A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Fairfield Chair’s Lenoir, NC Factory

The Furniture, Lighting & Decor team toured one of Fairfield Chair's factories earlier this summer. 

Katie Caron
09/23/2019
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Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
The Furniture, Lighting & Decor team with Fairfield Chair representatives.

This summer, the Furniture, Lighting & Decor team had the opportunity to tour one of Fairfield Chair’s factories in Lenoir, NC. From the fabric cutting to the finishing and upholstery, the dedication to craftsmanship and a quality product was evident at every step of the process. Read on for some highlights and scenes from our fascinating visit.

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
Up to 175 rolls of fabric are delivered to Fairfield's Lenoir, NC facility daily.

Our tour started on the fabric side of production, where Fairfield Chair receives, inspects and handles the 150-175 rolls of fabric that are delivered to the facility each day. The company offers 10,000 fabrics under its FOM umbrella, which Fairfield buys and offers to customers. A successful and growing fabric sector for the company is its COM, or “Customer’s Own Material,” segment, where customers can send in any fabric they’d like for a customized final product.  

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
Rows of patterns hang on hooks between the fabric aisles and the cutting stations.
Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
Fabric for Fairfield's pieces are cut both via a machine and by hand.

Next we got a glimpse of the fabric cutting process, where employees use CAD software to produce templates to cut the fabric around for each individual piece of furniture. The cutting is done both by hand and by machine—and the machine’s knife blades are changed once a day to ensure a clean cut. 

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
It takes approximately one year to fully train a sewer at Fairfield.

Next we got to watch the expert sewers at work. We learned that the average amount of time it takes to train in a new sewer at Fairfield is about a year, since the company offers so many styles and has its own tried-and-true methods. 

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
The finishing process for one piece takes approximately two hours. 

Finishing was the next stop, where we watched the wooden frames get their final coats and touches. While about 60 percent of the company’s frames are imported, all of the assembly, sanding and finishing is done at the North Carolina factory. A conveyor belt with 162 hooks carries each frame through the finishing process, which takes almost two hours in total. About every 52 minutes, a piece of furniture comes off the belt. Fairfield offers more than 40 finish options.

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
Fairfield aims for a 10-day production process for each piece of furniture.

Next up was upholstery, where the pieces of furniture started to take shape as the frames, fabric and detailing came together. Fairfield’s target for each piece of furniture is to spend two days in cutting, one day for sewing, two days for finishing, and five days for upholstery for a total of 10 days in production. With all of the detail-oriented work involved in upholstery, it was no surprise that it takes the longest.

Fairfield Chair Lenoir North Carolina factory
Finished pieces wait in the warehouse for shipping.

Last came the final stop: shipping! Finished pieces are carefully wrapped up and placed in the warehouse, ready to make their journey to homes and commercial/hospitality spaces across the U.S. and Canada.