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Sydney furniture startup Recess redesigns the way we work in hybrid offices

Sometimes a great idea all comes down to design. There are many smartphones on the market, but many people are attracted to the iPhone and pay a premium because of its great design.

And so it is for sustainable office furniture startup Reces.

The Sydney-based company launched its new ergonomic office furniture line six months ago, focusing on furnishing home working with its core range of standing desks, chairs and accessories.

But co-founders of one idea had in 2019 is a game-changer for Recess.

Fans of 1960s spy comedy Get Smart know the soundproof booth is not a new idea, but they took the idea to the next level with the cornerwhich won an Australian Good Design Award for its “integration of sustainable materials and high-quality design”.

The Nook is fully ventilated and equipped with a desk, whiteboard, sockets and LED soft lighting. It is delivered and assembled in less than 60 minutes without wiring and is made of FSC-certified wood and insulated with recycled plastic bottles.

The idea for their startup was first conceived during a walking tour in Tasmania, as the couple got tired of working in open-plan offices with no private spaces to make phone calls. The Nook was the result. They launched as Nook in early 2020 after 12 months of design and prototyping.

The naturally the pandemic struck. Despite the offices being mostly empty, the pair sold their limited supply of Nook’s to fast-growing startup offices, such as Eucalyptus, Prezzee, Unyoked, Qwilr and Dovetail.

Recess co-founders Will Chambers and Scott Ellice-Flint

Delivering them in person gave the co-founders of Recess the opportunity to speak to their customers and hear first-hand what other issues they were experiencing with their office spaces. The most common complaint was that buying office furniture was worthless, and it was expensive for budding startups.

From corner to niche

Armed with new insights Chambers and Ellice-Flint knew their next step: expanding Nook to Recess — office furniture that helps businesses and their employees build a beautiful hybrid office that isn’t expensive.

They raised $1 million in late 2021, led by mostly angels and private investors.

“The increase allowed us to make the right hires, launch new products and build technology around the furniture and other inventory, so there is a new way to buy, deploy and manage this inventory without the supply chain and management headaches,” Chambers said. †

As Australians began to return to the office, while also maintaining a WFH approach, Chambers and Ellice-Flint launched Recess in February a revival of interest in their soundproof booths. Sales have tripled in the past six months.

Total sales have doubled month-over-month since launch.

The company’s furniture line includes ergonomic chairs, standing desks, team workstations, filing cabinets, conference room furniture and space division. Prices range for chairs between $250 and $400, desks from $500 to $2500.

Chambers said the sweet spot for the company’s products is a company with between the ages of 20 and 200, employees and customers who tell their office managers about the furniture are an important motivation.

“We also get commissions from property landlords who want to pre-decorate their spaces,” he said.

“With more and more employees moving back to the office, Recess hopes to address the need for more affordable and flexible furniture solutions in the new world of hybrid work.”

He sees the technology of Recess interacting in two ways.

“One is on the employee side, including ergonomics and a smoother purchasing experience that guides customers in setting up their chair or desk,” he said.

“On the business side, the company has seen a gap in the way office managers can manage their office furniture – both for their headquarters and for employees’ WFH setups; for example, reporting damage or the layout of the floor surface.”

For more information see recess.com.au


Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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