Interview - Marci Klein of Modify Furniture

Marci Klein of Modify Furniture

After visiting Marci's workspace at Modify Furniture, Linda and I had a lot of questions and Marci shared her insights with us.

Why did you name the company Modify?

I chose the name Modify Furniture for several reasons…our furniture is MODern, Modular, and MODifiable.

What do you mean by environmentally friendly?

There are several aspects that go into a product being eco-friendly. The most obvious being the actual materials used. We use aluminum that is 30% recycled content, and sustainable bamboo which is actually not a tree but rather a grass. Bamboo is harvested every 7 years (as opposed to trees which typically take 30 years to grow to harvest) and is considered carbon neutral. Our sliding doors are steel which is also recyclable. 

Beyond the actual material, it is important to look at the finishing materials. For example, we use organic powder coating on our aluminum and steel components; they are applied in powder form and do not release aerosol toxins into the environment. Our bamboo is hand finished with a low VOC oil-wax, safe for the environment and the customer alike. 

It is also important to understand manufacturing processes. For example, recycled materials that started their life in the USA and were then shipped to China to be broken down, manufactured into a new product, and then shipped back to the USA may not, in fact, be particularly green. That is why at Modify, we opted to do all manufacturing in-house or as close as possible. The few processes that aren't able to do in-house are within the lead recommended 250-mile radius of Bridgeport, CT.

Lean manufacturing is another component to being green. For example, at Modify, we make each piece of furniture to order and stock only a small volume of our colored panels. Therefore, we NEVER have overstock products that wind up in a landfill. We also optimize all manufacturing to result in approximately 5% waste (pretty good by industry standards).

We also flat pack ship our furniture mostly assembled. So a credenza that would take up 85inches x 18 x 40 and require freight to be shipped fully assembled will fit into a box 1/5 that size and can be ground shipped saving space for more products in the truck. 

We are constantly investigating new materials and manufacturing methods to work to improve. 

Where do you make the furniture, overseas?

Almost all of our manufacturing is done in-house at our Bridgeport, CT workshop. What we don't do ourselves is primarily done within 250-mile radius of our workshop. You can read about our partners in the “Our Gratitude “ section of the website.

From an organizational standpoint, what makes Modify work well in small spaces?

Modify Furniture

The polychrome modular line is designed specifically to offer a stylish and highly customizable storage solution. The products range from a low media unit/bench to full wall units. They are made with an aluminum frame and are structurally stable without any doors for customers who want to showcase their decorative items or they can opt to have easily removable steel doors to hide unsightly items. As the colored doors are easily swapped, the furniture can be adapted to the customer’s changing tastes and needs:

Modify Furniture

The back of the unit works in the same way so the furniture can be placed as a room divider or kept open against a wall for ventilation and cord management. 

The inside of all units is completely open to offer maximal versatility. I am able to add extra custom shelves based on customer needs.

Coffee Table

Our coffee table is one of my favorite products as it has access to storage from all sides and has 36x36 x7 inches of storage inside.

Office Desk

The clean slate desk design offers a unique storage solution (the invisibin™ system) built seamlessly into the top surface to give a clean minimalist look with easy access to writing tools, calculators etc. My Drop-in Accessory line products also fit seamlessly into the desk surface and add a playful, personal, and functional touch.

What made you decide to start your own company?

I believe I have always been a designer and maker at heart. Since I was young, I would daydream about how I would reign in a space to make it more functional, or how I would make a toy that worked better. Growing up with my dad, who was an engineer, a favorite hobby was to work together in our basement workshop, making pinball machines, Snoopy houses, to name a few. Moving into a home and doing our own renovation respired that creative itch and somehow, modular furniture that offers high-end design, with a smaller footprint just seemed to fit.

What is your favorite piece to make and material to work with?

Hmm, that is tough. I have to admit that exploring the unknown and playing with new materials is much more fun that repeatedly making the same piece after I have “mastered” that design. We make a LED light (not yet available online) that incorporates recycled colored glass pieces to play with overlapping colors somewhat like a kaleidoscope. The beauty of this design is that depending on the colors and how I lay out the glass, each one is completely unique.