The direct-to-consumer e-commerce model could be one of the biggest disruptors to hit the home furnishings and decor industry. Players like Campaign Living, Burrow and bed-in-a-box companies like Casper have made it easier and affordable to buy large products online, and with easy (often free) shipping and returns and stateside manufacturing, this model shows no signs of slowing down.
Take Casper. No one thought consumers would want to order their mattresses without laying down on them first, but with a flexible return policy and quick shipping, consumers warmed to the idea. Now bed-in-a-box companies have flourished online, and some, like Casper, are even making their way into brick-and-mortar stores.
Now comes Boundless, the newest direct-to-consumer home decor company that's here to make rug shopping easier online. In fact, its founder and CEO Maddy Karolian started the company after her long struggle to buy a rug for her own home.
Boundless provides consumers with a simpler way to shop for rugs online. The site offers 24 rug styles in more than one colorway. The company contracted with a factory in Georgia, which allows the company to quickly produce rugs and ship them all over the U.S. Boundless also offers customizable options, and nearly every rug can be customized in size and color to fit the consumer's needs. The rugs have a three-quarter-inch nylon pile and don't shed, making them easy to maintain at an affordable price. Twenty-five percent of the nylon used comes from recycled materials.
So what does Karolian have planned for Boundless? Read on to learn how she's set out to solve a problem and make rug buying easier and more affordable.
Furniture, Lighting & Decor: You started Boundless because your own experience with buying a rug was difficult. What specifically about it was difficult?
Maddy Karolian: I tried to shop online and found that most of my favorite brands had a pretty limited assortment of very expensive items, and the massive discount e-commerce furniture companies had 40,000 options, but it was impossible to find what I was actually looking for. I would often find something that was almost right, but they wouldn't have it in the size or colors that I wanted. I realized that there was an opportunity in the marketplace to create a product that was unique, easily accessible and affordable. That’s how Boundless was born!
FL&D: Boundless' rugs are made in a factory in Georgia. What was the process like to determine where you would manufacture your products?
MK: We knew the machines that we wanted to use, and knew we wanted to make our rugs in the USA to ensure a socially responsible supply chain and to get our rugs to our customers as quickly as possible. I started to meet with rug manufacturers that met both those criteria and was fortunate to find an awesome family-owned business that was flexible enough to try something a little outside the box.
FL&D: Where do you source the recycled nylon used to make the rugs?
MK: Fortunately, this is all handled by our yarn manufacturer, but there is an extensive network of carpet recycling programs across the country.
FL&D: How do you decide which designs and colors to offer?
MK: Because choosing a rug is such a strong statement regarding someone's design aesthetic, we spent a lot of time thinking through what patterns to use. We looked at what was popular for design aesthetics and which types of patterns and designs we were seeing in each of those core categories to create a mix of small patterned, big patterned and all over designs that would meet each of those needs.
Similarly, we looked at what colors were trending (everyone loves blues and neutrals) and what was up and coming (Living Coral!) to create our initial palette. We wanted to make sure people had the ability to go monochromatic or mix things up. We love customer feedback, so we look forward to people telling us what they want to see next for pattern and color.
FL&D: Studies show that the majority of consumers still prefer to touch furniture/decor before they buy. How is Boundless meeting those consumers' needs?
MK: Yes! We tried to use a fiber content and construction that would work for most people but being able to touch a product and even see the colors in your home is so crucial, especially with rugs. We offer a “Home Touch Test” to help with this. Customers receive a box of up to six color samples to help them make their decision, the cost of which is credited towards their rug purchase.
FL&D: Boundless fits in with other direct-to-consumer models like Casper, Burrow and Campaign Living. How do you think these models will change retail in the future?
MK: We're all trying to take the pain points out of existing industries that haven't evolved with the way people are buying things. People used to buy rugs in person at highly specialized stores for the most part, where you could see and touch the rugs and talk to someone about your purchase to make sure you understood what you were getting. We're making it so that you get all the great parts of that in person experience but online, and we’re making it affordable.
What do you think about Boundless' model? Would you consider buying a rug online? Share with us in the comments!