For most of the year in Arizona, we get to enjoy the perks of indoor / outdoor living. When my family and I moved here and bought our first home, I knew that designing the outdoor spaces would be just as important as the interior. And while we're still designing a few of our outdoor areas (I really hope to have our outdoor dining room ready in time for the holiday season!), I'm so happy with how our veranda turned out. Anchored by a custom silver travertine fire pit, pergola overhead, and furniture by Sunset West, our veranda is where we spend weekends as a family, share a glass of wine at night, and toast marshmallows over the Christmas holidays.
Selecting outdoor furniture can be really challenging as in addition to nailing the look, you need to make sure the materials and finishes are built to survive the elements. In Arizona, frames endure a lot of sun, extreme heat, and dust. When I first discovered Sunset West, I fell head over heels. Their Laguna and Dana collections feature a brushed look on the aluminum frames that I knew would stay looking beautiful, and woven rope details that helped bring the sophistication of our interior aesthetic, outside.
Exclusively selling to-the-trade, Sunset West has a beautiful offering for residential and commercial projects. Business has been booming during the pandemic, and they have a lot of interesting new developments on the horizon including customization. To learn more about the brand history, which trade shows you can find them at, and what's coming next, we sat down with Aliena Klaus Squire, Brand and Ecommerce Manager at Sunset West.
Tell us a little bit about Sunset West, the history, and your mission.
For over 16 years, Sunset West has been committed to bringing exceptional furnishings to the outdoor contemporary market with comfort, style, and quality in mind. Founded in Southern California by CEO Wes Stewart, Sunset West carries on a family legacy in fine furnishings that dates back to his grandmother. With impeccable attention to detail in construction, the team at Sunset West embraces and delivers on the same culture of excellence in execution - using only premium materials and handcrafting our product for exceptional outdoor living that truly feels like an extension of the home.
You sell exclusively to the interior design trade, and to wholesale accounts. Tell us a little bit about being a trade-only business.
Being in luxury outdoor furniture, much like any other high-end purchase, requires a concierge experience for the customer. We work with interior designers and knowledgeable specialty stores and showrooms to guide the consumer on their purchase for their home.
Obviously in this day and age, wholesale and to-the-trade looks quite a bit different - while we still offer a boutique-like service to our designers and partners with custom fabrication, sampling, and training, we are now in an age where our trade partners need digital tools and easy access to the brands in their arsenal. We have been listening to our designers and their wants and needs, and have been hard at work to develop new tools, and make information easily accessible to grow with them and their businesses.
How can designers register for a trade account with you?
Designers can register at the following link: sunsetwestusa.com/pages/become-a-sunset-west-dealer.
As a west coast brand, do you find that most of your customers are in California? What locations are your best sales territories?
With our roots here in Socal, a large portion of our early business was certainly local, and California continues to be a huge market for us. That being said, we have expanded in the last 15 years tremendously into every major market in the US, as well as across borders into Canada and Mexico. Because we are able to offer a wide range of materials and styles from traditional to contemporary, we appeal to many buyers in all regions and climates. We continue to see success along the West coast and Southwest, as well as Florida, with exciting new growth throughout the Midwest and East coast thanks to our friendly Freight programs. The Sunbelt states in particular are a strong region for us - where you’ll find better weather, an increased demand for outdoor living and spike in new outdoor kitchens. The outdoor great room is now the ultimate luxury item, and homeowners want to replicate the look and comfort of their indoor space in their backyards (something we’ve been preaching in California for years with our quintessential indoor/outdoor lifestyle).
Do you sell mostly to domestic or international clients?
Mostly domestic, although we do have a growing presence in both Canada and Mexico, with some very exciting recent hospitality projects across the border!
Which trade shows do you all attend, do you have any coming up where designers can view your collections?
We have a permanent 5,000 sq ft showroom in Las Vegas where we will show during Las Vegas Market twice a year, and is the best representation of the full breadth of our line. In addition, we have a permanent showroom located in the Mart in Chicago that is open year-round to the trade.
Can you list a few projects where designers have used Sunset West furniture?
Some of our recent favorite projects include the gorgeous spanish-influenced exterior space of the ‘Holas Olas’ project by Denise Morrison Interiors, the ‘Ashton’ project by Holly Robinson Interior Concepts which showcases a beautiful creative curation of styles from a few different collections, and we have really been loving the tropical Rosewood Resort exterior space by Progressive Design Firm.
Is there anything unique about your furniture design or production process?
There is a hand-made element to every piece of furniture. Whether it be the brushed look on the aluminum frames, the woven rope frames or the Sunbrella cushions. One very special aspect is definitely the cushions though. Once the furniture frames reach our warehouse, all the cushions are hand-sewn with Sunbrella fabric in house. Our sewing team is made up of highly-skilled women that finish up the process by sewing the Sunset West and Sunbrella tags on the cushions, which is the very last step before the furniture is then wrapped and packaged. It definitely puts a special touch to each piece of furniture that goes out our door.
What are the key elements that set your furniture apart?
Quality, style, and execution - we begin by developing fresh yet timeless designs, then source only premium materials from all over the globe, to create furnishings that are as durable as they are beautiful. We approach design with the sense of creative curation - crafting comprehensive color stories that allow designers to mix and match collections, styles, and materials, for a truly high-design and curated look.
Just as important is comfort - once you pass the ‘eye test,’ furniture needs to pass the ‘butt test’ (this is a classic industry term ;) ). It is hard to define scale and proportion, but you know it when you see it, and feel it - seat height and depth, pitch and radius of a back - these are all crucial to crafting beautiful and comfortable pieces.
I absolutely love our sofa which is part of your Laguna Collection. What interior aesthetic do you think it fits best within?
The Laguna is one of our best selling collections all across the US because it is a wonderfully versatile look - we call it transitional, but this collection can be paired with so many different styles. The hand-brushed finish in a neutral driftwood, clean lines, and curved ladder back create a beautiful look adaptable to most any space. And with customized cushions, this group is a true chameleon - fabrics in a bright solid or interesting pattern can take this look in so many directions.
Tell us about your Dana Collection, which is beautifully constructed of rope and other materials. What inspired this collection?
This collection in particular was inspired by macrame weaving techniques with the rise in popularity of woven goods and rope in furniture. Dana is as beautiful as it is durable - each piece is woven with all-weather rope completely by hand by skilled artisans, over a rust free powder coated frame.
What’s next for Sunset West?
The Pandemic has caused a major boom in the furniture industry, and really highlighted some of the modern day needs of the trade - pushing us towards creating new digital tools and resources for our designers and wholesale partners. Internally, we have been working for over a year to launch a new system that will speed up order processing, allow designers to place orders online, get inventory and lead time information, and access other brand assets. Our website will be more interactive, with new customization and 3d features as well to bring the custom side of our business to life.
We also want to highlight our trade partners after such an incredible year, and are launching a ‘Designer Series’ tailored towards celebrating the Interior Designers that we get to work with and the gorgeous projects they complete.
Trends are always changing, and on the horizon for next season we are working on introducing some exciting designs that celebrate the ethos of extraordinary indoor outdoor living… stay tuned!
To register for a trade account with Sunset West, visit: sunsetwestusa.com/pages/become-a-sunset-west-dealer.