Wayfair described Birch Lane as “a destination for classic style and timeless home design … a fresh perspective on traditional furnishings and décor.” Most importantly, the company said that the new brand offers online furniture shoppers classic design at an attainable price point.
The move to add a product line like Birch Lane is another signal that Wayfair aims to become the single biggest source for online furniture shopping on the Web. The design aesthetics and “classic” furniture styles of Birch Lane are quite similar to the type of furniture that might be offered at stores like Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn. Additionally, Birch Lane will be offered through a print catalog, a first for Wayfair.
In my opinion, Wayfair is trying to leverage its expanding delivery network and growing reputation as the go-to source for online furniture shopping, to beat out Pottery Barn, et al., and to become the premier brand for the generation of tech savvy consumers who are moving on from shopping at Rue La La and Gilt to buying (and having to furnish) condos and, ultimately, family homes.
“The furnishings are made to layer with other finds and favorites to create a well-loved and lived-in look,” she added. “The classic pieces complement almost any décor and stand the test of time.”
Wayfair spokeswoman Kerin Horgan told me that the vision for Birch Lane came from John Mulliken, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Wayfair, with additional input from Meridith Mahoney, the general manager of merchandising for lifestyle brands, as well as Lemieux.
Wayfair just raised $157 million in new funding and is the top candidate among Boston tech companies to make a big splash in the IPO market soon.