Chairish the Thought: Q&A with Cofounders of Smashing New Online Home Furnishing Marketplace

Today, I sat down with Anna Brockway and Eric Grosse, the cofounders of Chairish, a new online consignment store that caters to those looking to buy and sell high-end, previously owned home furnishings. The company is based in San Francisco, but works with people all over the country to deliver “like new” pieces, as well as classic items that require some refurbishments.

Where did you get the idea for Chairish?

Anna: I grew up around people in the furniture and design business and, having worked in the fashion business, had dreams of living in a stylish home. But having four kids and a husband with a start-up, I was budget-constrained. I needed to find a way to make my champagne taste work on a Budweiser budget. So I started shopping vintage and consignment shops, and I loved it. We were also moving around a lot, and I found it was really hard to take these pieces I loved and sell them. The options out there at the time were not that great. Consignment shops were hard to work with because I had to get my items to the shop and they didn’t manage that process for me. There’s also a major limitation on foot traffic at a traditional consignment store. I complained about it and went on and on about it, and finally my husband, Greg, told me to do something about it. And so that’s how I got together with Eric.

Eric: I’ve known Anna and her husband, Greg, with whom I started Hotwire, for a long time, so this isn’t our proverbial first rodeo. Chairish is an opportunity to make online consignment a fantastic experience for buyers and sellers.

How does it work?

Eric: There are three ways to sell items through Chairish. The first we call Standard Service, where sellers upload photos and a description of their piece to our website, and when it sells we handle the shipping and the costs and we will take 20 percent of the proceeds, with the rest going to the seller. With the second method, Concierge Service, we’ll send a photographer to your house and come up with a description to post to our site. And again, when the item sells, we take care of shipping and payments, and take a 35 percent commission rate. The final, and most widely used method by sellers, is the Concierge Plus Service. This mirrors the previous service in every way except we will store your items in our warehouse, and our commission rate is 45 percent.

Anna: Our goal was to create an environment where, no matter when you come to the site, we have things that are really expensive, we have things that are less expensive, but everything is well-made, great style, and we cover a range of styles.

Who are your customers?

Anna: I also really think that home design has become a sort of way of expressing yourself, just like fashion. No one goes down to Breuners and buys a living room set they’re going to live with for the next 25 years. So the notion that we can make buying and selling and changing things out in your house easily really facilitates the desire amongst home décor crazies, like me, to do that - and you don’t lose a ton of money in the process.

What is it that sets you apart from other web-based furniture retailers such as Craigslist, eBay, 1stDibs, etc.?

Eric: Unlike broad market places like Craigslist or eBay, we have a curated model of what we are looking for.

Anna: For our self-listing service, I am the decider, so I look at every single piece submitted and say ‘yes’ or ‘no.' I personally love pieces that have great bones but need a little love, so we have a Rehab Clinic on our site that caters to pieces that need to be reupholstered but are fabulously made to last. We also make a point of asking sellers to rate their items on a condition scale. We just don’t want our buyers to end up surprised.

 

Thanks Anna and Eric! Hop over to Chairish to see their latest vintage, modern, and just plain cute chair designs. Save us a seat!

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