After 15 years in finance, John Smith, founder, and CEO of Willem Smith was drawn to furniture-making as a career. Recognizing opportunities for innovation from initial design through manufacturing and distribution, he launched the company in the DC Design Center in 2004 with the mission of creating a collection that would be distinguished in both aesthetics and functionality.
“For every new piece,” Smith explains, “we set out to build a better mousetrap. We are decidedly not more of the same. Our objective is to design and manufacture a product that delivers a superior experience—look, scale, materials, execution and ‘sit’—at a terrific value.” You can see—and test— the collections in the company’s Merrifield showroom near the Mosaic District.
While the company prides itself on a high level of customer satisfaction, one of Smith’s greatest moments came when a designer proposed one of his chairs for a high-end, 50-room resort renovation in the Rockies. “The property’s owners disqualified us from the bid because they weren’t familiar with our company,” he recalls. “Undaunted, we built a chair to spec and sent it to them any- way. Not only did our comfort and workmanship win them over but, 18 months later, they ordered sofas and sleepers for each suite.”
Winning new clients is rewarding, but Willem Smith thrives on return business. “No matter how wonderful our pieces may be,” says Smith, “it’s particularly gratifying that such a large part of our business is via referrals.”
Look at our Latest!
We’ve expanded the options for our award-winning and super-comfortable Etesian ‘3-hour Dinner Party’ chair (left) to include crumb chutes, stretchers, and variable back heights. Dress it up with multiple stitching, nailhead trim, and button possibilities, then pair it with our never-legs-in-the-way Charla table, which is available in walnut, cherry or maple; self-storing leaves are optional. It’s an elegant, one-stop solution for smart dining.