Sold online, walnut veneer plywood chair heads into brick and mortar retail
November 5, 2016 | 9:23 pm CDT
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Blu Dot furniture design and manufacturing sells most of its stylish furniture - a cross between mid-century and Danish Modern designs in oak, ash, walnut, and matching plywood veneers - through online retailers like Wayfair, or its own e-commerce portal. Last year sales totaled $150 million.
 
To establish its brand with consumers, Blu Dot Design & Manufacturing, Inc., has opened retail stores around the globe - but just seven of them so far: Sydney, Mexico City, Monterrey, Austin, Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York.
 
The firm was launched in 1997 in Minneapolis by designers John Christakos, Maurice Blanks and Charlie Lazor, where the company builds models and prototype production pieces of furniture at its studio.
 
Blu Dot designers model in computers, "But we favor the immediacy of a drawing and the tactility of a prototype any day," the company says. "We will make small scale models to test out an idea or build a rough full-size prototype to look at scale and proportion. It's a step-by-step process, and each sketch, each model, each prototype gets us closer to the final design."
 
 
Once a design seems to have real potential for launch, production models are made.The Blu Dot Buttercup Swivel Chair, designed in 2004, pairs mid-century modern with a comfortable form Seat colors are complemented by the powder coated or brushed stainless steel finish. www.bludot.com
 

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.