From furniture sales, to football, and back to furniture – it’s a story not many people have, but it’s how one of our newest brands, Edloe Finch, got its start. Darryl Sharpton started selling sofas in college to earn some extra money, but it soon became a passion. After retiring from five seasons playing for the NFL he knew he had to return to furniture. His wife Jessica encouraged this dream and the two soon teamed up to found Edloe Finch. With their combined histories working in furniture sales and home construction the two bring a unique dynamic to the furniture industry. Focusing on providing furniture designed with style, quality and functionality as the top priorities the pair is off to a great start. We reached out to Darryl and Jessica to learn some more about their story and they were kind enough to share with us.
What about selling sofas stoked your passion for furniture?
Darryl: I originally started selling sofas as an entrepreneurial experiment: I turned my college apartment into a showroom and posted my sofas on local online marketplaces. To my surprise, the demand was very high. I soon realized the obvious, a sofa is the cornerstone of any dwelling – it’s truly a necessity. From that point on, I became obsessed and I immersed myself into the intricacies of home furnishings and how they fit into our lifestyles.
How smooth was the transition between playing for the NFL and starting a furniture company?
Darryl: It was a big transition in many ways! Pivoting from smashing into humans with reckless abandon to carefully selecting the perfect velvet material for a new sofa design couldn’t be more different. Also, transitioning from a very steady and rewarding pay check to working around the clock for free was different as well! In other ways, the transition was smooth because this is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Even while playing, I was always talking about and planning my future furniture business.
What at High Point Market made you decide to move forward with a new career in furniture?
Darryl: After my football career ended, I knew I wanted to reenter the furniture world. I wasn’t exactly sure how, but Jessica pushed me to go to High Point Market. High Point really was a game changer. It opened my eyes and I saw first hand how large the industry was and the kind of competition I’d be up against. It set the foundation for how I wanted to create my business and how I could add value to the market.
Did designing homes give you insight into what kind of furniture people are looking for?
Jessica: Building custom homes gave me a great appreciation for keeping designs simple to ensure the look remains classically beautiful for years to come. I believe keeping things simple but adding a little fun twist (like a pop in color) will make your home functional and chic! Like our Emerson Velvet Sofa, we kept the classic Chesterfield sofa look, but dressed it up with a fun velvet green fabric to add some funkiness. We love to keep things funky!
What style of furniture do you personally prefer?
Jessica: For years my true love was traditional French country (and I still love it!) but I’ve branched out and fallen hard for mid-mod styles. I love the curves and fun angles – they’re so beautiful and the looks are so classic that I could never get tired of looking at them.
Darryl: I absolutely love the mid-century modern design aesthetic. Clean simple lines and tapered legs.
How do you decide what pieces to carry?
Jessica: We try not to stick to one style in particular. I think that’s what makes Edloe Finch a unique brand. We only carry things we would love to have in our own home, which means mixing some French country and mid-century modern favorites and sprinkling in some glam chic pieces. We also have two little children, so we keep the functionality factor as a high priority. If we wouldn’t want it in our home, then why would we want to put it in yours??
What’s your favorite current interior design trend?
Jessica: I’m absolutely loving channel tufting!! We debuted it with our Laurel Velvet Sofa, which has been one of our best selling products this year. I love how it can transform a whole space and make any home instantly look high fashion (but also comfy!).
What’s your favorite piece of furniture?
Darryl: My favorite piece is our Maddox coffee set.
What do you think is the most underrated piece of furniture?
Darryl: The most underrated piece (& arguably my favorite) is the Boxwood dining chairs. I love the countered spindle back and its petite frame.
Jessica: If I were to pick one piece that is undeniably more stunning in person, it would be our Maxwell Dining Tables. They’re not only beautiful, but they’re well made and heavy!
How did you come up with the name of your company?
Jessica: “Edloe” is the name of the street where our kids go to preschool and have swimming lessons. And “Finch”…long story short, a Finch bird is very versatile and is the only bird that can live in any climate of the world. Corny as it sounds, we felt like our furniture is versatile enough to fit perfectly in anyone’s home.
Is it tough balancing running a business and having a family?
Jessica: It truly takes a village. We are lucky enough to have family support so we can pursue our passion. We’ve learned the hard way (it only took once!) that photo shoots and toddlers don’t mix well!
Do you hope your children grow up to be interested in design?
Darryl: I do! I often daydream about my 2-year-old daughter one day criticizing me about how I’m old fashioned and I should just let her handle the designs. I hope that we can share this business and passion with our children. That would be a dream come true.
What era do you think had (or has) the best furniture design?
Darryl: I’d certainly say the 50’s & 60’s.
Any advice for others interested in entering the furniture business?
Darryl: Stay lean. Stay exponential. Follow your passion!
What do you hope your business is like in 5 years?
Darryl: In 5 years I hope our business and our collection has expanded beyond North America and we are able to sell Edloe Finch all over the world.
Thanks again Darryl and Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions! It’s always so inspiring to hear stories about people following their passions, even if they have to go through other jobs first. We look forward to watching your company grow and can’t wait to see what you have to offer next!