Loni M. Designs Sets Custom Furniture Industry Ablaze with Colors and Creativity
By Guy Dawson
Sheila Gradford, the lead designer of Loni M. Design, has parlayed decades of experience in fashion production into the development of a successful custom furniture and interior design business. Her eight-year-old company got its start primarily through marketing and distributing high-end furniture and decorum on ecommerce websites. Recently, Loni M. Designs has expanded its operations by opening showrooms in the LA Mart in downtown Los Angeles and the World Market Center in Las Vegas.
“Loni M. Designs was built as an online business and we are reinventing ourselves by opening showrooms and sharing our custom furniture offerings with the public,” Gradford said. “The custom furniture industry is extremely competitive and we are committed to staying ahead of the trends with bold colors, daring finishes and unusual limited edition pieces. We introduce new product lines and designs quarterly both in the showroom and on our website.”
The name Loni M. Designs is a tribute to her deceased brother. While she was still working as a fashion designer, Gradford and her husband George pursued an opportunity to distribute custom decorum and furniture through some of the world’s largest online retailers. Lucrative partnerships with ecommerce giants One Kings Lane, Joss and Main, Wayfair, All Modern and Luxe Décor quickly established their company as an industry leader. Gradford said they have literally brought fashion to furniture by introducing colors and unique styles that a host of companies are emulating today.
“We were able to establish ourselves as the ‘go to’ custom furniture and design business because of our fair price points, short lead times, outstanding quality and our ability to drop ship across the U.S. and Canada,” she said. “Our ability to manufacture as well as distribute our products has also been extremely advantageous. Currently, we are Las Vegas’ only furniture manufacturing company and that allows us to serve our customers with a high level of speed and efficiency.”
In addition to their trend-setting custom furniture offerings, Loni M. Designs also provides interior design consultation for businesses and the public.
“Our company can do anything related to interior design and the distribution of custom furniture,” she said. “We are excited about the prospect of expanding our services globally beyond our large online presence.”
Gradford also has a strong commitment to bettering the lives of people in her community. She sits on the board of directors for Toni’s House, a 501(c) (3) organization that provides a safe, living environment to help people in transition with the process of healing as well as support in developing skills needed for a healthy and successful life as well as the Gift of Site Inc, a charity that provides vision and eye health services to underserved communities with little or no access to eye care. A part of her contribution to Toni’s House is providing Mother’s Day gifts for their annual event at the Springs Preserve.
“My husband and I know that our purpose is bigger than the furniture business,” she said. “There’s nothing better than being able to guide people on their path to success.”
Ultimately, they said that they want to establish a facility to teach African-Americans the fundamentals of operating an online manufacturing and design business. “It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice to run a business and I want to share what I have learned with people who have the desire to go for it,” she said.
For more information about Loni M. Designs, visit lonimdesigns.com or call (626) 485-3619.