Flash Furniture expands into educational sphere
Flash Furniture is known for supplying furniture that combines form, function and style for commercial and residential customers. Now its venturing into a new territory: early education.
Fourteen-year-old Sean Belnick and his step-father, Gary Glazer, started Flash Furniture – originally known as BizChair – in 2001. The company grew exponentially over the past 22 years and is now owned and operated by Ubique Group. This March, Flash Furniture launched its newest line, Bright Beginnings, which is geared toward early education settings.
Bright Beginnings features customizable and modular pieces for educators and administrators that range from activity tables, soft and wooden chairs, storage containers and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) walls. “When we created Bright Beginnings, we listened to the voices of educators who had concerns about a truly commercial-grade early education line,” said Tiffany Manzione, senior director of product and innovation with parent company Ubique Group. “It’s a one-stop shop for flexibility for teachers.”
As the early education products are commercial-grade, they have undergone various trials for durability and strength. An example test included removing marks from crayons, markers and dry erase markers off of the surfaces. Manzione said, “We sell in a variety of commercial markets and we hold our quality to a very high standard that passes commercial grade testing.”
The furniture’s aesthetic design was kept classic and clean with a light birchwood color so it could blend in with any setting, from public schools to private daycare facilities; the target age range is from toddler through second grade. While different locations have various uses for the furniture, several of Bright Beginnings’ activity tables are adjustable and come in several shapes. “Flexibility is key,” noted Manzione. “Our goal was to develop a modular line of product that is customizable to fit a variety of classroom needs, not matter the size, while offering the flexibility to change up the space as needed.”
Although Bright Beginnings is in its infancy, its products are quickly expanding beyond the classroom. The line is currently used in churches, car dealerships and gyms where there are play areas. One of the most unique places that utilize Bright Beginnings furniture is a cruise line, Manzione said. “When you think of education, you don’t instinctively think of all of the different places that kids play. It’s not just about learning the curriculum, but it’s very immersive.”
Flash Furniture will exhibit at this year’s EDspaces and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) events.
With the advent of Bright Beginnings, Flash Furniture partnered with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit that is dedicated to fighting deforestation. For every wooden Basic Beginnings product sold, One Tree Planted will plant a tree. Manzione expects the partnership will result in 5,000 to 10,000 trees planted this year. “It’s really important to us, as a company, to give back to our environment and to our community,” she said. “We were really excited to spearhead that with our Bright Beginnings line.”
New and interesting products
Popular items in the Bright Beginnings product line include the chairs and STEAM train. The chairs, which come in three height sizes, have rubber non-slip foot caps on the bottom to prevent potential slips and marks on the floors.
The second bestselling product is the STEAM train, a creative wall mount that holds up to five activity boards. Unlike sensory walls, these STEAM walls are adaptable and focus more on academic topics. “The STEAM train is a truly innovative piece that the market hasn’t seen from other vendors,” Manzione stated.
The train is sold alongside other STEAM accessories including a peg system and board system, both of which are available in freestanding and wall mount options. The peg system features accessories that can be used in conjunction with the wall, from gears chains and pulleys, working drills and tools and more. The board system allows Bright Beginnings’ various puzzle-style boards to be interchangeable. It offers hands-on learning boards including weather, emotions, hygiene, counting, color mixing, butterfly lifecycles and mazes. “Nothing is stationary,” Manzione said. “One can go from learning the science of levers, gears, pulleys and gravity to art. It’s a transitional piece.”
While Flash Furniture produces a new product on a weekly basis, Bright Beginnings will launch a new product twice a year, according to Manzione. The newest product in the early education line will be centered around the creative play space, which is expected to premiere in the next couple months. It will feature a variety of mobile art easels, storage carts with locking caster wheels and solutions for creative supplies. The second product slated for 2023 will be dramatic play furniture.
Flash Furniture is headquartered in Canton, GA and has four warehouses stationed in California, Georgia, Mississippi and Ohio. For more information about its products, including its Bright Beginnings early education line, visit flashfurniture.com.