About Model No.
It’s a rare moment when a group of people from vastly different backgrounds discover they share a vision. A vision that is more than simply a good business idea – it’s an idea capable of disrupting an entire industry. And a behemoth of an industry at that.
That moment happened in 2018 when Vani Khosla, Jillian Northrup and Jeffrey McGrew got together to solve a problem they’d all been experiencing for years: the ability to acquire custom furniture quickly, in very specific shapes and sizes.
Jillian and Jeffrey have been in the design-build business for over 10 years, successfully growing their boutique company, Because We Can, primarily on word of mouth referrals. Vani’s background is in technology software and startups with a desire to get more into early-stage opportunities. Together, the three are passionate problem solvers.
The inspiration to start Model No., resulted from Vani’s struggle to purchase simple, elegant furniture that could be customized specifically for her needs. Jillian and Jeffrey were working with Vani on a residential construction project, and knew that expensive, custom furniture had much longer lead times than she was targeting for her project. As they discussed the options, they found themselves in a conversation about parametric design and digital fabrication.
Jeffrey and Jillian had used those tools for years in their design process, and Vani had the idea to use them to productize a concept: making products that are fully customizable by the customer in an online shopping experience. Due to the speed of production advantages and ability to have unmanned fabrication time, they were drawn to 3D printing as an opportunity to solve this problem. Model No, and the founders’ mission, was born.
In the year since, the team has worked tirelessly to produce tables, seating and décor that can be purchased as-is, or customized by each buyer to their personal preferences. Moreover, they are doing it all with plant-based resins to the great satisfaction of their customers and employees. The customization options range from size, shape, color, materials and “twist” (the curvature of the product). The products, each with their own unique model number, can be produced quickly, and ship in a 2-week timeframe.
The three founders agree that sustainable-manufacturing practices, set-in motion across the company, is a deep-rooted and lifelong objective for Model No., Inc. They have extended the goal of sustainability throughout the product line, from the materials that they use to the end-of-life options for their products. They have even created an initiative to enable customers to return products back to them, to assure proper end-of-life processing including recycling or reusing.
The operational differences between Model No. and the furniture industry in general are vast. Model No. is on a trajectory to show the world they can create elegant and customized furniture that fits perfectly in anyone’s home or office style, without contributing to negative, environmentally unfriendly, manufacturing practices.
Based in Oakland, California, the Model No. team is using digital fabrication to make elegant, affordable, designer furniture and selling it directly to customers on-demand, via their website, Model-no.com.