For parents, keeping their family safe, happy and healthy is a full-time job. We do our best to create a safe and inspiring environment for our children and shield them from as much of the unhealthy stuff as possible given our individual circumstances. At Modern Kids Design, we know that many of you are concerned about indoor air pollution caused in part by VOCs and furniture that might off-gas and emit odors. We know because you’ve shared your concerns about setting up nurseries and rooms for older kids. So, this week we’d like to share the story of an innovative company that makes sustainable furniture.
Parents Bob and Nicole Springer wanted it all. They were determined to fill their children’s rooms with furniture that was not only safe and eco-friendly, but also beautiful. The only challenge? They couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. Instead of settling, they decided to create a solution for themselves. The result? They founded Spot On Square. Specializing in modern, sustainable furniture for kids, the company is a pioneer in the eco-furniture movement. They balance aesthetics with high standards to create products that are actually ideal for every member of the family.
Known for its dedication to sustainability, the company focuses on every step of the manufacturing chain to make sure that it lives up to its high standards. Each piece of wood used is Forest Stewardship Council-certified and is sourced in the U.S. and Europe. The factory also meets European E0 and Californian Carb 1 and Carb 2 emissions standards; any wood waste is reused to heat the building. With an unwavering attention to detail, Spot On Square only uses eco-friendly, water-based finishes. This company also values knowledge. They pay exceptionally close attention to where all of their materials come from. They know the makeup of their finishes, and they know the standards of their manufacturers. It probably goes without staying that they consistently strive to make products that exceed U.S. and Canadian safety standards, ensuring that their goods are the kind of purchase that parents can feel good about. You’ve probably figured out by now that we are fans of Spot On Square, so we decided to ask its founders a few questions.
MKD: Was Spot On Square a long time in the making? Or did you both share a collective “Ah ha!” moment that spurned the company into action?
SOS: Looking back, you could say it was a long time in the making, even before we knew it ourselves. Bob has always had a love of modern furniture design from a young age. He would often design and hand build many pieces for our home throughout our marriage. As an Industrial Designer with an entrepreneurial spirit, he also craved the creative freedom and personal challenge of designing and manufacturing our own products. Nicole had been away from teaching for a few years as a full time mom and was excited to build something for our family that could blend her multi-tasking and organizational skills with Bob’s design and manufacturing expertise. We love good design and we were at the point in life where we wanted to start buying quality, long-term furniture that met the needs of our whole family. At the time, as we looked at it, there was very little available that was both eco-friendly with a true modern aesthetic. Our usual dreamy comments of “Someday, it would be cool to do…” turned into “What if we…” and soon the opportunity became obvious to us and we jumped in with both feet.
MKD: We love your name. Can you explain its background?
SOS: It really came about through our children’s artwork one day while playing with sidewalk chalk in our driveway. One of them had been practicing drawing shapes and proudly wanted us to check out his “Spot In The Square” drawing. We loved the simplicity of his drawing and the sound of his title, so we began to think about how we could translate it for our yet to be named company. Soon we settled on Spot On Square and liked that the term “spot on” also means “just right” and “square” meaning “exact” – it was a good fit with the play on words and playful sounding at the same time.
MKD: So why is it important to purchase “eco friendly” furniture? What drove your decision to do that? And how do your products differ from other options on the market?
SOS: We differ from other companies in that we push to be innovative and eco-conscious with our use of material and design. We love the mixed material usage in modern architecture and our offerings reflect that. Our first collection in 2007, the Hiya Collection, was originally offered in a sustainable bamboo which was not used in nursery furnishings at the time. Our popular Roh Crib was the first acrylic crib in the US market in 2009 and our new Alto Collection (available early 2014) uses interchangeable translucent panels with encapsulated natural materials. We strive to be ahead of the curve in using architectural quality material that has not been used in a nursery setting before. We also design to provide versatility in the function of the pieces as a family evolves.
Being eco-conscious has always been important to us, even more once we became parents. It is important to us, for our children and community that we choose responsible and eco-friendly ways to make our products. When we initiated our concept for Spot On Square, we approached it first as parents. We really wanted to do something that would not only be different than what was on the market, but also with thoughtful consideration for the environment and families using our products. It’s important to us as parents and as good stewards to produce family friendly products that are eco-friendly and sustainable. We pride ourselves in designing high quality, innovative offerings for families. To us, being eco-conscious is unquestionably a natural part of that.
MKD: Your Roh Crib was the first acrylic crib on the market. What makes this product such a great option for eco-minded parents?
SOS: We were so excited to come out with the Roh Collection in 2009, offering the first acrylic crib to the US market. It is a true reflection of our design aesthetic and we were thrilled with the positive response to it. It is an awesome option for eco-minded parents. We use a durable half-inch, BPA free, phthalate free, 100% recyclable, clear acrylic that is framed by locally sourced solid Walnut. The head/foot board is the highest grade certified green MDF, made up 100% recycled/reclaimed material with no formaldehyde adhesives used in producing it. We also use water based, non-toxic, low VOC finishes. The Roh crib is the whole package to us: great architectural design coupled with the best eco-friendly materials.
MKD: We are really happy that you are now offering a twin bed. What made you decide to expand the line in this way?
SOS: We have had a lot of requests for a twin bed and thought that it would be a great addition to our Eicho Collection. It is quickly becoming a popular piece. It’s low profile makes for an easy transition for a toddler into a regular sized bed and it’s styling makes it a bed that can last well beyond the kid stage. The built in cubbies in the head board are fun and convenient for storing lovies, books, etc. Our daughter actually has this bed in her room and loves stashing things in the cubbies.
MKD: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your company?
SOS: We’ve always offered nursery furniture that was designed to compliment a modern home. We aim to make our pieces a natural extension of the home that will last far beyond the baby stage. We will not offer products that we would not be 100% happy to have in our own home or used by our own family. We actually use most of the products we offer. This gives us the best opportunity to experience our products as our customers would and inspire new ways of developing future products. We’ve had such a great response with parents wanting our furnishings for their own use, that we are excited to provide more offerings that can be used throughout the whole home and for the whole family. Keep an eye out for more to come!
MKD: This is great — Thanks so much for sharing your story with us — We really appreciate it!
As always, thank you for reading. And feel free to comment below or email us with your thoughts.