American Leather was founded by Bob Duncan in 1990, with a goal to create a leather furniture company that could improve upon the long lead times of the existing furniture companies at the time. Duncan also wanted to focus his company efforts on making good quality furniture here in the United States and not overseas.
Based on my research, American Leather is a good option for customers seeking a lower to mid priced leather sofa. The company is highly focused on technological innovation, but some of the materials and construction used to build sofas are inferior to other domestic top tier leather furniture manufacturers.
In this piece, I dive deeper into the American Leather company, providing more information on their leather furniture and whether consumers should consider it for purchase.
If you have any experience with American Leather, please leave a comment below or feel free to email me personally at email@example.com
A unique US based leather manufacturer in that it is located outside of the leather capital of the world (North Carolina) and based in Dallas, Texas. The company got its start by focusing intently on lean manufacturing but some of the materials and construction used are inferior to competitors, leading to some concerns about overall quality.
What's The Background Of American Leather?
American Leather was founded by engineer Bob Duncan in 1990. He started the company with his college friend Sanjay Chandra. Duncan had become fascinated with lean manufacturing (or just-in-time) strategies, used by many Japanese manufacturers and decided to apply it to the old school furniture business.
American Leather has continued to not only focus on fast lead times, but high quality and craftsmanship. They have prided themselves on not only technical innovation (the production part of the process) but also in design innovation in order to keep ahead of the competition.
Today, American Leather now has more than 600 employees with a 350,000-square-foot factory in Dallas, Texas. Their products are sold through authorized furniture retailers and they do engage in some private label relationships, and from my research, some have noted both Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel.
Is American Leather Legit?
American Leather has been in business for over 30 years and is one of the largest domestic US based leather furniture manufacturers. Based in Dallas, Texas, the company is a bit unique in that they aren't based in North Carolina, like the majority of the other US based leather furniture companies.
American Leather generates over $50 Million in sales per year, thus, you can feel confident that American Leather is certainly a legitimate business.
Where Does American Leather Make Its Furniture?
American Leather hand builds every piece of furniture in its Dallas, Texas furniture manufacturing facility.
What's The Quality Of American Leather Sofas?
According to the company, American Leather sources its full top-grain leathers from the "top 10% of hides across the world", and partners with modern tanneries to ready leathers for manufacturing. American Leather uses what is known as "The European upholstery method" which according to the company "provides the cleanest, most tailored lines and seams as possible".
One of the things that differentiates American Leather from any other leather manufacturer that I've reviewed is their use of technology. The technology is what helps American Leather focus on quicker turnarounds for consumers. Here's an example from the American Leather factory in Dallas where their craftsmen use technology lasers to precision cut the leathers for various sofas.
American Leather offers 3 kinds of leathers, in what they term as Light Protection (full-top grain, full aniline), Medium Leather and Heavy Protection (highly pigmented finish coat).
American Leather also sources wood for its sofas from local suppliers.
However, it should be noted that American Leather uses 'webbed suspension' for the majority of its leather sofas. I do, however, believe customers have the option to customize with eight-way hand tied springs. Note that webbed suspension systems are easier, cheaper and less durable than an eight-way hand tied system.
Also, I'm fairly confident that the majority of American Leather's sofas are using plywoods, which are inferior to those made with hardwoods, although it also helps reduce the overall costs.
What Do Customers Say About American Leather?
While I like the story that American Leather has to tell, and the usage of innovative technological processes to improve turnaround times and overall quality, I became a bit concerned when I started examining some of the reviews for the company.
Let's star with YELP, where there are 56 reviews and a 2.5 Star rating.
The poor reviews are not about customer service or long wait times (which we wouldn't expect, given the focus on quick turnaround) but on poor quality. Many, many complaints about uncomfortable seating, cushions losing their shape, and American Leather not standing by their products.
American Leather formerly had a private label relationship with Macy's and many of the poor quality reviews I've observed come from products sold at Macy's. Were they making an inferior product for them? Did Macy's drop because of this? So many unanswered questions.
On Facebook, American Leather has only 17 reviews, with a 4 Star rating. More complaints about quality and in fact, more recent complaints about delivery times, showing that even American Leather isn't immune to overseas supply issues.
I get the impression that American Leather's focus on pushing furniture out the door as quickly as possible has led to some reduction in overall build quality.
What Sort Of Warranty Does American Leather Offer?
American Leather offers a limited lifetime warranty on both the frame and suspension system on its leather sofas, which, is a positive, especially when we noted that the company is using a lower quality, somewhat inferior suspension system on its sofas.
Do you have any experience with an American Leather sofa, good or bad?
Please let us know in the comments section below.