Men are shopping. They’re buying clothes, handbags, grooming products—all in dramatically higher volumes than ever before. So it’s no surprise then that a few trend-savvy entrepreneurs are betting on guys having a similar hunger for designer furniture and home goods.
But what would furniture and home goods for guys even mean? We’ve already ranted against labeling spaces as "masculine" or "feminine" because it’s lazy, perhaps offensively so. And we continue to wonder: what makes "guy" side tables or bed sheets different from any old side table or bed sheet?
Well, as the following shops catering to men would argue, it’s less about about offering products just for men than about crafting shopping experiences that are friendly and encouraging to the guy shopper, especially the one who cares or wants to care about what goes in his home but isn’t exactly sure how to proceed. If the buzzing Reddit community "Male Living Space" is any indication, there’s certainly an audience eager for it.
Founded in 2012, TRNK started out as an online publication that sought to create fresh depictions of the modern man’s home. "Without the imagery, it’s hard to relate to the concept," says Tariq Dixon, who, along with co-founder Nick Nemechek, comes from a background in men’s fashion merchandising. Two years ago, the site expanded from only delivering stories about men’s homes to offering an online shop that curates furniture and home goods from designers around the world. So far, it has sold to all 50 states, though most customers hail from New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The tagline "Have a Handsome Home" features prominently on the TRNK homepage. For the brand, "handsome" doesn’t necessarily prescribe a specific look—though the products TRNK selects do tend to favor a modern aesthetic with natural materials, muted colors, and strong geometries. Dixon describes it more as an attitude: "A thoughtfulness about the space," with the finished result looking like you put time into it. From the curated products to articles like "4 Picks for Stylish Home Audio" and "How to Pick the Perfect Sofa," TRNK targets the guy who appreciates design but doesn’t know a thing about how to bring it home.
"Men are shopping for themselves," Dixon continues. "There’s still an antiquated assumption that the female dominates the home, but that doesn’t represent the diversity of the American home anymore." For TRNK, gender specificity ideally wouldn’t matter down the line. After all, whoever buys the stuff might very well have to share the space with a partner who has different tastes and preferences.
TAYLR, a shoppable Pinterest of sorts for clothing, home accessories, and other American-made goods, wants to give guys an easy way to shop online. On the website, you can pick out everything from wallets and pillows to artworks and floor lamps—all from different brands—and check out in one place.
According to founder and CEO Christopher Danner, TAYLR started out with the "for men" descriptor largely because that’s what he and his current team of two other guys could realistically claim expertise in. By relying on their own tastes and ideas of what men might like to buy online, the TAYLR team can curate a shopping portal that goes beyond literal guy stuff like shaving kits and beard oils.
"We have a brand on board called Hank by Henry—they make the best chopsticks you’ve ever seen," Danner writes in an email. "I don’t have the faintest idea if chopsticks are particularly ‘for guys’ but I know that these chopsticks are beautiful and kickass."
The team behind Thread Experiment, the self-proclaimed first ever bedding brand for men, finds itself having to define "men’s bedding" constantly.
By the year-old upstart’s definition, "men’s bedding" is not cowboys, superheroes, or football helmets, but rather more mature patterns and color palettes, usually inspired by elements of menswear like suits and ties. According to co-founder Greg Shugar, who previously co-founded the men’s accessories brand The Tie Bar, Thread Experiment’s bestsellers so far have been the nautical designs and a plaid pattern that Shugar says is a bit more sophisticated than the "collegiate prep" kind of plaid. This fall, the brand plans to unveil houndstooth, bow tie, and bandana prints.
Men who want to purchase bedding for themselves can have their pick of big-box retailers, department stores, and specialty shops online and in person. But for Thread Experiment, it’s about simplifying the process while encouraging guys to try something beyond just solid colors.