Momentum Stays Strong As Outdoor by Ashley Celebrates Their 5-Year Anniversary

Momentum Stays Strong As Outdoor by Ashley Celebrates Their 5-Year Anniversary

It’s no small feat to maintain rigorous quality standards in the midst of rapid growth and a worldwide pandemic. Officials at Ashley Furniture Industries, makers of Outdoor by Ashley, know it’s difficult, but so far it’s been achievable.

Andy Sokol, vice president of Merchandising, has helped to guide the massive company that continues to gain new fans with its Nuvella™ outdoor fabrics as well as its new line of MEGA TUFF ™ high density polyethylene furniture. “Ashley Furniture Industries is the world’s largest furniture manufacturer,” Sokol says. “Our goal is 100% out-of-the-box quality, and we strive toward that objective every day. From our product engineers to our quality assurance teams in the factories, our organization is focused on delivering great looking designs, at great value, that will provide our customers many years of enjoyment.”

With its massive manufacturing capacity, Outdoor by Ashley avoids the temptation to expand for the sake of expansion, instead taking a focused approach based on input from its dealer network. The successful strategy eventually leads to opening price points on small scale dining or bistro sets, all the way up to modular seating groups that have an “infinite” amount of options.

“We have been very fortunate during the past few years as our dealers and their consumers have embraced our assortment,” Sokol enthuses. “During our first few years, our biggest success stories were in our seating groups, but this year our dining business has grown, and especially our ‘high dining’ sets. And our new MEGA TUFF ™ line-up presented in High Point in June has just taken off.”

Introduced just five years ago, the Outdoor by Ashley brand quickly earned significant sales volume and it has increased every year. In some markets, Sokol concedes that it’s “taken some time for independent retailers to understand what our company has to offer in addition to just our product line.”

As the number one selling furniture brand name in the world (primarily indoor), Ashley Furniture Industries has a legion of existing customers in 123 countries around the world. That type of infrastructure led to immediate excitement among dealers and positive feedback from current and new customers. “They have told us that not only do our groups sell for them, but we are delivering product when others can’t,” Sokol explains. “And the ‘wow’ and ‘I love it’ comments from buyers when they got to see our new introductions is what we strive for.”

At Outdoor by Ashley, “sales reps” are known as “marketing specialists” because they do so much more than just sell. They partner with customers to help them make sales and make money. Sokol sums it up: “I have been in the patio industry since 1983 and have worked with hundreds of sales reps but I have never seen the level of professionalism, drive, and acumen that I have seen at Ashley during the past five years…Our formula to make our dealers successful has a long and proven track record.”

As for the future, Sokol thinks the outdoor category will continue to expand at a greater rate than most other furniture categories. “There are many reasons –including more people want to stay home and travel less, the real estate market boom, and people buying new furniture for their new home and more focus on the front porch and backyard patio for new home construction,” he adds. “I also think we will continue to see less seasonality as we go through climate change and more people sitting around their fire pits later into the year.”