Merchants often default to China for outsourced manufacturing. Yet competitive suppliers exist worldwide. For Palermo House, a direct-to-consumer provider of luxury furniture, Argentina is a natural source.
Marco Ferro is the company’s California-based founder with Argentina roots. He was born there, as were his parents, co-owners of the business.
In our recent conversation, I asked Ferro about importing goods from South America, shipping to customers, bootstrapping challenges, and more. The entire audio of our conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Give our listeners a quick rundown of what you do.
Marco Ferro: I am the founder and CEO of Palermo House. We are a direct-to-consumer home goods furniture brand launched in 2020. We’re known for our Dune Lounger, a mix of a beanbag and a vintage chair. It comes in vegan leather, velvet, and some outdoor options. It’s stylish and comfortable, and people love it. Architectural Digest featured us. That’s been our hero product, although we have a vision to expand into other products.
My dad, my co-founder, designed the chair a few years ago. He comes from a family of architects. He created the lounger chair with a mid-century modern look. It fits well with that vibe and is minimalistic, functional, and comfortable. It’s not super rigid and yet stays in one shape. It molds to your body and changes when you sit on it.
Bandholz: Your suppliers are in Argentina versus China, like everyone else. What are the logistics hurdles in dealing with South America?
Ferro: I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and so were my parents. My dad has many connections to Argentina and feels comfortable working there. It’s not the easiest country to transact with, with challenges around payments and political instability. But the situation is generally favorable. The exchange rates have been reasonable, so we’ve stayed for two-plus years.
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