A Q&A with Dennis Scully from Avery Boardman
NYS: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
DS: I have a wide array of experience in the home world and I can tell you that I have never had a job before where everything I have done in my past—from owning a retail furniture store, to running a small advertising agency, to working for Waterworks, or being the Home Furnishings Director of Domino magazine—even my work for Editor at Large—it all comes into play.
NYS: When were you appointed President of Avery Boardman?
DS: May 2013.
NYS: How did this appointment come about?
DS: Sadly, the company founder Albert deMatteo passed away in March of 2013. Shortly thereafter I was referred to his son Darren, who had started to take on many of the responsibilities of running the family business.
NYS: Why did you decide to join the Avery Boardman team?
DS: I saw a remarkable opportunity to play a role in transforming a company whose product has for so many years been synonymous with quality and craftsmenship, a real leader in the industry—but that was in need of some new new direction and a bit of freshening up. I was looking for a chance to really plant roots and take on a big project that would really stretch my abilities—I found it!
NYS: How do you think your background will play into your new role at Avery Boardman?
DS: As I was saying earlier, I am calling on my past experiences every day in my role as President of Avery Boardman. Fortunately for me, I am able to reconnect with so many of the great people I have worked with in the past as well. Some are helping me in an advisory capacity and I am hoping a few of them will come on staff and help me lead this business into the future.
NYS: Can you give us an idea of what working with the Avery Boardman team is like?
DS: Albert deMatteo was a remarkable man in many ways. His leadership inspired such loyalty and devotion that today so much of the Avery Boardman team’s focus is carrying on his legacy—taking the business into the future in a way that he would have wanted us to. It’s inspiring and I feel confident that he would be pleased and proud.
NYS: What do you think makes Avery Boardman special?
DS: Avery Boardman is a family-owned business with a their own manufacturing facility located a mere 35 minutes from the D&D Building. We make custom upholstery by hand in much the same way that we’ve been doing since the 1960s. We make the finest and most comfortable sleep sofa in the world, that’s what we’re most known for. But truthfully, we make just as many beds, headboards, custom sofas and chairs—because once clients discover what we can do and how we do it, they simply don’t want to go anywhere else.
NYS: You have worked within the trade industry for many years, what do you think separates Avery Boardman in terms of what they can offer designers?
DS: What we can offer a designer is our name, our reputation, our years of experience and the piece of mind that comes with knowing that we are going to make them look good in front of their client. Our expertise in the custom upholstery means that we can help educate them about the process and show them things that might not even have thought of—and because our factory is just 35 minutes from the D&D Building, they can come and see the piece being made or try it out before we finish it. We are an excellent partner.
NYS: What, if anything, can we expect to see change at Avery Boardman?
DS: The biggest changes will be visual ones—how we present ourselves to the design community as far as our showrooms, our website, and social media presence—including our advertising and marketing concepts. Many of these changes are well underway.
NYS: Do most designers you work with know that Avery Boardman is the one of (if not the) oldest firms in the world manufacturing and selling sofa beds exclusively to the design community? How do you spread the word? We find that pretty impressive!
DS: We have indeed been selling sofa beds to the design community longer than anyone else, and we make the finest sleep sofa you can buy—which I think is pretty impressive too. Spreading the word is part of my job, but I really appreciate your help, thanks.
NYS: What do you think are the advantages of Avery Boardman being only to the trade?
DS: Being only to the trade allows us a true business-to-business relationship with our clients. It lets us come to really know the designers we work with again and again which makes the process easier in many ways and also often more personal too.
NYS: Can we expect to see more Avery Boardman showrooms? If so, where?
DS: After this past winter we’ve had, I am really thinking we need a showroom in LA. If we implement one, I will be traveling a lot to oversee the operations.
NYS: If you could take one Avery Boardman piece off the showroom floor today, what would it be and why?
DS: My problem is that there are many pieces I want to take off the Avery Boardman showroom floor and bring them home with me! I don’t even have an Avery Boardman sofa yet—but there are a few pieces that we have made for the J+G Design installation that I have my eye on—soon they will be mine!