Meet The Real Estate Tech Entrepreneur: Jay Reno from Feather
This week, we interviewed Jay Reno from Feather.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m the founder and CEO of Feather, a company that is redefining furniture rental for the modern generation. In 2017, I launched Feather as an accessible, design-forward and quality alternative to the growing problem of fast furniture.
As someone who moved nine times in ten years, I saw the need to provide greater freedom and flexibility to a new generation of renters who are moving frequently, changing jobs and cities, and not committing to long-term living situations.
I’m an alum of Y Combinator’s accelerator program. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Elon University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University, where I studied climate and environmental science.
What problem does your product/service solve?
There are three key problems that Feather solves for both our residential and enterprise customers:
The first is having too much baggage when it’s time for a change— whether that’s moving cities or changing offices. There aren’t many furniture options that are convenient for the way we live and work today. Feather aims to provide greater freedom to a new generation by taking the headaches out of furnishing a space. On move-in day, our white-glove service will handle all the delivery, assembly and cleanup, which means the customer doesn’t have to lift a finger.
The second problem is furniture waste. With 19.6 billion pounds added yearly to landfills, furniture currently accounts for about 7% of all landfill waste. As there are few thoughtful, sustainable options for flexible furniture, most people and companies resort to “fast furniture” that’s cheap and disposable after a year or two. With our convenient options for rental, retail, and delivery with premium products designed to last, Feather is able to combat furniture waste that comes with moving.
Problem 3: Lack of freedom and flexibility. Since March 2020, 69% of businesses in the U.S. have permanently closed some or all of their office spaces, and nearly every business has faced lengthy closures and reduced staff in the office. This, coupled with the continued uncertainty of the pandemic, has led to a growing need for more flexibility and freedom in their in-person office spaces. Feather’s partnership with WeWork allows WeWork members to easily design their office spaces with our rental furniture, without the commitment and investment that comes with traditional office building leasing and furnishing.
What are you most excited about right now?
I’d have to say I’m most excited about our recent partnership with WeWork.
With the advent of remote and hybrid work and the uncertainty of the pandemic, our work culture’s idea of what an office looks like has changed a lot in a short period of time. Along with a growing need for flexible office spaces, companies are now assessing not only where their employees work, but how. Gone are the days of cubicles and standard meeting rooms – in the midst of transitioning to a hybrid era of working both from home and in an office, when people come together, they are looking to do so in new, collaborative and engaging ways.
To meet this need, Feather launched an innovative partnership with WeWork to provide high-quality office furniture with white-glove delivery and assembly to WeWork members in 150+ zip codes around the country. Responding to the unique needs of each office tenant, WeWork members are now able to curate their spaces with everything from lounge furniture, to collaborative breakout rooms, to items that prioritize ergonomics and design – all while leveraging Feather’s sustainable and circular business model of rental, refurbishment and reuse.
What’s next for you?
While Feather has helped furnish office spaces on a rental basis over the past few years, our partnership with WeWork is a larger step towards this evolution in our business. Given COVID-19 and the emergence of the hybrid work era nationwide, employees and employers are seeking flexible office options that foster collaboration and comfort. We’re excited to collaborate with WeWork, other coworking spaces, and major office brokerages and landlords to make flexible office solutions available to many more professionals in different markets around the country.
Last year, we also launched a new, 1-month term length offering specifically for the home staging industry. The move came after real estate professionals increasingly turned to Feather’s assortment of high-end furniture to stage homes for potential buyers, and demand for a shorter term length increased. We’re thrilled to continue to offer Feather services to a growing number of home stagers and real estate professionals taking advantage of the convenience and ease of Feather for their staging needs.
What’s a cause you’re passionate about and why?
I’m most passionate about sustainability and reducing the impact of furniture waste on the planet. As noted previously, furniture currently accounts for about 7% of all landfill waste, and 19.6 billion pounds is added yearly to landfills.
At Feather, the core of our business is our rental model— which is built around our vision of keeping furniture in homes and offices and out of landfills. This is especially apparent in the design of our furniture, which is designed to last with durable top-quality materials, and a component part system for needed repairs. We also choose clean lines and a functional, minimalist style in our pieces to make them simple to incorporate into a variety of homes, offices and personal styles.
Since founding, we have kept over 1M pounds of furniture out of landfills. We’re proud of this accomplishment, but this is just the beginning for us as we continue to work toward achieving our mission: transform people’s relationship with material goods for a healthier and happier planet.
Thanks to Jay for sharing his story. If you’d like to connect, find him on LinkedIn find him on LinkedIn here.
We’re constantly looking for great real estate tech entrepreneurs to feature. If that’s you, please read this post — then drop us a line (Community @ geekestate dot com).