Executive Desk Review

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As a furniture store owner and a self-described furniture guy, I have logged thousands of hours analyzing furniture from all parts of the globe.  I’ve decided today to let my blog followers in on how I (as a professional) look for value and quality in an executive desk.

For starters, what is an executive desk:

Wikipedia does a nice job of defining the characteristics of an executive desk or in their case (and what is also known as) a pedestal desk.  So if you want the professional and long winded definition be sure to visit their page.  My definition of the most commonly associated executive desk or pedestal desk as it is called, is a formal desk commonly used in an executives office or in a large and formal home office.  The basic configuration and design of the executive desk is to have two pedestals and a desk top.

A picture example of an executive desk by Winners Only Furniture is:

Cherry Executive Desk | Example

Here is a video example of an executive desk by Coaster Furniture:

Here is a list of things that I look into while analyzing the value of an executive desk:

First and foremost before I will even look at a new piece of furniture for the store, I will look at the price.  Pricing is important to me because I use it as a gauge for what I’m looking for in the overall quality of the piece of furniture.  For example, on a less expensive piece I’m not going to expect as much… or put another way, I’m going to be looking to be impressed with the quality features that THEY DID include.

If I were to over generalize the furniture business you have two types of suppliers, suppliers that sell high volumes of product at a very competitive price and suppliers that sell a much lower volume of product at a much higher mark-up; because of the exclusivity of the product.  I look at the price first because whereas I’m willing to pay the extra cost for a special piece of furniture or design, I’m only willing to pay that premium if the improvements on the piece are unique and valuable enough.

Second, I start to look at every detail on the executive desk.  I run my hands over the finish; I open each drawer; I close each drawer; I smell the furniture (I know sounds funny, but if the furniture smells too much like chemicals or even organic materials, I pass immediately); I run my hands under the desk top; I run my hands over the inside of the drawers; I slam the drawers shut; I look under the desk top to see how the finish is applied (if applied) to the bottom of the desk top; I look at all the connection points (the points where the desk is “assembled” in the home) for weaknesses and gaps.

Here is a list of the things that I’m looking for:

1. Finish quality
2. Finished or at least sanded inside drawers
3. Solid drawers, not crooked or sloppily put together
4. Smooth, good quality extension side glides
5. Attractively designed elements, like storage and components
6. Logically and ergonomically considered design (such as pull out bottom for computer desk top)
7. Does the desk of excess glue coming out of joints?
8. Does the desk of unsightly nails connecting the drawers?
9. If the desk has locking mechanisms, what quality are they?
10. When I run my fingers over the top and bottom, does it feel smooth and flat?

Of all the above actions the most important one to me, to establish a value of the executive desk is going to be related to how the finish quality is on the desk.  In my experience, if the finish of the desk is nice, strong and without “overspray” or a “goopy” feeling, than the rest of the desk is going to be generally constructed well. There are differences in how a finish is applied to a product, depending on which factory the product is coming from.  For example, the Winners Only executive desk is finished in a state of the art, dust-free factory setting.  This process makes for a consistently great finish.

After I have spent 10 minutes looking over each detail of the executive desk I usually feel like I have a good idea of the “value” of the particular piece.  Getting the “value” is an important process, because it determines whether or not we are going to let the piece represent us in our furniture store.   In general, I tend to try and stay away from the lower-end of the market… not because there is anything wrong with an absolute low cost good, rather because I think of my company as a sort-of hands-on, shopping assistance, type of service and we just can’t afford to give that level of service with the lower end of the home office marketplace.  I also tend to stay away from what I feel is overpriced… I’d consider something overpriced if it is not sufficiently unique to differentiate itself from something else already on the open market, at a higher price.

What I’m left with is home office furniture, just like is listed on our site and in our store.    Each piece in our store is representative of value, quality and style.

This site is dedicated to Winners Only, precisely because in my experience they have the highest quality product at the best value of a price.  When you choose a Winners Only product and are comparing it to other brands, if the design elements are equal to you… and if the pricing is close; go with the Winners Only product, you will not be disappointed.  Winners Only executive and pedestal desks are by far the best value on the market for a quality, clean product at a reasonable price.  In my opinion the Winners Only executives desks are like the antithesis of Las Vegas; straightforward, clean and real quality… the design does not have any pomp or flair, it is simple quality, made for the mid to high end marketplace.

Need more information on how to analyze and compare an executive desk?  Email me, milan@furniturefromhome.com.  I’d also be happy to do an independent analysis of your “options” for you, even if you aren’t comparing things in our store!

Have a nice day!

Milan

About the author:  Milan Rousset owns furniturefromhome.com, an online furniture store.  He is a Furniture industry veteran who has logged thousands of hours analyzing all sorts of furniture for his stores.  He always appreciates talking to the public and other furniture industry enthusiasts about home furnishings and design and is available at milan@furniturefromhome.com

A Snap Shot of Winners Only Furniture

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Prior to getting into a quick view of the profile for Winners Only Furniture, it’s important that you understand where I am coming from!  I’m extremely biased.  I am a huge fan of Winners only.  In fact this entire blog is built as a personal tribute to them and to our mutual customers .  Also as a disclaimer, I am CEO and founder of a premier furniture store, of which, Winners Only Furniture is one of our premier suppliers and partners.  It’s important to note that I am neither writer nor marketer.  I’m a furniture guy.  I understand furniture and I understand how the furniture industry works.  The blog world is my informal (unedited) method of bringing to light vendors/products that I feel deserve the recognition of public favor.

At the risk of sounding redundant I’m going to say it again, this blog is dedicated to Winners Only because, as an expert in the furniture industry I personally believe that their quality, price and design is substantially better than most other suppliers in the US market place.

