Booming Furnishing Brand Founders Roger + Chris on Their Meteoric Rise
The world of home furnishings just got a whole lot handsomer thanks to the incredibly cute duo of Roger + Chris. The married couple (real names Roger Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard) have developed an incredible American-based company that dives deep into the areas of furniture, décor and more.
They have become a one-stop shop of sorts when it comes to the types of products you should pick out for your home as well as giving their audiences some fabulous advice on how to make the place they live in both practical and stylish. Their work has been featured in several major publications, some local and some national, and the approach they to home furnishings and living your best “décor” life is simply fun to enjoy outside of their very attractive exterior.
Roger and Chris (or Roger + Chris) chatted with me exclusively about how they met, trends in home furnishings this fall, the biggest mistake customers make when it comes to this particular world, and what their hopes are regarding this fabulous brand they created. Take a look.
First off... how did the two of you meet?
We initially met via Facebook. Roger was in New York and traveling while filming his home design show, Sell This House, and Chris was in Austin. We started talking on the phone and realizing that we had a lot of shared interests, and after we had both worked up a bit of nerve, met in person. Years later, we both admitted to how ridiculously nervous we were to meet each other. But Wednesday was our eighth anniversary of meeting and our seventh wedding anniversary, so something obviously worked!
Was home furnishings something you were both interested in before coming together as one business?
Absolutely. We both had an interest in design and furniture stretching back to our childhoods. Roger first became interested in gardening at a young age – he first was on a garden tour when he was just ten – and that interest expanded into interiors. He studied landscape architecture, which shares many fundamental concepts with interior design, and later transitioned to home renovating and design. Chris has had a longstanding obsession with furniture design – particularly anything modern – although his work background is in technology and brand development.
Tell us more about Roger and Chris for those who are unaware of what you gentlemen do.
When we started working on design projects together, we quickly came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a great source for furniture that was stylish, customizable, and had a good price-to-value for our clients. We figured that if we were having trouble finding interesting furniture that didn’t cost a fortune, there were probably others having the same challenge. So…we started our own company to cater to that market.
There are three components to Roger + Chris. First, we design and build upholstery, lighting, and other home decor. Our products are made in the USA, and most are highly customizable to give our customers exactly the look, feel, and size they want. We’re all about finding the sweet spot between style, comfort, and durability. Our furniture is in homes in every state and around the world, and we’re in dozens of offices, restaurants, and hotels for brands like Starbucks, Uber, Google, CNN, etc. In addition to that, we are a full interior design firm working on commercial and residential projects. We take on projects nationally but are focusing primarily in our home city of Omaha, NE. Finally, we do a lot of education through events, media, and the web on home design, renovations, and trends.
What has been your proudest accomplishment as a company up until this point?
Launching our company on our own and building it up from nothing has been really rewarding, but the biggest step for us happened this year when we opened our own dedicated factory in Hickory, North Carolina. We now have a 25,000 square foot facility and an amazing team that lets us expand our style offerings, improve our build quality, and accommodate our growth.
OK, so let's ask some questions on the world of furniture. For one, what trends do you think will be big this coming fall?
Upholstery is on a somewhat slower trend cycle than decor items like paint colors and textiles, so we have a little less season-to-season variation, but there are some major trends we’re seeing for the coming year.
For leather furniture, lighter brown colors like saddle and fawn are becoming hugely popular. Protected leathers that resist scratching and staining continue to get more sophisticated and stylish, as are faux leathers for folks who want to avoid the use of animal products but still want the look and practicality. On fabrics, jewel tones like blues and greens continue to be monstrously popular but we’re seeing interest in mustards, rusts, and some pastels. We’re encouraging our customers to take a close look at performance fabrics that offer drastically better durability and stain protection; after many years, these lines are finally luxurious and cozy enough to be truly “no compromise” and are perfect for those of us who want a beautiful home but also don’t want to worry about putting our feet up on the sofa or inviting over our friends who are a little too sloppy with the red wine.
Style-wise, we think the mix between formal and casual is where it’s at. In more grand environments, we’re using very simple, chunky modern pieces like our Johnny sofa. And in cleaner, modern homes, people are opting for highly detailed, tufted furniture that contrasts with the clean lines.
In both homes and commercial environments, there’s a hunger for what we call “Instagrammable spaces.” People are looking for the combination of colors and details that make their place unique and memorable. We think it’s great that there’s more interest in injecting personality and creativity into your home. It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like your living room needs to look like a page torn from a catalog; it really just needs to make you happy, and a space that reflects your personality and centers you will help do that.
What is the biggest mistake that a customer makes when it comes to picking out furniture that's best for them?
The answer is in that question – the biggest mistake is in ignoring what is best for you and going for what you think you should pick. Each one of us is different – height, weight, how we sit on our sofa, how we entertain, whether we have a dog that sheds like crazy or a cat that claws at everything – and it’s important to focus on your needs over what you might think is trendy or what you’re “supposed” to like. But for all the talk of trends and the “dos and don’ts” of design, you are the one who will be living with this furniture for years. If you love your sofa, then it’s the right sofa for you. End of story.
Does price matter when it comes to shopping? Do you find that people get the best bang for their buck, or is spending a little extra a good thing?
Everyone has a budget. The trick is in correctly prioritizing where your money goes when designing a room. What we’ve found is that investing in higher-end furniture that lasts will pay off over the long run, because it won’t need to be replaced every 3-4 years like lower end furniture will and will stay looking and feeling good through its lifespan. Meanwhile, smaller investments like paint, drapes, or artwork offer opportunities to be creative and thrifty, and are also more likely to be changed out with higher frequency.
What are your biggest hopes for Roger and Chris as the brand moves forward?
It’s been exciting to get to build this together. We’re really fortunate to have a chance to do what we love, work together on creative projects, and talk to folks all around the country about their design needs. We’re proud that we can build high-quality furniture here in the US and want to continue expanding our manufacturing here. We’re eager to take on more design projects. We’re getting involved in commercial projects like retail and hotels and would love to help Omaha become the new must-visit city.
For more information on Roger + Chris, please check out their official website.