The Trend Report Podcast

Episode 110: CEO Chat
with Brandi Susewitz of Reseat

Summary Keywords

resell, landfill, chairs, office furniture, technology, cradle to grave, sustainability, receipt, used furniture, lifetime, furniture, commercial, industry, dealer, product, award, dealer community, network, company culture, reuse, recycle, innovation, contract furniture, specify, second lifecycle passport

Sid Meadows, Host of The Trend Report
Brandi Susewitz, Founder and CEO Reseat

Coach Sid Meadows: Hey, everybody, and welcome back to this week's episode of the Trend Report. I'm glad you're joining me today we have a another returning guest with us today seems to be our theme in the fall to have returning guests. But I'm really excited to welcome this guest back because of the progress has been made in her business over the last two years. So join me in welcoming Brandi Susewitz with Reseat back to the podcast. Hey, Brandi, how are you?


Brandi Susewitz: I'm doing good. Thank you.


Sid: So Brandi, you were here on February the 15th of 2021. So now, a year and a half, almost two years later — you're back joining us. You were our guest on episode #41, and we'll drop the link to that episode in the show notes. Now you're on episode #110. So, lots of time has passed by, and back then, you were just getting started with your business. It even had a different name back then. So give us a quick little update about you, and then we're going to dive into some of the specifics.


Brandi: Sure. Well, first of all, congratulations to you because you've done a ton more podcasts. So you're like a total expert now.


Sid: Oh, I don't know about that. I don't like that word. But certainly I'm experienced with podcasting now, because in the beginning… not so much.


Brandi: Yeah. So when I was here in February of 2021, we were called Clear Office. I was able to register the name in California, but we had immediate success like within five months of launching the business. We ended up getting global press coverage. 


Sid: A lot of it too, I mean, not just a little bit — you got a lot of press coverage. But before you dive into it, the new listeners that maybe don't know you or haven't listened to the last episode or haven't been exposed to reseat — briefly tell us what it is that you guys do, so that they have that context as we go through some of the stuff that you've done in the last couple years.


Brandi: Basically just a quick little snippet of my past, I've been in the office furniture industry for 25+ years, and I just realized really early on in my career how much furniture waste was out there. During the pandemic, I had some time to dive into that whole subject and really research it. I think a lot of people in the industry, maybe we hear about the waste and everybody's trying to do the right thing and specify the right products. But we really don't understand that literally 98% of the products that we're selling end up in our landfill. So what Reseat is — it's technology that allows you to be proactive in your planning, so that customers have a proactive plan in place as to what they're going to do with their furniture at the time of purchase. 

The plan can be in place at the time of purchase if they want, which makes it a lot easier than waiting to the very end. Really the one thing that a company needs if they're going to be liquidating their furniture is time. It doesn't matter how nice or how new it is — nobody's gonna want 100 chairs or 1000 chairs or multiples of anything, unless they know where it's going. So it's not a single sofa that you're trying to sell from your house, right? It's an office building full of furniture. 

That really means in order to place it in a new home, effectively, you need time. When I say time, you really need 6+ months, which should be able to work out okay for most clients, because most clients know for a year (sometimes more) that they're going to be relocating and not bringing their current furniture.


Sid: So you said a couple of important things here. First off is an idea that came out of the pandemic, when you had the opportunity to dive in and do some research (you can hear Brandi’s full story in Episode #41, because it's a powerful story, so go listen to it). 

From that research, you came up with an idea for a technology that solves an industry problem, which is the disposal of existing furniture into the landfill. So I'm generalizing about our behavior as an industry, our attitude is “let's just throw it away.” I remember from the first episode that were on, you said that 50% of the landfill is products from our industry, from the built environment — 25% furniture 25% building waste. 

Then, just now, you dropped a statistic that 98% — if I heard it correctly — 98% of furniture that we sell is destined to the landfill. And you're solving that problem.


Brandi: What’s crazy, too, is that most of that disposed product is less than 10 years old, because most leases last between 3-7 years. I think something really important that I want to mention in this podcast discussion is — originally, I had started the business just wanting to create a platform, a marketplace, where companies could go buy and sell their used office furniture, with special features of “Add to Cart” Checkout, delivery, and installation. 

