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Føerni is a Hong Kong-based online furniture subscription platform where customers can rent out high-quality furniture, home appliances and electronics, marking the first of its kind in the city. While other companies offer furniture rental services, this is the first website that allows you to conduct the entire transaction online, firmly anchoring itself in the growing sharing economy catering to anti-owning millennials. The launch of the platform comes at a time when consumers are becoming increasingly mindful about their home environment as they spend more time indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched last month by German entrepreneur Pauline Wetzer, Føerni lets Hong Kong residents subscribe to flexible monthly plans to lease designer furniture. Just as fast fashion is getting turned on its head with circular business models, so is “fast furniture”.
Currently, the platform offers 90 different new and used pieces from local and global brands, including BoConcept, Indigo Living, Normann Copenhagen, Dyson and Decor8. Aside from furniture, customers can also browse through Føerni’s kitchen appliances and electronics, from toasters to fans. Upon returning the items, the company will conduct professional cleaning and restoration before it lands back on its website for rental again.
Rental plans range from 3 to 18 months, and customers are able to try out pieces before they subscribe. At any time, Føerni customers can swap for other items with free delivery and assembling, and are also able to purchase items after the rental period. By doing so, the startup hopes to be able to lengthen the life-cycle of each piece of furniture before it ends up in the landfill.
“It feels good knowing that my love for being on trend with furniture aesthetics and design does not contribute to additional load on the landfill,” remarked Karen Y., one of Føerni’s recent customers.
Wetzer previously co-created Hong Kong’s co-living concept We R Urban, which was later bought out by Hmlet, the Singapore-based flat-share company with operations across Asia.
Online rental platforms solutions have been more relegated to the fashion industry with names like Rent The Runway pioneering the concept, and Subscription platforms such as Rebag, which allows members to borrow luxury handbags, have become go-to options for conscious consumers. Furniture businesses are beginning to hop on the trend. In the US, Feather is growing fast and attracting investment and even fashion players like Rent The Runway are starting to diversify into home goods, thanks to a partner-hip with interiors company West Elm.
Last month, Japanese homeware retailer Muji introduced a rental program for its furniture and interior items in their home market, including a home office monthly or annual subscription as work-from-home becomes the norm in the age of coronavirus.
Last year, Swedish home furnishing giant IKEA announced that it would begin testing furniture rentals in 30 countries in order to capitalise on both the rising consumer awareness of the health of their home environment as they spend more time indoors, as well as the growing demand for more eco-friendly options.