It's not everyday you meet a company that makes you go "hmmm, I wish I had thought of that?". At least not when it comes to buying hard wood flooring.
Before I get into what the heck I am talking about in today's post, I want to ask you all a question - what was it like buying wood flooring for your home? Maybe it's an experience that you would like to forget, but really, think about it.
Perhaps you took a day off work, or sacrificed a few weekends and ventured down to your neighborhood flooring retailer. You walk in, and your immediate feeling was overwhelm. Racks and racks of wood flooring, carpet and tiles. You make your way over to the wood display and maybe a sales guy or girl walks up and ask if they can help. You begin to explain what you're looking for, describing as best as you can what you want. All the while having no clue if the product you are looking for will work for your application.
The sales guy or girl seems pretty clueless too; providing you with the same information you can get off the back of the sample - maybe even reading the information verbatim to you. You can't decide; maybe even ask him or her to help you decide, and of course they pick the most expensive sample they have on hand. You borrow a few boards; maybe even paying a fee to bring home the samples, and lug the heavy boards out to your car. You get home, and unload 500 pounds of samples into the house. You stare at them on the floor, but not sure what you're looking at. You have no idea which color or finish will work best. You call your spouse to get his input - he's of no help. You ask the kids, not so much! You ask the dog what he thinks....nothing. You finally make a decision. You pick one and head back to the flooring store, only to find out that it will completely blow your budget. You start over.
I wish I was exaggerating, but I am not. That is how consumers in general buy wood flooring. And this happens over and over - one flooring retailer to the next.
some actually get smart and get the help of an interior designer, but the fact is that the designer kinda goes through some of the same thing - at least having to lug around super-sized samples to and from the flooring store
I have to admit that I didn't love choosing wood flooring for clients. It has never been a good system working with flooring stores. This is until I met Revel Woods. They have changed my life when it comes to specifying wood flooring, and I am about to change yours
Ok, allow me to elaborate.
I was recently introduced to Revel Woods and was very impressed with their ordering process and their system for sampling. And as if those weren't already impressive, I was invited by John Dupra, co-founder of Revel Woods for a mill tour of one of their main suppliers, American OEM. This was not just any mill tour, this one was pretty awesome, and I will share more on that later in the post.
So what's the big deal about Revel Woods' ordering system (The Revel Woods Selector)?
Well, once you see it, you will understand why. It is a highly intelligent and sophisticated system. They have simplified the process. You don't need to know anything about wood flooring, just answer some questions relating to the climate in the area of the country where you live, whether the wood will go over concrete, the expected amount of traffic in the space, the style of the space, the color you are most interested in, the width you like best, and the system will only match you with collections that will work for you. I wish online dating was this simple. Haha
Once you have chosen the one you like, you can order it right on the site along with all the matching trim pieces and it will ship right to your home in a couple of weeks. You can even delay the shipping date if you aren't quite ready for the wood.
Maybe there are a couple of colors that you like but want to see them in your home. No problem! Revel Wood's sampling is awesome. They are accurate, portable and easy. No more lugging around those huge sample boards. Hallelujah!
The truth is that we need samples for a couple of things - to see the variation in the wood grain, for the color and maybe the thickness. When you request samples of wood flooring from Revel Woods, the samples are a lot smaller with a couple different pieces to show the color variations, and you can then look at a high resolution picture on their website for a good example of the overall look of the installed floor
This is brilliant! Those huge sample boards did nothing beyond showing a few different pieces, and making your chiropractor happy.
There is no real thought behind how wood flooring companies do their samples. You now have small pieces that you can work with to match other elements in your room much easier. Read this article in Floor Covering Weekly about how Revel Woods is changing the way we buy wood flooring
That alone is impressive! But prepare to be even more wowed!
I tend to avoid Prison, but spending 2 hours in a Tennessee prison this week was the best 2 hours of my career. We got to see the wood being made layer by layer, all from the manufacturing plant of one of Revel Woods top suppliers, American OEM located in the Turney Prison in Only, Tennessee.
When I first heard about this program, I was touched that this was even a thing, but being there and seeing how the offenders take pride in their work, and they are extremely well trained and skilled artisans, was nothing short of amazing.
We weren't allowed to bring our phones in, otherwise I would have 10,000 pictures to share. The photos below are all from American OEM website.
The program is completely voluntary, and the offenders have to apply to work in the mill. There is a long waiting list. The offenders have to have a certain number of years minimum on their sentences to qualify, and no infractions within a year. They are paid the same standard wage for that position in the area. They actually do regular salary assessments within 100 miles of the Prison to make sure they are paying a fair wage.
A portion of their wages goes to taxes, some to a victims' restitution fund, some to an account set up for the offenders that they can access only after they are released from prison, they get to keep a portion that they pay towards child support and alimony as applicable, and their own personal use within the prison at the commissary etc.
Imagine for a moment how this is an absolute win for society, for the offenders and their families, and of course, their victims.
The statistic for repeat offenders nationwide is startling. With this program, the percentage is much lower, Their dignity is restored, family connections are preserved because they are actually supporting their families. They leave prison with a valuable skill and they don't have to resort to a life of crime because the odds are heavily stacked against them
As we cleared security and were entering the prison yard to head to the plant, one offender was heading home. He was being released that day! He was in the program for 5 years, and I am not sure how long his sentence was. We were told that he had savings of over $30K waiting for him. Imagine that! Most offenders are released from other prisons with only what they arrived with. It is usually a far cry from true rehabilitation. Many of them go right back to the only thing they know - criminal activity.
That's why I love this program, they are really restoring these offenders to have a chance to integrate back into society without further criminal activity, and they are well behaved in prison, because just a small infraction will get them kicked out of the program.
This is a statement from The American OEM website that sums it up.
"Our socially responsible business model uses a voluntary Prison Industry Enterprise (PIE) program to employ incarcerated individuals to help manufacture our products. Located on the campus of the Turney Center Industrial Complex in Only, Tennessee, our operations provide voluntary work opportunities for inmates as well as civilians"
But besides how great the program is, the proof is in the craftsmanship of the product. We got the chance to see the entire process. Quality starts from the raw materials and some of the best quality raw materials go into these flooring.
The flooring is created in a range of textures and styles, using a variety of American species, from red and white oak, to hickory, maple and walnut. They are beautiful and enduring, and are made responsibly.
They use a special process that includes many layers of finishes that are UV baked to ensure that your floors will last
I can say that this was a great tour. I enjoyed every moment of seeing how the wood is made. I can recommend them with confidence. It's the best of all worlds - an excellent quality product and easy ordering from Revel Woods
I plan to visit Nashville again. Such a great city. We got a brief tour and learned so much about the musical history.
Head on over to the Revel Woods' website to give their wood selector system a try. Click HERE
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!