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