Posted on by Ashley Bel

Read before you buy

Now that Spring has come and we’re all enjoying spending time outdoors on the evenings and weekends, many businesses are advertising their version of “French bistro” chairs and tables. As you probably realize, it’s incredibly easy to knock-off a product in China these days, and many of these chairs and tables are exact or close replicas of Fermob outdoor lounge. However, they are cheaply made. You just can’t find the kind of quality from Fermob anywhere else, especially from reproduction or knock-off. Even though they look like the same thing, don’t expect much from knock-offs.

Some simple research has shown me some remarkable differences not just about the products themselves but also the amount of information on them:

Real Fermob Outdoor Lounge Furniture:

Fermob is a green company and the 1st furniture company to sign the VARAPE agreement for special waste recycling

Designed exclusively in France

Produced exclusively in France

Uses 2 stage rust proofing process followed by 2 paint stages

Painted in a 1 million dollar electrostatic painting booth using a cataphoresis process and High or Very High Protection Index Treatments (for anti-UV, humidity and saline)

Paint is ecological - it protects both the environment and your health

Made of top-grade steel and aluminum, which is lighter and easier to move around

All packaging and display materials are made from recycled cardboard and paper

Knock-Off “French Bistro” Furniture:

Design origin unknown

Produced in China (I only found 1 site that actually listed the country of origin)

“Powder coated painting” but not specific

Made of iron, which is heavier and more difficult to move around and needs regular maintenance because of rusting

A note on overseas knock-offs: While some of their products are ethically and safely produced, there have been many products in the news in the last few years because they were so cheaply and dangerously produced that they have made Americans sick. From dog treats to drywall, purchasing knock-off products means taking a risk, even if you’re saving a few dollars.

A simple cost analysis:

Ballard Designs pair of bistro chairs: $159 + shipping

Pottery Barn single bistro chair: $149 + tax + shipping

Bed, Bath & Beyond 3-piece set (white only): $149 + tax + shipping

Sears single bistro chair (red only): $44.99 + tax + shipping

Fermob pair of bistro chairs $198 + no tax outside of LA + free shipping

The bottom line: Go for the fakes if you’re looking for a cheap, quick fix. Don’t expect these bistro chairs and tables to last more than one season, though. For not much more, you can get the real stuff that lasts for years. Seems like a no-brainer to me...