On one morning, I found myself in a hip, new urbanized complex in the heart of downtown Phoenix, where a promising start up set up camp. What I found was a brand that captured my interest right away, and that’s how this brand hopes you‘ll feel, too.
Launching a new brand in October 2020 amid a global pandemic might scare most people away. Luckily, Nick Arambula, Mike Fretto and Chris Lee, the founders of Neighbor Outdoor Furniture, boldly pursued a new vision and were up for the challenge.
The entrepreneurial atmosphere created there contributed to Nick, Mike and Chris always thinking about the “next big thing” for their industry.
The three met while working at start-up mattress brand Tuft & Needle, which disrupted the old-school mattress industry with innovative supply chain processes, new materials and an out-of-the-box marketing strategy.
The entrepreneurial atmosphere created there contributed to Nick, Mike and Chris always thinking about the “next big thing” for their industry. When the company was acquired, the three got together and decided it was the right time to venture into the modern outdoor furniture space with a specific intention to create the best.
The three saw an opportunity in this space to create something that was high quality but still affordable. At the time, the main brands that made modern outdoor furnishings either had a reputation for being cheaply made, low price and somewhat of an eyesore, or they were ultra-luxury brands that were beautiful and high quality, but unattainable for the average consumer.
So, they found a sweet spot right in the middle by using sustainable, high-quality materials, simple elegant designs and a reasonable price point to enter the market with their modern outdoor furniture.
So, what inspired the name Neighbor? According to Nick Arambula, the idea for the name “Neighbor” was born out of their experiences during the pandemic last year, when there was a need to not only get outside, but to reconnect with the concept of outdoor living, and be friendly to our neighbors around us. Ultimately, their mission was to provide high-quality, affordable and beautiful, modern, outdoor furniture that was good to the environment, too.
With their headquarters and warehouse based in Phoenix, the guys noticed that they don’t necessarily need showrooms across the nation to bring in business. “I think we’ve kind of eclipsed the point of tension in which consumers are hesitant to make this kind of transaction online,” says Chris Lee.
After a year spent shopping online almost exclusively, people are willing to make investment purchases for products they haven’t yet seen or touched. But, that’s just the type of trust that Neighbor aims to build with its clientele.
Their first collection of modern outdoor furniture, The Haven Collection, is based on a modular format that allows for flexibility and adaptability for each person. Chris explains, “this allows the set to grow with the consumer. There’s an opportunity to add additional modules and continue to build out the arrangement as their lives change. We don’t want somebody to throw away our furniture because their life circumstances change.”
Ultimately, their mission was to provide high-quality, affordable and beautiful, modern, outdoor furniture that was good to the environment, too.
Additionally, a shared-leg design gives the arrangement sturdiness and links pieces together with a simple design.
Neighbor’s sustainability mission continues in the materials that are used to create their modern outdoor furniture pieces. They use FSC certified teak, and their cushions are covered in Sunbrella fabrics, made to withstand the brutal Arizona sun and also frigid temperatures in other regions during the winter. The FSC is focused on responsibly harvesting trees, replanting trees, and ensuring living wages and workers’ rights in their industry.
Sunbrella prides themselves on sending no waste to the landfills, and Neighbor is working with them to expand their current colorway offerings to include new options made with 50 to 90 percent post-consumer recycled yarns. Neighbor also ships its furniture in flatpack boxes, saving space with shipping and minimizing fuel usage as well.
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What’s next for this innovative outdoor furniture company? Well, beyond expanding their color selections in the very near future, they’re also working on creating some new modern outdoor furniture products, including Sunbrella outdoor rugs and upholstered ottomans, side tables and coffee tables. Beyond that, the team envisions Neighbor sling chairs and pool-side lounge chairs.
“We’re going to be expanding into what is known as the focal point of the indoor of the home, the dining room and kitchen. We’re going to be working on a dining collection next, which will hopefully launch at the end of the summer and includes some woven chairs and a solid teak table.” For Nick, Chris and Mike, the possibilities are endless. They intend to carry their mission of quality and sustainability with them no matter what market they enter.
As a sponsor of our Net Zero ICONIC Home, we look forward to working with this new name in modern outdoor furniture and helping spread their message of sustainability for all.
Join us for Net Zero ICONIC Home, a year-long conversation about Living Beautifully and Sustainably in a zero-energy home. We’ve partnered with AFT Construction, Construction Instruction, Cosan Studio and K & Q Interiors to take you on a journey of Inspiration, Education and Motivation around sustainable design and living. We’re giving you a front-row seat each month to see the progress and what it takes to develop a net-zero home. Stay tuned each month for content, social media coverage, videos, podcasts and special events all tied to sustainability as we bring this home to life. Thank you to our sponsors: Avocado Mattress, Circa Lighting, Crestron, Neighbor, Solstice Stone and Sub-Zero/Expressions Home Gallery.