Munire (pronounced Mu-near-ray) has had its share of ups and downs in recent years. The company got its start in the mid 90′s as a small nursery furniture maker in New Jersey before moving production to Asia.
Munire achieved success in the 2000′s with its adult-looking nursery furniture—cribs with swooping arches, detailed base moulding, and carved headboards set the brand apart. Namesake designer and owner Munir Hussain built the company into one of the top nursery furniture brands in the U.S., with $63 million in sales and distribution in both chain stores and independent boutiques.
Alas, Munir turned out to be a better designer than CEO. The company made a disastrous bet on returning production to the US when it opened a multi-million dollar production facility in Indiana in 2010. Quality issues and production problems dogged Munire from Day 1 in Indiana, finally sending the company into bankruptcy in 2014 with close to $30 million in debt.
A company named Heritage Baby Products (owned by investment firm Sterling iCapital) bought Munire’s assets out of bankruptcy in late 2014 and relauched the brand in 2015.
So, after all that tumult, what is Munire like today? It’s hard to say. Many stores still have the old Munire furniture on the floor as samples, not the newer production.
We did come across some furniture from the New Munire at a Nebraska Furniture Mart and were somewhat underwhelmed. Yes, the New Munire has many of the styles from the old company, but overall quality seemed to have slipped, in our opinion.The dresser drawer glides, for example, didn’t move as smoothly as before. That’s disappointing for cribs that are in the $500 range and dressers that can top $700. We also see occasional online reviews of chipping paint and other quality issues—but it is hard to know if this furniture was made by the old or new Munire.
A sales associate for Buy Buy Baby in Dallas told us the wood species for new Munire furniture is poplar—that’s a downgrade from the mahogany that old Munire used. (Poplar isn’t as hard as mahogany and that could lead to long-term durability issues).
Munire has a couple of sister brands that are sold in chain stores. Baby Cache is Munire’s brand at Babies R Us and features cribs between $400 and $500. Basically, Baby Cache is Munire Lite—similar designs, but less fancy detailing. The downside? Baby Cache doesn’t have the accessories Munire offers (such as night stands) and finishes are limited.
Munire was also sold under the name Suite Bebe at Baby Depot, but that brand appears to be on hiatus as of this writing.
So how to rate Munire? This is a tough one—many of the online reviews of Munire are for furniture that was made by the old Munire. Ditto for our own database of parent feedback. Most of these customer reviews were positive, but as Munire spiraled closer to bankruptcy, the quality woes began to stack up. Furniture from the new Munire has only been on the market for about six months; given the samples we saw, we were disappointed. So we’ll give this brand a B- while we await more feedback. Rating: B-