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Behind The Brand

Behind The Brand: Hooker Furniture

Explore the nearly 100-year history of a much-loved All American furniture brand

Jonathon Warren By Jonathon WarrenCommercial Director

Not many furniture brands get to state that theirs is a history spanning close to a century, but American furniture maker Hooker Furniture is proud to consider itself one of the few. Established in 1925, the designer of luxury sofas, beds and case goods has its pieces pride of place in homes across the globe, and yet, on British soil, its name remains somewhat under the radar. To shed light on this American design institution, Jonathon Warren shares the need-to-knows as it heads into its 96th year of interior design.

The who, what and when

In 1925, Hooker Furniture officially started production in southwestern Virginia—one of homes of US furniture making—and it was its original founder’s son, Clyde Hooker Jr. who, at just four years old, pulled the factory’s whistle that signalled that the first working day had begun.

A family-run enterprise from the word go, when it was his turn, Clyde Jr. went on to lead the company for forty years, a feat which resulted in it being considered one of America’s main importers and makers of luxury furniture.

Hooker Furniture | American Furniture Brand | Shop Hooker Furniture Online at LuxDeco.com

Image Credit: Hooker Furniture

In 2000, the torch was passed to Paul B. Toms Jr., the grandson of the Hooker’s founding father, signalling the beginning of a new era guided by a third generation.

Today, nearing a century of production, the founding principles remain proudly intact—those of valuing every relationship, and of building a reputation for honesty, fairness, responsibility, innovation and continuous improvement.

Almost a century of furniture design and making

The thought of Hooker Furniture being, once upon a time, a small setup, is now unthinkable to many. With several distribution facilities under its belt and a workforce of 800 people and counting (spread across its locations in Virginia and North Carolina), it has steadily grown into being a design force with which to be reckoned.

Its pedigree lies in the making of wooden furniture for the bedroom, living room and dining room as well as home entertainment pieces and home offices staples. Yet, upholstery also comes under the Hooker Furniture roof with much of its custom-made luxury leather sofas coming from one of its specialist divisions, Bradlington-Young.

Neutral Bedroom | American Furniture Brand | Shop Hooker Furniture Online at LuxDeco.com

Image Credit: Hooker Furniture

As Hooker Furniture continued to expand, its owners took the decision to retain the design and making of some of its core pieces in the USA, while other lines saw production move to Hooker-audited facilities across Asia, Mexico and Central America. The brand experienced colossal growth as the years went by, with its standards never wavering. Most of its pieces, regardless of where they’re made, have English dovetailed drawers for exceptional strength, waxed wood-on-wood runners rather than modern metal types, and mortise and tenon case construction so that their pieces possess of a level of durability that make them as heirloom-worthy as their aesthetic quality.

‘Finishes that feel as good as they look’—an eye for detail and a dedication to design

Placing the focus back onto wooden furniture, Hooker Furniture’s commitment to quality necessarily begins with selecting premium-quality lumber from elm and maple to luxurious black walnut veneers as well as select pieces in reclaimed, rustic woods.

The team prides itself on its 30-step finishing process to reveal the hidden depths possessed by each individual wood type and to ensure durability for generations of enjoyment. Hard-craftsmanship involves rubbing and padding the wood’s surface so that even its more rustic pieces have a level of smoothness that elevates timber’s tactile nature. Thirteen of these steps are performed by hand so that the maker has an intimate understanding of when a piece has achieved perfection.

American Furniture Brand | Shop Hooker Furniture Online at LuxDeco.com

Image Credit: Hooker Furniture

Conscious, ethical standards—a pillar stone of Hooker Furniture

Sustainability and ethics might be a core brand focus for makers of all shapes and sizes, but it’s been in the mindset of Hooker Furniture from day one. Recognised as being an active contributor to a number of national and local charities, Hooker has long been a meaningful supporter of its own workforce. The Hooker Educational Foundation—initially introduced in the 1990s—has so far awarded in excess of one million dollars in scholarships to more than 300 of its employees’ children. The company’s directors’ belief is that, since their team is one that cares for Hooker Furniture designs with such care and devotion, they should look after their workforce with the very same values.

Hooker Furniture also has its ‘Good Stewards of the Earth’ programme to ensure sustainable business practices across the Hooker Furniture family. Milestones so far include 11 of its facilities being granted EFEC (Enhancing Furniture's Environmental Culture) registration, receiving an environmental excellence award, and recycling over 1.1 million pounds of paper, cardboard and plastic with a further pledge to reduce its solid waste by more than 250 tonnes a year.

Quality and authenticity are thus at the heart of Hooker Furniture, from its guiding principles to its design output and its environmental integrity. An all-American success story indeed.