In retrospect, we probably should have started selling RockIt to consumers, but that wasn't our focus at the time. We've been making commercial office furniture for over 130 years. Why change now? COVID-19 has a way of changing even the best laid plans. Here's the story of how the RockIt@Home came to be...
About 4 years ago, our product development team recognized the "open office" trend permeating corporate environments all across the world. The new "ideal office environment" transitioned from a sea of sameness with rows of nondescript office cubicles to become "open offices" with long continuous rows of "Benches" with limited space division to promote “collaboration”.
The problem, from our perspective, is that as the large cubicle walls came down, the actual height adjustable desk behind them hadn't evolved very much over the past few decades. Although spaces were taking on more of a "Resimercial" aesthetic, the overwhelming majority of desks still had the same conservative style and traditional forms of previous generations of office products. It screamed "office" when people were wanting something that reminded them of "home".
Recognizing an opportunity for an alternative in the market, we decided to take a road less traveled. Rather than hire an experienced office furniture designer from our industry, we connected with a progressive designer in Sweden with an impressive background developing home furnishings for companies such as Ikea. We wanted to create a desk that would be strong enough for the most demanding office user but would be warmly welcomed into a customer’s living room.
What was eventually created took the commercial interior design world by storm. Officially launching in October of 2018, we gave our creation the playful name of RockIt, to describe its relatively futuristic aesthetic in an otherwise traditional category. Being that 75% of new office desks are height adjustable, we gave it the ability to transform on a moment's notice with the cleverly hidden SkyRockIt Height Adjustable mechanism hidden in the frame.
Little did we know that the sales were going to blast off so quickly. It went from zero to becoming the fastest selling product in our entire company within 6 months of launch.
Designers were telling us that is was easily the most beautiful desk system for the corporate office. It's unique accessories, high recycled content and accessible price point made it an easy choice. Sales were growing month after month. To top it off, it was selected by Architectural Record magazine as the Product of the Year in its category for 2019, and honored with a 2019 GOOD DESIGN award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture. Things were going great! And then COVID-19 hit.
The sales of commercial furniture ground to a screeching halt. The only things moving were large plastic screens. Corporations delayed full returns to the office until well into 2021 and with that went our booming RockIt sales.
Crisis can be the mother of invention. We quickly looked at our commercial office version of RockIt and thought about how to convert this product into something that made sense for the consumer. Some of the needs in the commercial office such as multi-channel, hard wired power and large divider screens aren't needed. We were able to take out some of the structure and cost without compromising on quality and aesthetics.
What we are left with is beautiful in its simplicity, yet simply powerful in design. Scandinavian to its core with a focus on minimalism, wood accents, muted colors and curved elements that give it a uniquely striking appearance.
Since the day we launched RockIt, we knew it would be a hit! What we didn't know is that it would be a hot product for consumers as well. It doesn't matter. We are just thrilled we get to share this beautiful product with the world regardless of whether they work at home or the office. Enjoy.