“We believe that we know sitting better than 99.999% of the population, because of our background,” Steven Dufresne, CEO and “Chief Chair Designer,” tells me as he blazes through his story of founding Anthros. Boasting an impressive background working in the world of wheelchairs, co-founders Dufrense and CMO Eric Murphy have worked tirelessly to concoct the most comfortable, supportive office chair the world has ever seen. I caught up with the team ahead of the launch of their first roster of chairs and the release of their collaboration with VeeFriends for the latest Gift Goat selection.
Anthros Has Designed the World's Most Comfortable Office Chair
A claim backed by science
The Genesis of Anthros
“It probably started seven ish years ago,” Steven tells me, going on: “We were both working for a company called The Comfort Company. The Comfort Company is responsible for making wheelchair seating, cushions, backs and head supports, arm pads that go on manual and power wheelchairs. And we were doing the exact same roles that we are now. I was head of product development. [Eric] was head of marketing."
For 10 years together on the circuit, Steven tells me that so many of the people at the trade shows they’d attend would ultimately turn back to the reference point of an office chair. “The non-disabled people, the therapists, the wound care docs, the PTs, the OTs, all these people that are trying your products to determine if they’d prescribe this to put it on a manual or power wheelchair, they sit down and they say the same thing: 'Oh my God, this cushion feels amazing. I wish my office chair felt like this.'
“Naturally, after a bunch of years of doing that with this, 'I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish,' you go, ‘Maybe we should look into this.’"
So Steven and Eric attended the office chair industry’s biggest trade show and sat in all the products to see if this idea was something. It was.
“We came from a world where if we said our product did something, we had to prove that it did that thing,” Eric tells me of their entrance into the office chair space. “So going into this new space and this new world, we're seeing these companies say all these things, but they don't really have anything to back up.”
Steven interjects, chuckling: “You can't make a cushion and tell a wound care doctor at the spinal cord injury hospital in downtown New York that, just trust me, it's a good cushion.”
“Everything's ‘ergonomic.’ This is ergonomic. That's ergonomic. Everything's ergonomic. Yeah. And what does that really mean?,” Eric goes on, adding: “We felt like a lot of these claims were hollow, and we thought that there was an authentic way to communicate some of those things with actual data and actual science behind a design, which is what Anthros is rooted in.
“We say very confidently that we have the world's most comfortable, supportive office share, and we stand behind that with our guarantee that it will improve your posture and it will be the most comfortable chair that you've ever sat in. Or we will take the chair back and refund your money. That's how confident we are.
Another notable feature of the chair is its customizability and how it fits all body types. I boast a fairly unorthodox build at 6’5” tall, and the chair was able to be adjusted seamlessly to fit me moments before it was readjusted to fit my 5’5” coworker.
The name itself refers to this applicability. “Anthros” is a reference to the Greek "anthropos", meaning human.
That was our principle for designing the chair. It wasn’t to design the chair for an office worker or a gamer. It was to design a chair for a human being.
- Steven Dufresne
When I ask Steven what his favorite thing is about running Anthros, his eyes light up and he dives in:
“The giving back. We left an industry that we're very much in love with. We shed a lot of tears, leaving that one to go do this one.”
He goes on to explain to me the immense dearth of wheelchair equipment globally, and how Anthros intends to allocate a portion of its profits toward the foundation, distributing these vital products to those in need: “Seeing what something so simple as a wheelchair can mean to a family or whoever it is, that's where it hits home.”
“Just to give you guys a benchmark, how big's the need, right?,” he posits, pausing before adding: “A hundred million people right now in developing countries don't have wheelchairs.”
We need to start selling some chairs so we can help.
- Steven Dufresne
So the foundation was born as a means to do what they can to help: “We built—from the ground—the foundation into the business structure. We're doing this to support the foundation and we all want to give back to the disabled community, because that's where our heart really is. What we'll be able to do with that money will far supersede anything we could do in our old industry.”
Believe it or not, this article only scratches the surface of Steven and Eric’s creation of Anthros. To hear more about Steven’s rollercoaster of an entrepreneurial journey, be sure to listen to the latest episode of the GaryVee Audio Experience, where he delves into an incredible story and reminder to trust the process.
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