Styline Logistics Receives Award

You've probably passed them on the highways or have seen them on your job sites. Styline is the name of our logistics division that hauls our furniture around the country. Our dedication to company-owned freight has been a true differentiator. "It's all about controlling the experience and making it easy for our customers." says SVP of Sales and Marketing, Ryan Menke.

Craftsmanship goes beyond just furniture; it's about taking care in what you do and owning your outcome... And these guys are great at what they do.

The Indiana Motor Truck Association held its annual Spring Transportation Summit Awards Luncheon in Indianapolis, IN, and we are very proud to announce that Styline Logistics, once again, was honored with a top award.

Styline was designated as the 2016 Indiana Fleet Safety Grand Champion for having no recordable accidents in our local and over-the-road fleets within the state of Indiana.

See more photos from Scott Raffensberger on Instagram @highway_man
Apr 27, 2017 BLOG/Awards

Environmental thinking, years ahead of its time

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” — Greek Proverb
On Sunday, January 28, 1968, the Indianapolis Star published an article detailing a vision for the future of southern Indiana’s environment and inhabitants. The article used language around conservation and environmentalism that was uncommon for the time, but we hear frequently today. The vision proposed collaboration between people in government, academics, and private corporations to create a conservation project that would benefit the natural ecosystems, communities, and economic activity of this area. 
The author of the article was Robert H. (Bob) Menke. At the time, Bob ran Styline Industries (which would later become OFS Brands), and was an Indiana University trustee and former state representative. His unique experience in these different domains equipped him to lead a new effort to revitalize the region’s forests.
Bob wrote fervently and often about the immediate need to introduce forest conservation programs in the region: “Time is running out. Forestry conservation is needed to save the land and the prosperity of its people in Indiana.” 
At this time, agricultural lands (originally created by clear cutting native forests) were beginning to be depleted of their nutrient bearing soils. Poor soil results in poor crop production, which in turn leads to poor farmers, poor economic growth, poor communities, and continued deterioration of the environment. 
Bob saw a solution but needed help to achieve it. So he reached out to his broad network, formed new relationships, and called on multi-disciplinary partnerships to create a proposal for associating natural land with a dollar value through new zoning policies, increasing conservation education, and implementing basic changes in Federal agricultural policy to protect natural resources, reduce waste, and avoid over-farming.
In 1985, the first farm bill was introduced and the modern day Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established. The new CRP included incentives for landowners to plant trees for long-term vegetative cover, wildlife habitat, and native plant habitats. The program addressed not only erosion control but water quality and environmentally sensitive areas. Much of the bill’s language was very similar to what Bob had written 17 years earlier. 
As we celebrate Earth Day this year, it’s amazing to see how environmental sustainability and human health and well-being have become central focuses for organizations today. Most have even integrated these priorities into their mission statements and business practices. 
Five decades ago, Bob was labelled a “conservationist” for these views—not necessarily a title many people admired at the time. But Bob pushed on despite the naysayers. Maybe because he saw that the status quo was causing severe damage. Maybe because he could feel the impending departure of something he cherished and felt responsibility for. Whatever his reason, he felt time was running out. So, Bob put pen to paper and proposed a set of priorities that were years ahead of their time. 
From helping to develop the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs to playing a key role in establishing the Indiana Forest and Woodland Owners Association and Indiana Forest Education Foundation, Bob and his colleagues’ efforts both figuratively and literally planted the seeds of conservation for this region. Today, in this small corner of the state, we can delight in the shade they knew they would never sit in. 
- by Jarod Brames, Director of Sustainability
Apr 21, 2017 BLOG/

