David Baron and Ryan Cocca have been pursuing a passion for the past four years: the Nugget, a foam couch composed of four pieces that can be stacked and manipulated into any shape one can imagine. What started as a mission to find a replacement for a dorm futon has evolved, as the utility of a Nugget makes it the perfect “fun furniture” choice for kids’ playrooms to multi-purpose rooms. Build a teepee, gaming system, lounge chair or bed. Or stack a couple Nuggets for a full-sized sectional. “A family in Vermont bought 11,” Ryan (at right, on ladder) dishes. The more Nuggets, the more possibilities.
Nuggets are made from N.C.-sourced materials, then built, packaged and shipped by Ryan, 26, and David, 28, in a converted tobacco warehouse in east Durham. And unlike the threadbare bean bag chair currently taking up residence in your kids’ bedroom, the Nugget is durable enough to grow with the child, “from babies to teens and beyond,” Ryan says.
David and Ryan are grateful for a successful Kickstarter campaign (which raised nearly $85,000, surpassing the original goal of $20,000 in less than a day) and partnerships with big brands like Rooms To Go and Wayfair.com, but they are most jazzed to be based in Durham, and specifically in the American Underground @Main startup hub.
“[Our setup] is simply unbeatable,” Ryan says.
David agrees: “We hear about how storytelling, cash flows, teamwork and product development play out in other businesses, and we’re constantly weaving it into our own thinking.”
- Nugget launched in November 2014 after two years of development and crowdfunding. Nuggetcomfort.com rolled out a year later.
- As of press time, the company is still at two employees, with David and Ryan handling each order that comes in (although there are plans to add a production position).
- During Black Friday weekend last year, 145 Nugget orders rolled in. “David slept in our warehouse for a week,” Ryan says. “Luckily he had Nuggets to sleep on.”
- Nugget’s innovative packaging – designed by David and Ryan – allows a whole Nugget to arrive in a vacuum-sealed in a 15x16x34-inch box.
- In their early stages, both Nugget and Mati Energy shared the warehouse. Now Runaway and Bee Downtown utilize some of Nugget’s space for storage. “[It’s] fun to all be together,” David says.
- Next on the horizon? “Amazon,” Ryan says.