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A furniture startup promises four-minute assembly minus the harrowing trip to IKEA

IKEA salvation army.
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Greycork’s promise sounds almost too good to be true: Well-made furniture that is stylish, comfortable, easy-to-assemble, and cheaper than IKEA.

“I thought that the way we’ve been getting furniture is insane,” explains Greycork’s CEO John Humphrey in the startup’s fundraising video. “Driving 40 minutes out of the city, waiting in line, squeezing boxes into cars just to go home and set it up for hours.”

Judging from their wildly successful Indiegogo campaign, Humprey and his three partners Alec Babala, Bruce Kim and Jonah Willcox-Healey, seem to have hit on a collective pain point. Their business, founded on mission to provide an alternative to that all-too-familiar IKEA rite of passage, is now the most-funded furniture company on Indiegogo. They surpassed their funding goal within four days.

If you’ve ever been vexed by a hex wrench or baffled by a lost bolt, the promise of a sofa that can be assembled and disassembled in four minutes with no tools is particularly alluring.

No meltdowns.

Comfort is a priority for Greycork, too. The team recently field tested their sofa at a big goods and furniture showcase in Boston, and Humphrey tells Quartz that people seemed surprised at how “unexpectedly comfortable” the couch was. “I wish we had a video of their faces,” he laughs. In November, Greycork plans to test its furniture on some discriminating, design-savvy sofa sophisticates at the American Field event in New York City.

Humphrey joined forces with professional designers after trying his hand at building Greycork’s first prototype himself, a coffee table. “It was okay, but I’m not a furniture designer,” says Humphrey, who has a master’s degree in business and grew up helping out at his family’s furniture factory. “I have the skills to run a viable business but I didn’t know to design furniture or build a desirable brand,” he says.


Even at this early stage, Greycork takes seriously the challenge of defining its nascent brand and injecting some personality into it. Taking the cue from successful startups like the mattress company Casper, which has launched its own magazine dedicated to sleep, Greycork already has a lifestyle magazine of its own, even before the company’s first units have shipped.

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