Stephen Kuhl tells D S Simon Media CEO, Doug Simon, what inspired him and his co-founder, Kabeer Chopra, to start Burrow, a DTC furniture company. He also expands on the marketing and communications techniques that are key to the brand’s success, including the importance of using storytelling to enhance the company’s message and make it more personal.
DOUG SIMON: I’m Doug Simon from D S Simon Media and I’m here with Stephen Kuhl who’s Founder and CEO of Burrow and to give you a hint of the impact he’s had I should be doing this interview on a couch. Thanks so much for being with us.
STEPHEN KUHL: Yes. Thanks for having me.
DOUG SIMON: Stephen is participating in the panel that’s talking about changes and the importance of DTC marketing so why don’t you tell us a little bit about the Burrow brand and its story.
STEPHEN KUHL: Yeah sure. So, Burrow is a direct to consumer furniture brand. It was actually started for the same reasons why a lot of these direct to consumer brands were started which is to provide a better end to end customer experience for people. So, for us specifically with furniture we wanted to simplify how you shop for furniture how it’s delivered to you how you live with it, and then finally how you move with it again. So, we designed our first product, a modular sofa that you customize online. It’s delivered to your doorstep in a week or less in compact boxes. You can set it up on your own with no tools. It takes about 10 minutes. And then what you’re left with is a really high-quality sofa that you can actually take apart and move with you whenever you’re moving.
DOUG SIMON: We could try a whole discussion on the awesome logistics required to pull this off but our focus today is really about communications and marketing. So, what are some of the key steps in marketing a DTC brand and what have you learned so far that’s helped you be successful to maybe share with others?
STEPHEN KUHL: Yes. So, the most impactful kind of marking that we’ve actually had is our own customers themselves. And the best way to get customers talking about it about your company about your product is to kind of feed them the right products and stories that they can tell their friends. Press is actually a really big part of that and working with PR agencies to help tell our story so that other people hear that want to share with others and then try out the product and then those customers will turn and then you’ll share it with other people.
DOUG SIMON: Increasingly we saw the Adweek report this year from the Video Advertising Bureau television and getting your story on TV is becoming more important. How does that play into what you’re doing?
STEPHEN KUHL: Well it’s incredibly important for us because I feel like we as a brand are storytellers at Burrow. When we are live on camera, I can inject my own personality that kind of represents the brand much better than relying on a quote that you might get in print. And so that’s really important cause we can own that experience and own what is communicated to people and also like kind of have fun with it interact with the host.
DOUG SIMON: You know one of the shifts that the Diffusion folks identified in their study is that traditional brands are starting to encroach on the DTC area and some DTC brands are also doing pop up so they’re sort of borrowing from each other. How do you figure out the right balance?
STEPHEN KUHL: I think it also it all just comes down to what your customers want. Talk to them task what works for them. I think you know we had seen for instance we just opened up our permanent retail store in Soho this week and we had a prior pop up in Soho leading up to this was like a test ground for it. And we thought that customers wanted a certain type of experiential space and interacting with them. Customers wanted kind of a more traditional type of furniture space. So, we did that with our own kind of flair, and that was more successful and we would never have known that if we didn’t talk to our customers.
DOUG SIMON: Any final thoughts?
STEPHEN KUHL: I mean buy Burrow and go to checkout burrow house in Soho.
DOUG SIMON: Sounds like a plan. Thanks so much for being with us.
STEPHEN KUHL: Thanks for having me.