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- The coolest activity you can do on a Friday night, at least according to startups like Brooklinen and Casper, is to stay in and relax.
- The growing popularity of these companies is timed well to Millennial shoppers moving into their first homes and deciding how to make them feel like their own.
- The relentless pressure to work and be “on” at all times is also driving these shoppers back indoors.
- Instead of shopping with traditional brands and stores, they’re turning to innovative and fairly priced startups to help them create this haven.
“The city never sleeps but you do,” reminds the subway ad seen on your morning commute. “Renounce pants,” implores the billboard outside your apartment. And “PSA: Instead of waiting in line for brunch you can actually just eat cookies in bed,” says the Instagram post you just scrolled past on your phone.
Everywhere we go, we’re being told to stay in for the night, sleep in, lounge, cook, eat, binge-watch, and spend time at home with ourselves, our friends, partners, family, and pets. Lock the doors, close the blinds, and put your phone on Do Not Disturb because it’s time for pure, uninterrupted “you” time in the comfort of your own home.
According to a number of home, kitchen, and food startups, the best way to go out is to simply not. Stay at home instead and enjoy the space you’ve made for yourself.
As a large portion of the highly coveted Millennial shopper segment settles into domestic life and begins to figure out how to create their first home that’s not a college dorm room or a cramped apartment filled with roommates, they’re looking to non-traditional retail companies for help.
The initial call for what is essentially glorified hibernation and leisurely, intimate get-togethers with only people you like certainly persuades us – a generation struggling with burnout and a group of native tech users simultaneously inspired and disillusioned by the picture-perfect social media adventures surrounding us – to take a curious glance at the websites.
Here, aesthetics are still paramount to the browsing and shopping experience: artfully ruffled, carefully lived-in sheets that the light through the window hits in warm, golden slivers, or a table setting that contains a half-eaten dish and near-empty glass of wine abandoned in favor of conversation.
But more importantly, they’re accompanied by context – product details and attributes that shoppers care about, like if the sheets are organic and where and by whom the ceramic plates are being crafted. They want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth, especially for a product they’ll be using and interacting with often.
One popular product these Millennial shoppers are drawn to is Brooklinen sheets, which are as cool, crisp, soft, and breathable as luxury hotel sheets, but sold at a fraction of the luxury price. The company’s bestselling Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle (from $189) boasts more than 34,000 online reviews talking about its comfortable feel and variety of simple but stylish designs.
Meanwhile, the “softer-than-a-cloud” comforters from bedding favorite Buffy really are as fluffy as they look. They’re breathable to boot, and made from sustainable eucalyptus and eco-fiber spun from reclaimed PET bottles. If you want to be both incredibly cozy and friendly to the environment, you don’t have compromise these values or look far to find a startup that fulfills them.
It’s thanks to the quality construction and performance, delivered at a fair price, that shoppers become real-life versions of the ads, snuggling into their beds long after they’ve hit the snooze button for the third time or in the middle of a dreary, rainy weekend.
In a world where they’re constantly online and made available to the whims of both corporate and personal obligations, they’re looking to invest in a space that will reinvigorate them and bring them peace.
It might be ambitious to say a Casper mattress is the singular solution to this deeply ingrained cycle of work and availability, but it can’t hurt to enjoy a well-engineered slab of premium foam to help you sleep better at night. Casper has even expanded past the mattress to create other sleep products like bed frames, night stands, and a new Glow Light. Consumer products like these, made more affordable and innovative by online startups, are fulfilling this universal need and desire for rest.
If you’re not relaxing, lounging, or sleeping at home, you’re probably cooking and eating. Material is a kitchen startup that makes curated sets of cooking tools, specifically only the versatile essentials you need to cook a dinner for one or for eight. A sturdy, sharp knife, multi-functional metal spoon, and a pair of easy-to-manage tongs are a few of its sleek cooking tool standbys you can use to make your favorite meals.
To serve and enjoy your dishes, look to companies like Snowe and Year & Day, which are both making substantial dinnerware, drinkware, and serve-ware to last a lifetime. Their polished, matte, and glass eating and drinking accessories are both beautifully simple and durable, and made in Europe by experienced craftspeople. Shoppers more likely to be caught ordering from Seamless than flipping through an Alison Roman book shouldn’t feel left out because Snowe and Year & Day encourage use of their dinnerware for any occasion, from reheated Chinese takeout to gourmet tasting menu.
Equally emphasized among these food-related brands is how their products inspire gathering and sharing with loved ones. Instead of getting dressed up and going to a pricey, loud restaurant, have a dinner party or potluck with friends at one of your apartments. You can spend less money, bond over the communal love of food, and revel in the pleasure of avoiding the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Whether they’re spending it in the dining room or bedroom, more people are staying in, and it’s all too understandable given their position in life and the exhausting nature of work.
Creating the home they’re excited to return to at the end of the day, spend time in through the weekend, and host loved ones is a process that plenty of online startups are willing to help nurture and provide the product solutions for.
Learn more about the startups mentioned in this article:
Shop at Brooklinen
- These sheets are one of the best purchases I’ve ever made – here’s why
- Brooklinen vs Parachute sheets: How 2 of the most popular bedding startups stack up
- Brooklinen’s $100 bathrobe is the little luxury I never thought I needed
- Popular bedding startup Brooklinen has launched a new baby collection – and we wish these sheets came in adult sizes
Shop at Buffy
- I tried Buffy, a popular down-alternative comforter made of recycled plastic bottles – and it was super effective at regulating temperature
Shop at Casper
- I slept on Casper’s high-end ‘Wave’ mattress to see if it’s worth buying – and it’s truly a marvel of engineering
- Mattress startup Casper’s affordable pillow totally exceeded our expectations – here’s what we thought
- Popular mattress startup Casper makes sheets now – and they’re actually really impressive
Shop at Material
- This startup’s set of fundamental cooking tools contains everything you need to declutter your kitchen
Shop at Snowe
- Here’s why a new home store founded by Wharton MBA grads is a favorite among millennial shoppers
- This up-and-coming startup makes luxury bedding accessible and low-maintenance – here’s why I’m a convert to their wrinkle-resistant sheets
- This $98 bathrobe is truly the best one out there – here’s why
Shop at Year & Day