When I was shopping for a new leather sofa, Article was one company that I kept noticing on online threads about affordable, attractive leather furniture.
Article was launched in 2013, with a premise that they would offer 'unique, durable pieces using high-quality materials' with an ability to offer a 30% discount versus everyday furniture companies. They are Vancouver based and were expected to reach $200 Million sales in 2018.
Article Background - Who Are They Owned By?
Article got its start back in 2013, launched by four engineers, one including co-founder Aamir Baig (shown here). Baig is the current CEO of the company.
The group of four, including Baag, Fraser Hall, and brothers Samuel & Andy Prochazka, decided that the inefficiencies in the furniture industry could be improved upon.
Without the overhead of a typical brick and mortar furniture store, Article believed that it could go direct to the consumer. Offering high quality at a much lower price.
And by differentiating itself from bigger online stores such as Wayfair, it could tailor products to fit into what it's customers really wanted.
To date that has equated to designs fitting into the mid-century modern and Scandinavian design categories.
Today, the company remains privately held and is one of the biggest online direct to consumer furniture retailers.
Here's CEO Aamir Baig talking about the supply chain for Article:
They source materials from Canada, the U.S., Italy, and South America with final assembly completed in Southeast Asia.
Note that a Forbes article from a few years back pointed out something that was removed from Article's website.
It noted management comments about items produced in some of the same factories as other higher-end furniture makers:
In its early days, the company said on its website that its sofas were produced at the same factory that made furniture for brands like B&B Italia and Knoll, but it pulled the information down at the request of the factory’s owners.
CEO of Article
"Our in-house team works directly with the best designers and manufacturers all over the world to build a product catalogue that includes a range of mid-century modern, Scandinavian and West Coast modern designs" (Source)
Does Article Make Quality Furniture (Sofas)?
Part of Article's appeal is that they keep the selection focused and limited.
They have roughly 35-40 different leather sofa and sectional options.
Article uses only real top grain leathers on its sofas.
One of the most popular leather sofas at Article is the Sven. The one shown below is the Sven Charme Tan Leather Sofa.
Article says that the Sven Charme is made of full grain aniline leather, meaning that the leather hasn't been sanded and shows many of the imperfections of the cattle hide.
What Is Charme Leather?
The "Charme" terminology on Article's site is a bit confusing. It's their own fancy brand name for a full-grain aniline leather that they use for their sofas. Nothing spectacular or any sort of special leather.
There are several complaints of scratching on the Sven Charme sofa.
But, it actually makes sense given the leather used on the sofa. Full-grain aniline, while durable, is more prone to scratching, given the lack of protective coating.
On the Cigar sofa shown below, Article uses a full-grain, full-aniline leather which is finished with a paraffin wax.
It is also referred to as a 'pull up leather'.
This means that the leather "has been lovingly stretched and pulled".
According to Article, this technique causes the color to "migrate and become lighter in certain areas."
Quick Side Note: I checked out the website and found that nearly every Article Cigar Sofa Review is glowingly positive. And I couldn't really find much negativity on this sofa online. For the price point it seems like a great deal. Have one? Please reach out to me at email@example.com. I'd love to hear from you.
Based on our research, we have found some concerns of quality control issues at Article.
But there is an overwhelmingly positive reception to Article's leather sofas and the quality of the product.
Is Article Dropshipping From China?
Some Reddit users did discover some sofas for sale on Alibaba that looked like exact replicas of Article's leather furniture, raising some concerns that Article might indeed just be drop-shipping furniture from China.
But Article's Duncan Blair (Director of Marketing) put these concerns to rest in several Twitter posts. So ultimately, the conclusion here is that merchants on Alibaba are ripping off Article's designs.
What's The Warranty Of Article Sofas?
Article's manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the products’ date of delivery.
Our manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship for one year from the products’ date of delivery. If you experience issues with your Article piece, please let our team know. We will organize replacement parts, repair, and in necessary cases, a complete replacement.
Here's also more information on Article's Return Policy.
"..you have up to 30 days from the date of delivery to return your item(s)..make sure that your piece is in as-new condition...Returns made inside our standard service area will incur a $49 return shipping fee - for some smaller items a $19 return shipping fee will apply....Returns must be made in the original packaging. If you no longer have the original packaging, there is an additional $50 per item repackaging fee."
What Are Customer Reviews of Article?
Reviews on Article's leather sofas on their website are quite good. Note these are for the Sven.
"leather has worn beautifully..."
"I'm in a long term, loving relationship with Sven..."
"best purchase ever, the perfect sofa..."
Most products have a 4.5-star minimum and quite clear, it seems like they really LOVE the Article Sven.
Of course, this is the retailer's own website, so while I see no evidence that Article is blocking bad reviews, we have to accept that it could be unbiased.
This is a rather lengthy discussion of Article's furniture on Houzz, which provides probably a bit of truer opinion of Article.
The reviews are not exactly as great as what is shown on their website although there is a consistent theme of Article Furniture having good customer service support.
Article vs Poly And Bark: Which One Is Better?
Based on our reviews, we have Poly And Bark rated 3.5 stars out of 5, versus Article, which we have scored 4 stars out of 5.
Both are very good options for online retailers, but we give Article the slight overall edge, based on our evaluation of overall sofa quality and customer reviews.
Thus, it's a close call, so if you have your heart set on a piece from Poly & Bark, I'd say go for it.
One thing I'd like to point out is that some of the pieces between the two companies look practically identical.
Here is the Poly & Bark Napa Leather Sofa:
And again, here's the Article Couch (the Sven)
Is the Article Sven the same sofa as the Poly & Bark Napa?
Are Article and Poly & Bark the same company?
Let's take a closer look at the description on each retailers site. This is where we can play detective. If they are the same sofa, they of course need to spin the language to try and make it seem like it's their own exclusive piece.
I'll highlight where we should pay attention.
Article Sven Leather Sofa Description
The Sven charme tan sofa is your new BFF. The tufted bench seat supports super long movie marathons, and overstuffed cushions and round bolsters have your back no matter what position you chill in. Over time, the full-aniline leather will develop a beautiful vintage patina. Sturdy and adaptable, this tan leather sofa is the focal point in any room, and will easily adapt to your future decor whims. Natural color variations, wrinkles and creases are part of the unique characteristics of this leather. It will develop a relaxed vintage look with regular use.
- Sturdy corner blocked wooden frame
- High density foam with Polyester filling
- Upholstered in full-aniline Italian-tanned leather
- Pirelli webbing
- Loose seat and back cushions
- Loose bolsters included
- Simple assembly required (approximately 5 minutes)
Ok, got all that? Here's the description on the Napa.
Poly & Bark Napa Leather Sofa Description
Sink into the indulgent softness and style of this full-grain pure-aniline (cognac tan) or semi-aniline (all other colors) leather Napa sofa. Beautiful in a refined living space, the Cognac tan color features truly stunning pure-aniline dyed Italian tanned leather upholstery that emphasizes the natural beauty of each hide offering a unique look to each piece. With minimal processing, aniline hides proudly display the natural hallmarks of genuine leather such as fat wrinkles, growth marks, healed scars, insect bites and scratches. Similar to marble or a beautiful piece of timber, each leather will vary in color tone and pattern and will change, mark and stain, softening into its rich patina with age. A kiln-dried solid wood frame is corner blocked with reinforced joinery for lasting durability. Pirelli webbing to support its seat and back give this sofa the best support possible. A single, long seat cushion features high-density foam over polyester fill for ample support, while a duck feather topper ensures indulgent softness. A pair of loose bolsters are included, providing classic style and added support as desired.
- Corner blocked wooden frame
- High-density foam with polyester filling
- Feather down topper on seating surfaces
- Pirelli webbing
- Feather down and fiber blend seat-back cushions and bolsters
- Loose, non-reversible seat and back cushions
- Loose bolsters included
- Solid wood legs in a walnut finish
- Simple assembly required (approximately 5 minutes)
Based on everything shown in both descriptions, it certainly appears they might be the same exact couch.
Same leather, very similar wording, same suspension, same corner blocking, same exact cushion description, same exact notation about assembly time.
Although as I peeked a bit a bit more at the photos, there are some subtle differences. For example, here are side shots of both sofas:
So, ultimately, not the same exact sofas, but a VERY close resemblance.
Maybe one ripped off the design from another?
Maybe they are both working with the same exact manufacturer in China?
I have no idea.
Notably the Poly & Bark sofa is slightly cheaper, $1999 vs $2099 for Article's.
But, if you own either an Article Sven or a Poly & Bark Napa, I'd like to hear from you.
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Article Ship Internationally?
They will also ship to Hawaii and Alaska for an additional shipping fee.
Does Article Offer Discounts?
Article will occasionally offer holiday related (Black Friday, Labor Day, etc) sales, but doesn't typically offer regular discounts.
They currently offer free shipping on any orders over $999.