Cannabis meets fine furniture in Forti Goods, a woman-owned brand of luxury furniture with the ability to keep your cannabis on lock. Founder Sharon Kevil noted the need for quality furniture with a functional design after finding her own child up on a counter eating fruit candies that had been kept on a high shelf. This could have easily been cannabis-infused candy, and she began to search for a product that allowed her to lock her cannabis safely away from her daughter but was still integrated into their home design.
There were lockable stash boxes and some tabletop storage options, but she couldn’t find a product that would fit everything that she’d hoped to store in there. With her decade of experience in interior design and years working in product development with Kohl’s, Sharon created her own line of luxury furniture to fill this gap in the market. Each piece can lock and unlock via the mobile app, which also keeps track of each time the locked compartment has been accessed. Sharon also designed accessories like the cartridge block that holds vape carts upright while they’re being stored.
“I had a really solid foundation to be able to bring a product to life that just didn’t currently exist. I decided, who else would be better to do this than me,” explained founder and designer Sharon Kevil.
Kevil’s experience in the mainstream market provided her with valuable insight into furniture production and manufacturing, which helped her develop the principle foundations of the Forti Goods brand. For example, furniture is often manufactured in countries with cheap labor so retailers can make money while offering customers a “great deal,” but there is a hidden cost. While visiting factories, Sharon regularly saw things that felt unethical, like employees that lacked proper protective equipment in furniture finishing departments, where strong chemicals are being sprayed. Forti Goods maintains a brand philosophy focused on environmental sustainability and maintaining the health of the craftsmen who build each piece.
Each Forti Goods piece is made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood materials, which is considered the “gold standard” for responsibly harvested wood. The process creates a traceability system that certifies the wood used in manufacturing came from a forest management service. Ensuring that suppliers buy FSC certified wood ensures their knowledge that the area where their wood was harvested wasn’t clear cut and that the forests were replenished. Buying FSC certified can add between 20-25% material cost to each product, which is significant, but Sharon is adamant that it is the minimum requirement for the brand.
All of their pieces are manufactured with a water-based finish, reducing the number of chemicals in the process. This serves both the end-user and the people who are required to spray it by reducing the risk of health issues for workers. Eventually, Sharon aims to ensure they are using renewable energy in production beyond environmental sustainability and guarantee that every person involved in the furniture-making is earning a living wage and being treated decently.
“It felt very much like we as a consumer nation are taking advantage of poor people in other nations. After having a child I realized that this is not what I want, this is not how I want to leave the world for my kid,” Sharon said. “Fast furniture, fast fashion, fast food; all of it requires detriment to the planet and that just didn’t feel good to me.”
Forti Goods furniture is currently manufactured by three different US companies, all within a short plane ride or road trip from Sharon’s home. One Wisconsin manufacturer specializes in FSC core plywood with custom veneers. Another Wisconsin-based company has a very high-end furniture background specializing in solid woods and oil-based finishes that maintain the beauty of the raw wood. The last manufacturer is in Ohio and has a good mix of solid and panel products while also combining computerized cutting with time-honored traditional woodworking techniques. It took Sharon time to find these three factories, and now the strengths of each shop work cohesively to honor the Forti Goods principles of respecting the planet, the environment, and the workers involved in making the products.
Sharon designed each of Forti Goods’ pieces and is always designing new pieces for their line. The flagship line is currently available and intentionally serves various people taking price point, functionality, and home size into consideration. And while cannabis was the product that sparked the idea for safe locking furniture, the pieces can be used to keep prescription medications, money, and even sex toys under wraps from kids, roommates, and Airbnb guests.
Sharon’s experience in furniture design helped her see past the notion of using a lock and key mechanism for a number of reasons. First, a key can be found by a wily teen or intrusive roommate, and second, someone with mobility issues in their hands may have trouble using a small key to access their medications. Instead, the company developed an app that’s available in various formats in the Google Play Store, Apple Store, and via a web browser. The app can be used to lock the piece and, in the name of accessibility, the locking feature isn’t just a small button on the screen but a line that can be touched anywhere. The next phase of app development will feature facial recognition so that even if a child knows their parent’s passcode they won’t have access. Access can be granted to other household members to allow flexibility, but the app will also keep track of who opened the locked compartment and when. This feature can even be used in Airbnb rentals as a mini-bar for hosts that would like to offer cannabis or other accessories to their guests.
‘There have been lots of really interesting uses that we’ve heard from people since we started and the app really helps to allow that flexibility of different people using it at different stages in their lives,” said Kevil.
Later this year, we can expect to see up to six new pieces out from Forti Goods, including outdoor furniture for those living in climates like Arizona and Southern California. They are also working to launch new products at lower price points, but note that their sustainability model means prices will never compete with big box stores. The brand is also developing new concepts that aren’t specifically cannabis-focused but more about communal, roommate, and family living.
This refreshingly ethical and environmentally focused brand is a welcome and necessary addition to the realm of cannabis accessories, with pieces named after matriarchs of company members and mentors. Their focus is not on hiding your cannabis use but instead on keeping your products safe from small children and keeping track of who has access to them. Gone are the days of storing your pipes and flower in a makeup bag or hiding such products away in a safe in the garage with this luxurious, well-designed line of purpose-made furniture.