Most college students likely have furniture that includes hand-me-downs from family and friends, or purchases from garage sales and Craig’s List. The sofa in their living room was probably once used by Aunt Helen in Kentucky, transported by Cousin Patrick to New York, sold to his friend Alan who moved to New Jersey, and who knows who else as it made its way around the country! And that is fine for young millennials who are just starting out. But eventually, their longing turns to new furniture that they view regularly on social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
But it’s hard to swallow that high-priced new furniture. New furniture buyers are likely shocked by the price for that brand-new West Elm sofa. How can they afford that thousand-dollar sofa when they have to pay student loans, car payments, rent, and everything else?
Enter: Services that let you rent furniture through a monthly membership, giving you the option to swap out furniture when tastes and trends change. For example, a popular West Elm sofa may cost $899 in stores, but it can be rented from Feather at $52/month (12-month subscription), and then swapped out, renewed, or returned. Individual pieces as well as full-rooms can be rented in certain cities. It’s a new way to live more upscale without having to pay out the entire fee at once.
Shall we redecorate?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students. Where is their furniture from? Family, friends, neighbors, Craigs List?
- What would be their interest level to rent new furniture once they graduate and begin working? How much would they be willing to pay?
- Show furniture rental sites:
West Elm: https://www.renttherunway.com/westelm
Casa One: https://www.casaone.com/
- Divide students into teams. Have each team examine the information for a different furniture rental company.
- Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
- Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
- Based on the target market profile, what makes this service unique for these customers?
- Debrief the exercise.
Source: Carefoot, H. (25 April 2019). Can’t afford that West Elm sofa? Rent it instead. Washington Post.