What ended up happening in the 5th month of business — I want to go back to the global press coverage, because that was really a pivotal moment. What ended up happening when we now had global press coverage, is that everyone was calling me. I guess they had seen the story, and they were calling me, sending me photos, saying, “I've got this beautiful inventory.” Everybody was calling wanting me to take their furniture — but there was one thing, a “catch” — everybody wanted it done within 6-to-8 weeks. 

So, for the first couple of weeks after that global press coverage, I was turning them away, because I had nowhere to put the furniture. So I was turning away planter tables, planter chairs, Eames chairs. Honestly, for the first couple of weeks, I felt like a failure, because somehow I had managed to drum up all this attention for the business, and I was turning these people away… But I had an “Aha!” moment there, and it was literally that in our industry, the way we do things (excuse the French) is kind of ass backwards. 

We're an industry that operates at enormous scale, right? Like I said before, it's not a sofa or a table you're just trying to sell from your house. Because we operate at enormous scale, it's imperative that we are thinking about what happens to that furniture and have a plan, a proactive plan at the time of purchase. You're buying so much product, and then you're only leaving yourself 6-to-8 weeks to try and find a home for it at the end of its life? 

It's going to fail every time. So really, that was my “Aha!” moment. One day I was sitting on the couch with my husband, and it kind of just popped into my head and I thought to myself, “Second lifecycle passport.” We tried to trademark the name, but it had been taken. 

So that's why we came up with the Reseat ID, which acts as a second lifecycle passport. The other thing that is super, super key is we're only located in California, but really our goal is to be a provider of the solution nationwide and maybe one day globally, but we're not in those other states right now. 

That's why we decided to team up with the dealer network that's already in place and make preferred Reseat dealers across the nation, because we know that we're going to end up with all this furniture that we can't sell successfully alone. We need to team up with dealers who have the infrastructure already in place with their salespeople. This partnership also helps with our costs, because we don't have to pay them unless the product is sold. We're also tapping into their warehousing, their equipment, and logistics — we need the support of the dealer network and dealer community. That network is something that's already set in place, so it didn't make sense to reinvent the wheel.


Sid: Okay, so that's a brilliant idea of leveraging that!

Brandi, let's go back for a second… do you still have the marketplace where you can go online and buy? Is that still available? 

For example, if somebody were looking for that one Eames chair, in rosewood and black leather — I can go out there and see if you have it, and I could buy that one piece? I thought I remembered that it would give me the ability to buy it online, check up with my credit card in, and you're good to go. 

And then I’m hearing you say that the dealer part is that you partner with the dealer. You would pick ABC dealer here in Dallas, because that's where I live. And then when you have a project in their geographical area, you work with them for the removal of it from the building and the storage of it. You're actively marketing it to sell it, or you trying to sell it beforehand. Can you explain that process a little bit?


Brandi: Yeah, that's the other key thing is, you know, the key really is to sell it while it's standing, and there are a few reasons why. Number one, in order to plan a project, you need time. The architect, the dealer, they need enough time to be able to visit the site, walk through the space, and really get the overall condition of the furniture and really understand what they're getting, instead of seeing it torn down in a dark warehouse somewhere.


Sid: And in places that have connectors all over the place and stacks of panels and that kind of stuff. They want the ability to see it actually live set up so you know exactly what you're getting.


Brandi: Exactly. The other thing is that, you know, once you tear it down and put it in a warehouse, it ends up in landfill, nobody can tell what it looks like put together, and no one's gonna buy it. So you need to sell it while it's standing. And also the double handling. Once you've double handle furniture, you're eating into the profits on the furniture.


Sid: You're also damaging it, potentially damaging it and putting more wear and tear on it than was already there by the use of it for the first 5-to-10 years.


Brandi: Exactly. And then the other thing is that most large inventories, they're not just going to be resold and plugged into one other company — it's typically going to multiple companies. So you do need time to plan; there's no other way around it.


Sid: So there's a lot here to unpack, but let's talk for a minute about your growth. When I first met you, I met you through a LinkedIn post, honestly. So then Kelly got connected with you, and then you got picked up by national media — not just once, but multiple different media outlets that picked up the story of what you're doing. And you went from somebody being a furniture seller, advocate student of our industry, to...


