Interior design entrepreneurs are disrupting the $70 billion U.S. furniture market
Young generations value individuality in all aspects of their lives, from their career paths to their romantic relationships, and they’re taking a similarly custom approach when it comes to curating their dream homes. Instead of aspiring to a similar, sizeable house, they prioritize uniqueness, and companies are helping them fulfill their design aspirations while taking their financial constraints into account.
Founded by Whitney Falk, ZZ Driggs offers an innovative approach to interior design, featuring sustainable contemporary furniture on demand and on subscription. Customers—which include brands and organizations like Microsoft, lululemon, and Summit Series—can rent items à la cart or as curated collections, with the option to buy pieces they love. All furniture is sourced from fabricators that use environmentally sound production methods, recycle excess materials, pay fair wages to their employees, and fabricate with sustainably-harvested wood. Since the pieces are produced by top design studios and carefully curated for aesthetics, customers can create spaces that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the planet.
Frustrated with the lengthy delivery delays and clunky construction processes associated with shopping from major retailers like West Elm and Ikea, two Wharton grads founded Burrow, a Y Combinator-backed company that aims to “reinvent the luxury couch.” Shoppers can customize their couch by picking the color, size, and arm rest height that fit their home and style, and if their space changes, the modular design allows it to move and grow as needed. Units are delivered within a week and involve a tool-free assembly designed to take mere minutes instead of hours.
Some 15% of $70 billion in U.S. furniture sales are now online, and another YC-backed startup, Feather, wants to make that shopping process more seamless by removing the hassle associated with buying, moving, and selling furniture by letting customers rent it instead. The Brooklyn-based company recently announced the close of a $3.5 million seed round, with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Bain Capital Ventures co-leading the round. Customers can choose from packages and individual pieces for the bedroom, living room, dining room, and office, and Feather will pick everything up when it’s no longer needed.