• Clint Engel

Wayfair acquires online retailer DwellStudio

BOSTON - Online retailer Wayfair. com has acquired primarily online retailer DwellStudio for an undisclosed price, a move that gives Wayfair its first brick-and mortar presence.
     New York-based DwellStudio is known for its upscale modern lifestyle home furnishings and textiles. It operates a 3,000-square-foot showroom on Wooster Street in New York's SoHo neighborhood, and is a catalog and e-commerce retailer as well as an international wholesaler, with customers that include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, ABC Carpet & Home and HD Buttercup.
     Asked if the purchase reflects greater aspirations for a physical store presence to go along with online, Wayfair.com co-founder and CEO Niraj Shah indicated that it doesn't. But at the same time, he didn't rule out future DwellStudio stores.
     Shah estimated that Dwell- Studio does about $15 million to $20 million in annual sales, but wouldn't break out the physical store sales. Wayfair.com, through its various brands is running at an annual sales rate of more than $1 billion, he said.
     In a release, Boston-based Wayfair.com said the purchase strengthens its "leadership position in home retail by adding a popular lifestyle brand with core competencies in original design and product development. It also accelerates Wayfair.com's launch of proprietary goods this year, while addressing new market segments."
     DwellStudio will operate as a standalone brand, joining Joss & Main and AllModern. com. Wayfair said its own core strengths in selection, service, Internet technology and logistics will drive DwellStudio's growth, while DwellStudio gives Wayfair access to a "world-class product design team for the development of original product lines and new lifestyle brands."
     "DwellStudio has built a following of devoted customers who enthusiastically identify with a certain lifestyle and modern design aesthetic," Shah said. "We look forward to expanding the DwellStudio brand through our world class e-commerce capabilities while staying true to DwellStudio's strategy of developing and delivering trend-setting products of exceptional quality to a growing customer base through a large number of partners."
     Christiane Lemieux, CEO, founder and creative director of DwellStudio, said Wayfair is transforming the way people shop for home furnishings, saying Wayfair has "the best backend in the business."
     Shah told Furniture/Today, "When we met Christiane and the whole DwellStudio team," Wayfair management grew excited over joining forces and that the flagship store in SoHo "made a ton of sense for that business."
     A physical store doesn't make as much sense for the Wayfair name or AllModern.com, Shah said. There also aren't any plans for Joss & Main stores or additional DwellStudio stores, but Shah didn't want to say that a second DwellStudio store was or wasn't a possibility down the road.
     "As a company, we have a lot of aspiration around participating in the home goods category in different ways that all get synergies from each other, so we think the DwellStudio brand and where it sits in the market and the product is really just another great pillar to building up the company," he said.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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