October 27, 2015
Can Restoration Hardware inspire teenagers (and their parents) to smarten up their rooms? Its new teen collection is winning even grown-up fans.
The malls of America are full of endless variations on teenage wardrobe staples, but historically retailers have been much less interested in pitching teens on interior furnishings. Bloomberg News, citing research by Piper Jaffray, reports that teens from higher-income households tend to spend about 1% of their cash on furniture and room accessories. They make less than two shopping trips per year for those kinds of items. Few home furnishings retailers have followed the example of Pottery Barn, which created a stand-alone teen brand in 2003.
But Restoration Hardware Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Friedman is typically undeterred by conventional market wisdom. “No focus group would have developed the iPod,” he explained recently to The Wall Street Journal. He draws insight from his twin 13-year-old daughters, Alexis and Arianna. “When they turn 13, they walk through an imaginary wall into their own world,” he says. “They used to be Daddy’s little girls.”
For his and other kids, the Corte Madera, Calif.-based company, in the midst of a big national expansion into showplace stores, is setting aside lots of room. The RH offer is typically thorough and methodically organized, on display in stores, online and in a 200-page source book, offering everything a teen dream of a house might need, from faux-fur bean bags to stylish pillow shams to wall murals. “It’s delightfully on point for what you might expect to see out of a youth version of the luxury retailer,” Buzzfeed opines.
The biggest difference is that RH’s merchandising treats teens as, well, almost adults. “The look is more sophisticated than most furniture aimed at middle and high schoolers: There is nary a whiff of childhood in the floor-to-ceiling drapes, crystal chandeliers, and art pieces that include fine art photography,” writes The Wall Street Journal’s style columnist, Christina Binkley.
More than a few adults have noticed the quality and style on offer, at relatively affordable prices. Popsugar’s cull of the 21 best pieces includes the Kashmir Faux Fur Bean Bag chair for “adults and teens alike.” Says Erin Gates on her popular Elements of Style blog: “Yes, the beds only go up to queen, but everything else could be used in a room for someone of any age.”
all photos via RestorationHardware.com
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