Floyd Co-Founder & CEO Kyle Hoff Has Some Great Legs
Sometime in the not-too-distant past, Kyle Hoff came up with an idea that would ultimately turn into something much bigger, as good ideas tend to do. Hoff is a co-founder of Floyd, a growing furniture company based in Detroit, Michigan. If you’re being picky, you might go so far as to say their first product wasn’t even a piece of furniture, but a piece of a piece of furniture—the legs, to be specific—designed to hook on to any flat surface. Essentially anybody who bought the Floyd legs became part-customer-part-designer. They were a hit, and it wasn’t long before new products were added to the lineup: shelves, side tables, a sofa, a bed, lighting, and more.
Hoff grew up in Youngstown, Ohio where steel is the name of the game. He tells us that growing up surrounded by that industry inspired his interest in manufacturing, scaling, and design. After graduating with a master’s from the University of Michigan, he put his skills and interests to work as an architect. Despite his day job, he was hellbent on creating something of his own and plugged away on nights and weekends.
While moving around the country for different gigs, he realized that furniture wasn’t always suited to his needs and it often created frustration, mess, and waste. “Almost 10 million tons of furniture are thrown away each year in the U.S. alone, and that’s a problem,” he tells us. That’s when the idea for the Floyd leg first came to him. After cold calling and being turned down by factory after factory, he finally landed a prototype for the legs—a moving-friendly, powder-coated set of four with a bracket and screw system in each to hold up any up-cycled surface you could find. It was a perfect solution.
As it turns out, Hoff wasn’t the only one dealing with furniture frustrations (shocking). In Detroit, he would meet his future co-founder, Alex O’Dell, who had his own adventures in moving and discarding furniture. They bonded over their desire to solve the problem and took the prototype of the Floyd Leg to Kickstarter to get some capital. The original goal was modest at 18,000, with the pair of them hoping to churn out 100 sets of legs and build the business from there. But they blew past that and managed to raise $250,000, exceeding their wildest expectations. Of course, with a quarter of a million dollars at their disposal, they grew faster than anticipated. Hoff recalls the journey from then to now as sort of a “boot camp” in building a business, and we don’t doubt it.
Though the company and its founders have enjoyed success and growth, Hoff remains a humble guy and is still most excited by seeing his product out in the world. “This product isn’t about Floyd. It’s about the person who’s buying the product. The bookshelf especially is about the things you put on it to display who you are, and I think there’s so much personality in each photo we get back and what people share about their home whether it’s a table, a shelf, or a sofa. I think that’s the most gratifying thing for me.”
These days, there are about 30 more employees added to the roster, along with a host of companion products to the original legs, but at its heart, Floyd’s mission remains the same: “We want to get back to this idea that you can keep furniture, making it ‘friendly’ to keep, and creating things that people want to keep for a long time.” If you’ve ever sat on one of their sofas, then you’d know they’re doing a great job of it, because nobody would ever give up that kind of comfort. So soft.
John Jannuzzi is a writer and editorial director at Bonobos. He is more inclined to talk to dogs than people.