Brandi: To a tech company. know 


Sid: What's that transition been like? You're supporting our industry, so it’s connected, but what's it been like going from selling a physical product to selling a technology? You're a tech company today.


Brandi: It's a huge learning experience, but it's super exciting. Honestly, I've never been part of a company that has grown so organically. We didn't have any money for marketing or PR dollars, because in the beginning, we were taking money out of our 401k to survive.


Sid: And it was just you and your husband, right? And how big are you now? How many people do you have now on your team?


Brandi: So we have 12 full time employees. Probably our big hire was our CTO, who has just been amazing. He's so knowledgeable. I just come up with the ideas, and then he figures it out on the tech side. All I had was an idea, and I literally surrounded myself with people that are much smarter than me. 

I treat our people… Well, you know, that's the other thing — I really want to create a culture where people know how valued they are, and that we can't do this alone. Because it really does feel like we're headed straight to the moon. 


Sid: It’s been so fun to watch the excitement around what you're doing and where you're headed and how you've grown. Twelve people added full-time to your team in two short years is phenomenal. You showed up at NeoCon two years ago and showed up again this year — and the community, the industry is recognizing you with multiple awards of “Best of NeoCon.” So tell us a little bit about that. What was that like when you entered the nominations the first time and all of a sudden they're calling your name?


Brandi: Oh, man… Well, the first time, I think we were just six months in, we had just launched. So I think six months young, and it was really funny. I don't know if you've been to those awards before, but they're about an hour long. We were sitting there, and literally, we won the very last award. So I had to sit through all these other awards, and towards the end, I was just trying to tell myself, “it's okay. It's okay. We're at NeoCon, this is all about new furniture.” 

But then we won the last award, which was integrated technology solutions in sustainability. And then, of course, this last year in June…When you win the first time, and then you come back, you really are just so thankful that you won the first time. So really, I had really no expectations. 

But then we were called once, and then we were called two times, and then three times. And then we got the MetLife award. Then we got an Innovation Award. That was a huge award at NeoCon that had an award in 2022. They had that award for the first time. It was a list of journalists for New York Times, Fast Company, Inc. magazine, and they all came into my booth. I did the presentation, and we actually won that award. I was just shocked. 

We were an honoree for Planet Positive award. Then the last thing is, we were named in Fast Company as being one of the most innovative companies in the world for 2022. So it's been a complete whirlwind and super exciting. But did I ever think that I was going to be an exhibitor at NeoCon and winning? No, not at all.


Sid: You’re literally on the world stage being recognized. 

I want to recap this for a second. This is part of what we talked about in the previous episode — you got laid off, you love our industry, you knew this was a problem. While you had the time, you started doing some research, you came up with an idea, you created a tech company, then you had an “Aha!” moment about how to make it even better. And then you start telling people about it and putting your number out in the world, your phone is blowing up. You present it NeoCon, you start getting worldwide press, and two short years later, you're 12 employees in and making a huge impact on our industry. 

But more important than that, you're making a huge impact on the environment and how we, as an industry, contribute to the environment. You're working hard to ensure that products do not go into a landfill. Because again, as you said, 25% of North America, US landfill is full of product, and you're working to solve that. So do you have a statistic or do you know how much product that you've diverted from landfills and you put into reuse?


Brandi: I know that our first year, we saved about 3 million pounds from the landfill. I'm not sure what the second year is, but I know it's double to change. 


Sid: That's huge. So I remember when we talked about this before, they had design firms reaching out to you for a deal or strategy. What's the design community's response been to the idea? And then how open have they been to used furniture?


Brandi: Well, that's probably one of the most surprising things that I learned. When Gensler started reaching out to me, having me do presentations to their sustainability team, about what we were doing — that that floored me. What I learned from all this was that they (not just Gensler, but most of the architectural firms) especially the younger generation coming into the workforce — they really want to be able to specify already existing products and plug them into projects that they're working on. 

