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This Moncton Entrepreneur Builds Sustainable Collapsible Furniture

Erik LeBrun assembles the Slat Chair he designed at his home studio. Image: Roger Flanagan/Submitted

MONCTON – Erik LeBrun has had to move nine times across three cities and two countries in the last seven years. He’s had to switch up his furniture as many times. 

“At one point I was just getting sick and tired of having to sell all my furniture and buy new. So I thought I should start making collapsible things for myself,” he said. 

So instead of using cardboard boxes, he made wooden boxes for his books that he can stack in his van. Once in his new home, the boxes can be turned into shelves. 

After moving back to Moncton for a job three years ago and buying a house in the city, LeBrun searched for affordable furniture that suits his taste but didn’t see many options. 

Trained as an architect, he launched AGILE Design + Fabrication last year after prototyping the furniture for a couple of years and getting funding from CBDC.

Revenue mostly comes from architecture and interior design projects, but he also makes and sells collapsible furniture. Some clients ask for custom furniture designs, as well.

AGILE Design + Fabrication has since been selected to be part of the fall 2018 cohort of B4C’s social venture accelerator.  

“I want to do things differently than what the industry is doing,” LeBrun said. 

He wants to make furniture and the indoor environment in a responsible and ethical fashion, sourcing as many of the materials locally. 

The company uses materials that are durable, sustainable and good for the indoor air quality, he said.

“For example, our plywood furniture is made from sustainably harvested Canadian lumber, laminated with a special glue that doesn’t produce any [Volatile Organic Compounds],” he said. “All of our finishes are also non-toxic, and we use natural products when possible.”

The stains on the furniture are home-made natural dyes from ingredients like beets and coffee. And they’re then sealed with natural oils like Tung Oil. 

Many of the furniture don’t use glue at all so they can be assembled and taken apart easily, using pressure fitted slots that allow parts to slide in together using a little mallet. 

He also wants to make them affordable. 

“The goal is to make these nicely designed things and make it accessible for young professionals who don’t have a thousand dollars to spend on furniture,” he said. “We try to keep prices down but without sacrificing quality. But they are more expensive than cheaper stuff on the market.” 

In the future, he’s hoping to create a maker space platform through AGILE that will allow the public to use the company’s resources to make furniture and exchange knowledge. 

Currently, customers interested in LeBrun’s furniture can contact him via the company’s social media pages. But an online store for the furniture is set to be launched in the next few weeks, he said.