I’ve put together the following information, as I feel it is most relevant to what consumers want to know when researching Winners Only Furniture.  The following information is certainly not an exhaustive list of all things related to Winners Only.

History:

Winners only has a relatively short history.  This point should not eclipse the worthiness of the line.  Winners Only was founded in 1988.  In 1988 Winners Only started primarily as a supplier of quality roll top desks.  Today the line features: Home Office Furniture; Bedroom Furniture and Dining Room Furniture.  Unlike many successful suppliers, Winners Only continues to focus their energy in the hard wood items for the home.  They have decided not to dabble in the often times more profitable and higher volume, soft goods.  This subtle point I think speaks loudly toward their focus as being a QUALITY supplier at a REASONABLE price.  Personally, I’ve seen way too many suppliers get into too many different types of products, without the support and in the end  produce poor quality or too expensive of goods.  Winners Only, is focused.  Winners Only understands the quality comes first.  Winners Only has always been a great value.

Location:

Winners Only Corporate offices and warehouse is in my personal backyard, Vista California.  From a consumer perspective this is important because it affects two things:

  1. They are a bit more exclusive – being as they only have one large location in Southern California, a lot of traditional furniture stores around the country aren’t willing to floor their merchandise because it takes a little longer to get.  What this means is that unlike some of the other mass-produced, multiple location suppliers around the country, this line is more exclusive.
  2. They again are focusing their energy on being a value – by only having one large corporate headquarters they save a lot of warehousing/distribution/logistics costs.  Sure they suffer a little because some retailers aren’t willing to wait for the merchandise, but, at the end of the day they are able to provide end consumers with better value by not having those extra costs.  Once again, it shows the effort and benefit that Winners Only strives for, in being a better value… without compromising on quality.

Manufacturing Facility:

Winners Only Furniture produces most of their product line from their own factory in Taiwan.  What this means to us consumers is that they don’t outsource their production to 3rd parties.  It means that Winners Only is in total control over the manufacturing process and quality control.   They also control costs in this way, not paying a 3rd party middle man to produce their goods.  Once again, in my opinion it proves that Winners Only is serious about providing (as they state) quality furniture at affordable prices.

In the production of quality furniture, the finish quality is key to the overall feel and useful life of the merchandise.  Unfortunately, many manufacturers ignore the finish, because it is an easy way to “skimp” on the product, without the consumer noticing.  In many cases a poorly finished or inadequately finished product will “look” good when it is new, it isn’t until a year or two into using the product that you start to notice the chips, uneven wear, etc.   With Winners Only they apply their finish in a state of the art, dust-free facility.   The finish quality is a point of pride for Winners Only.

Where the name, “Winners Only” comes from:

I’m adding this little segment because whereas from a Furniture Guy’s perspective their name makes perfect sense… from a consumer stand point the name “Winners Only” may sound a bit odd.  The term “winner” in the furniture industry means, that the product does well on the retail floor.  A winner, is a product that when you put it on the floor the consumers like it and buy it.  Alternatively a “dog” in the industry refers to a product that when on the floor, does not sell.  So the name “Winners Only” is a reminder that when you put a Winners Only product on the floor, it will sell.  This confidence is born from their attention to detail; value pricing and quality.

The “Industries” opinion about Winners Only:

Behind the scenes of the furniture industry there is a lot of bad mouthing and name calling between suppliers and designers.  One thing that you will find in the Winners Only camp is that not only are they extremely tight lipped about talking poorly of their competitors, their competitors have nothing bad to say about them.  What can they say after all?  Their price is higher?  Not really, their price is relative to the quality of the product, very competitive.  Their quality is not good?  Again, the quality is better than or the same as some products that are twice as expensive.  Their designs are a knockoff?  Not, true, they are innovative in their designs and functionality.   One outside competitor sales rep. said it best: “Ohh, Winners Only, there is nothing I have on them… absolutely nothing… that is a solid line.”  – most of their great reputation comes from their beautiful quality product line… but, at least part of their great reputation comes from their executive leadership and customer service.  Here is a company that from start to finish knows how to produce fine quality furniture and take care of their dealer network!

My Opinion about Winners Only:

Again, my opinion about Winners Only comes from my in depth knowledge of the line.  My personal and professional relationship with the people that are behind the line.  Aside from having in depth meetings with Winners Only executives on how to improve customer satisfaction (this is how I know they care about consumers opinion); I have personally gone over every inch of the Winners Only product line.  I’ve opened nearly every single Winners Only drawer.  I’ve sat at almost eery Winners Only desk.  I’ve run my fingers over the sanded and finished inside drawers of most of their office collections.  I’ve played with the interesting hidden drawers of their traditional roll top desks.  These are the things that have formed my opinion of Winners Only.  However, the most important relationship between my opinion of a line is the opinion of my customers.  And as is the case with Winners Only, my customers love Winners Only Furniture as much as I do.

As a kind of fun coincidence, this morning as I was writing this post, I had a customer call me.  She said this: “Milan, I have a roll top desk from Winners Only Furniture… I bought two of them for my daughters 20 years ago…”  She went on to say that she was thinking about selling them because her daughters had moved on and out of the nest.  When I asked her what condition they were in, she stated, like new.  This little insight is a tribute to the lasting quality and finish that Winners Only puts into their furniture.

I’m interested in hearing your opinion!  Have you ever seen, touched or owned a Winners Only collection?  What is your opinion, write it here, for everyone to see.  Do you have any experiences with their customer service or executive team, let us know about it!  Are you an industry insider with an opinion, let us hear your thoughts!

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