But they were never able to do that because of the way companies sell their furniture, they leave you 6-to-8 weeks, and that doesn't give anybody any time to do anything. So people kind of throw their hands in the air and it ends up in landfill. But if you are thinking about what's going to happen to all this furniture at the time of purchase, and everything is ready to go for that client when the time is to move — they can easily list that furniture for saleon the marketplace. 

But the other part of the technology is, a preferred Reseat dealer. That means that the dealer has agreed to join our mission and to register 100% of their projects with Reseat IDs. So the Reseat ID is only the first part. At the time of purchase, they're going to get an acknowledgment from the dealer, but they're also going to receive the link to their Reseat ID, which basically just gives them a beautiful inventory list of all their products, the location, the floor, the room number,


Sid: So they've done this with the customer knowing. They presented the whole Reseat idea in this preferred Reseat, at the beginning of the purchase process. So the client knows when they close out on that project, they're getting this information, right? 


Brandi: The dealer is agreeing to just be proactive, perfect, and provide them this Reseat ID. So here you go. And it gives them a real, detailed inventory. Some people might go “Well, what's the difference between that and just looking at my order?” The difference is that it's gonna give you locations, it's also going to give you the rendering of the product. So the end user isn't looking at that going, “Well wait, are those the purple chairs? Are those the red chairs? And do they have arms?” So they know exactly what the product is, but they can't do anything with it. 

If they want to upgrade to the enterprise tool, they can do that, and it's custom quoted. Basically, what it allows you to do is you get the inventory of everything that you own, but the end user can create all of their requisitions in the back end. In real time, you can add all your teammates, you can add whoever, you're collaborating with, any vendor. So for instance, let's say it's a big company, big companies do requisitions all the time. 

Adds, moves, changes, moves, all that kind of stuff, they would log in. Let's just say they have 500 or 50 chairs that they want to move to another location. Sure, there's a drop down next to the item, and it says “how do you want to receive your product” — move, sell, donate. And if they want to move, they click move, and then the next page comes on, they add their vendor, and it would go directly to the move vendor. 

So all the information regarding that product is already there, and then they send in the requisition. If they want to sell the product, they would click sell, we would be notified with the dealer. Then we're not starting from scratch, we actually have what they've uploaded. So we're starting with something — we just go there, verify that it's correct. Then we list it live on the marketplace, and we put in the dates the furniture is available, and the date that the furniture needs to be out of the building.


Sid: So in addition to the mission of what you're doing, you've also created an asset management tool, allowing the customer to manage their assets using technology. In real time they know exactly where everything is. So when they do move from building A to building D on the second floor, they know exactly what's happened with that furniture and where it is, which is always been something super interesting to try to talk to customers about is asset management barcoding. So you've inadvertently created that tool as well.


Brandi: Right? And it's not something that I knew we were going to do, but one of our important hires, MJ Dyson, came on board and she actually came from the end user side, so she was at Facebook and Samsung on the real estate and facility side. It's funny because you think they would be using something a little bit more tech savvy to manage all of this information, but they're using Excel spreadsheets… and you can't do anything with Excel spreadsheets!


Sid: It's not realistic at all right? 


Brandi: And it's not accurate. I mean, I can go on and on. So it's really cool.


Sid: So tell me about the adaptation, if you will. You're getting in on these projects in the very beginning, and what are the consumers, the end users? What are they saying? 


Brandi: There's not one person or company that I've spoken to that poo-pooed it. They all kind of are like, “Wow, this is kind of incredible.” And the fact that it never existed before, too.  Something cool that we've been seeing is dealers are contacting us now. 

For example, you know, somebody was working on a LinkedIn RFP, and their RFP that they submitted, said that they wanted their furniture to have a Reseat ID. Whoa, yeah, so that's pretty amazing. I honestly think that someday, and someday soon, it's going to be mandatory, because it just has to be. There's just way too much waste.


Sid: So in that Reseat ID, literally you're the only person doing this, you're the only company that I'm aware of that's actually doing this. Do you have competitors? Don't name them, by the way.


Brandi: There's two competitors that I know of. I don't knock anybody who's trying, but I know exactly the reasons why both of them, the way their business models are set up, unfortunately, won't work. Not in the long run. Not only have I been in the office furniture industry, but for 14 years, all I did was buy and sell used inventories. 

