When Jim Brett took over as West Elm’s president in 2010, he noticed a big issue that he immediately wanted to fix: chocolate boxes.
Jim Brett was haunted by mud-colored squares. When he started as West Elm’s president in 2010, he couldn’t believe how a furniture store could have so many products designed with such little imagination. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, what’s with the brown boxes?’” he says. “The whole brand was brown boxes made in China. There wasn’t a curve in the store!” From couches to beds to dressers, much of the line consisted of low-slung angular block shapes covered in lifeless chocolate finishes. Even the West Elm logo was trapped inside a pair of overlapping squares. “It was all machine-made, all very clean and simple, and all very soulless,” says Brett. “I wanted to bring personality and soul and handmade into the business.”