Do-it-yourself as a profitable business model
Individual, price-conscious, sustainable and online: millennials and Generation Z take a very different approach to buying furniture to that of their parents and grandparents. They style their living spaces based on the do-it-yourself principle and find their inspiration on blogs and social media channels. More and more companies are recognising the great potential to be found in this trend. For start-ups, furniture retailers and home improvement stores, do-it-yourself is turning out to be a lucrative business model.
(Photo: Ivan Samkov on Pexels)
IKEA hacks for sale
Unique mass-produced goods? What sounds like a contradiction in terms has been made possible by the do-it-yourself movement. It started with trends like furniture alterations or IKEA hacks. Private users share creative tips and tricks with the online community for easy ways to customise or repurpose the furniture available from the Swedish furniture store. Depending on the tutorial, the square KALLAX shelf may be transformed into a fireplace, a room divider with integrated desk or a mobile filing cabinet. Since then, numerous companies have specialised in customising mass-produced furniture (please note: some sites are available in German only).
- Cover Couch , Bemz and Comfort Works , for example, make bespoke replacement covers for various seats and sofas sold by the furniture giant – a sustainable alternative to buying new pieces.
- New Swedish Design introduces order into the living room: with custom-fit shelf or drawer inserts, shelving classics can be adapted to individual needs and organisational skills.
- Even just a new knob, different legs or modified cabinet fronts can make a big difference. That’s why Prettypegs , Limmaland and Superfront offer a huge selection of creative adhesive films, handles and legs for IKEA furniture.
Rustic wooden furniture like this bench makes a great DIY project (photo: Natural Goods Berlin on Unsplash)
Do-it-yourself equipment and workshops
The new options opened up by the DIY market aren’t restricted to furniture manufacturers. Landholz , for example, puts together DIY kits consisting of paints and brushes for various interior design styles. The customer buys a box online, gives his or her home a makeover and shares photos on Instagram using the hashtag #pinselnwiresan . Customers who prefer to keep things natural and sustainable can order DIY kits with instructions from ekomia , while fans of industrial-style interiors won’t be left disappointed on ilTubo , for example.
There’s even more choice to be found at local DIY stores. For example, Obi has opened the CREATE! By Obi store in Cologne and has devoted a youthful and fresh website with instructions and an online shop to the DIY market. BAUHAUS and toom are also following the trend for self-build furniture. They offer numerous tips for DIY and upcycling projects online and link visitors to the materials required from the online shop at the same time. Customers can also share their own ideas – and even win cash prizes at toom. Founded in 2018, HORST specialises 100% in the do-it-yourself market. It’s not a conventional DIY store, but rather a creative studio with workshops, tools for hire and a retail space selling the necessary equipment.
Moss green is a trendy paint colour for do-it-yourself projects (photo: Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels)
Do-it-yourself for B2B
What does a furniture manufacturer need to do in order to adapt its range to better suit the DIY market? Timbertex helps companies aiming to do precisely this . From designing the disassembled piece of furniture to preparing assembly instructions and handling logistics, the service provider takes over all the important steps involved in offering do-it-yourself furniture. This allows conventional suppliers to reach new target markets online without having to completely reorganise their own production processes.
Cooperating with designers also reaps rewards. Reform, which was founded in 2014, works with acclaimed designers and architects to develop individual kitchen solutions that build on inexpensive modules from other manufacturers. The combination of mass-produced products, high-quality worktops and innovative designs has already won Reform numerous awards. Semihandmade has also specialised in customising kitchens made by other manufacturers and has even developed a programme for young designers and tradespeople. The company benefits from the creativity and craftsmanship of its partners and, in addition to price discounts, gives them a platform for their designs using kitchen cabinet fronts from Semihandmade.
The future of the DIY market has gone online
The do-it-yourself movement has been experiencing a huge boom thanks to the Internet and social media. And that’s probably the most important profit driver for companies. That’s because a varied online offering – whether instructions for upcycling projects, accessories for DIY furniture or collaborations – attracts new, young customers. And combining this with social media creates a relationship where the customer and supplier are on the same level. The Future Living section of our magazine is a must-read to find out what other trends are emerging in the furniture and interior design sector.