sorelle cribsorellefurniture.com, lussonursery.com, sb2furniture.com

Sorelle is one of the baby gear industry’s survival stories. In business since 1977, the company has constantly changed and morphed over time.

Sorelle first imported Italian cribs. It switched gears in the 2000’s to importing lower-priced furniture from Vietnam and China. Sorelle has succeeded by pursuing a value niche: its furniture is generally regarded as giving consumers more bang for the buck.

Sorelle has also survived by selling its furniture in a variety of channels: specialty stores (under the Sorelle and Lusso brands), chain stores (under Golden Baby and C&T) and online.

Sorelle divides its brand into three parts: high-end (Lusso), mid-price (Sorelle) and entry-level (SB2).

Lusso is sold mainly in specialty, brick-and-mortar stores—prices range from $500 to $700 for cribs, which includes the toddler conversion rail. Quality touches here include dovetail drawer construction and poplar wood as well as more substantial posts and slats. The style of this line is more traditional and ornate as with the Ravena Crib ($708, includes a toddler rail).

Sorelle is the brand you’ll see in chain stores—it is similar to Lusso in quality, but scaled down a bit. Cribs run from as little as $250 to $600. Big in the line are combination crib and changer designs (we think these are a safety hazard, as toddlers can escape the crib via the attached dresser) as well as 4-in-1 options. An example is the Yorkshire Lifetime Crib, which converts to a toddler, then a full size crib for $260.

SB2 is Sorelle’s entry-price point brand sold online. Cribs run $150 to $400; dressers are ready-to-assemble. Under the SB2 brand, Sorelle offers entire five-piece nursery sets at stores like Burlington’s Baby Depot for $400 to $500—crib, four-drawer dresser, hamper, changing table and toddler conversion rail. SB2 also offers a couple low profile cribs for shorter parents.

Style-wise, Sorelle is middle-of-the-road traditional furniture; yes occasionally take a stab at modern styling, but that is the exception to the rule.

In the last couple of years, this brand looks like they’ve been treading water, style-wise. The lack of innovation and me-too designs are disappointing.

So, how’s the quality? If you take a look at the reviews of Sorelle posted to our message boards, you’ll note the opinions are all over the board. For every parent who tells us they are pleased with the quality and finish of their Sorelle furniture, another will write to blast a series of problems—quality woes, shipping damage, “nonexistent and rude” customer service, poor assembly instructions, missing parts and more.

It’s the lack of customer service that bothers us most here: the attitude at Sorelle seems to be “you’re getting a good price on this furniture, so don’t complain if we don’t return your call for parts.” Sorry, but that doesn’t cut it.

In general, the cribs get better marks than the dressers, based on our reader feedback. Complaints about the dressers include stains that don’t match cribs, uneven finishes, freight damage and more.

Bottom line: great prices but a mixed quality picture and weak customer service drag down Sorelle’s rating. If you choose this brand, buy it from a store with a good return policy, just in case you get home and discover some surprises in the box. Rating: C+