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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 4 years ago

Face to the chair

A Naples company can honestly lay claim to putting on a new face whenever, and wherever, it wants.

A Naples company can honestly lay claim to putting on a new face whenever, and wherever, it wants.

You can do that when you have more than 2 million photographs, says Jennifer Graylock, a longtime Naples resident who a couple of years ago joined fellow celebrity and fashion photographers Katy
Winn and Lisa Spruill to start Face Chairs.

They travel the world photographing famous people and events. Like most photographers, they archive their photos. But unlike most photographers, this trio puts their inventory on customized pillows, chairs, stools and other furniture.

Want to dine with Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Face Chairs can make that happen. The Trump chair, unsurprisingly, is the most popular, Graylock says. “It's a way to use our assets, to create something no one else is doing,” says Graylock.

Face Chairs raised its profile in early February with a segment on CNBC's “Billionaire Buyer.” They got the invite after billionaire host Tilman Fertitta saw the chairs and invited the business onto the show. The show spotlighted Face Chairs' efforts to supply Fertitta's Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurants with several hundred customized chairs.

Graylock & Co. couldn't meet Fertitta's per-chair price. He wanted the world's most expensive steel used. But the show gave the chairs valuable face time with a nationwide audience. “It was a great place to show what we can do,” she says.

Face Chairs makes some of the chairs themselves. Others that require complicated upholstering they have professionals do. “Basically, we do maybe two or three or maybe four a month. Some months we'll do 10,” Graylock says.

Many customers ask for dining chairs “so they can have dinner with their favorite celebrities,” she adds. “People get it. They love the fun and quirkiness of it.”

A lot of work goes into their offerings, she adds. “For a basic chair,” she says, “we're looking at least 40 hours.” Face pillows start at $36 and the least expensive customized chairs start at $230. While Graylock says Face Chairs is about quality rather than quantity, she and her partners are confident they can fill large orders from hotels, restaurants and other big buyers. “Definitely, that is something we want to do,” she says. “We're speaking with manufacturers on how we can put this into place.”

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