The standing desk industry has learned that where there are cubicles, there are customers. That’s made D.C. an attractive market for adjustable-height office products. It has also turned several Washingtonians into entrepreneurs. Meet two local companies devoted to helping employees rise up.
Outside the Box
It was Jan. 1, 2012, and Day Martin of Vienna was on her way to the gym for a healthy start to the new year. Then she got into a car accident.
Despite physical therapy, Martin was uncomfortable sitting at work all day at the Corporate Executive Board in Arlington. She searched online for a solution but didn’t find anything to buy. Everything was either too big for her workspace or several hundred dollars more than she was willing to spend.
“And how did I even know I’d like standing?” Martin wondered. That’s when she hoisted her computer on top of an empty box.
The fix worked great, but cardboard didn’t jibe with the professional environment. So Martin set about designing her own product.
A year later, she began selling the Stand Steady ($190-$300, standsteady.com). It’s a raised platform that sits on top of an existing desk like the kind in Martin’s former cubicle. (She left her job last spring to focus on her company full time.) The aluminum legs are adjustable, which for Martin — who’s 5 feet 3 — is a crucial feature.
Now, the 38-year-old says, her biggest problem at work is keeping her product in stock.
Tread on Me
The hours required to practice as an attorney were taking a toll on Kathleen Hale’s body and mood. So she and her husband invested in a treadmill desk for their Capitol Hill home. Her verdict? “It made me feel so much better.”
But the couple realized their friends wouldn’t want to buy the same product: It was loud, expensive and not particularly attractive.
So last October, they started their own company, Rebel Desk (rebeldesk.com). The brand’s signature products are the Rebel Crank-Up 1000 ($599), an adjustable-height desk, and the Rebel Treadmill 1000 ($649), a matching treadmill that’s quiet, doesn’t have arms and won’t go faster than 2 mph.
“You don’t sweat when you’re just strolling along,” says Hale, 34, who now switches between walking and standing while working at 1776, the downtown business incubator.
To target more of the city’s startup scene, her company has donated a desk to WeWork’s Chinatown office for a weeks-long demo. (Any member can use it.) And Rebel Desk is developing a game that will award points based on usage so customers can compete with one another.
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