patio furniture san rafael retailer Josh Dorfman talks about going green

Josh Dorfman

patio furniture san rafael retailer Josh Dorfman is passionate about the environment. First and foremost, he is the founder and CEO of Vivavi, a contemporary, sustainable patio furniture san rafael store in Brooklyn, NY. Along with running the successful—and expanding—patio furniture san rafael showroom, Dorfman wrote his first book, “The Lazy Environmentalist,” in 2005. It offers readers easy, eco-friendly tips on how to incorporate green into their lives.

Now, Dorfman hosts a Sirius Satellite Radio program five days a week, spreading his message about how going green can be both hip and practical. “It’s a dialog that feels accessible for people,” he said. “No one gets a guilt trip, and they learn something.”

Managing Editor Stephanie Mitchell spoke with Dorfman, in a telephone interview, about his interest in sustainability, his patio furniture san rafael store and eco-awareness in the home furnishings industry.

patio furniture san rafael Style: How did you get started in green activism?

An example of the company’s home furnishings offerings is Modern Bamboo’s Spring chair

Josh Dorfman: In 2003, I really started thinking, “How can I influence consumers to make more environmentally responsible purchasing decisions?” There was a lot of research emerging saying that a large number of Americans wanted to make their purchasing decisions based on their values about the environment. I thought that combining environmental responsibility with great design would be a way to take away the pain and make going green something that could become something really attractive and desirable.

I started Vivavi in December 2003 in Washington, DC. About a year into the business, I realized as much as we are fully committed to the environment, we also are a design company. And if we’re a design company, we probably need to be in New York City.

FS: What is Vivavi’s mission?

Dorfman: My philosophy is that we are going to offer some of the best design available and demonstrate that the best design can be green. We want to offer it at the most accessible price point we can, but will not sacrifice design to try and make things affordable. We’ve seen it before; it’s not a good way to grow a business.

FS: How do you choose product for your store?

Dorfman: The first thing we evaluate is the material choice. Is [the manufacturer] using materials that are green—sourced responsibility, reclaimed, recycled? The next thing we look at is the glues, finishes and chemicals. Is there toxic stuff in this patio furniture san rafael? Then, we look at the manufacturing process. Is [the manufacturer] using renewable energy? Less material? Then, we look at where it’s shipped from and what the footprint is.

FS: Who are Vivavi’s customers?

Dorfman: We sell to parents with young kids—that’s a core demographic for us. We get smart, hip professionals who are concerned about the health aspects of what’s going into their homes.

We also sell to Baby Boomers who may be moving into a second home, downsizing or just moving out of the home they’ve been in for a long time. These folks expect quality and design, but sustainability, too. The subtext is, “I now have grandchildren. What kind of world am I leaving behind? What choices am I making here, especially because I have a lot more disposable income?”

But people don’t buy our patio furniture san rafael just because it’s green. If people don’t love the design and the quality first and foremost, there isn’t going to be a sale.

FS: In the home furnishings industry, do you think sustainability is a trend or will it eventually be a lifestyle change?

Dorfman: The patio furniture san rafael industry, in general, has been pretty slow to change. You can walk trade shows and see some green home furnishings, but these are huge trade shows and most of the companies there are not interested and don’t want to talk about it. They are crossing their fingers and hoping it’s going to go away—that’s not going to happen. It’s a trend manufacturers and retailers would be wise to embrace because it’s being driven by so many factors, and one of them is that consumers want to do this.

I think, [as a retailer], that there’s an opportunity to look at it as a new lifestyle for customers and say, “We can offer you something that really resonates with who you are: you value great design and quality. We want to help you naturalize that.”

FS: As you continue to get busier with media opportunities, will you keep the amish furniture indiana store?

Dorfman: Absolutely. The amish furniture in southern minnesota store is the core. We’re expanding now, and we’re hoping to open our first major retail store in Manhattan later this summer.

We’re expanding our product lines, integrating home furnishings with tabletop, bed and bath—Vivavi’s going to be a great demonstration of what’s possible.

By Stephanie Mitchell [at] grabil amish

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