Furniture for Today

Abbyson Living delivers convenience to busy consumers

Yavar Rafieha (above center) started learning about the furniture business in his teens, when his father took him along to meetings. Seated here next to brothers Doddy (left) and Rodd (right), Yavar was always highly motivated and competitive. He achieved his first-degree belt in hapkido, a Korean martial art, at the age of 19, which gave him an early appreciation for discipline. After getting a BA from California State University, Northridge, Yavar shifted his focus to shepherding Abbyson from the traditional brick-and-mortar thinking of the furniture industry into the digital age. Yavar is also committed to giving back to the local community.

When your company’s history dates back 30 years, change can sometimes seem difficult. But the team at Abbyson Living has learned how to use its decades of experience without getting bogged down by it. Yavar Rafieha, president, says one trigger for updating Abbyson’s approach was the recession. “Furniture was one of the first items that consumers stopped buying,” he explains.

Because shoppers were no longer visiting furniture stores as frequently, Rafieha’s team looked for new ways to reach potential buyers. “We said, ‘Look, the whole home furnishing industry is changing,’” Rafieha recalls. “What we wanted to do was put together a program where busy consumers could shop online.” After evaluating the needs of buyers, Abbyson launched its drop-ship solution, which offered consumers convenience, great prices, and white-glove home delivery.

Instead of spending hours driving around to different retail stores, Abbyson’s website allows shoppers to check out products from the comfort of their own homes. “We provide amazing tools,” Rafieha says. Online customer service—complete with live chats—is complemented by detailed product information and descriptions. There are even a host of in-depth videos that customers can use to see the furniture from every angle. “For example, before you buy the product, you can watch a video where we x-ray and dismantle a seat cushion and build it back up again,” Rafieha explains.

Devonshire Top-Grain Leather Sectional Sofa
Devonshire Top-Grain Leather Sectional Sofa

For the customers who want to see how furnishings might fit into their existing scheme, Abbyson’s design team has created a platform that even most traditional retail stores don’t provide. “On our website, we have a space-planning program, where you can take the product you’re going to purchase and put it into a room,” Rafieha says. Dimensions of the furniture are already included in the program, and prospective buyers can customize the size of the room to fit their needs, as well as add in tables, plants, and anything else they want. “We’ve provided a lot of tools for customers to purchase and make educated decisions without any hassle,” Rafieha says.

And forget the old days of wondering what will really arrive at your door. “If customers have questions, they can call us,” Rafieha says. “Even if they want a sample of a material, so they can see the color or feel the texture, we’re able to mail that out in advance.”

Once a piece arrives on the buyer’s doorstep, the support continues with Abbyson’s premier delivery service. “[Shipments are] opened, taken out of the box, and set up in the home,” Rafieha says. “We even remove all of the packing materials.”

Few other furniture manufacturers have developed a system that’s as comprehensive and customer-centric. Part of the success of Abbyson’s unique approach to home furniture is the company’s selection of retail partners. Instead of bringing every big-box store into the fold, Rafieha says his team has been very picky about who is allowed to represent their brand. “We grew at a fast pace, but we still currently have a waiting list of over 186 online partners that want to carry the brand,” he explains, noting that such control over the company’s products is part of Abbyson’s success.

Rafieha owes a lot to the fact that Abbyson is a family business. Ready to help him with everything are his brothers: Doddy Rafieha, senior vice president, and Rodd Rafieha, vice president of sales. While their innovative concepts have resulted in tremendous growth, Yavar says the company remains true to its core values. “We promise that we stand behind the quality of our products,” he says.

That quality is garnering some highly visible attention these days. “Set directors find that the products are very trendy and modern, with nice styles and colors,” Rafieha says. “We’ve been partnering with a lot of different TV shows.” These connections are right in line with the company’s core customer base, which Rafieha describes as “the modern woman, very savvy and independent, but who also likes gardening and taking care of the home.” To continue making its products easily accessible to this target shopper, Abbyson plans to open a new showroom in Las Vegas, and a number of new high-end partners will be carrying the brand in 2013.