Pottery Barn on Friday announced that it teamed up with The Renewal Workshop to launch "Pottery Barn Renewed," a new line that represents the retailer's "first step towards becoming a circular business." The tie-up marks The Renewal Workshop's first line with a major home furnishing retailer, the company said.
In order to extend the life of its products, the brand is reselling returned and imperfect goods, which include bedding, bath, curtains, pillows, throws, table linens and robes, according to a company press release.
The products go through The Renewal Workshop's six-stage process of being sorted, graded, sanitized, repaired, inspected and verified. The items will then be listed for sale on The Renewal Workshop's website.
While the circular economy was poised to continue its expansion heading into 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced many retailers to readjust their attention to focus on more pressing matters. However, Pottery Barn's most recent partnership may prove there's still interest in the model.
"Pottery Barn Renewed is a landmark change in the home goods space," The Renewal Workshop's co-founder Nicole Bassett said in a statement. "This investment demonstrates how the industry is shifting away from the environmentally devastating take-make-waste linear system and embracing restorative circular practices."
Sustainability has increasingly become an important value to consumers, particularly among younger generations. According to a study last year from OC&C Strategy Consultants, 15% of Gen Z consumers said they were committed to reducing their waste production, while 14% were committed to reducing their carbon footprint and 13% to reducing their consumption of single-use plastic.
The circular economy has grown in popularity in recent years. Online resale marketplace ThredUp has partnered with several brands, including Madewell, Gap, Macy's and J.C. Penney, and Urban Outfitters in May last year announced it would launch its own apparel rental business, Nuuly.
But the home category in particular has taken a number of steps to address sustainability. Direct-to-consumer brands Feather and Fernish built their businesses around renting furniture. Ikea in February 2019 began piloting a furniture leasing program, which it has since expanded to 30 markets. Rent the Runway partnered with another Williams-Sonoma brand, West Elm, to rent soft good home furnishings. And resale platform Poshmark in June 2019 expanded into the home category.
Despite the pandemic putting a wrench in many businesses' goals, the circular economy is not expected to lose steam any time soon. In its annual report released this past June, ThredUp projected that the resale market could reach $44 billion by 2029.