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Asian Business Leaders 2022 – Innovative Chairmaker Embraces Unique Marketing Tactics

Custom Content by the Los Angeles Business Journal

An innovation-driven, 30-year-old, Korean-born CEO is successfully leading his business to become one of the hottest brands in the global furniture industry. Roy Lee, CEO of Nouhaus, has won the German Red Dot Award 2020, one of the world’s three major design awards, for adding a massage function to a stylish piece of furniture. His concept has quickly placed Nouhaus among the top ranks of the furniture world.

The Massage chairs produced and sold by Nouhaus are functional living furniture that millennials have embraced. Unlike the standard, bulky massage chairs that need three adults to lift and move, one person can easily reposition Nouhaus’ sleek and stylish massage chairs.

In the summer of 2018, after graduating from Glendale Hoover High School and briefly attending University, Lee established Nouhaus Corporation in LA. He has since created a sensation in the US market.

 

The Beginning of Nouhaus

The massage chair market is a popular one, but there are few factories around the world capable of mass-producing massage chairs.
Lee made use of his experience working at the American corporation of a famous Korean massage chair company for about two years before establishing Nouhaus.
“Existing massage chairs are all heavy and expensive,” said Lee, also pointing out that many forget that massage chairs are furniture. “Since only functionality is traditionally emphasized with massage chairs, they often look like some kind of spaceship cockpit.”

Lee set out to create something different. He decided to make massage chairs that would be appealing as pieces of furniture. Enter Nouhaus.
“Young people look at their smartphones even while sitting in massage chairs,” said Lee. “Considering that, I realized that the arm and leg massage function of existing massage chairs is not be really necessary, and less effective than a back massage, anyway. By dropping such features, I realized we could make a lighter-weight and more affordable chair.”
Nouhaus focused on e-commerce to sell the chairs, which further lowered the price of Nouhaus massage chairs – to about one fourth or one fifth of large and heavy products that saturate the market.
After drawing all the necessary pictures for the business, Lee traveled to China. He met a company that showed great interest in massage chairs in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province – a leading furniture manufacturer that supplies custom furniture to IKEA. It is still the world’s No. 1 manufacturer of office chairs and is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
“Our goals matched,” said Lee. I could design a new kind of massage chair and sell it in the US and now we had the interest of a Chinese company that made an investment and we decided to establish a joint venture.”

 

E-commerce and Internet Marketing

Nouhaus has now established itself as a leader in the industry with annual sales of $40 million from sales of massage chairs and office chairs. It is a leading company on Amazon in the field of functional chairs. It maintains an office/warehouse in Monterey and in Koreatown, Los Angeles – with warehouses in Fontana, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago, and Texas.

Sales are carried out via a direct to consumer model so that when a customer orders a chair online, it is produced in a factory and delivered to the customer directly. Warehouses are designed to enhance competitiveness through fast delivery.
As a young man who is familiar with social media, Lee has also embraced social media for advertising. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are Nouhaus’ and Lee’s main marketing tools.

 

Emphasizing Excellent Customer Service

A growing reputation for high-touch, excellent customer service has helped make Nouhaus a leader.
“It is wrong to think that an internet business can be successful only with a website, said Lee. “Now managing an online store is much more expensive than renting an offline store. Maintaining the site on a regular basis will be the same as an effort to gradually move a real flagship store to Manhattan, New York. A lot of work has been put into details gathered from customer interaction. Utilizing the huge amount of data we have accumulated is the starting point of selling another product.”

Lee set out to create something different. He decided to make massage chairs that would be appealing as pieces of furniture. Enter Nouhaus.

The Nouhaus brand continues to grow and even began a partnership with Costco last year. Lee said that Nouhaus is also preparing an offline ‘Smart Store’ this year to further diversify sales.
“By naturally arranging chairs like a cafe, we will create a virtual meeting place where customers can have a drink and read a book,” said Lee. “Then, if you like a chair, you can scan the QR code and place an order on the spot. Increasing interaction with customers is what Nouhaus is all about.”

Learn more at Nouhous.com.

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