I will tell you that experience alone, because it's so different from dealing with brand new furniture, the reverse logistics of it all. Yeah, well, I can't even tell you how many mistakes I made during those 14 years. But I know that these two competitors are going to be going through those mistakes, because I can see it.


Sid: So you've got manufacturers that are saying this is a great idea. You have the industry recognizing you as a phenomenal idea. You have dealers coming on board to be a preferred Reseat Id dealer, which is awesome. And now you're getting their Reseat IDs included in large RFPs, which is also awesome. 

So literally, it's come full circle, all the way around, and put you as one of the only providers in this space. I would say you’re the leading provider of this service on the forefront of really impacting our world positively and impacting change in our industry. Really, you are helping our industry move forward with something that is not a physical product. You didn't design a new product. You came up with a tech that's really helping our industry grow.


Brandi: Yeah, and we'll see how it goes. We have a line around the corner for dealers that want to sign up. So we're doing about one a week now.


Sid: Do you have a goal of how many dealers you want to board?


Brandi: I do have a goal. 


Sid: You don’t have to share it, but that's awesome, because they're recognizing what you're doing. And they say, “We want in.” For onboarding, I'm sure there's a process, obviously you’re doing one a week with a waiting list backed up. Could you have ever thought this would have happened two years ago?


Brandi: No. No… I mean, honestly, yeah. But I'm not saying we have it completely figured out. But I know that I know that our business plan, our growth strategy, and how we're going about it is the smartest way. Well, that I've seen so far.


Sid: Nobody ever has it all figured out. If they tell you that they do, they're lying. Because you don't. Because the world changes a lot. 

But you had the idea. You surrounded yourself with people that could help you create and make this work. That is so very important. And now, you're continuing to learn, continuing to grow, and continuing to reinvent as needed to facilitate the growth of your company.


Brandi: I've learned a lot in the last two years. I feel like my brain is a sponge, and there’s so much to take in.


Sid: I am so honored to have met you and done the first episode with you and then this one. I just want to underscore something, and I think this is so important. Brandi got laid off, she got laid off from her job in 2020. And look at what she has done in two years because she had probably what a lot of people would have told you is a crazy idea. But she had an idea. And she was committed to making it work. And now two years later, She's the owner of a fast-growing, worldwide recognized technology startup. Now she's shaking her head, rolling her eyes at me…

But it’s true, she’s a tech startup dream.

For me what you are telling me, not just anybody listening, you're telling every entrepreneur — if you have a dream, you can make it happen, you just got to do the work.


Brandi: Go for it. Go for it! Don't be scared. Sometimes I feel like I'm jumping out of a plane with no parachute. But you'll know if you're on the right track.


Sid: It's awesome. I'm so excited for you. I'm so excited for this, for the growth, I really appreciate you coming back and giving us an update. I would encourage everybody to go listen to the story in Episode 41, we will drop it down in the show notes for you. Without giving us your cell phone number, Brandi, what is the best way for our community to get in touch with you?


Brandi: I would say if you go to, r e s ea The websites actually going through upgrades. So you'll notice in the next couple of weeks the landing page and everything is going to be a little different, but it's going to have a lot of improvements. Hopefully be a lot more user friendly. I would just say to email the main email [email protected]. I do a pretty good job at you know, looking through those and making sure that I reach back out though.


Sid: Well I’ll also just say to everybody, we'll also drop her LinkedIn profile there. She's pretty active on LinkedIn. Be sure that if you do connect with Brandi on LinkedIn, send her a note, let her know that you heard her here on the Trend Report. Brandi, please come back again, the next year, the year after, and give us another update. I'm super excited about what you're doing and how you're impacting not just our industry, but how you're having a positive impact on the world. Thank you so much for being here today.


Brandi: Thank you for having me!


Sid: Thank you. All right, everybody. We'll see you again in a couple of weeks. Go out there and make today great. Thanks for joining me today on this episode of The Trend Report Podcast. I'm glad that you're here, and I hope that you got some amazing value out of today's conversation. For more about our podcast and this episode and our other episodes, please visit my website at We look forward to seeing you next week. Go out there and make today great!


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