When you think of All-American design, you think of Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., founded by Brian Faherty in 2003 after discovering a collection of long-lost cast-iron glass shade moulds in an abandoned warehouse. After restoring the moulds back into production, the Schoolhouse Electric team has continued to grow every year since, becoming a trusted name in the industry for high quality, long-lasting designs. Schoolhouse Electric is one of the few dedicated to preserving American manufacturing through mindful living and timeless functional design.
With a focus on quality, Schoolhouse Electric is all about wanting better, not more. From iconic lighting and furniture, to clocks and domestic utility products, Schoolhouse designs are goods that you’ll not only want to have now, but use forever. They have also managed to perfect the brass finish. Schoolhouse Electric shares their commitment to American craftsmanship, tapping into the maker community, and the benefits of factory direct.
Photography courtesy of Schoolhouse Electric
In 140 characters or less, what is Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. all about?
“Want better, not more.” Our aim is to create the next generation of heirlooms. We embody a uniquely American aesthetic and way of living.
Schoolhouse Electric’s warehouse turned factory + retail space is headquartered in Portland, Oregon – what a city! How has the culture and lifestyle of Portland influenced Schoolhouse Electric’s design and brand vision?
Portland is filled with so many hardworking craftspeople who are committed to quality. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by such talented individuals who strive to be the best in their fields. The unique community of makers in Portland inspires and challenges us to pursue excellence daily.
Schoolhouse Electric is known for mixing styles and eras, with a strong focus on quality. How do you manage to achieve this in your production process, from inspiration to final product?
Very few companies design and produce under one roof, and this is part of what makes what we do attainable. The collaborative nature of our work allows us to have our hands in everything from pipedream stages to finished product.
As a manufacturing company, Schoolhouse Electric Co. sells factory direct. What does that mean for the interior designers involved in your trade program?
Factory direct is a huge benefit. By selling directly to designers, we are able to avoid traditional markups and come in lower on costs from the get-go. It also allows for an open line of communication with the very makers of our light fixtures, clocks, and lifestyle goods. We pride ourselves on the level of expertise we are able to provide to interior designers simply because we know our products and those who work hard to make it.
How does Schoolhouse Electric typically work with interior designers?
Our goal is to be a resource. We’re dedicated to building long-term relationships with our interior designers. No matter the project, we’re committed to providing support throughout the entire process from start to finish.
What should interior designers learn and understand about furniture and lighting before sourcing items for their clients and projects?
We believe in our product, and we believe that we produce quality lighting and source high-end trade goods for fair and competitive prices.
Based on your knowledge of the industry, what are some modern day issues impacting the furniture and lighting business?
The industry is becoming more and more saturated. There are a lot of options out there and it can be challenging to navigate. We also manufacture our products, so there are often lead times associated. In this “Amazon era”, we try and encourage our customers to “Want Better, Not More”.
In this day and age, how important is social media, marketing and content to the growth and success of Schoolhouse Electric?
It has a huge impact. Social media is directly linked to brand identity. It allows for engagement like never before, and provides a platform for us to share and participate in meaningful moments. We are incredibly thankful for our online community.
Schoolhouse Electric is a go-to vendor for a lot of Ivy interior designers. What are some of your best-selling categories and products?
What is your focus for 2017?
We have a lot of initiatives this year, all of which we are very excited for! With that said, our primary focus is to bulk out our trade experience specifically for interior designers and architects. We have some great things currently in the works, so stay tuned!
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