We are not chair experts.
Or posture experts.
Or design experts.
But we are experts on finding innovative, creative and exciting ways to live long healthy lives.
So here’s the deal.
We found there was a problem in the way we were working. It is simply not possible for us to sit with poor posture for hours, days, weeks and years on end without coming across health issues, so we started looking for answers. We wanted to create a product that helped us improve our posture and our health that could also be easily integrated into the modern office space. We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel- we didn’t want to ask people to completely change the way they worked, we simply wanted to provide people with an alternative option because when it comes to sitting we really only do it one way.
That’s when we came across the kneeling chair. This style of chair has become commonplace in Europe over the last four decades, but have never caught on over here in North America.
Sounds like a challenge…
Kneeling chairs were proven to improve posture and tension. The science was there, as was the design, but we saw room for improvement in the existing models. We took the European versions and put our own spin on them with the help of manufacturers in China. We thought about all the things we thought Americans were looking for when they shopped- selection, affordability, durability, comfort- and we tried our best to give them what we wanted.
When we launched our line we were thrilled with the immediate reaction. It was obvious we weren’t the only people who were uncomfortable while we worked.
But like all new products- ours wasn’t perfect right out of the gate. We were lucky enough to have customers who were just as passionate for improving the way they worked as we were, and were therefore very generous with feedback after using our products for an extended period of time.
Now we have come to the point where we get to create a second generation of our line. We are determined to continuously evolve and improve our products, so not only did we take (literally) every piece of feedback from our customers into consideration- what they loved, what they hated, what annoyed them- but we also decided to seek out the advice of a bonafide chair guru.
If you’ve ever done any research on the history of chairs, the design of chairs or the Alexander Technique you’ve likely come across the name Galen Cranz. When we initially began our research to try and find an expert to talk to, Cranz’s name kept coming up over and over again. Videos of her lecturing around the world on Youtube, her speaking on hugely influential design podcasts (helloooo 99% Invisible), places to buy her book- you name the chair related article, her name showed up.
We immediately purchased Cranz’s book “The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body and Design” and DEVOURED it. We are pretty chair crazy, but even we underestimated how fascinating a book about chairs could be.
We knew we wanted to talk to her, but we didn’t think such an icon would take the time to talk to a small, relatively unknown company like us.
We were wrong.
She responded quickly and with enthusiasm. She agreed to test out our products and to send feedback. We felt like we had died and gone to chair nerd heaven.
To have Galen Cranz sit in your chair is like having Sidney Crosby try out your hockey stick or Serena Williams test out your tennis racket. You’re getting the best in the world to give you feedback on the very product that was inspired by the work that they do.
We immediately sent Galen two of our chairs that we are currently in the midst of making changes to, and after a few days of testing them, she graciously sent us back some incredibly valuable feedback- things we never would have known about otherwise.
Luckily for us there were a lot of things she did like, which really means a lot coming from a woman who doesn’t believe people should be sitting at all.
She thought that our Austin chair rocked beautifully and that the wheels on the latest version of our Atlanta chair were great-- so thumbs up there!
She was able to break down for us the exact angles that were off and how to perfectly optimize the chair to benefit our bodies. How to make it so the weight is more evenly distributed, and why that is so important.
Did you know that active use of the legs is what triggers the pancreas to produce the enzyme lipase needed by the liver to digest fats? And that without that key enzyme, undigested fats go into the bloodstream setting us up for heart attack, stroke, and cancer?
Yeah, woah. Neither did we. Thanks to Galen, now we do.
So yeah, we may not be chair experts, but we are experts in seeking out and collaborating with chair experts.
We’re on a mission to continuously evolve and improve-- to never stop working to bring you the most optimal chair.
Thanks to your reviews, comments, feedback, and Galen Cranz, Sleekform is well on our way to the perfect chair.