On Tuesday, June 20th, we attended a City Club program on Public Square, For the Love of Cleveland: Reinvestment and Opportunity. We met Mr. Tino Go, founder of Dimensionally Yours, (dimensionallyyours.com), an Ohio-based company that focuses on fast and affordable customization of furniture made with environmentally conscious lumber.
“It’s common for shoppers to find furniture that they find attractive and affordable, Tino says. “But it’s often the wrong size for the home. Our company solves that size challenge. We make every item according to the customer’s size needs. Buying furniture from us is like buying shoes—choose the style you like, and buy it in the right color and size.”
Tino emigrated from Indonesia to the United States when he was 5-years-old. He seemed like a fascinating fellow, so we asked him for an interview for “I, Foreign Born.” He graciously agreed. We met a few days later at “The LOOP” coffee shop in Tremont.
Tino was very pleased to tell us the visionary goals of “Dimensionally Yours”, which has been selling furniture online since February 2017. Basically, the company wants to eliminate the frustration of shopping for furniture from standardized inventory.
We could relate when Tino said that many people find furniture shopping to be frustrating.“Dimensionally Yours is the first online seller to empower consumers with easy and quickly configurable styles. “I see the company evolving into an internet market for artists and designers to promote their unique designs and for individuals with small spaces to find furniture that fits,” Tino says.
Dimensionally Yours would quickly manufacture the artist’s visions and design and ship the finished work to the customer. All of which could be why “Dimensionally Yours” is attracting a lot of interest in New York City—urban residents often struggle with small homes and odd room shapes and there’s finally a piece of furniture that can fit in their unique space. Tino thinks Dimensionally Yours can revolutionize the home furnishings industry. The company manufactures to order and sells directly to consumers on the internet. By only making what customers desire, wasteful inventory and storage costs are avoided and the company can use higher-quality materials and still price competitively. When it comes to materials, Tino eagerly says “NEVER particle board!”
This eclectic Indonesian-born entrepreneur is ready to disrupt the furniture industry. But where did it all begin?
Tino was born in a small town in Java to a medical doctor and his wife of Chinese descent in the mid-1960s. It was a time of political unrest and anti-Chinese sentiment. Fortunately, the immigration reforms passed by the Johnson administration made it possible for his family to move the U.S in 1969. At the time, the family was composed of his father, his mother, Tino, and his younger brother. After relocating to Highland Park, Michigan, Tino’s two sisters were born.
(Fast forward: Today, his brother is a clinical engineer developing breakthrough medical technologies, his sister earned her Ph.D., and teaches at a University in England, and his youngest sister is an architect, and raising a young family in Germany.)
As Tino’s father’s career progressed as a doctor, the family moved to Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, where Tino attended high school. Tino describes himself as an under-performer in school and a bit of a rebellious youngster. Nevertheless, culture shock was not much of a problem, even as they moved homes every few years in the Detroit area.
Despite neglecting his high school studies, upon graduating in 1982, he was awarded two scholarships for painting/sculpture and photography. One scholarship enabled him to travel to Europe. That trip was a life-changing catalyst. He spent the following thirteen years moving back and forth between Europe and the U.S. managing advertising production teams and client relationships. He is still fluent in French and Italian.
In 1995, Tino was motivated by his experiences to understand how economics and finance interact to explain world events. He enrolled at the University of Michigan and earned a BA in economics. He followed that with an MBA in finance at Indiana University, and most of a Master’s degree in accounting from Walsh College, before settling in Cleveland in 2003.
Living abroad helped Tino appreciate the exposure to different cultures and perspectives. “I cherry-pick the best attributes of each place,” he says, “and I try to integrate those attributes into my life wherever I am.” For example, his time in Europe gave him “a greater sensitivity to intangibles—the value of unburdened time, the value of what we would call the simple things of life. It could be the quality of a fruit in Italy, or maybe the extraordinary variety in a French cheese counter. I’ve come to appreciate diverse cultural and political viewpoints and how they play out in everyday life.”
He has shared these perspectives with his sons and helped them develop their own outlook through international travel. He smiled as he said that “now they have become quite open-minded and worldly young men.”
In the 16 years since leaving university, Tino has worked as a consultant to companies in financial crisis, and as Controller (overseeing an organization’s accounting records and finances) for horticultural products, industrial services, an even aircraft landing gear. “I look at accounting as a language,” Tino said, “and the reports describe how a company has performed.”
But more than being just the Controller, he was always analyzing the underlying drivers for the financial performance, constantly seeking ways to enhance results.
Around 2014-2015, he was motivated by his own difficult furniture shopping experience to start a company to eliminate these challenges. He saw how technology would enable the affordable and fast production of custom goods. Now that the company has launched, its biggest hurdle has been “to get the word out” about Dimensionally Yours. The company has introduced a new way of buying furniture. Rather than forcing shoppers into style and size compromises, he asserts that Dimensionally Yours is “really empowering customers to configure and size furniture exactly the way they want” without the uncertainty, time, and expense of having something individually made. With models that are designed to be scaled easily and affordably, the company aims to revolutionize the industry for the shoppers who do not want the standardized items they find in stores and online.
Thanks to Tino, it looks like the disruption of the furniture industry is about to begin.