Advice in the Pursuit of WELL AP™

Director of Product Education, Vanessa Englert, WELL AP™, LEED®AP, and Director of Sustainability Jarod Brames, LEED Green Associate, WELL AP™ are both associates with a long OFS Brands tenure and a passion for doing things the right way.  They both passed the WELL AP test this March.  We sat down with them to get some advice for anybody out there considering the pursuit of this achievement.  
Why was this so important for you personally to get this certification? 
As Director of Sustainability I am frequently asked questions regarding the emissions, chemical content data, and overall impact our furniture products have on human health and well-being as well as the impacts to the environment. Pursuing my WELL AP credential was the perfect opportunity for me to take a deeper dive into all aspects that affect human well-being in the built environment. 
I obtained my LEED®AP in 2008 and with jobs specifying the need for green building expertise, the LEED credential is a clear commitment to professional growth. With a renewed industry focus on occupant wellness in the built environment, I wanted to further my professional commitment to sustainability, health and wellness by obtaining my WELL AP. I believe that in addition to LEED and other established design and construction-focused sustainability rating systems, the WELL Building Standard will continue to evolve into a more prominent standard of focus in the future.
Jarod,  What did you find most interesting in your WELL education journey? 
I probably found it most interesting that Light and Sound can have such an effect on our overall well-being. We are taught from an early age that we are supposed to eat well, get enough sleep and exercise. We also have natural senses that can tell us if the air is stale or the water tastes funny. I don’t feel that it is as obvious or noticeable when bad lighting or sound reverberation and lack of absorption is impacting our moods, internal rhythms and ability to perform at our best. 
Vanessa,  What would you say to others in the industry wishing to pursue WELL accreditation? 
The WELL Building Standard is very impactful in its ability to put people at the center of design, focusing on the benefits our built environment can have on human health and well-being. When I decided to pursue this credential I had many questions – Where do I start? What should I focus on? How do I ensure I’m prepared to pass on my first attempt? For others who may feel it’s important to join this movement, here are some of my suggestions on becoming a WELL AP: 
  1. Spend an adequate amount of time studying the materials. I spent 2 months reading the materials, reviewing flash cards and quizzes, but dedicated the final week prior to my exam to focusing solely on the WELL test prep. 
  2. Memorization is key! I focused on various memorization techniques suggested in the exam preparation guides that were very helpful. Example – 12-34-45-56-65-76-88 is mentioned in a study guide and denotes the features that serve as the cutoff numbers between preconditions and optimizations of the 7 concepts. I also found or created references to remember certain features I had trouble recalling specific information on. Examples – NiCoLe is MeAn with Aresnic. This represents feature 31 inorganic contaminants, part 1 dissolved metals of nickel, copper, lead, mercury, antimony and arsenic. Once I had the reference to the inorganic contaminants themselves memorized, it became easier to memorize mg/L limits of each. 
  3. Ensure that you feel prepared, but don’t overload yourself with too many resources or references. The amount of materials available online can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to focus heavily on the WELL Building Standard, WELL AP Candidate Handbook, and WELL AP Exam Preparation Guide (must purchase) through IWBI, and additional resources available to purchase through GBES (Green Building Education Services) and GBRI (Green Building Research Institute). 
  4. We should put people first. We spend 90% of our time indoors and the buildings where we live, work, learn and relax have a profound effect on our well-being and how we feel. It’s our responsibility to focus on best practices that create the healthiest indoor environments as possible. This is why I chose to become a WELL AP. 
Jarod,  What has changed about the way you view space after this education? 
Before beginning my WELL education I felt I was fairly knowledgeable about how buildings operate and what systems influence occupant health and comfort. After my WELL education, I realized I wasn’t! The WELL Standard does a phenomenal job covering nearly every aspect that could potentially impact the health, comfort and overall well –being of a building’s occupants. It is a standard that provides guidance on how to construct spaces that do much more than providing shelter, work stations and break rooms. It provides guidance on how to construct spaces that are dynamic and truly take care of their occupants.  
Apr 06, 2017 BLOG/

OFS Brands featured in Timber Design and Technology Magazine

Our 2016 OFS Brands Magazine featured an article by Jarod Brames on our history and passion for wood and the natural world. This passion inspired the popular log-cut graphic that framed our showroom entry this year. The article and imagery was picked up by Timber Design & Technology and featured their latest magazine. Timber Design & Technology is the first dedicated platform for the wood industry in the Middle East offering news, analysis and in-depth features examining all aspects of the regional timber industry. 
Mar 30, 2017 BLOG/Design

