Direct-to-consumer home goods company Parachute has growth on the mind. The brand—which began with bedding—has recently expanded into furniture with bed frames, nightstands and benches. And while the company has been mostly digitally focused with a few brick-and-mortar stores, Parachute plans to significantly grow its physical retail presence, expanding from 12 to nearly 30 retail locations by year’s end.
And to help them manage that growth and improve engagement with customers, Parachute recently hired Meredith Lamont—a retail veteran who previously worked with Pottery Barn, Gap and Levi Strauss—to lead its efforts in the newly created chief merchandising officer role. Lamont will be responsible for driving growth strategies, as well as leading Parachute’s product development and category expansion.
Sourcing Journal recently caught up with Lamont to hear more about how she plans to guide Parachute into the future.
Sourcing Journal: How does your experience with companies like Pottery Barn, Gap and Levi Strauss prepare you for this role with Parachute?
Meredith Lamont: I’ve been so fortunate to work for some of the most iconic names in retail over the past 20 years, and that is where I honed my skill of analyzing key consumer trends, identifying strategies, and identifying opportunities for expansion and launching new businesses.
SJ: What drew you to Parachute?
ML: I had the good fortune of working with Parachute for three years as a strategic advisor as a consultant before coming in-house. Through that experience, I had the opportunity to fall in love with the culture of the team—they’re incredibly creative and entrepreneurial.
SJ: Why is it important for home goods companies to offer an omni-channel shopping experience?
ML: Though Parachute is a digitally native brand, we always had goal of expanding into (brick-and-mortar) retail. And a lot of that came from when we talk to the customer and we hear the importance of touch and feel. We do a great job of presenting through imagery and the detail of our copy, but there’s nothing like that hands-on approach.
SJ: Why is customer engagement so important in the home goods category?
ML: When I think about the modern consumer, they obviously want a quality product, but at the same time they want to understand a brand’s values and how that aligns with their values. And they’re making choices when they spend, not only on the product but on the brand itself.
Customers also want to hear about sustainability, inclusivity, representation, and the story of the craftsmanship.
SJ: What are some of the things you’ll be working on in terms of the company’s retail expansion?
ML: My immediate priority is around category expansion and taking that Parachute aesthetic from the intimate spaces in the home to the more communal spaces and broadening that category reach to all rooms of the home. With our retail expansion, it’s about meeting customers where they are. We just opened our 13th store this month in Pasadena, and we have plans to double that footprint by year-end.
SJ: You’ve worked in both apparel and home goods—why does the home industry appeal to you so much?
ML: The home furnishings sector is so unique in that the emotional connection with the customer often aligns with a major milestone in their life. It may be that you’re moving to a new city or the first time you’re living on your own, or maybe you’re moving in with a partner for the first time or setting up a nursery—these are all monumental events in our customers’ journey. I take that so seriously, being a part of the customer’s memories and making sure the customer service is there and that the product is something that’s going to last and be there with them after these milestone moments.