In the age of open offices and cookie-cutter IKEA desks, many employees feel they don’t have the freedom to truly make their workspace their own.
Lucy Lyle was working in marketing strategy at Google when she came up with the idea to create Perch, a design-focused office product company that officially launches Thursday.
“I just got tired of being subjected to bad workspace products,” she told Business Insider. “Though the common areas at Google are more creatively designed, there was a lot of fluorescent lighting and white desks where we were spending most of our working time.”
The company’s product offerings span everything that you come into contact with during the work day, from mouse pads and staplers to the actual desk itself.
“I realised that beautiful, personal surroundings really affect the way you feel at work,” she said. “Research shows that having a workplace that reflects your identity increases your productivity, but there was no go-to for everything you need to create a workspace you’ll love working in.”
With more Americans working remotely or choosing to go freelance, the idea of a traditional office is on its way out, and the modern worker will theoretically have a more flexible schedule and space. One of Perch’s main goals is to appeal to individual tastes by offering some 400 unique items that are more design-oriented than the stuff you’ll find at Staples.
Everything besides the mahogany desks — which Perch developed itself after working with engineers in Nicaragua — are sourced from makers the company has formed distribution partnerships with. The desks are being offered for between $750 and $1,250, depending on the size, but Lyle points out that a desk of similar quality and construction could cost up to $10,000 at a more traditional retailer.
And as for the product focus, Lyle says that many people have asked her why she doesn’t just launch a desk company.
“But where do you go to get a really beautiful stapler? We figured that if we can’t find a good option, we’ll make the product ourselves,” she said.
“We’re bringing a subtle, artful design to these everyday products. We made sure that each product category had a range of prices and aesthetics.”
Though this is Lyle’s first foray into design and startups, she has an inherent understanding of the beauty in the details. Growing up in Tribeca with her mother, a painter, and her father, a chef, she worked as a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman when she was a teenager.
“This obsession with beautiful products is in my blood,” she said. “I’m a workaholic and love beautiful things.”
The idea has attracted an impressive roster of investors that includes Casper cofounder and COO Neil Parikh, Bonobos and Trunk Club cofounder Brian Spaly, MakerBot cofounder Bre Pettis, and Venmo cofounders Iqram Magdon-Ismail and Andrew Kortina, among others.
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