OFS Brands' Sherry Mason Brown Joins International Women's Day Panel

Sherry Mason Brown joined OFS Brands 3 years ago and has played a key role in our continual effort to be a more customer-centric company.  On March 8, she took the stage with a different agenda though. 
Mason Brown and 3 other panelists including Janine Davis, founder of Girl Talk Foundation, came together at Delhaize America on March 8, 2017. The discussion was titled "Be Bold for Change" and addressed worldwide workplace gender gap and focused on strategies for moving forward. “This is something I’m very passionate about. I’m honored to be a part of this discussion and to represent OFS Brands on the stage” said Mason Brown. “We are thrilled that Sherry was selected for this. Workplace diversity and gender equality is a topic of incredible importance to OFS Brands and we are fortunate to have Sherry’s strong and intelligent voice be heard by so many” said Ryan Menke, SVP of Sales Marketing for OFS Brands.
About OFS Brands: OFS Brands is headquartered in Huntingburg, Indiana and has been crafting furniture in America’s heartland with neighbors, friends, and family since 1937. Focused on creating experiences, we believe that what we make people feel is as important as the things we make. OFS Brands designs and builds furniture to support what we need as people for the places we work, care, learn and live.
Mar 24, 2017 BLOG/

OFS Brands Announces New CEU: OFS - Well Building Certification

OFS Brands is pleased to announce that we have been approved for CEU-IDCEC credits for the OFS - Well Building Certification presentation.
Led by OFS Brand’s VP of Development and Wellbeing, Paul Anderson WELL AP, the presentation ties directly to the exploration and pursuit of the International WELL Building Institute and The Well Building Standard.  It outlines the criteria supporting certification in which 100 performance metrics, design strategies, and policies work harmoniously with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). 
The framework of this innovative and extremely relevant standard encompasses seven concepts of wellness: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind.   It’s often a slight adjustment or just a focus on a specific concept that can make a tremendous difference to employee health and wellbeing.
“This CEU reinforces OFS Brands' commitment to offer the most current and relevant education to our partners, and supports our continued investment in delivering experiences that focus on people,” says Anderson, WELL AP.


Mar 24, 2017 BLOG/Design

The New Musical Chairs

3rd spaces answer how many seats per person as the music plays.
Written by Nick Blessinger

Think about the last time you played musical chairs. Count the participants, then gather one less chair than the number of persons. The music stops, and the person standing is out. Take away a chair and do it again. In today’s world, the music never stops. Individuals just keep going, tackling their day through meetings, tasks and general interaction. When the music does pause, where are you sitting? Is that space conducive towards the activity at-hand?

Many conversations today revolve around how many seats per person are needed in today’s workplace. Is it one? Maybe three? It depends on the organization, department and the type of work needed to get done; however, when you think about primary, secondary and social spaces at minimum, what is truly needed are choices.

Technically, 1st Place is home and 2nd Place is work. 3rd Place was originally described as places outside of home and work, designations such as cafés, coffee shops and local gathering places. This approach as a community is thoroughly covered by urban sociologist, Ray Oldendburg, author of “The Great Good Place” (1991). Just like there have always been makers (i.e. blacksmiths, cobblers) but now we’re in a maker movement, there have always been third places (i.e. libraries, parks, general stores), and we’re in a third place movement. Today, similar to maker spaces, third spaces benefit in popularity from greater awareness of a connected world and a shift towards right-brained appreciation. And, even more so, the evolution of these movements simply resonates with boomers to digital natives without effort.

Starbucks and establishments of their ilk benefited greatly from the onset of third place. Then, third place, generally reserved outside of home and office, became the “3rd Space” and was planted internally among organizations to benefit from the great atmosphere and interaction these spaces generated. Casual collisions, the bump factor, all became rooted in the reasons to dedicate prime real estate to informal spaces that accommodate individuals and small-to-medium-to-large groups with various levels of public and private applications. Why are organizations doing this? Because it works.

“Clients ask me, ‘what’s this space over here you planned with nobody’s name on it?’ I respond with ‘that is where the most work will get done.’ We purposely plan in 30 to 40% of third space because the research and our experience shows how important it is to productivity and overall culture. They reply, ‘what’s third space?,’” Pam Light, Senior Vice President, HOK Los Angeles, relates.

