Parachute plans to become America’s go-to for home goods and it might just work

Discussion
Parachute’s Austin location - Photo: Parachute
Aug 17, 2021

Parachute, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, isn’t satisfied to carve out a small niche in home products. The company’s founder and CEO, Ariel Kaye, told RetailWire in an interview last week: “Big picture, we’re looking to take market share from the bigger brands and the goal is to really build a billion dollar-plus business.”

Ms. Kaye, who launched Parachute online in 2013, said she was inspired by early D2C brands for creating “experiences that were very relevant to me.” Parachute has opened stores as other D2Cs have done, realizing that it could actualize its own experience.

Parachute plans to become America’s go-to for home goods and it might just work
Ariel Kaye, Parachute founder and CEO – Photo: Parachute

Parachute’s store count, currently 12, is expected to increase to 35 by the end of 2022. The stores are viewed as “relationship builders”, incorporating working kitchens and bath areas where customers can, for example, “test the absorbency of our towels.”

Stores feature fixtures designed and built by Parachute, and the brand hires local artists to create murals and other pieces to connect with the community. Locations currently range between 700 square feet of selling space to about 3,000. New stores have 2,500 to 3,500 square feet of selling space.

Parachute plans to become America’s go-to for home goods and it might just work
Portland location – Photo: Parachute

Starting out online and moving into stores has enabled Parachute to develop a single view of its inventory. It offers in-store and curbside pickup and is handling ship-from-store where it makes sense. Ms. Kaye sees this as an exciting opportunity to get closer to the consumer going forward.

Personal service, in stores and online, is critical to the brand. Ms. Kaye said that appointment shopping and consultations, virtual and in-person, are important to the brand’s relationship building and success.

“During the first few months of COVID we were able to still give people that personalized attention virtually. Those were programs that we were piloting [pre-pandemic]. We really are thinking about services as a whole and how we can continue to provide more intimate touchpoints with our customer,” said Ms. Kaye.

“Appointment shopping is similar, where people can make an appointment to come and shop. We encourage people to share information about what they’re looking for ahead of time so we can get things together before they arrive,” she said. “It’s something that we’re also doing a lot for our interior design community. We work with a number of interior designers and those are people that are typically buying quite a bit of product and like some really focused attention.”

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Will the virtual and physical storytelling of D2C brands like Parachute enable these companies to connect with growing numbers of consumers? Are large brands and retailers in home goods and other categories susceptible to innovative early start competitors?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The dance between adapting to evolving attitudes and needs of loyal customers and remaining authentic is a terrible tango to master."
"If they can continue to enhance this with improved digital and physical touchpoints for consumers, they have a winning formula."
"The appointment service is brilliant at allowing associates to fully educate shoppers on the brand and build loyalty."

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9 Comments on "Parachute plans to become America’s go-to for home goods and it might just work"


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Rick Watson
BrainTrust

Parachute has a great and curated set of products. If they can continue to enhance this with improved digital and physical touchpoints for consumers, they have a winning formula.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

A Parachute recently opened in Scottsdale Quarter, an upscale outdoor shopping mall in Scottsdale. It is a great addition to the center. But more than that, what impresses me is the amount of care put into the store design. It is very interactive, service is excellent, and it is highly shoppable because curation is so good. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but it has created a distinct point of view and its mission isn’t just to sell things it is to help people create better home environments. I am certain it will grow and secure a bigger slice of the market. Sure, it won’t supplant the bigger players, but it can and likely will nibble away at their market shares.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

The concept of a D2C brand with a real image difference has always been a winner. From the early days of L.L.Bean and The Limited to the Nike store and the Apple store of today, consumers love to have a brand they can fall in love with. The biggest questions are 1.) how deep is the appeal of the brand as it gets bigger and 2.) how durable will the brand be? The dance between adapting to evolving attitudes and needs of loyal customers and remaining authentic is a terrible tango to master.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I think it’s too soon to tell if Parachute’s “boutique” experience works for any but the higher-end home goods consumer, or if people really do want to peruse stacks and stacks of colors and fabrics, no matter the price point. I suspect this approach, combined with their unique story will appeal to a certain niche, but whether it will reach enough consumers to fuel their lofty ambitions, I’m not so sure. Only time will tell.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

The appointment service is brilliant at allowing associates to fully educate shoppers on the brand and build loyalty. Home goods isn’t the only category susceptible to DTC and startup disruption – thanks to the pandemic, every space is vulnerable if a retailer comes along that puts enough effort into its omnichannel strategy.

Mohamed Amer
BrainTrust

The Parachute retailing concept is brilliant; however timing is probably not ideal to fully take advantage of the immersive experiences offered. If the company can survive the COVID-19 related uncertainties of the next 12 months, then we ought to see store expansions as advertised and strong consumer response.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

You have to admire ambition.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I would think all brands are susceptible; I’m not sure of the logic of singling out home goods, other than, perhaps, the perception that it isn’t dominated by a single (few) large player(s) (such as Best Buy in electronics).

But why is this? Because an existing brand has to do everything right to stay on top, whereas there are hundreds of would-be competitors, and just by chance one or two of them will hit on a winning formula.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Parachute joins a growing list of DTC brands that are laser-focused on the shifting consumer landscape and could pivot to the changing customer behaviors at an agile and laser speed pace. By starting and ending with an outstanding customer experience, from the start and end of every shopping journey, Parachute and other DTC brands have a compelling value proposition that could compete with the larger retail and wholesale companies.

By leveraging their stores as experiential showrooms, Parachute can help bridge the digital and physical shopping experiences. DTC brands are truly leveraging the store as media. Brick and mortar stores/showrooms are brand-building locations. By opening in high traffic, high-density markets of their targeted customers, Parachute will build the brand equity they need to scale while providing an outstanding customer experience.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The dance between adapting to evolving attitudes and needs of loyal customers and remaining authentic is a terrible tango to master."
"If they can continue to enhance this with improved digital and physical touchpoints for consumers, they have a winning formula."
"The appointment service is brilliant at allowing associates to fully educate shoppers on the brand and build loyalty."

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