We spoke with Patrick Harrison, CEO of CoreChair, an ergonomic, active sitting office chair that encourages movement and mitigates the impact of inactivity. We found out why he wanted to redesign the traditional office chair, how he created the healthiest chair you can sit on, and why it took almost a decade to take it to market.
Is sitting is the new smoking? How can CoreChair sitting be considered healthy? Should we really be standing at our desks?
When the term “sitting disease” first hit the headlines a trend toward standing emerged to become the “antidote”.
Standing is similar to sitting. If you aren’t moving you attract similar physical challenges. Research suggests that sitting is easier on your body than standing and the latter can actually exacerbate biomechanical issues. It is also reported that those with sit to stand desk only stand 20% of the time. The solution is to find a healthy sitting solution. This is where CoreChair comes in. (I can share that since sitting in a CoreChair at my desk, I have NOT spent time daily dreaming of a massage because I have no tension or pain in my back!)
What motivated you to get into the office chair business?
My previous experience designing seating for persons dependent on wheelchairs for mobility resulted in a very solid understanding of the biomechanics of seating and positioning. This was bolstered by my background in Kinesiology.
I was inspired by the number of people complaining about their traditional office chairs and the number of people who intuitively were taking alternative solutions such as exercise balls to replace these.
What excites you most about CoreChair?
CoreChair is clearly a departure from traditional seating and we have learned that trying is believing. It is very exciting to hear from our customers who clearly love their chairs and even buy one for home as well as the office. I always love to hear people who share that their chair gets “borrowed” and an emerging phrase of “CoreChair envy”. (Megan? Ready for your own CoreChair?)
What excites others most about CoreChair?
Relief of back pain while sitting is the most prominent feedback and a variety of other responses that include the look.
Who needs a CoreChair?
In theory CoreChair is appropriate for all as the key features address optimal sitting posture and movement that adds some key health benefits.
After you decided you wanted to offer the world’s healthiest, ergonomic and therapeutic office chair, what was your next step?
The first step was to determine how such a solution would work best. Next was to invent a mechanism that would accomplish the movement. Then we had to address the human interface to optimize posture and comfort.
The process was protracted as we engaged design, engineering, prototype development, field trials, research and then manufacturing processes. This process spread over 7.5 years.
How did you decide which materials to use to build your chair?
Strength and durability were key criteria with an attempt to closely assimilate practical applications in office settings.
We also spent considerable effort to incorporate recycled or recyclable materials to minimize environmental impact.
As a customer, a 60 day trial period sounds impressive and generous. Why 60 days?
Most people only sit in a new chair for a few minutes to determine if it works. The opportunity to use the chair for a longer period allows them to truly determine if it works as promoted.
The outcome is less than 2% returns.
How do you build awareness and get people excited about your product?
Word of mouth satisfaction is a huge contributor and we are venturing into more on line initiatives.
Success in research based validation provides confidence that the product really works.
We attend a variety of trade shows that target influencers and professional bodies within organizations.
Sharing reviews is very beneficial.
Working with your wife, do you find it challenging to “punch in and out” of work, does she?
My wife, Lisa is a huge contributor to the business primarily in her patience and support. We work hard to balance quality of life and business. It is not always easy.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
Running a start up business is a 24/7 operation that draws on all past experiences and a need to become current in all forms of emerging trends in business.
My day includes a variety of managerial roles as well as connecting with potential partners as we build international awareness and distribution.
Continuous improvements is a key focus on how we can make the product better and this includes connecting with customers at every opportunity to learn what is needed and wanted.