What is 3rd space? It’s that inviting lounge chair next to a window with tablet and power and some seclusion where you can knock out 45 minutes of work before your next meeting. It’s the small round table with three chairs where your project team can meet for an impromptu meeting. It’s a highback lounge configuration that replaces four walls, yet has all the privacy four colleagues need. Now, add LinkedIn-type networking to an external third space with cool amenities and charge for access...say hello to co-working, another movement that fits the generational blend and evolution of work/home/play.

Technology, more so the untethering of it, combined with transient workforces spawned third space activity as designers recognized that individuals needed only a percent of time in the office or at a dedicated or primary space.

“We coach our clients through a deep-dive assessment of dedicated space. What’s the run-rate on daily office capacity? How mobile is your workforce? The allocation of primary, secondary and third spaces is a measurement. Then, the proximity of the third space is just as important as recognizing that it is needed,” adds Pam Light.

What’s more, just like musical chairs, third spaces create movement and flow by being a destination, just like that last open chair. Individuals remove their bodies from statue-like positions and walk to a new space to work. Movement is well-being. Interaction is well-being. Third spaces done properly will be just like the kitchen at a house’s where everyone ends up.

So, let’s play the new version of musical chairs where everyone has a couple of seats to choose from, depending on what’s playing on the day’s to-do list. The new musical chairs isn’t reserved just for the workplace. Education and healthcare environments dance right along to this tune too!
Mar 13, 2017 BLOG/Design

Another Big Night in NYC for OFS Brands

The OFS, Carolina and Highmark names were called throughout the evening in several categories as honorees with two products earning the coveted bulb award. In the 11 year history of the Best of Year competition, OFS Brands has won 12 Best of Year awards and 13 Best of Year honoree designations.
Best of Year Winners:
OFS Qove designed by Q Design

Carolina Whisper

Best of Year Honorees:
OFS Aptos designed by Brian Graham

OFS Preview designed by Tom Newhouse

Highmark Genus designed by Webb Associates 

Qualified interior designers and architects selected product design finalists during a two-week period in October via an online vote. 
All products are featured in the December issue of Interior Design, dedicated to Best of Year.


Qove by OFS                          Whisper by Carolina



Aptos by OFS                         Genus by Highmark                 Preview by OFS


Dec 15, 2016 BLOG/Awards

An Interview with Linda Porter Bishop

Changes in the landscape and confusion in today's furniture market.

