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Manhattan Beach Entrepreneur Creates Popular Beach Chair Line

Oct 06, 2020 09:04AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Peligo chairs - Photo via Peligo

Picture yourself at a luxe Hawaiian resort, toes in the sand, sitting on a hand-crafted beach chair that was made in...a carport in Manhattan Beach?

That vision could easily come true, as the locally made Peligo brand of beach chairs is gaining popularity across the country for its comfort and simplicity. One resort in Hawaii has ordered a fleet of Peligo beach chairs, and another Hawaiian resort has ordered Peligo pool chairs.

Peligo creator Cat Horzen hand-crafts the frames and assembles each chair in her workshop in Manhattan Beach. The Peligo lineup now includes two varieties of beach chairs, poolside chairs, and meditation chairs.

"I make them all by hand," said Horzen. "I stain and sand and brand all of them, and then I assemble them. Literally my day looks like, 'build, email, build, email...'"

Horzen is currently making between 50 and 70 chairs per month, between individual orders and some large custom orders like the ones for hotels. "The hotels love the idea of getting a premium handmade product," she said.

Idea Borne From Garage Sale

Horzen stumbled upon the idea for the beach chairs at a garage sale at her parents' house in 2016. She picked up an old wood and fabric contraption and asked what it was, and her mother had to demonstrate how it was used as a beach chair.

Horzen was inspired by its simplicity, and she became determined to redesign the concept with updated features and uses. After working with family members to create a prototype frame and fabric, she settled on the current design and started manufacturing them in 2018.

She named the line "Peligo" as a nod to beach pelicans as well as the concept of a sandy beach archipelago.

Aside from her own workshop in Manhattan Beach, it's a local effort. The fabrics are manufactured in Van Nuys; the wood is being cut by Michael P. Johnson in Hermosa Beach; and she does additional prep work at a rented garage in Hawthorne.

The orders have been coming in so consistently, she said, that she is preparing to leave her "day job" and turn her attention to the Peligo business full time.

Peligo Chairs and Adaptations

From the Peligo line, the most popular "Beach" chairs have a cell phone pocket and backpack straps, weigh four pounds, and are adjustable to three settings. The "Simply Beach" chair looks the same but without the cell phone pocket and backpack straps. Her "Pool" chairs are designed for sitting at the pool's edge. And the "Yoga/Meditation" chairs are designed to provide back support while meditating and come with two settings - upright and slightly tilted back.

What's unique about the chairs, according to Horzen, is that the bottom part (a flap of fabric) sits flat on the ground or sand and is stabilized by the user's body weight. This means that it's technically more of a back support than a chair - which gives it a great advantage at many outdoor seating venues.

Many outdoor movie nights or concerts, for example, offer a premier seating section in which beach chairs are not allowed. The Peligo chair is legal for those sections, however, because it's not a "chair-chair," according to Horzen - the fabric sits directly on the ground, so it's technically more of a back rest. 

Although sales are fairly steady right now, Horzen is looking ahead to a time when larger events are open again. The chairs provide ideal seating for outdoor concert venues, spring training games, movie nights, and more. 

Horzen has also made custom chairs for several beach volleyball teams, and the concept could easily extend to surf teams, swim teams, and more.

To learn more, visit the Peligo web site.

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