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Discovery of the Designed For Life Theory



Like every foundational theory, Designed For Life was not conceived, or created; it was first observed, or discovered. It was the fabled apple that fell on the head of Newton which led to his discovery of gravitational theory. It was the imagination of Einstein which allowed him to ride on a beam of light and observe the effects that his special theory of relativity had on space, time, and gravity—thereby building on Newtonian “knowledge” already accepted to be true. In our case, it was a couch, of all things, that led to the discovery of this Designed For Life framework and our eventual realization that in its simplest form, it could be applied to nearly any system and facilitate a lot of good for the world. I believe that one day, much of what we’ve discussed throughout this text, from our distorted economy to the designed-for-life approach itself, will evolve from theory to knowledge. Time will tell.

Designed for Life Sactionals

Sactionals: Our first truly designed-for-life product

Sactionals look like just about any other couch. A Sactionals couch certainly looks nice, but there is nothing very special about its form or style. Aesthetically they are pretty straightforward—somewhat boxy, but not overly “modern,” their low-back straight contemporary lines relaxed by their taller, rounded-rectangular cushy back pillows. In fact, after much user-testing and research we have confirmed that we have successfully created what is aesthetically: the most vanilla couch possible. The average beholder is unlikely to have any idea that they are in the presence of the impetus for this entire design movement.

Ironically, Sactionals were designed to look relatively benign. Vanilla is still the world’s number one selling flavor of ice cream, after all. The fact that a Sactionals couch is machine washable, changeable, reconfigurable, expandable, durable, customizable, stackable, stockable, drop-shippable, moveable, storeable, and of course comfortable is masked by its elegant simplicity and unassuming beauty…because that is what people want. A good looking couch. Nobody wants a couch that looks like it’s a Transformer. Nobody wants a couch that looks like it has a slip-cover that can be washed. But for couches that Sactionals might be compared to functionally, all others fall prey to that shortcoming—they just don’t look great. It is the classic form or function trade-off.

People want beautiful products and tragically, will often forego functionality to get them. Other people want functional products and will often compromise on aesthetics to get the functionality they need. It is rare that a product can do both—across a wide range of tastes, needs, and demands. It is more rare that a product can adapt to changing tastes, needs, and demands as they change. What’s more, it is (heretofore) nearly non-existent for a product to last long enough to need to adapt to life’s ongoing changing tastes, needs, and demands, while achieving a level of hedonistic design sophistication and beauty that can be widely accepted. A product that can do all of that at once, is a supremely competitive product in its category for sure. Sactionals can do all of that.

For this reason, Sactionals have quietly, over the past decade or so since their conception, grown in popularity and acceptance in their industry. At the time of this book’s writing, annual sales of this “remarkable” product represent only 0.4% of the annual $17 billion dollar couch industry…but sales have been growing, sans advertising, at a growth rate that is 11 times that of the couch industry as a whole—driven mostly by word of mouth.

…More to come…

— Shawn


About Shawn

Founder & CEO of Lovesac, a Designed For Life furniture company. I have a goal of building products that are truly sustainable. Would you believe, I won a $1 million investment on Fox’s “Rebel Billionaire” show in 2005 and became President of Virgin Worldwide with Richard Branson’s companies for a time. Since then, I've grown Lovesac into a national brand with over 150 showrooms and more than 1000 employees, recognized in Furniture Today as America’s fastest growing furniture retailer. I'm becoming known for my invention of Sactionals® Lovesac’s industry-disruptive sofa invention. Check out my vlog on YouTube! Get Off The Couch, with Shawn Nelson of Lovesac

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