Amazon is giving design consumers more than one reason to shop for all their home furnishings on its powerful platform. Thanks to its recent collaborations with Dwell and the Novogratzs; Ethan Allen on Amazon; its partnership with web home show, Overhaul, to shop designs from the show, and now two new private label furniture brands, Amazon is definitely making a splash.
Their new furniture lines, Rivet and Stone & Beam, target two different demographics and carry two distinct aesthetics. Add to it -hundreds of blind label products and it ships free to prime customers. Rivet is the younger, more millennial-driven line, featuring a mid-century vibe and industrial lighting. Rivet has a one-year warranty and is aimed at small space dwellers. Stone & Beam caters to today’s family with “stylish and sturdy pieces”. Think modern farmhouse with a rustic feel at a higher price point, and three-year warranties. Hundreds of products and it ships free to Prime customers.
Ayesha Harper, Amazon’s director of hardlines private brands, says, “As a company, we’re always listening to customers, learning and innovating on their behalf to bring them products we think they’ll love.” “Customers are increasingly turning to Amazon for their home furnishing needs, with furniture as one of the fastest-growing retail categories here at Amazon, and we are excited to continue innovating on behalf of customers as well as expanding our selection of products.”
But there is more to this than Amazon entering the home furnishings industry, or its partnerships. If history repeats itself, Amazon will again force an industry to reinvent itself. This time it’s design and homefurnishings. One key takeaway here is the private label aspect of the launch and how both Amazon and manufacturers handle it. As Susan Dickenson, editor of Home Accents Today, points out in a recent op-ed, “As Amazon continues its trek into private label, we’ll see manufacturers start exercising more innovative muscle.” ( Designers too will need to rethink their business models.)
As Amazon and other unlikely competitors enter our arena, it will become necessary for designers to take back our role as educators of design. We’ve let that go- allowing our clients to learn and get their design information from other sources. Instead of curating collections, we need to become storytellers- telling histories, explaining the process, clarifying craftsmanship and helping customers invest in quality pieces that give them value. As Dickenson asks, “Will the Amazon customer know where the sofa was made? How it was constructed? What materials it was made of? Will you be ready to answer