As the 10-year anniversary of the Indiana Design Center approaches, we wanted to speak with our resident showroom owners and leaders – the tastemakers and forward-thinking innovators in our local design landscape. Eric Reynolds, owner of Outré Furniture, shares his take on working in a family-owned business, and how he values working with small, locally-owned businesses in the IDC community.
Eric Reynolds is a third-generation member of a furniture-making family. His father and grandfather have run a manufacturing business since the early seventies, primarily making furniture for RVs and mobile homes. All of the furniture they make is fabricated in their factory in northern Indiana. When Eric graduated from Butler University he decided to join the family business but went his own direction, opening Outré, a custom furniture builder and designer for both residential and commercial design. One of the IDC’s original tenants, Eric knows that relationships – family and otherwise – are a key component to a successful small business.
Family businesses lend a personal touch, and that is something that Eric and his family don’t take lightly.
He says, “I feel like all of the pieces that we design and manufacture for our clients allow us to become part of their stories and traditions. I take the furniture design and build process very personally and our team works very hard to get it right, the first time. To me it is not just furniture and upholstery, but a part of my family’s legacy that I get to share with others.”
It is also important to Eric that his family business continues to make a product that that is made, not only in the USA, but in Indiana. For him, it is especially gratifying to see a design project go from concept to finished product using businesses that are all locally-based. That is a major benefit to being at the IDC, says Eric.
“What I think really sets the IDC apart from other design centers is our concentration of locally-owned businesses and tradespeople. Most of the spaces in the IDC are leased by businesses that work, design, build and install in Indiana. We don’t have a lot of national showrooms here at the IDC, which I think is unique.”
That familiarity and community-minded philosophy is obvious when you come to the Outré showroom. Eric is the owner and he’s the one that you work with directly. “If someone comes to the IDC they are going to likely meet with the owner of the showroom and work with people who live and work in their community. Watching a job come together that so many of the people in the IDC have worked hard to create is really special, and it’s fun to share that experience.”
Looking forward to 2020, Eric and his team plan to utilize more of their pieces in outdoor applications. “I really love working with outdoor spaces and concepts and introducing our furniture into the design. We worked really hard to develop an outdoor line with all of the right components to withstand the elements, and I believe that we achieved that without compromising the style of our pieces.”
When Eric isn’t teaming up to make furniture creations come to life, you can find him spending time with family and enjoying travel, golfing and cheering on the Butler Bulldogs.