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GU students design multi-functional vanity for Simply Amish Furniture

Published: July 11, 2022

GU students design multi-functional vanity for Simply Amish FurnitureThe Experience First team that partnered with Simply Amish Furniture is shown with the vanity
they designed. Members of the group are, from left, Isaiah Atkins, Christian Fuentes,
Erica Webb, Moriah Marquis, Est Shong, and Abigail Reinneck.

They knew it had to be unique, multi-functional, and of, course, beautiful.

That’s the challenge a group of Greenville University students faced as they sought to design a piece of furniture for Simply Amish Furniture as a part of this spring’s Experience First projects.

After many hours of brainstorming, considerable research, and multiple trips back to the proverbial drawing board, the group recently unveiled its proposal for the newest addition to the Simply Amish Furniture line– a vanity with several surprising features. And to top off the concept introduction, the team unveiled a full-sized prototype of the vanity, built by company craftsmen.

“It was a great experience,” said Christian Fuentes, a digital media major. “We sketched out the original design and then made revisions until the company was satisfied. Simply Amish has a reputation for creating quality furniture and they don’t cut corners.”

CEO sets expectations for new products

Kevin Kauffman, CEO of Kauffman Brands and Simply Amish Furniture of Arcola, IL, spoke with the students at the outset to set the expectations for new products.

“Kevin and his wife told us that whatever we proposed had to be different than what they had in their line already,” said Erica Webb, an accounting and business management major. “And he wanted it to be multi-functional.”

With those marching orders, the group began to narrow the scope of their proposed piece.

Team decided to design a vanity

“We decided to design a vanity, because there wasn’t one in the current Simply Amish catalogue,” said Moriah Marquis, an English major. “We wanted it to be a modern-looking piece.”

Added team member Est Zhong: “The core idea was to have a sideways-sliding drawer that forms a table in front of the mirror. Then we had the idea of a hidden drawer that slides out of the side of the mirror. We created sketches and gave them to the Simply Amish designers.”

Though it has a traditional Amish feel, the vanity is equipped with several modern elements.

“This piece is different than anything on the market,” said Abigail Reinneck, a marketing and business management major. “It has outlets to charge a phone or power other devices, lights around the mirror, and it has several drawers to hold makeup and supplies. It’s very versatile. And the buyer can order it in a variety of woods and stains to match other furniture they already have.”

If the company decides to go forward with the vanity project, the student-designed piece may be included in future Simply Amish Furniture offerings.

Isaiah Atkins, a digital media major, was the emcee for the Experience First group’s presentation and Brittany Lopez, GU’s Student Success academic program manager, was the coach.

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