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How It Started

After nearly a decade of selling custom doors for IKEA cabinets at Semihandmade, founder John McDonald set out to further improve the home storage experience. He had learned that, while plenty of customers were thrilled by the opportunity to build a custom-looking kitchen for a reasonable price, others faced challenges when shopping for cabinetry parts in two different places. He wanted to bring the entire process in-house.

Design by IKD; Photography by Kate Jordan; Styled by Raina Kattelson

His vision was to create the Warby Parker, Away, or Harry’s of cabinets, prioritizing a digital-first, direct-to-consumer model targeted towards millennials. The result is BOXI by Semihandmade, a company offering fully-assembled cabinets that are built in the United States, available to order online, and delivered fast. Most importantly, the product is priced competitively.

Photography by Nick Glimenakis; Styled by Kristi Hunter

The brand launched in March 2021 with eight styles, from the classic white Shaker to the on-trend light wood slab, as well as floating shelves, drawer dividers, and hardware. In its first few months, collaborations with designers like Anne Sage, Sarah Sherman Samuel, the Brownstone Boys, and Wit & Delight’s Kate Arends have helped put BOXI on the map, setting the venture up for continued success. 

Photography by Stoffer Photography Interiors

And, upcoming projects with design trendsetters Busy Phillips, Lauren Conrad, Bobby Berk and others show the brand is only picking up steam.

bobby berk wearing all black and sitting on a wooden chair

Photography by Tessa Neustadt

Where It’s Going

BOXI has accomplished a lot in its inaugural year — including selling more than 500 kitchens — but the best is yet to come. Feedback from customers, market research, and macro economic trends will influence the company’s second year strategies and beyond. “We’ve learned a lot in the last 12 months,” says McDonald. “It’s hard to believe BOXI is about to hit its first birthday.”

One major lesson? The pandemic’s new normal has created challenges that require skillful problem-solving and educated pivoting in nearly every industry. With that in mind, BOXI will be beginning a regional distribution model. Starting May 1, BOXI will only be available in the western United States, but customers in those areas can expect even faster lead times. SoCal customers, those living from Santa Barbara to San Diego and including Palm Springs and the surrounding desert areas, can look forward to quick-ship cabinetry with one- to-two week delivery.

“That’s where a majority of sales have been in the first year, it’s where our Southern California headquarters is located, and targeting that region for the foreseeable future gives us the best opportunity to focus on our team, our strengths, and our resources,” he explains. For those living east of Texas, BOXI cabinets will still be available to order on or before April 30.

Illustration by Monica Dorazewski

What To Look Forward To

Western U.S. customers, however, will have even more options. Later this year, expect express shipping, dedicated closet systems, a mobile showroom to bring the BOXI experience to those near and far, plus paintable bath vanities, and a curated collection of Backdrop paint to go with them. “People love DIY,” he shares. “It gives them the flexibility to have any color they want.”

And, that’s just a peek into what is to come. BOXI will also be showcased in Rejuvenation stores, including its Portland headquarters and three other key locations. “This partnership was a natural fit for us,” says McDonald. “We’ve had customers using our products together for years with Semihandmade, and because we already offer their hardware on our sites, it’s a perfect extension to now offer our cabinetry to their customers.” 

In short: there’s much more to come from this growing brand. Ready to get BOXI? 

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