I've been selling the Cannes, Kimera, Moondance (the leather match option) and Broadway
home theater seating collections for around 12 years. Right now we carry 1,500 different furniture products in 400,000 square feet of warehouse. We sell these seats under the name Baxton Studio or Wholesale Interiors to companies like Sears, Amazon, Target and on and on, something like 200 online stores and most of those places rebrand them into a different name that they came up with.
To answer your questions on margins, home theater seats are terrible for us money wise and have always been. In order to make it as a business you need repeat customers and we only have one thing in the home theater category, the theater seats. We don't sell projectors, we don't sell mobile phone subscriptions, DVDs or even popcorn, I'm just a furniture importer. Once you guys buy a home theater, you don't come back for the dining chairs. You will probably even cancel your subscription to our mailing list because we don't have products that are going to interest you.
So, why do we carry the home theater seating?
The real honest answer about this is international shipping. The manufacturer that makes the home theater seats makes a few other products that we have an OK margin on. So what we did early on was order 1/2 a container of what we want and then order 1/2 a container of theater seats. Theater seats we priced really low because they are bulky and we want them out of the warehouse (our lease rates are by the foot) as we want our space back. So over the years our orders grew and we wanted more and more from this manufacturer so we kept getting more and more 1/2 containers of theater seats, which is where we are at now. I believe the price of the seats are the same price since when we started and I know shipping, inflation, foreign exchange rates and material costs have gone up so I know I'm probably not even breaking even on these anymore and honestly might not ever been.
The quality is good on the theater seats because we can't make a living screwing over customers and this thread would be full of complaints (I didn't see any except a competitor that was selling Berkline, and Berkline went out of business a few years ago, I haven't). We have to carry good quality products. When we sell something dropship you have to be really really surprised when you open the box or you are going to send it back or start complaining, so we are really in the business of exceeding your expectations by a lot.
So to sum up, what are home theater seats to us? Aside from a great product within itself, they are gigantic packing peanuts for the rest of my business.
If anyone has any other questions, please let me know.
Chuck Tanner - President - Wholesale Interiors / InteriorExpress.com