Jonathan Allen and Kevin Lehrer had spent years developing furniture for brands like
Restoration Hardware and Target when they had an epiphany: What if they stopped toiling behind the scenes, started their own company, and made everything the way they wanted? Launched early last year, Boulder-based Sixpenny is the result of that brainstorm—and an antidote to cookie-cutter designs and high prices of mass-market furniture. “We’ve seen how everyone else was doing it, and this was our chance to build a company from scratch,” says Allen, who adds the duo have been working together since 2002, when they met at a product-licensing company in St. Louis. “We thought, How do we create the coolest possible business?” Allen says. Their answer: a direct-to-consumer brand that eliminates wholesale markups and brick-and-mortar stores to deliver high-quality furniture at reasonable prices.

Sixpenny (named after the two-inch nail used as a frame fastener by carpenters) has furniture options that range from kiln-dried hardwood and midcentury-inspired coffee tables to down-wrapped sofas. (L.A.-based interior designer and blogger Emily Henderson gave the company a shout-out early on for its Neva chair, which she dubbed “the most comfortable chair ever.”) “We found a niche using interesting materials, like reclaimed woods and brass—things that are quite difficult to do at scale,” Allen says.

The company has also perfected the two services today’s shoppers demand most: free shipping and free returns. “Because it’s largely an e-commerce business and you can’t touch and feel the product, we want customers to feel confident about what they see on the website,” Lehrer says. “Should they buy something and it doesn’t quite work in their room, they can return it with no questions asked.” And speaking of questions: Asking one about a product—before or after a purchase—is as simple as sending a text to Sixpenny’s customer service team—based in Boulder, of course.