The furniture rental market is booming. Here’s what it looks like behind the scenes
As vice president of merchandising for furniture rental startup Feather, Kendra Ovesen oversees the curation, design, development and strategic planning of the company’s growing rental furniture collection. This positions Ovesen at the forefront of a new avant-garde lifestyle movement, which promotes a simpler and more nomadic way of life, stimulated by a post-pandemic economy and a slight increase in the culture of work. from a distance.
Feather’s recent successes in North America indicate that this lifestyle has become mainstream for most millennials. The company recently announced an expansion into five new markets in the Texas area, as well as a new line of outdoor furniture in partnership with brands like West Elm and Pottery Barn. We spoke with Ovesen about his role within the company, the importance of design and curation in furniture rental services, and what the future of interior design looks like from where she sits.
What do you like most about your role at Feather?
One thing I love about my role is the unique challenge of blending the needs of consumers with the demands of our circular business model in order to create furniture that meets all the boxes. Many of our pieces are versatile, flexible and stylish for our customers, as well as modular, durable and easy to refurbish in line with our mission of keeping furniture in homes and out of landfills.
How does the furniture conservation process work in Feather? You both work with your own Feather branded items, but you also work with big names like West Elm and Floyd. What are the advantages of this hybrid approach (versus, for example, creating only your own Feather-branded furniture)?
Part of my role at Feather is to negotiate partnerships with furniture companies that share our sustainability values, such as our partnerships with Floyd, West Elm and Leesa, to offer their beautiful furniture through our rental model. It is extremely important to us that every brand partnership we launch represents absolute ethical alignment – whether they share the same sustainability mission as us, a compatible design aesthetic, or fill a unique gap requested by customers. from Feather and provide more depth to our overall furnishings. assortment.
We also like to leverage our partnerships with other brands to make otherwise ambitious products, like West Elm furniture, accessible to the Feather customer. Between 80-90% of the products on our website are from the Feather brand, however we reserve an additional 10-15% to explore new categories for our customers through partnerships.
One of my favorite things about Feather is the apartment packages, whose style and function range from minimalist to luxurious. What are the benefits for consumers and do you have any statistics or stories to share on the popularity of apartment packages?
It all started when we started to receive an influx of requests for advice from clients on how to replenish an empty apartment from scratch. For many clients, designing a completely empty space can be really intimidating! There is often a feeling of fear or uncertainty that accompanies it: Do the pieces I select complement or oppose each other? Does the configuration I have in my head Actually practice? Will I really be using this room, or will it just take up valuable space?
In organizing our apartment packages, we wanted to help you simplify your home design by providing the building blocks of a modern, chic and comfortable space. We have also taken into account a variety of aesthetics, living spaces, budgets and daily furniture needs, so that every customer can find a package that suits them, whatever their lifestyle.
In all of our packaging, we’ve mixed basic pieces with pops of exciting color and texture to bring a touch of personality and warmth to any space. Many clients want to create a bolder or more maximalist aesthetic in their home, but without design experience, they may lack the confidence to go ahead with bold pieces for fear that the end product will gel. Our apartment packages help solve this problem and allow guests to build their space around a package, easily adding or removing items as needed.
We have only recently started tracking guest usage of our apartments, but overall the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Customers appreciate the ease of use and the confidence in the design they get when working with our packages, as well as the clear picture of the price they provide up front.
By following your Instagram account, it’s amazing how many people are able to instantly create Instagram-worthy bedrooms and homes with Feather furniture. Why do you think it took so long to get a service like this? I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a beautiful and stylish home that is both functional and eco-friendly at the same time?
That’s a great question! Consumerism has long been driven by the need to own new things. We are conditioned to believe that something has no value until it belongs to us. But in recent years, this has translated into massive consumer overconsumption (many of us own a lot more items than we really need – or even want), as well as irresponsible overproduction. from retailers (especially goods that are not built to last).
This massive overconsumption is apparent in all industries, but it is really starting to show up in the furniture industry, where “quick furniture” is increasingly the norm. Fortunately, our values as a society are changing. We’re much more aware than ever of our environmental footprint, which has led many to rethink rental furniture as a more sustainable option. Plus, being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean sacrificing style or quality. Not only can you get beautiful furniture and home decor from Feather, but you also get the freedom, flexibility, and peace of mind.
We are currently running the Feather Your Nest contest on our social media, which gives Feather customers the opportunity to show off the way they style Feather furniture and decor in their home for a chance to win prizes. We love to take inspiration from these customer photos through programs like Feather Your Nest to inform our design direction, as well as to inspire other Feather customers through our social media.
When you design and create the Feather branded items in the collection, where do you find inspiration? How to create a complementary and healthy design?
When we developed our own line of Feather-branded furniture and interior design, we married a timeless, modern aesthetic with a design economy that makes rooms not only beautiful, but highly functional as well. Whether it’s a coffee table that can turn into an extra bench when guests have passed, or nesting tables that can be easily stowed away when not in use, we’ve designed the entire range with life in small spaces and multifunctionality.
Creating an eco-friendly product was also extremely important to us when we designed our collection. We used sustainable materials including FSC certified wood, native woods available in larger quantities, as well as natural and water-based finishes.
We have also designed our collection with refurbishment and long term use in mind. Our fabrics are very durable and our furniture uses components so that any damage can be isolated and easily repaired.
But more importantly, our collections are continually inspired by the expressed needs and wants of Feather’s clients, as well as the current home trends that dominate the design industry. Before the pandemic, I spent a lot of time in shopping markets at home and abroad to observe domestic trends before they emerged, so that Feather’s customers always have access to the coolest and most forward-looking products. -keepers. Nowadays, we base new products and product extensions on inspiration gleaned from the real-world spaces we see in pictures and customer reviews.
Did the psychological aspects of choice paralysis come into play when you designed and thought about how many items in each category you should offer to consumers? We all know we want a little choice, but it’s very easy to go the other way around and offer too much choice. How did you find this balance?
Absoutely. Buying furniture and home decor online should be a fun experience, but far too often we find ourselves scrolling through search results page after page. When we put together our collection, we wanted to make it easy for clients to fill the blank canvas of their home while allowing them to make it their own. During the development process, we often find it difficult to have too much great ideas to choose from! With Feather furniture and interior design, customers get the basic features they need, along with the touches of personality and luxury that make it their own.
How and when are Feather parts updated? For example, do you plan to update yourself with new trends / styles or seasonal changes?
Even though we are a non-traditional retailer, we are always looking for ways to update our range and add new offerings based on the needs and wants of our customers. Feather furniture is designed for flexibility and changing trends, making it easy to add new pops of color and personality to existing products with additional fabric or hardware options, or the addition of new items. art and rugs to our range. In fact, we’ve just introduced fun new patterns and prints to our furniture line, including the blush-colored Langley sectional sectional in a striking tie-dye shibori pattern; a series of dreamlike and expressionist prints by Cédric Pierre-Bez; and the Carlo Chair, a plush mid-century seat in a dramatic olive color. We also launched a new category with our brand partners West Elm & Pottery Barn.
Based on the feedback we have received on how our products are used, we sometimes offer extensions of our current products to fit larger spaces, such as rugs that cover a larger area and even a larger version. large of our Valencia sofa which has become one of the most efficient. .