American Leather Takes a Hands-on Approach to Beautiful Design

Bruce Birnbach, CEO of American Leather (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

Being a writer and Lifestylist for CandysDirt.com is never dull. One day you are sipping wines in Napa Valley covering a winery opening, and the next you are visiting a furniture factory. I would never have expected how much I would enjoy touring American Leather, but this Dallas based company has made me a believer of the extraordinary design and technology a company can offer right here in Dallas.

Only a few of the styles available for your new Comfort Sleeper by American Leather (Photos: Lisa Stewart Photography)

Dallas is becoming a world-renowned design destination, and it’s exciting to see how many companies are based here that have an international reputation. This Lifestylist had heard about American Leather, but until I met Bruce Birnbach, their CEO, I had no idea how much having them in Dallas impacts our local economy.

A Better Business Model

Custom-made furniture designed and delivered directly to your door in 30 days? Impossible — unless you are ordering from American Leather, a Dallas-based company that has been doing business south of downtown with more than 600 employees since 1990.

There are so many furniture manufacturers to choose from these days, it’s hard to keep track. Companies like Wayfair and Amazon now make it possible to buy almost anything you want online. Practically everyone sells directly to consumers, and immediate gratification has become the mantra for sales of all kinds.

American Leather has taken a different approach. They sell only through approved retail outlets and designers, making sure that the customer has the right support to order and receive exactly what they want. Concern about each tiny detail of the design process was refreshing, and there are so many options to choose from! Having a real person that can help you solve those problematic decorating dilemmas makes all of the difference.

Overview of American Leather in the Mountain Creek area of Dallas Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

This Lifestylist has visited her share of furniture factories. Most are dark, dusty, no climate control … not places that you want to spend a lot of time at. The American Leather Innovation Center (I refuse to call it a factory) felt more like Santa’s workshop. Exciting things were happening everywhere you looked, it was incredibly organized and so clean you could let your baby crawl on that floor!

A typical sofa uses three to four hides — all must be color-matched or “nested” to make sure that the color is the same throughout (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

My geek side fell in love with this company — no detail was overlooked, and they have over 23 patents for their very innovative approaches to furniture design. Don’t let the name fool you — not only do they offer furniture made with all-European hides that they buy directly, but over 15,000 square feet of hides are nested (matched) every day with each sofa using three to four hides. That’s a lot of leather! They will also do your favorite style in their fabric or yours, still in their 30 day delivery time frame from the date they receive the order.

A Team Environment

American Leather uses over 15,000 sq ft of hides a day in their furniture, and each area has a sign that proudly says which team member is in charge of Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Their internal sales team aren’t salespeople, they are considered Brand Ambassadors. Twenty-five people take care of customer service every day, so if there is an issue, it can get handled immediately.

The lunch area has flags flying from every country from which their employees hail. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Team members are responsible for different areas and are recognized by signage in that area. All team members are shown that they are appreciated by signage in the various languages posted in different areas. It encourages them to take pride in their work and the company.

The company spent over $500,000 for a wellness center for their employees. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

It doesn’t stop there. The company has invested over $500,000 in a wellness area exclusively for their team members. It includes a state of the art gym, computer lab, televisions, and of course some beautiful American Leather sectionals and furniture to lounge on. American Leather takes the well-being of the mind and soul of their team very seriously and wants to be sure that they know they are appreciated. There are flags flown in the dining area that represent every country that their team members are from.

All parts of the furniture are sewn by hand at American Leather. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The pride that is taken in every area of this company is evident, and you don’t see a “good enough” or “close enough” attitude anywhere. Everyone is encouraged to take the time to do the right thing, and this culture flows all the way to the top. Their team is encouraged to try out new things, and keep breaking them until the ideal solution is found. Curiosity is rewarded, and American Leather has some of the most innovative designs on the market.

One-hundred percent of all waste materials are recycled at American Leather. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Same Quality, Different Retailers

They not only sell through customers like Cantoni in the Design District, but they also do private label designs for companies like Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, and Design Within Reach. You may have one of their creations in your home and didn’t even realize it!

Two of my favorite styles that American Leather offers are their Comfort Sleeper® sofa and their Comfort Air® chair. Both of these are in a class by itself, sure to their proprietary technology they offer what no one else can. The comfort sleeper offers 15 styles, seven sizes, three mattress types, and limitless choices of leather and fabrics. It has no bars or springs and is a sleeper sofa you could honestly sleep on every night. This is perfect for your second shelter or your guest room, but with as comfortable as this sleeper is, it might be hard to convince your guests to leave!

A Comfort Air ready to be tested, inspected and shipped to the customer. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The Comfort Air chair is something I’ve never experienced before. They took the concept of a recliner but made it so much more. This chair actually provides infinite seating positions, custom-tailored to move with your body —  almost anticipating your movement.

No pulling a handle or pushing a button is necessary. When they let me sit in one, I didn’t want to get up! It was so intuitive that even someone who can’t sit still like myself was comfortable. Every time I moved or shifted, the chair moved with me.

The best thing though about American Leather is that they employee over 600 people who now have the opportunity to live, work, play, and invest in our community.

Now that I’m aware of the story of this company, I can’t wait to buy more locally crafted furniture like this and do some much-needed updating in my home.

 

Want to win your very own Comfort Air chair? Stay tuned to CandysDirt.com because we will be giving away TWO to our lucky readers.

 

7 Comment

  • I have long been a fan of American Leather and have, in my past career, sold over a half million dollars worth of it. In addition, I have owned one of their Comfort sleeper sofas and it is truly the very best. They are one of the great American manufacturers and I’m happy to see you shining such a positive spotlight on them.

    • So happy that you are a fan of theirs as well, Leslie. You have taught me to pay more attention to how different companies run their business, and American Leather was stellar in how they treat their employees and appreciate their customers. A thoughtful, well-run company and I was honored to share their story.

  • What a great look into this wonderful company! Thank you for taking us on your tour to get an inside peek!

  • Indeed this is a wonderful company – careful and thought-ful in everything they do! Thanks for the insightful tour!

  • Wow, they sounds amazing! I will definitely be checking out their products for my clients. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Thanks for every other wonderful post. The place else may anyone
    get that kind of information in such an ideal means of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such info.