Huntsville furniture company bridges the retail gap

Paperclip47 operates a furnitue website & Huntsville warehouse (Source: Paperclip47.com)
Paperclip47 operates a furnitue website & Huntsville warehouse (Source: Paperclip47.com)
Updated: Apr. 19, 2018 at 1:37 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - From HGTV to Better Homes and Gardens interior designers have ceaselessly preached the power of  "small changes" but local entrepreneur and owner of Paperclip47, Leah Hess says, "Keep the pillows. Change the furniture!"

Launched in 2015, the online-overstock furniture store Paperclip47 has garnered significant success, bridging the gap between traditional brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce sites. Hess's inventory is up to 70 percent off retail prices. The company also posts products regularly to its Facebook page.

"People want the service and confidence a physical store offers with an online price tag, and we did just that. Our customers can browse our online store and set up an appointment to stop by the warehouse to sit in the chair, feel the rug, and purchase on-site if they choose," said Hess.

With over 200 different items at any given time, the online store provides a variety of furniture and decor styles ranging from industrial to mid-century modern. It features a bevy of brands including but not limited to: Threshold, Safavieh, Thomas, Andover Mills.

"Initially we bought more luxury pieces, but over time learned our customers liked high-quality furniture that could still stand some wear-and-tear," said Hess.

Where did it all begin?

"As a child my mother and I scoured local estate sales and live auctions for great deals and hidden gems. As I got older, friends and family started asking me to shop for them. They were always shocked when I came back with designer pieces at bargain basement prices. I realized there was a huge market for inexpensive furniture.

A few years later, Hess and her new husband decided to deliver just that - furniture for less.

"My husband and I started conservatively. We bought one truck-load of furniture for $7,000 and housed it in a storage unit. We thought the worst we could do was break-even. Before we knew it, we had all of the furniture sold," said Hess

One semi truck turned into two, three, four, and quickly they outgrew the storage and found themselves in a 15,000 square foot warehouse on Oakwood avenue with over 20,000 items.

What's next for Paperclip47?

"In order to grow anymore, we are going to have to hire employees. It's exciting and scary, but I think that is the next logical step," said Hess.

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