The UX of Monarch Sofas

We have had the same couch for almost 20 years.  It looks pretty ratty at this point and needs to be replaced.  We have been searching around at different places and stumbled upon Monarch Sofas.  Really interesting and counter-intuitive UX.

The website looks cheap.  Made us think it was a discount place, when in reality it is a premium, hand crafted furniture company.  We went to the showroom to see what was up.  As opposed to Scandinavian Designs, whose website looked premium and showroom was a palace of elegance, the Monarch showroom was a plain concrete box.  No art on the walls, terrible lighting, it was a true shithole.

Without any distractions, the sofas were plainly arranged in a grid.  In a bizarre way, it actually made us focus more on the details of the sofas. Every sofa could be made into the same arrangements, so we could figure that out without thinking about the style.  Additionally, they said they could do anything.

“You want it 3 inches taller, we will make it 3 inches taller.  You want a different base, we will put on a different base.”

How crazy is that?  Hand-crafted.  It’s an anachronism, a throwback to a different time.  The service was good.  They helped us through the choices, like which fabric is best for a shedding dog.  They give life-time warranties for the pillows and structure.  They deliver it and take away the old couch.

Although I started off skeptical, I have become a fan of the Monarch Sofa company. It’s not what you would expect, but it is the right product and user experience.

Minor extra point: The showroom was in Menlo Park.  Man, I love it there.  We ate lunch downtown at a Burmese restaurant that was delicious.  The whole downtown is filled with great places to eat and cool shops.

Whatya think?