Furniture leasing firms flourishing with young professionals

Still schlepping furniture from apartment to apartment or the curb? There’s another way.

A new wave of startups that lease high-end furniture and furnishings are catering to young, mobile professionals in creative-class capitals like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles: Feather, Inhabitr, Fernish and CasaOne, among them.

Jay Reno, CEO of Feather, said his company is addressing “a large environmental problem” with waste and a “changing consumer psyche.”

“The American dream has changed,” Reno said, as people want the freedom and flexibility to experience the world. In that framework, he added, furniture ownership doesn’t make sense.

When Peter Barnard, 34, a graphic designer, moved to Brooklyn from South Africa after he got a job at a startup in Manhattan, he said furnishing an apartment from scratch was “the last thing I wanted to worry about.”

Barnard saw an ad from Feather in his social media stream and liked that it was a startup and that it was convenient and affordable — and sustainable.

“I was intrigued,” he said. “They had cool new ideas. Within the space of a week, my apartment was furnished.”

He now has 15 pieces, spends about $200 a month and has almost paid off some items that he will keep. Under Feather’s model, monthly payments go toward owning.

Customers of CasaOne looking to furnish studios or one-bedrooms are typically in the first few years out of college, early in their careers, said CEO Shashank P S.

A recent survey by real estate services firm JLL found that 70% of millennials and Gen Z-ers are willing to partake in the sharing economy.

“These environmentally conscious generations are leading the charge for shared products and services,” JLL said.

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