Yesterday, Herman Miller made a huge announcement expressing their excitement in welcoming Design Within Reach, Inc. (DWR) to the family. DWR, a Stamford, Connecticut based marketer and retailer of modern furniture, lighting and accessories, will actively assist in the transformation of the diversified growth strategy and brand ambitions of Herman Miller. Within Herman Miller, DWR’s CEO, John Edelman, and President, John McPhee, will sustain their positions leading the business while reporting to Brian Walker, Herman Miller’s CEO. After the agreement closes on July 28th, both Edelman and McPhee will convert their remaining ownership interest in DWR for an 8.5% ownership stake in Herman Miller’s consumer business unit.
DWR came to be in 1999, when Rob Forbes attempted to furnish his small apartment in London. He found that the work of designers Saarinen, Eames and Bertoia were hardly attainable for customers who did not want to wait for months to receive their collection pieces. Thus in 1999, Design Within Reach launched with a mission to make the best in modern design obtainable to the public. Fifteen years later, joining Herman Miller, DWR is North America’s largest premium retailer of authored modern design with 38 studio locations in both Canada and the U.S., a pristine catalog, and an e-commerce presence. Working with a long list of established clients including consumers, architects, schools, restaurants, and small businesses, and hosting management with a breadth of knowledge within the industry, DWR will top Herman Miller’s list for the largest and fastest growing retailer of their furniture collections.
In a shared statement Edelman and McPhee of DWR, said, “We are thrilled to be joining the Herman Miller family. We’ve worked closely with the company and its leadership for many years and have great respect for their approach to business and people. We also share a passion for great design and making a difference in the world. This combination will enable us to accelerate our mission to make great, authentic modern design accessible.” They continued, “We represent a portfolio of the greatest modern designs from around the world. This portfolio, supported by our passionate sales and operations teams, anchors a unique value proposition focused on helping our customers create a modern life. We are excited to continue this journey with the resources and energy of Herman Miller behind us.”
Brian Walker, Herman Miller’s CEO, said, “The addition of DWR is a transformational step forward in realizing our strategy for diversified growth and establishing Herman Miller as a premier lifestyle brand, helping people create inspiring places where they work, live, heal and learn. This combination expands our reach in the higher margin consumer sector and we have identified multiple points of strategic leverage that will benefit our other segments and operations, as well as DWR’s own growth plans.”
Walker continued, “In addition to enhancing Herman Miller’s brand visibility, we gain access to DWR’s growing and exclusive product portfolio and proven development capabilities. This offers further benefit to our commercial workplace market and beyond. Additionally we are acquiring a complete consumer-focused infrastructure and an experienced and committed leadership team and workforce that truly values Herman Miller’s design legacy. That leadership team will skillfully advance our consumer business while DWR gains new resources to further their growth plans. In short, we believe this acquisition dramatically advances our strategic interests and benefits customers, our business partners, and shareholders.”
Congratulations to both Herman Miller and Design Within Reach, Inc.! We are so excited to see what comes next.