retail watch | May 26, 2022 |
Boxi and Rejuvenation cook up a new partnership for the kitchen

Direct-to-consumer cabinetry company Boxi has hooked up with a new retail partner: Rejuvenation, the niche furnishings and lighting brand that is part of the Williams-Sonoma stable of nameplates, which will be rolling out in-store and online programs to offer cabinetry to its customers.

For both companies, it’s a big step in new partnerships that are helping each to expand their businesses. Boxi is on the floor at four Rejuvenation stores starting this month, including the company’s flagship location in Portland, Oregon, where the retailer was founded. Shoppers can special-order its kitchen cabinets, choosing from among its eight standardized designs, all of which will employ Rejuvenation hardware. Boxi products will also be available online through the Rejuvenation website.

With 10 retail stores, Rejuvenation is the smallest retail brand in the Williams-Sonoma group. Its partnership with Boxi is one of several initiatives with third parties—the company already sells Sherwin-Williams paint and offers landscape design assistance through Yardzen. Next month, it will launch a partnership with Pratt + Larson, a Portland neighbor specializing in hand-made ceramic tile for the home.

Boxi, meanwhile, is currently selling cabinetry in 14 Western states—largely a factor of supply chain logistics—with plans to eventually expand across more of the country. Its parent company, Semihandmade, was built on the back—OK, it was the front—of Ikea kitchen cabinets, specializing in stylish cabinet fronts for the big-box brand’s modular systems. Founder and CEO John McDonald launched Boxi in 2021 to sell complete cabinetry using a direct-to-consumer model; this Rejuvenation deal marks its first entry in physical stores.

“This is a great way to give us exposure and tell people Boxi is a brand,” McDonald tells Business of Home, who explained that the direct model follows similar efforts by direct-to-consumer sellers in other sectors, like mattresses and furniture. “The biggest surprise is the number of people who will spend a lot of money—almost sight unseen—on the strength of a 4-inch-by-6-inch door sample,” he says. “People first started buying mattresses in a box, and then they’re buying $3,000 sofas, and then buying houses online. And so kitchens, although a smaller purchase, they’re right in there.”

For Rejuvenation, which began as a lighting retailer and has expanded into a broader assortment of furniture and home decor since its purchase by Williams-Sonoma in 2011, the Boxi hookup is a natural fit.

“Boxi really resonated as a great partner to expand our kitchen and bath refresh and remodel offerings,” said Tracey Wyres, the brand’s director of marketing. “Rejuvenation is committed to quality craftsmanship and creating timeless designs for every home improvement project, and Boxi is a leader in direct-to-consumer cabinet systems. Their products are made in America and built to last.”

In addition to the Portland flagship, Boxi products are on display in Rejuvenation’s stores in Houston, Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, California. “The Boxi kitchen vignettes are featured prominently, incorporated into our core categories—their cabinetry features our solid brass hardware and sits next to our customizable, Portland-assembled lighting,” says Wyres. The Boxi cabinets will be featured in the next Rejuvenation catalog, and the retailer will feature educational content from Boxi, ranging from how to choose cabinet colors, finishes and silhouettes to selecting hardware, on a landing page on Rejuvenation’s website. “We want to be a complete resource for our customers, whether they’re starting a simple refresh or a full remodel,” says Wyres. “We are always seeking the right partners who are the authority within their industry to amplify our customer experience.”

For McDonald and Boxi, the new partnership continues to build out the company, which had $4 million in sales last year and expects to double that figure in 2022. Its simplified product offerings and design aesthetic are the key to that expansion. “With us, it’s eight door choices—we’re not going to confuse and overwhelm you with 45 different shades of white,” he says. “We’re not … trying to be everything to everyone. That’s the thing that I think is most scalable.”

Homepage image: The Boxi Oat Slab and Rejuvenation Trask Drawer | Courtesy of Boxi

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Warren Shoulberg is the former editor in chief for several leading B2B publications. He has been a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; received honors from the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Fashion Institute of Technology; and been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media as a leading industry expert. His Retail Watch columns offer deep industry insights on major markets and product categories.

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