POOL PANACHE | inspired designers
The founders of Grand Rapids-based Comfort Research make a splash with pool products
COOL POOL FINDS
Cantilever outdoor umbrella in canvas coal, $3,399, Arhaus stores, arhaus.com||
Rolling cooler, $269, cb2, cb2.com||
Alzbeta outdoor rug, from $59, One Kings Lane, onekingslane.com||
Andaz outdoor double chaise in sail sailor, $2,499, Arhaus stores, arhaus.com|
Sunnylife ride-on flamingo float, $70, Found Objects, Birmingham||
Pineapple cocktail shaker, $129, One Kings Lane, onekingslane.com||
Linum Home Textiles diamond beach towel, $60, JCPenney stores, jcpenney.com||
Swoon hurricane, $49.95, cb2, cb2.com|
B&B Italia Tobi-Ishi table, special order, Arkitektura DET, Birmingham||
Sunbrella shibori outdoor pouf, $329, Crate & Barrel, Troy||
B&B Italia Papilio outdoor chairs, special order, Arkitektura DET, Birmingham||
B&B Italia reel ottomans, special order, Arkitektura DET, Birmingham|
WHEN WEST MICHIGAN natives and Grand Rapids residents Matt Jung and Chip George met at Hope College in 1997, they weren’t impressed with the comfort of their dorm room bean bags. It was then that the two recognized a problem in serious need of a solution. They spent an afternoon shredding foam mattress pads and stuffing the bean bags, giving them new life — and the “Fuf” was born. Here, they reflect on how the Fuf has evolved into a full line of furniture and poolside play products.
Q: Were you always entrepreneurial?
CG: Yes. I grew up in Holland, where I embarked on several early entrepreneurial ventures such as cleaning boats, selling T-shirts at (the) Tulip Time (festival), and landscaping.
Q: You’ve created quite a few pool toys. Did you grow up around water?
MJ: I spent my formative years on water skis, having grown up in Sister Lakes, Michigan — an area with more than its fair share of open water. My dad was a handy guy, so we were always building stuff like docks, boats, stairs, and other things you build when you live on a lake. That’s what drove me to figure out cool ways to make functional items – like poolside products and comfortable bean bag chairs.
Q: What makes your pool products top-notch?
CG: New technology. We revealed our proprietary lightweight molded polystyrene frame, and new foam and bean fill designs. These technologies make our pool products more durable, yet still lightweight, and stronger. They’re functional, affordable, and fun. This year, we also expanded the line with Fruit Slice Floats, Chomperz, and Zzoodles to continue offering the latest trends and designs for ultimate fun.
Q: Do you have your products in your homes?
CG: Yes! We both have Big Joe Modular Outdoor Furniture, which uses Comfort Research’s technology to provide consumers with a durable, comfortable, and super portable seating solution that transitions seamlessly from indoors to outdoors due to its wood-free frame and use of Sunbrella fabric. More Information: buybigjoe.com — By Megan Swoyer