How Kozzy's Started
In a market dominated by online shopping, it is difficult to exist in the retail brick and mortar space. Furniture in particular is hard, because many stores have either a long history, or deep financial backing. At Kozzy’s we have neither of these, nor do we do the volume that allows us to massively discount products online, like Wayfair or Amazon. Our approach is slightly different. On November 2nd, 2016 one of our founders, Anthony Chau, met with a friend of his, who was looking to start a new project. The idea of starting a furniture store wasn’t a new one to Anthony. He had several years of sales experience, having worked for companies like Angie’s list and ADT in the past. He also had direct experience in the furniture industry, with 7 years of experience at Aarons, many of which were spent in management. During that meeting, Kozzy’s was born.
Starting out, the store was very similar to Aaron;s or Rent-a-Center. It had furniture and appliances, and even had in-store financing available. It quickly became apparent to Anthony that this wasn’t the kind of store he wanted to run. When you offer in-store financing, almost the entire focus of customer interactions become focused on how much money can you extract from every interaction. Between chasing down delinquent accounts, and pushing questionable sales to get new accounts in the pipeline, the focus isn’t on individual customer needs and experiences. It just becomes an impersonal numbers game, which wasn’t the dream Anthony had for Kozzy’s. So Anthony, along with Mei Lin, Kozzy’s other founder, decided to move away from in-store financing. This allowed them to shift their focus. Now, whether it was because of available third-party financing, or personal budget, the new puzzle became, how can we get the customer the most of what they want, for less than the most they can spend. This move, like every other move that Anthony and Mei have made, highlight the focus they want for Kozzy’s, service. This focus is apparent in every choice made, as Kozzy’s continues to evolve.
With multiple vendors, and multiple finance options, customer choice is a central pillar of the Kozzy’s model. Product selection is never limited just by what you can see, a point driven home by the multiple vendor catalogues available throughout the store. Mei and Anthony take great pride in sales where a customer comes in, with only a vague idea of what they are looking for. Through knowledgeable questions, and some lighthearted conversation, the Kozzy’s staff help their guests find the exact right piece for their room, and their wallet. Sometimes that means a special order, or ordering a set not in stock. Other times it means a custom order, or even ordering multiple pieces from different vendors to create a one of a kind mix and match set. Whatever it takes, Kozzy’s never wants to pressure their guests into something they don’t want. As Anthony puts it, “I don’t just want to sell you this, I want you to want to come to me for your whole house.” For Anthony this whole house approach is about more than just style.
As an artist himself, (he even does all his own advertisements from scratch) he knows the importance of how things look. He can often be heard however, telling customers that while an item’s price may be attractive, its life span is not. This isn’t about upselling a customer, rather, he doesn’t want customers to need to replace an item they purchased from him. He is also genuinely happy when customers find that exact piece they need to finish off their room, preferably with him though. He genuinely enjoys finding out about the atmosphere guests want to create, and then, helping them achieve it. This service doesn’t stop at the point of sale either.
True to his goal of long term, repeat business, Kozzy’s staff provide support long after purchase. Whether it is a service call for damage repair, or helping navigate warranty and third-party finance services, Kozzy’s wants to support its customers at every single stage of their furniture journey. This service first approach is what Mei and Anthony think will set Kozzy’s apart. More options than a typical furniture store, and more service and expertise than any online only market.
Service isn’t even limited just to Kozzy’s guests. Kozzy’s has been a participant of Toys for Tots since the first year it opened, believing that lifting up one part of the community can lead to everyone within it being uplifted. To further illustrate their belief in a strong community, Kozzy’s even features pieces made by local craftsmen. Be it wall art, or handcrafted tables, these pieces are some of the staff’s favorite pieces Kozzy’s has available.
As we move forward, all of us at Kozzy’s would like to continue to advance our values of choice, expertise, and service. We would like to be the kind of place that makes our guests say, “I wish you did (some other service) as well.” As we continue to grow, we want our community to grow with us. We would love for, one day, everyone to be able to say, “I got cozy with Kozzy’s.”