During the past few years, while staying closer to home than usual, we’ve all had ample time to scrutinize our living spaces and contemplate how they look and feel. Many a redesign and renovation has resulted, and the buying of art and home decor is up. Some even say that consumers are choosing more often to surround themselves with a few finely crafted items rather than simply accumulating more stuff.
So, it’s no surprise that interest in thoughtfully conceived, artistically crafted designs, such as those created at Thos. Moser Handmade American Furniture, has surged.
“The global pandemic has forced consumers to slow down, consider what they are bringing into their homes, and create a space that we can feel good about,” says Aaron Moser, Chairman of the Board and one of Tom and Mary Moser’s four sons. This “slowing down”moment in history is a recipe for success for thisAmerican business, crafting with materials grown in the U.S. and creating handmade, modern-day heirlooms.
Indeed, the timing couldn’t be better. This year, Thos. Moser is celebrating a half-century since the company’s humble start in a basement in New Gloucester, Maine. To still be thriving after 50 years is a significant accomplishment that Aaron and others at Thos. Moser consider welcome confirmation of the classic, enduring, and timeless appeal of the pieces they produce—from chairs to cases, beds and benches, desks, dining tables, dressers, and more.
“To sustain 50 years not really in furniture or art but somewhere in the middle is quite remarkable,” says Aaron.
But the Thos. Moser team is not putting its feet up on any ottomans just yet. Instead, it is marking the milestone by looking deeply at what has led to the brand’s success, what makes its furniture unique, and humbly contemplating how to stay relevant for another 50 years.
“We are super excited we’ve gotten to this milestone, and now we need to work on a 50-year strategy, to look at the trees through the forest. We are considering what defines us and what is our secret sauce,” he says. “I think it’s the way we bring craft, technology, and material together.”
Marketing director Kelsey Wing elaborates on that secret sauce, explaining that the company’s values and integrity are key ingredients in what’s proven to be a winning recipe. Specifically, Thos. Moser prides itself on thoughtfully sourcing materials (wood is harvestedin the Northeastfrom sustainable forests), respecting its partners and workers (cultural fit is more important than experience), and holding to high standards of workmanship. This is well put on the company website: “Every piece of our furniture should have a work ethic—one that exudes strength, stability and is comfortable to work with over the long haul.”
While plotting a path forward, Thos. Moser is also cherishing its Maine roots and recognizing how the company reflects the resourcefulness, work ethic, and Yankee ingenuity that are trademarks of America’s most rural state.
“A lot of our values were imprinted early on,” says Aaron. “My parents demonstrated self-sufficiency and a passion for hands-on work, both of which are evident among the hard-working folks at our shop in Auburn, a former mill town. They like to roll up their sleeves and put their hands to work—a trait that’s very Maine.”
It’s also a trait that Aaron is embracing in his life away from the office, as he recently embarked on the project of building his own home in the same village—and even on the same street—where his parents launched the business.
Once that home is completed, some of the brand’s most iconic pieces—the Continuous Arm Chair, for example, as well as a soon-to-be-unveiled, 50th-anniversary chair designed by Aaron’s brother, David—could be the first pieces to grace the new space.
Of course, he wouldn’t have it any other way. For him and for the brand’s many loyal customers, the allure of a Thos. Moser piece runs deep. A salesperson with the brand for 30 years put it best, Aaron says, when she said the pieces are “vessels of meaning.”
She got it, he says, just as today’s youth understand the importance of craft. “They’re tuned in to wanting to know where the hops in their beer come from, the provenance of their lunch and how it’s made… that’s also who we are and who we’ve always been. We didn’t have to change our business model to adapt to that.”