Home design site opens house to showcase brands
An online publication that covers everyday home design is entering the physical world — not with a print magazine, but with a house that will host influencers and showcase brand partners.
The media outlet, Hunker, is launching its first loft-style location, called Hunker House, in Venice, CA. Hunker will be bringing in digital influencers in the home goods/design space to stay in and speak at Hunker House. The venue will also offer workshops, panel discussions and industry mixers and will hold both public and private events.
Hunker’s aim is to allow its brand partners to “tell their stories and interact with consumers in a way that is approachable and true to the Hunker audience,” according to Jason Lapore, vice president and general manager of Hunker. The three-story location is planned as a permanent fixture, not a pop-up.
Hunker confirmed to RetailWire that the curated decor inside Hunker House consists of products made by partner brands and that the product on display will rotate throughout the year. The products in Hunker House are not for sale.
The Hunker House concept brings together a couple of different trends that have caught on in the retail world.
In its curated assortment of lifestyle-adjacent products, the location resembles experiential retail pioneers like STORY, which was acquired by Macy’s last year.
Retailers in a few spaces have recently been testing showroom concepts that encourage browsing, but carry little or no inventory for sale. Nordstrom in luxury apparel has proven successful with its Nordstrom Local showroom, introducing two more stores after the initial one-store launch. And Uniqlo has been playing with the idea in fast-fashion, with an inventory-less showroom in Tokyo.
But customers generally go into showrooms with the possibility of a purchase in mind. In a home and design lifestyle showcase like Hunker House, brands and their products are part of the ambient environment of the space.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is the Hunker House concept a model for how brands will get their products in front of interested audiences in the years to come? Do you think experiential showcases like this should also include a sales opportunity for brands?