Havenly CEO Details Growth Plans After Taking Over The Citizenry

MILAN The Citizenry has preserved artisan craft from dozens of countries and propelled coveted traditions into the mainstream market. It’s no wonder the company caught the eye of Havenly’s chief executive officer Lee Mayer, a loyal The Citizenry customer, who acquired the marketplace last week.

Havenly is an interior design platform Mayer started in 2014 at just 30 years old when she wanted to spruce up her own home — but on a budget.

She has since democratized interior design for a digital generation.

Over the last three years, Havenly purchased home furnishings companies Interior Define and The Inside. With the acquisition of The Citizenry, Havenly aims to complete the interior design experience for the rising Millennial homewares shopper through adding artisan offerings. The deal will also allow The Citizenry, which currently has one store, to open more doors.

Mayer said she’d be open to future acquisitions, too. “If you think about all the things that go into furnishing your home and designing your home, there’s certainly a lot of interesting assets out there right now that we’re taking a look at,” the private equity veteran and Harvard Business School graduate told WWD following the deal.

Acquiring The Citizenry allows Havenly to expand its capabilities across all of its categories and expand its story, she said. “Understanding where our goods come from is such an important part of how we shop today and how we are going to shop tomorrow,” Mayer said. She declined to comment on financial terms of the deal, but financial database PrivCo. suggests the company was valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Citizenry’s investors have included Suttona Capital and Forward Venture capital.

The Citizenry

Home decor from The Citizenry.

Courtesy of The Citizenry

As part of the acquisition, Denver-based Havenly said it will keep most of the The Citizenry team intact, including Rachel Bentley, who will serve as president of The Citizenry, and Carly Nance, who will transition to serving as an executive brand adviser. The two founders told WWD that joining forces with Havenly will help them expand their existing vision.

“For us, it was about creating a brand that could prove business was a force for good in the market instead for deeper values. And that was one of the things that really drew us to Havenly. Lee has been a long and loyal customer and avid fan of what we are building and came to the table with that perspective, first and foremost,” Bentley said. The Citizenry was advised by investment bank Raymond James.

The strategy going forward is to integrate The Citizenry product lineup with Havenly’s other brands to create a multibrand experience. The first stop for The Citizenry will be enhancing Havenly’s hub in Denver. “We’ll look at sort of stand-alone locations potentially for The Citizenry over the next year or two as well,” Mayer added, noting Havenly will in turn set up shop in The Citizenry’s Manhattan flagship location. That brings the total of Havenly’s physical locations to 14. 

Mayer also discussed similarities between the Havenly and The Citizenry’s next-generation, digital-first shoppers who are reaching the peak of their home spend years. The company pointed out that there’s a generational shift underway in the home industry, as Millennials dominate home mortgage origination. Havenly expects Millennials to dominate the home shopping category for the next 10 to 15 years, according to Havenly.

“The customer who is broadly digitally native or comfortable shopping online is accustomed to certain things…products and services and price transparency. I think they care a ton about where their products are getting developed and how ethically their products are getting developed,” Mayer said. 

Since its founding in 2014, The Citizenry has rapidly grown its customer base thanks to its global selection of furniture, carpets, linens, wall art and much more. The company’s mission is to support the work of artisans within cooperatives around the world and said it pays craftsmen an average wage that’s twice that of fair trade requirements. The Citizenry worked with almost 3,000 artisans around the world last year.

Early on, The Citizenry embraced a Fair Trade business model and contends it is the largest U.S. home decor company to have 100 percent of its products sourced according to the rigorous standards set by the World Fair Trade Organization.

Havenly said with this acquisition, it secures its place as the largest digital-first, direct-to-consumer platform in the home decor market with a strong strategy for sustainable growth.

The Citizenry

The Citizenry flagship.

Courtesy of The Citizenry

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