Furniture brands and startups launch rental subscriptions
You might be straw-free and bringing your own glass containers to the supermarket, but do you recycle your furniture? In 2009 the EPA reported that 9.8 million tons of furniture were thrown away. To offset the staggering yet less widely-known reality of furniture waste, brands and startups are offering mobile young consumers eco- and budget-friendly subscription models for furniture rentals.
Los Angeles-based startup Fernish aims to ultimately “take the moving out of moving” with its on-demand furniture rental model, which is designed for flexible and mobile lifestyles. Customers can choose from inventory from established corporate retailers such as Crate & Barrel—singular items or interior designer-curated packages—before paying a monthly fee based on the selected subscription term. At the end of their rental period they have the option to purchase the furniture, with their subscription payments deducted from the price of the piece. Customers also have the option to swap out pieces for new ones.
IKEA has been featured frequently in Cassandra Daily; despite its powerful size and positioning in the home goods industry, IKEA has never been one to shy away from testing and implementing new innovations, partly because IKEA knows how innovation-hungry its customer base is. Now, the Swedish furniture retailer is testing a scalable subscription model that allows consumers to lease its furniture for a set amount of time before returning the items, which are refurbished for reuse. The initiative will drive repeat business, appeal to transient young adults—who are more likely to move often for new opportunities—and boast serious sustainability.
Furniture startup Feather offers a selection of minimalist starter furniture that customers can rent for a monthly fee for periods that start at three months. Feather’s mission is to offer a viable budget- and eco-friendly alternative to cheap, disposable furniture that young consumers are likely to discard after one or two moves. These guiding principles are reflected in Feather’s offerings, which are designed to be durable and stylistically uniform, which aids in their re-circulation or, if need be, upcycling. Feather currently operates only in New York and San Francisco.