Target, which helped pioneer the idea of democratizing design with its Michael Graves partnership in the 2000s, is returning to that concept with a new home brand with a functional, clean design in mind.
Made by Design is Target’s fourth new home brand launched in the past year, and the Minneapolis-based retailer expects it will become a billion-dollar brand, a spokesman said.
The 750-item line that hits stores on June 23 includes everything from cookware with pour spouts and lids with built-in strainers to rustproof bath accessories and bath towels with hanging loops on them so they don’t fall as easily on the bathroom floor. Most items are under $30.
“This is dead on,” said Sandy Stein, a Twin Cities-based retail expert. “Target has been successful with design as a differentiator, and now they’re doubling down on it.”
Some of Target’s other new home brands have filled missing aesthetics in its lineup: Project 62 offered a modern play, Opalhouse gave a colorful and eclectic option, and Hearth & Hand with Magnolia in conjunction with HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines focused on modern farmhouse.
The home brands are part of a flurry of new private-label offerings that Target has introduced as it looked to refresh its brand portfolio and regain its edge as the authority in cheap-chic offerings. Many of the other new brands have been in Target’s wheelhouse of affordable apparel such as Goodfellow & Co. for men; denim-focused Universal Thread, which replaced Mossimo; and two new clothing lines aimed at teens that will debut in August.
“We did more guest research on this brand than for any brand we’ve introduced,” Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, said of Made by Design. “This was about getting into the homes of our guests, seeing what products they are using every day and what issues they have with those products. How can we make that product better and easier but still keep it affordable?”
Target thinks this brand will be “hyper relevant” to millennials who are starting out in their first home in the same way Target’s Room Essentials line is geared toward college students looking to furnish a dorm room or apartment, he said.
Millennials don’t necessarily have a lot of disposable income, Stein said.
“But they want things that won’t have to be replaced,” he said. “They’re willing to pay for something that’s good quality and that will endure.”
Target’s largest home brand is Threshold, which has a classic-casual feel and does more than $2 billion in sales a year.
Only about 10 percent of Made by Design overlaps with current products, mostly in Room Essentials, and those items have been moved into the new line, Thomas said.
As Target launches new brands and explores other areas to focus on, it can be flexible in how big its brands become, Thomas said. Opalhouse, which was introduced earlier this year, was projected to be a smaller venture, but given the strong response it’s received, Target is planning to ramp it up beyond the initial plans for it, he said.
Even though Target has already come up with four new home brands, don’t expect Made by Design to be the last.
“This doesn’t mean we’re done,” Thomas added. “There will continue to be white space for us to explore.”