An Online Furniture Marketplace Just Expanded to Boston
Spring is a time of clearing out the old to make way for the new. So it’s fitting, then, that online home decor marketplace Viyet has just landed in Boston at the emergence of springtime. The site allows users to sell pre-owned designer furniture, then buy new pieces.
While the concept of Viyet is simple, getting rid of quality furniture you’re tired of and replacing it with something new is not as easy as one might think. Renters often find themselves with unwanted furniture and nowhere to put it—unless a stranger from Craigslist offers to come pick it up.
That’s part of the reason why founder Elizabeth Brown decided to start Viyet. “We were really flummoxed because we had reached that stage in our lives where we were investing in nicer furniture,” she says. But living in somewhere like Boston or New York means moving often, and having nowhere to chuck the older models.
“They just might not be our style anymore or they might not fit the new space, and so when we really started to dig in and see what our options (were), there weren’t many,” Brown explains. She knew there must’ve been other people out in the world who would cherish the furniture she was willing to part with.
Rather than sell to a local consignment shop, which often takes a large chunk of the sticker price (and involves transporting the furniture to the store), Brown and a group of friends decided to start their own online consignment shop. Thus, luxury furniture marketplace Viyet was born in New York City in April 2013. It allows users to buy and sell antiques and high-end furniture from brands like Ligne Roset and Mies van der Rohe. Brown, Viyet’s CEO, explains there are deals to be found on her site.
“Our average selling price is 1,500 dollars marked down from about 4,000 dollars. So these are really fine pieces of furniture that you can get for the exact same amount that you would spend if you went to a Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel,” she says.
The process is surprisingly simple for both buyers and sellers. When selling, consigners fill out an online application. If the furniture is accepted—Viyet has an approximate acceptance rate of 60 percent—the company sends trained curators to your location in order to measure, photograph, and run authenticity checks on the piece. After the visit, it only takes about three to four business days until the furniture is up for sale on the website.
For consigners selling less than 20 items, Viyet takes 50 percent of the profit. For those selling more than 20 items, they take 40 percent. Once sold, Viyet organizes with the buyer for shipping costs. In other words, the seller doesn’t have to worry about transportation. The company’s goal is to make selling and buying furniture as painless as possible.
The new expansion means a number of things for Bostonians. First, selling furniture will be easier with curators based in the area. Second, shipping costs will be lower as more items are offered locally. The site was previously available in Boston, but items from the area weren’t for sale.
“In addition to being able to consign, (customers) can also shop local,” says Brown. “So they will be able to shop things being consigned from the Design Center, (and things) being consigned from local consigners.”
Interior designers make up 30 percent of Viyet’s customer base. Brown explains Boston’s interior design community was more than ready for the expansion.
“We noticed that we just started getting a lot more inquiries from people based in Boston saying ‘I have a ton of stuff, do you have curators in Boston yet?'” she says, “And with the Boston Design Center, so much going on with them, we just realized there was a real opportunity to make a more permanent team.”