While working as a stockbroker in New York, Whitney Frances Falk analyzed furniture retailers and manufacturers. She discovered something that shocked her: most furniture produced today is intentionally designed to last, on average, only a few years.
This “planned obsolescence” was designed “so that the affected company could financially estimate when the customer would renew those purchases, ultimately supporting the company’s balance sheets and shareholder value,” she says. “It was all amazing to me. I was reminded of heritage treasures – the coveted furniture of relatives and antiques that were like silent members of your family, equally legendary and equally beloved.
But things had changed.
“Overall,” adds Falk, “the furniture in my memory was at its core an extremely sustainable practice of use and reuse, care and sought after restoration, and what I was witnessing with some of these companies giantess was wasteful – and ultimately desecration – convenient for both people and the planet.
At the same time, Brooklyn-based Falk noticed that her friends were looking forward to graduating from mass-produced furniture, but couldn’t justify investing in lifetime pieces, knowing they might have to move. rental apartments from year to year.
“Of course, nobody wants to spend if they can actually get rid of something in just a year,” she says. “And yet, we have so many incredible furniture designers in the backyards of our cities. This was ultimately the “genesis moment” of the light bulb where it became clear to me that we needed to create a platform that bridged the gap between ethical, independent, emergent design, and the client’s need for flexibility. , inspiration, truly sustainable furniture and convenience. ”
In 2014, Falk established his company ZZ Driggs, which sought to address these issues by offering private and commercial clients contemporary and historic pieces to rent or buy. As she puts it: “One can ‘try on’ furniture in a deeply personal space – one’s own home.”
“Procuring our furniture is one of my greatest joys,” says Falk. “We work with some of the most acclaimed and revered antique suppliers in the United States who are, in our minds, true historians…I’m proud to say that we offer furniture at ZZ that has nearly 300 years because, when it comes to furniture, if we take care of it, it will take care of us.
Items in the Collectable section – that is, vintage, antique and rare furniture – include an art deco adjustable cast iron table lamp, an Indian wedding table and an authentic Frank Sutoa walnut bookshelf.
Contemporary items include a blue milking stool, a green mushroom table lamp, and the “Madda” chair, a contemporary take on the classic club chair by third-generation furniture designer Michael Felix, which comes in colors ranging from from cornflower blue to coral reef pink.
Falk is drawn to the refectory’s folding-legged table, which dates back to the early 1900s in western Massachusetts. “These tables have their own respective and beautifully singular history,” she says.
ZZ Driggs operates entirely online. Delivery of all furniture is free, and customers can use 100% of the money they spent on renting an item to purchase it at a later date.
The Cast Iron Adjustable Art Deco Table Lamp is available to rent for US$20 per month and purchase for US$425; the Indian wedding table is available to rent for US$55 and to purchase for US$2,100; the Frank Sutoa shelf is available to rent for $150 per month and to purchase for $5,975. The refectory folding table is available to rent for $85 per month and to purchase for $3,300.
The Blue Milking Stool is available to rent for $45 per month and to purchase for $1,115; the green mushroom table lamp is available to rent for US$30 per month and to purchase for US$650; and the Madda Chair is available to rent for $160 per month and to purchase for $4,700.
WHAT IS THE GOOD?
“ZZ Driggs partners directly with some of the best independent and emerging furniture designers by licensing their work, manufacturing their designs in large quantities, increasing their revenue streams, promoting their personal brands, providing access to a larger market broad and creating jobs in local communities,” says Falk.
“Our company’s purpose and mission is entirely based on ethical practices, circularity and sustainability, as evidenced by our work to achieve Certified B Company status as a mission-driven company,” it adds. -she.
The company has offset 100% of its carbon emissions, produced by all company operations, from shipping to transportation. Every rental or purchase made on the site includes a $1 donation to Carbonfund.org or 1% for the planet, matched by ZZ Driggs. And they feature only ethically made furniture: all of their designers pay their workers fairly, 80% of their designers make products with recyclable materials, and 60% use biodegradable materials.
“We’ve kept hundreds of pieces of furniture out of landfills, as we restore, store and offer collectible furniture for rent on ZZ Driggs,” says Falk.
All ZZ parts have a minimum viable life of 50 years or more, Falk adds. “Furniture, when made well, is the most sustainable product on our planet. This is the very reason antiques exist in the first place.
Falk thinks “we will continue to see an increase in the sharing economy”, with more people renting the goods they use. Beyond that, his goal is for ZZ Driggs “to become the Patagonia of the furniture industry – to be known across the United States as a reliable, trusted, and valued source of furniture where the product will outlast you”.