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Shutterfly Exec Says Print-on-Demand Critical to Home Goods Roadmap

For many years, photo storage and printing site Shutterfly has offered home goods items to its customers in the form of customizable coffee mugs, throws and the like. But last year, the company acquired North Carolina-based custom fabric and wallpaper business Spoonflower in an effort to expand its home category reach beyond mugs and calendars emblazoned with photos of the grandkids.

Since then, Shutterfly launched an outdoor home goods line that included pillows, tableware and blankets featuring designs by Spoonflower independent artists. And most recently, Shutterfly paired Spoonflower artists with TikTok stars for a limited-edition line of decor items.

And according to Shutterfly’s vice president of merchandise, Jessica Lesesky, those introductions are just the beginning of the company’s push into the home market.

“With this Spoonflower acquisition and where we want to take the brand, we’re just bringing customers more choice,” Lesesky said. “So, we’re bringing on 4,000 designs from 600 independent artists, and it’s across a lot of new products as well as existing products that we knew our customers loved and would like to buy more of, if we could bring in a design element.”

That vast community of independent artists who are tapped into the latest trends allows Shutterfly to offer a wide array of product designs without a wait since Spoonflower is essentially a print-on-demand business. Lesesky said that not only fits with Shutterfly’s existing custom order model, but also offers an advantage against competitors in the home category.

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“Traditionally, retailers especially in home decor have to think through, ‘What is the style going to be?’ And they’re planning their lines a year in advance,” she said. “You’re crossing your fingers, hoping that you’re going to plan something that’s great. And in the mass market of home decor retail, a lot of times they’re left with excess inventory. We don’t have to worry about that because we’re print on demand, so that’s exciting.”

Shutterfly is in the early innings of its push into the home goods market, where it sees opportunities in bed and bath.
Shutterfly sees big growth in the home decor market. Courtesy

As Shutterfly continues to expand its home product assortment, Lesesky said the company plans to move into additional sectors.

“When we think about other categories, we can expand into wall, we can expand into bedding, bath,” she said. “We knew we already had an audience who loved the products that we have, and so we wanted to bring design there and expand. And now we’re looking at what new things we can bring to those spaces.”

Lesesky said Shutterfly sees the home goods category as the logical next step in the life cycle of its customers, who often initially come to the company for graduation, wedding and baby announcements—all life moments that can precede home product purchases. And with consumers increasingly wanting to put their personal touch on their homes, the company feels well-positioned to provide custom capabilities for customers.

“We know home is a category where customization and personalization is so important,” she said. “So, how could we bring our manufacturing scale and our ability to source these very unique and creative products with the Spoonflower artist community and really have a new way to tackle that category? That’s something we want to explore.”