Spy Makers is a conversation series where we sit down with inventors, designers and entrepreneurs to talk about their work. In this story, SPY Contributor Loren Cecil talks to Darryl and Jessica Sharpton about their new direct-to-consumer furniture company Albany Park.
Buying furniture online can be incredibly overwhelming. The options are endless, and so many options look almost exactly the same. Once you finally make a choice, you’re still taking a gamble as to how long it’ll take to be delivered and whether it’ll even fit through your front door. Albany Park wants to change that.
Darryl Sharpton was running a furniture showroom out of his college apartment when he realized that people were comfortable buying things sight unseen if he could handle the delivery. After five years as a linebacker in the NFL, he and his wife Jessica saw an opportunity to use what Darryl had learned through this undergraduate experiment and start selling wholesale furniture through platforms like Amazon and Wayfair. This allowed them to gather intel from customers that they would later use to launch Albany Park.
The husband and wife team has a simple yet ambitious goal for their young company: they want to make Albany Park the easiest place to buy furniture online.
“People are so brutal on there,” Jessica said of the comments and reviews they received via selling through platforms like Amazon and Wayfair. “They’ll tell you everything about your product that was not absolutely perfect, and so we used that as a great learning experience. We took all that feedback and put that into Albany Park.”
The Sharptons officially launched Albany Park at the end of 2019 after two years of selling wholesale on other sites. They believe that the simplicity of their brand is what sets them apart from other direct-to-consumer furniture companies. So far, they only carry three collections with essential pieces for any living space. They want every piece of furniture they sell to be stylish, comfortable and high quality.
In addition to eliminating decision fatigue, Albany Park also takes the guesswork out of the delivery process. All of their furniture breaks down into pieces that are shipped in boxes through UPS rather than freight carriers, so you won’t be required to stay put for an eight-hour delivery window only to have your new couch not show up at all or get stuck in your narrow stairwell.
For Memorial Day Weekend, a lot of Albany Park furniture is marked down by 15%, so this is the perfect time to discover this new furniture brand. If that hasn’t convinced you to check out Albany Park, then keep reading. Darryl and Jessica shared some of their favorite Albany Park furniture to help make your decision even easier.
1. Park Armchair
“We just released the Park Armchair in a new fabric called bouclé,” Jessica said of her current favorite Albany Park piece, though that changes daily. “It’s so pretty and it’s such a comfortable chair because it’s so oversized. It’s just a great product.”
2. Kova Sofa
While the Sharptons have pieces from all three collections in their house, the Kova Sofa is everybody’s favorite seat at the moment. “Right now I’m really big on the Kova, just because the velvet that we use is super high quality and soft, and the cushions are super cozy,” said Darryl. He’s particularly in love with the Rust Velvet fabric.
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3. Ekaabo Albany Ottoman
BEST STATEMENT PIECE
If you’re all set on your larger furniture pieces but are looking for something to add a bit more flair to your living space, this colorful Ekaabo Albany Ottoman makes a very fun and comfortable statement. (Okay, so it’s technically spelled Ẹkáàbọ̀.) It can create an extra seat or just serve as a place to put your feet up, while also elevating any room. The pattern was inspired by Darryl’s discovery of his West African heritage.