How two brothers launched a startup to get workers away from their couches and kitchen tables
As the country adjusts to working from home, people are realizing the importance of a dedicated and organized workspace. But they don’t always have room for a fully equipped home office, and the process of finding office furniture in the right size for the right price can be time-consuming and expensive. To close that gap, Cincinnati startup Porvata wants to become a one-stop shop for the at-home worker. Co-founding brothers Nick and Will Jaroszewicz launched Porvata as an online store that is easy to navigate and can provide high-quality and customizable desks and office chairs to fit any space.
“We were home with our family last year — working in different rooms with different setups, trying to do work and school through a pandemic — and realized that there wasn’t an easy way to get high-quality furniture to fit our needs,” said Nick Jaroszewicz. “I had been a kitchen table worker before the pandemic, and that became so cumbersome. People forget the ownership they can have at a desk that is specifically designed for you to do your work, and that is why we were spurred to create change. We knew that there were manufacturers making what we needed, but there wasn’t a sales channel to purchase it. That’s how Porvata was born.”
The Jaroszewicz brothers found that they were more productive and comfortable with the proper desk and chair setup, but they needed quality furniture that would fit in the space available in their home. Like millions of Americans, they came to the realization that a couch or kitchen table is only a temporary solution to what could be a long-term problem. To solve that problem, many looked to big-box stores or online retailers, only to find low-quality furniture, long wait times for delivery and limited size options. Porvata saw the need for customizable, ergonomic desks and chairs that can fit in any space, and they knew that they could deliver them faster than their competitors.
“The existing e-commerce platforms provide an impersonal experience with cheaper items that are convenient, which is great for a lot of people, but not necessarily something that is going to last a long time,” said Will Jaroszewicz. “If you go to buy office furniture, it’s a long process and you don’t always have a good sense of what you’re going to pay until you’ve finished that process. We wanted to build an online experience that could be enjoyable, customizable and fast.”
Working from a customized, ergonomic office desk and chair can make a difference in both productivity and happiness, and Porvata has received positive feedback on their early line of products. Now, they’re focused on how they can expand that list to include additional sizes and shapes and accessories that can keep workspaces organized.
“We are always continuing to innovate and to add exciting new products, because not everybody wants a standard standing desk or even a rectangular desk, and they may want a different color,” said Will Jaroszewicz. “We are going to add accessories like wire management or monitor arms, items that you might not always think you need, but can make life a lot easier and cleaner when you have them. We provide very personalized products and a visual experience online like you’re walking into a showroom and getting that attention you deserve, with a list of curated items for your needs.”
Porvata uses local manufacturers and distributors to produce their custom furniture and ship directly to your door, skipping the warehouse waiting period that has caused massive delays over the last 18 months and traveling a shorter distance than providers on the coast. With expansion on the horizon, the Jaroszewiczs see Ohio as their ideal base. The Cincinnati natives are working to partner with more Ohio manufacturers, and local businesses to become the go-to third-party provider for employees’ at-home office needs.
“In Cincinnati, you have a pretty large network, so things that really have helped us launch are the support, community and people here who are willing to take a chance on us,” said Will Jaroszewicz. “Early on, we did an interview with the local news, and that’s not something we would ever be able to do in a lot of other cities because we aren’t big enough. From a logistical standpoint, Ohio is in the middle of the country, so we can ship in all different directions and have substantial coverage in a relatively short amount of time. Most importantly, our family is in Cincinnati; it’s a place that we just really love.”