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 protection in 2014 with close to $30 million in debt. There were accusations of bank fraud that saw one former Munire executive plead guilty in 2016 in federal court.
A company named Heritage Baby Products (owned by investment firm Sterling iCapital) bought Munire’s assets out of bankruptcy in late 2014 and relaunched the brand in 2015.
So, after all that tumult, what is Munire like today? A mixed bag.
We did come across some furniture from the New Munire at a Nebraska Furniture Mart and were somewhat underwhelmed. Yes, the New Munire uses the same production plant and supply chain as the Old Munire, but overall quality seemed to have slipped a notch, 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 $400 to $600 range and dressers that top $700. One Amazon customer said her $400 Munire crib arrived with a two-foot crack in the headboard:
Freight damage is a common complaint for many online furniture shoppers, so perhaps we should cut Munire some slack here. But at these price points, we expect Munire to a better job at quality control and packing its furniture to avoid damage.
Like most nursery furniture companies these days, Munire is sold under a variety of aliases. Baby Cache is a Babies R Us exclusive 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.
At Buy Buy Baby, Munire sold under both the Kingsley brand name and its namesake Munire. For 2017, Munire plans to rebrand Munire furniture as Centennial, no doubt to distance itself from the past brand’s transgressions.
Munire is also sold under the name Suite Bebe at Baby Depot, Amazon and Wayfair. Suite Bebe is basically the same as Baby Cache, style and price-wise.
So how to rate Munire? The new Munire seems to be garnering mostly positive feedback from our readers, so we’ll tick up their rating a bit this year. But the quality control holds this brand back from getting a top rating. Rating: B