 84 residential sets in addition to the four restaurant orders. We are on pace to double our sales for the second straight year. 

Every day we are being presented with new opportunities that we will also pursue such as selling to more restaurants, hotels and commercial spaces. Our website is less than a year old and we are receiving more and more inquiries and orders through it.

What has your biggest failure been with Madbury Road?

Our biggest failure at this point is actually our inability to keep up with the demand. So far three out of three years there has been a point in the spring where we ran out of inventory and as a result has caused us to miss out on additional sales. We are a two-man company that is self-financed so it is hard to keep our inventory levels as high as we want. The good news is that this problem has created a buzz and our customers realize that we are not their local brand name store and if you like what you see you better buy it while it’s available. We currently have customers who are paying for their sets up to one month in advance to make sure they are guaranteed one of the sets on our future shipments.

What has your biggest success been?

Our biggest success has been creating and building a brand. Madbury Road Outdoor Furniture is something that just a few years ago not a single person in the world would have recognized.  Now there are literally hundreds of people all over New England, New York, California and the rest of the US who either own or have used a Madbury Road outdoor furniture set. 

We get calls on a regular basis from friends and family of our customers or people who have sat in our lounge furniture at local restaurants. We have appeared at numerous home shows throughout New England as well as in newspapers in RI, MA and CA. We predict that within a few more years Madbury Road Outdoor Furniture will be a recognized brand name in outdoor furniture. 

 

 

What sets you apart from your competitors?

There are currently ten states where we offer our “Try Us at Home” delivery service. If you are within driving distance to one of our locations, we offer to bring a set to your home so you can sit on it and test out the quality before making your decision. There is no obligation to purchase; it is just a free opportunity for our customers to shop in the comfort of their own homes. 

Our competitors force you to pay in full before you see the set dropped off in your driveway so if you don’t like their furniture then you have to go through trouble of trying to figure out how to return a huge furniture set.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs just starting out?

Don’t listen to those people who tell you your idea is too difficult to pursue or you should focus on your day job. Trust your gut.

Also, we would recommend getting as far as possible before quitting your day job. We both made it through a full season of sales while keeping our day jobs.

 

 

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