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Style Factory casts a vote for cool indie design and crowd-sourced home decor

January 19, 2011 |  7:00 am

Dinerplate

This irresistibly cute honey bear dish is one of four designs in the Diner Plate set from Style Factory. The $40 set includes other still-life images from a stainless steel and Formica lunch counter, pictured below. The story of how the melamine plates came on the market is as sweet as the little bear.  

Cakestandplate The Diner Plate set is just one of many products offered on Style Factory, a website that uses social media and crowd-sourcing to make shopping for home decor more interesting.

Here's how it works: The site posts photos and descriptions of prototypes and finished products. Visitors who click on the "vote" tab can cast ballots on whether each product should be made, and they share the design on Facebook and Twitter.

Designs that get a thumbs up (usually 150 or more votes) go into the "deals" section of the site. Style Factory finds a U.S. manufacturer, determines a price and sets the minimum number of pieces that must be sold in order to justify production. If enough people pre-order, the item is manufactured and shipped to the buyers.

The site has already showcased pieces by about 30 designers, including Thomas Paul. It's currently selling the Z shelf, a new minimalist bookcase from Miron Lior, who created the floating Conceal shelf for Umbra. Supporting independent designers using this model seems cooler that signing up for group coupons for dance classes or a chemical peel. (When I signed up for Style Factory, I received a 10% discount promotional code.)

"Working with the same manufacturers as well-known brands, we cut out a lot of the middlemen," said Sebastian Reichelt, chief operating officer of Style Factory. "We wanted to make good design fun and affordable." 

Designs are manufactured in small editions and cost about what you'd expect to pay for an imported mass-produced item in a modern decor boutique. "For something designed and made in the U.S., it's a great deal," Reichelt said, adding that in the future, Style Factory wants to lower prices by producing larger quantities.

Room view 1 The site has partnered with some of its manufacturers to open an online furniture shop with sleek wooden tables, cabinets and platform beds from $375 to $1,800. Style Factory recently added the Zoey sofa, right, a 7-foot piece with feather and down cushions. It's produced by Archetype, a Huntington Park upholstery manufacturer that has made goods for Crate & Barrel. The Zoey is available in five neutrals and two dark blues for $1,195, shipping included.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Style Factory

Corrected: An earlier version of this post misspelled Sebastian Reichelt's name as Sebastien.

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