The words “rapid,” “exponential” and “boom” aren’t typically used in the same sentences as “lounge,” “relax” and “recline,” yet for the past three years outdoor furniture manufacturer Ledge Lounger has helped introduce some unique adjective/verb pairings.
Since its founding in 2011, with the release of its first in-pool chaise, the Houston-based business has evolved its inventory to include 65,000 skus and 140 core products, such as umbrellas, patio furniture, outdoor games and more, with a focus on creating furniture that can withstand the outdoors.
Like the spa and pool industries, which enjoyed unprecedented sales during the height of the pandemic, the impact of that boom had also been felt by businesses adjacent to those industries, such as Ledge Lounger.
“We’ve experienced extremely rapid growth,” says Christopher Anderson, founder and CEO of Ledge Lounger. “Pre-COVID we were growing at a clip of 68% a year, minimum. After COVID hit? Obviously when one grows at a rate of a $1 million to $2 million a year, it is only $1 million dollars in growth. But when you grow from $16 to $30 million? That was our first year of COVID. Just think how much additional product that is.”
For Anderson, who began the venture as a way of staying connected to the pool industry his father raised him in, the abrupt growth was jarring, to say the least. Even today the young entrepreneur expresses disbelief that the company’s sudden rise means that areas of the business that just two years ago he’d meticulously know were now being delegated to one of his 150 employees — an increase of 123 new workers since 2019. “I used to know everything about the company, every moment, all the time,” Anderson says. “I’d meet the FedEX delivery drivers in a shopping center parking lot to pick up our products, and when we would get orders, I would drive them down, wrap them and send them out to customers myself. But with the demand, you have to start getting a warehouse and figuring out how to fill orders faster.”
For Anderson, developing a team he could trust allowed him to focus on the bigger picture, rather than micromanaging. “It’s about hiring quality people, who are motivated and rewarding them,” Anderson explains. “Making them feel like they’re a part of the team. Part of a family.”
One of the tenants the company was founded on was prioritizing quality over saving money — and that philosophy extends beyond hiring practices, but into every facet of Ledge Lounger’s output. “We won’t jeopardize the integrity or the quality of our products to hit certain price points,” Anderson says.
The market for pool furniture is limited in comparison to the patio and outdoor furniture market. Customers were asking for products to help them enjoy all of their outdoor spaces, and not just those spaces by the pool. We’ve never really had this defined roadmap. It’s always based on what our customers are asking for.Dylan Schrader, Ledge Lounger
Ledge Lounger chief operating officer, Dylan Schrader, credits the company’s continued growth to a combination of high standards and letting customer feedback guide product decisions. For example, just before the pandemic, in 2019, Ledge Lounger broke away from its swimming pool themed products and developed a new line of 60 patio and outdoor furniture items. “The market for pool furniture is limited in comparison to the patio and outdoor furniture market,” Schrader explains. Customers were asking for products to help them enjoy all of their outdoor spaces, and not just those spaces by the pool. “We’ve never really had this defined roadmap,” Schrader says. “It’s always based on what our consumers are asking for.”
Among the most popular of its new outdoor furniture items have been the company’s assortment of Adirondack chairs, as well as its bar credenza, which comes with outlets allowing owners to bring a mini-fridge or television into their outdoor environment. Another newer line of products are outdoor games, such as cornhole, ping pong, checkers, and more.
“It is all about the experience of our consumers who want a certain kind of outdoor lifestyle,” Schrader says. The drive for capturing that specific lifestyle is echoed in a sentiment that Schrader says Anderson has come back to again and again over the years: “We’ve defined this mission and vision,” Schrader explains. “In whatever we make, we ask ourselves, ‘How do we inspire life’s most meaningful moments?’ ”