How Hipsters Are Saving The Furniture Industry
I don’t know when, but somewhere between Jack Kerouac and modern hipsters, they’ve gone from caring about smoking and fast motorcycles, to having a developed eye for fine furniture.
What makes a hipster so is (somewhat oddly) a hot topic today. “A key myth repeated about the hipster […] is that it has no definition” quips Mark Greif for New York Magazine. Hipsters can be defined – and by more than their thick glasses, manicured beards and otherworldly coffee intake.
Today’s hipsters are defined by consumption.
After all, those beards are responsible for an 8% boost in men’s grooming product sales, and tripled sales in specialist coffee shops.
There are two things about this subculture that make them important to you and your brand: What they buy, and how often they buy it.
With emphasis on environmental sustainability, nostalgia, and careful curation, hipsters are the perfect target market for a burgeoning housewares brand trying to make their mark.
Houzz wrote about a young couple decorating their home with strong consideration of each piece, quoting one-half of the couple Tailleur Tremblay, “I know it when I see it,” she says of the perfect piece for her home “If I see something I love, I won’t think twice about it.”
Experts are echoing the sentiment as they forecast trends for the coming year. Miles Redd, interior designer and former Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta Home: “I think 2016 will bring a shift toward a kind of minimalism. Let’s call it minimalism with a twist. The great thing to do is refining and distilling it to the best things that speak to you and removing the rest.”
Hipsters have embraced nostalgia, reflecting in your industry with the uprise of vintage and mid-century inspired furnishings. “The design world has felt the arc of going from historically referenced interiors to relentlessly mid-century spaces.” states Elissa Cullman, Cullman & Kravis Inc.
“The mid-century modern aesthetic gets lots of air play [here] and seems to be the coveted style among hipsters” writes one Apartment Therapy contributor.
Product designers Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt of Denmark have created Terroir, a completely sustainable housewares project that crafts products of seaweed and paper. The furniture is totally recyclable and leaves no waste.
“I hope that design will begin to reflect more of a worldview of sustaining our environments and that people will think more carefully how to reduce waste and creatively repurpose existing things. I need to think much more about this myself!” reflects Markham Roberts, industry influencer.
Millennials (all 70 million of them) are the largest consumer market since the Boomers, and hipsters fit tidily into that bracket with middle-to-upperclass income and their insatiable need to make everything pretty.
They’re so fiscally significant that renowned English economist Douglas McWilliams has written a book about it, referring to them as the ‘flat white economy’ – hipster spending in the UK amounted to 7.6% of the country’s GDP.
Established home interior lines that appeal to the particular aesthetic like West Elm (a division of William-Sonoma) are contributing to the company’s bottom line, with its comparable brand revenue at 12.8% and expansion to over 65 stores. Apparel brands H&M and Zara have picked up on their buying habits too, launching their own houseware lines.
As a small housewares brand, you have a rare advantage over the big guys – hipsters like you more. When it comes to beating your big-box competition, the key to hipster’s loyalty is through their heart, not their wallets.
Check out these #HubbaBrands that hipsters love for a bit of inspiration: