A print from Peter Som’s Spring 2014 collection and a chair from The Inside.
NEW YORK – “Bespoke, fast design.” The words Christiane Lemieux used to describe direct-to-consumer startup The Inside are two adjectives rarely used together when it comes to home furnishings and fashion. But in the case of the furniture e-commerce site, which launches today at theinside.com, they work.In Lemieux’s world, made to order goes hand-in-hand with speed – and fashion – where the finished product arrives at a customer’s doorstep within two weeks of an order being placed. To be exact, the entire process takes anywhere from six to 14 days, depending on where in the country something is being sent, Lemieux told WWD during an interview at the brand’s TriBeCa headquarters here.“When I say ‘fast design’ it’s actually the opposite of what we think of as fast fashion because sometimes the implications of fast fashion are wasteful. Everything [here] is made to order. Everything is custom. We carry no inventory. We digitally print the fabrics so the footprint is amazingly small,” Lemieux said of the roughly 140 different chairs, couches, beds, screens, ottomans, benches, settees, and furniture for kids offered online in trend-driven styles and prints.“Fast design comes into play because what we can do is create endless styles... We can 3-D model before we even use a piece of wood to make a sample,” she continued.For Lemieux, a veteran of the home space who founded DwellStudio in 1999, it became “go time” when digital printing got to a place where it was suitable for upholstery. At the time, she was still working at Wayfair, the home marketplace that acquired DwellStudio in 2013. Lemieux stayed on after the acquisition for two-and-a-half-years, citing an “incredible backend” as part of Wayfair’s success, but ultimately left in 2015 to pursue something more “design first.”“We’re able to translate trend but then ship in a box so you don’t have to wait for white glove delivery... [and] the prices – for custom – are incredible. It allows you to bring fun and personality back into your interiors. Because of the supply chain, we can take risks that no one else can take. If something sells well we can keep it in the line forever, [or] we can make just one of something crazy,” Lemieux said, dubbing her startup the “Zara meets Casper of home.”Peter Som and Clare V.’s Claire Vivier are two of the launch partners who have provided their prints so customers can create any of the up to 850 stockkeeping units available for custom order. Prices start at $219 for an ottoman and go up to about $1,000 for a bed, with an average price of $300. The sweet spot ranges from $400 to $600, according to Lemieux. A pipeline of collaborators – including Jaime Derringer of Design Milk, The Everygirl’s Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss, a luxury fashion house that’s still finalizing details, and high-profile interior designers – will cocreate collections to roll out in the coming months.Venture darling Kirsten Green’s Forerunner Ventures is exclusively funding the project with an investment of $1.5 million. To date, Green has invested in Warby Parker, Glossier, Outdoor Voices, Draper James and counts Dollar Shave Club, Jet.com and Bonobos as recent exits.“Vertically in the furniture landscape, you have a few brands that are real brands offering home furnishings that are build around an aesthetic – Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, West Elm and Crate & Barrel. They are leading with a whole-home approach and an aesthetic. We’re coming at this from less of an aesthetic style certainly – we want to offer all kinds of styles,” Green said of what she believes is a “white space opportunity” in home.Green explained that The Inside doesn’t stand for any one style; it stands for the bigger idea of having fun with your furniture – a new mindset especially pervasive among Millennials and young professionals in urban areas. Because of the price point, it allows customers to style in the context of their rooms at the given time, instead of viewing furnishing as a “huge investment that I have to have forever.”Another factor that makes this venture attractive to Green is a business model that doesn’t require having “tons of money tied up in componentry parts” or having to buy inventory nine months in advance. Because The Inside can digitally print all of its proprietary fabric on an as-needed basis, it’s eliminated the need to buy in large quantities – which allows for investment in other areas of growth.Green was vague about future plans but hinted at strategic retail partnerships in the future, as well as an eventual offline presence.Lemieux isn’t the only one who saw a white space in the home category online. One Kings Lane grabbed market share early when it launched in 2009, raising $225 million in funding before being acquired by Bed Bath & Beyond last year. And then there’s Snowe, a direct-to-consumer startup co-founded in late 2015 by Rachel Cohen and Andres Modak that’s on track to grow 600 percent in its second full year in business.Snowe, which has raised $2.5 million to date from investors like Chris Burch and the founders of Warby Parker and Modcloth.com, carries more than 100 in-house designed products at snowehome.com. Divided into four categories – Eat, Drink, Sleep and Bathe – the site groups product into behaviors, according to Cohen, who counts Italian percale sheet sets and Limoges porcelain four-piece dinnerware sets as bestsellers. The former is a “major driver of growth” for the brand, she said of the 500-thread count, made in Italy, Egyptian cotton bedding that has sold out numerous times.“Bedding and dinnerware are definitely a core part of our revenue, but the big thing for us and how we saw the landscape in home, was the way you shop for home is very different than the way you shop for fashion. This is why we launched multi-category,” Cohen said. “In fashion, you can have a lot of companies that focus on a single product or item that they can launch with – but what we saw is that customers want that destination where they might buy their bedding… [and] when they’re ready for dinnerware, they’ll come back to shop our other categories.”Cohen likened Snowe’s assortment of home essentials to the “jeans and white T-shirt of the home.” Offering “luxury quality” materials at accessible prices is paramount in setting up one’s space, she said, but providing a simplification of the home for customers has become equally important for the brand. For instance, the site sells one type of red wine glass and one type of white wine glass.“[Prices are] substantially below what luxury items typically cost in department stores. We design it all in-house because we focus on the functionality and labor, and less on embellishment. That’s how we’re able to offer additional value… We design everything and we partner with a supplier in each category,” Cohen said.The brand’s retail lab, The Whitespace, bowed earlier this year and in October, Snowe’s first pop-up shop will open in SoHo in Manhattan.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)