Linda has been a registered interior designer in Texas for 19 years. She is a professional member of ASID and IIDA and has her LEED-AP certification. She is one of 50 Founding Members of AAHID (2004). She has designed several furniture collections. Along with interior designer Iris Dates, Linda designed the award-winning Embrace Collection for Carolina. She has won local ASID, state IIDA and national and international design awards. She has been part of the editorial review board for HERD Journal since its beginning, one of two interior designers out of 30 worldwide reviewers.
What have you been up to since designing the Embrace collection for Carolina?
In 2008, I jumped into an amazing opportunity to live and work in Doha, Qatar. I sold my home, my car, left my grown children (who were wonderfully supportive!) and worked briefly for a U.S. firm there. Then my client, the government-owned healthcare system, hired me. I worked in The Center for Healthcare Improvement at Hamad Medical Center. It was my dream job, and I worked with a wonderful group of people from all over the world.
While in Doha, I was asked to design a healthcare product line for the Asia Pacific division of a U.S. furniture company, and I moved to Shanghai in 2012. Another dream job! My commission evolved to overseeing the product development, branding and marketing strategies for the line. As that neared completion, I started consulting with Robarts Spaces in Beijing on their hospital and senior living projects; beautiful work and beautiful people!
In 2015, I decided it was time to come home. Air pollution and daily challenges with the Internet just became too much to handle; and I missed family!
While you were working overseas, how would you describe the general state of Healthcare to be in those countries?
Qatar and the Middle East are very different from China, and both are very different from the U.S.
Qatar is an interesting study of contrasts: they’ve leapfrogged ahead with technology and are slowly developing the infrastructure to support it. It is with the very best of intentions that they build the most modern healthcare facilities. Their challenge is bringing their citizens through the systems to support the facilities without the help of expert oversight.
In China, it is another but different contrast: there’s the beautiful tradition of TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, that has sustained the citizens for thousands of years. At the same time, there’s the drive to be recognized globally as a world leader, so there’s been a rush to construct these massive healthcare centers with the latest technology. But as in Qatar, the infrastructure hasn’t caught up, and often the technology is plentiful but unused.
How is (or isn’t) that different than Healthcare in the US?
Everything is different.
There are very basic things for designers, like learning to convert our Imperial dimensions into metric. The design process is also very different. In Qatar, owners wanted a final rendering at the first meeting, and there was no consideration for any user input. In China, you were required to present “inspiration photos” for your design, and there was no appreciation of creativity.
On the positive side, both countries invested in many tours to the U.S. to tour our well-known facilities. In the case of Qatar, they actively seek partnerships with leading facilities to bring their knowledge and expertise back to Qatar.
As far as healthcare furniture, there’s nothing available around the world that is similar to U.S. healthcare furniture. There’s also no appreciation for it; it is often beautiful but totally inappropriate high-end contemporary pieces. There are lots of opportunities for education regarding infection control and patient safety.
What do you see as the biggest issues facing Interior Designers in the US that are designing Healthcare spaces?
Technology and Evidence-based Design has changed everything.
It’s incumbent on each of us to keep up with the latest research and not to rely on our intuition or what we did on our last project. You have to spend time reading and understanding the implications of the data to your projects.
You have to spend time with all segments of the population and observe them in a healthcare setting: what do patients need and then solve the puzzles when designing the environment and when specifying appropriate products.
Where do you see Healthcare Interior Design in 10 years?
First, I think we need to think about our work as Health and Care Design. It addresses the unique needs of hospitals and clinics as “care” environments.

From a branding and marketing perspective, it’s only a short hop to senior living — or what I call “healthcare-lite.” That opens up a new market.
With this huge wave of retiring Baby Boomers, we have an opportunity to redefine what those environments will look like. Most of us don’t live in a Chippendale-inspired environment; I’m eagerly awaiting a senior living provider who gets this concept.
As each generation of designers enter the market, their preferences have taken over the market and the preferences of the older generation has been phased out. But we have so many people living and working longer, and we need to find a respect for each and a recognition of their individual tastes with our design solutions.

View complete interview here.
Sep 16, 2016 BLOG/Design

OFS Brands Live! - Lively Conversations from Behind the Curtain

by Doug Shapiro

At OFS Brands, we believe that when you put people first, you can do so much more. That's exactly what we did with our very talented design partners this year at NeoCon. We put them front-and-center, so our sales organization could hear first-hand the driving force and points of inspiration that were molded, reworked, scrapped, resurrected and ultimately transformed into the products you experienced in Chicago and going forward.

Through the grandeur of NeoCon, we wanted to get very real and personal so our sales team could relay the stories behind the products to you like it was coming directly from the designers. During our annual sales meeting on the Saturday before the big show, our team got so much more than anticipated and we wanted to share these inspiring, behind-the-curtain conversations with you.

Welcome to OFS Brands Live! Mark Strauss, President Emeritus of Interior Design Magazine, hosted a lively, laughter-filled talk show format where his thoughtful prodding took us down paths of "homefulness" to sneakers; yet, always coming full circle to why it matters to people. Our celebrity guests included Brian Graham, Daniel Korb, Pam Light and John Duffy, and our new VP of Design Development, John Phillips, who all welcomed us into their personalities and how the world has informed them which in turn has informed their product design.

This was the perfect way to kickoff NeoCon and now it's the perfect way to kickoff your day of designing a great space where someone will do great things. As John Phillips says, "We want to inspire forward," and hopefully these videos provide inspiration to you. Enjoy!

Watch NeoCon 2016 Live! Videos

Aug 04, 2016 BLOG/Video