“We started Russet when we realized affordable furniture didn't exist without having to sacrifice design, quality, or ease of assemblage,” said its co-founder Stephanie Rales.
Rales founded Russet alongside Sophie Lavet. The pair had moved several times and found themselves struggling to find furniture for their homes.
Both Rales and Lavet had noticed that while there are many brands out there that identify themselves as affordable — in reality, most are not much less expensive than most furniture stores. So they started to work on with Russet with the belief that good design and affordability should exist for everyone, regardless of budget.
“It’s our mission to provide options to those who previously felt alienated by high priced furniture brands,” explained Lavet.
The New Homemakers
With Russet, Rales and Lavet set out to create a brand for “new home makers”, which the pair describe as “people of all backgrounds and budgets, looking to create a home on their terms.”
“New home makers have certainly changed over the years as more young people and families fill urban areas,” Rales said. Living in urban areas often comes with smaller spaces, a trade-off many families are happy to make in order to prioritize location and proximity to work, shops, and restaurants “More people are investing in their homes and realizing the importance of their space, regardless of its size,” said Rales. “And that is something we want to remind people. We want people to love their space and feel pride in their home,” she added.
Russet is creating a line of elevated basics — these are pieces, Rales explained, that make your home functional and utilize all the space you have available. “We want people to love their homes and in order to get there, provide them with the tools to make that possible,” she added.
"We want people to love their homes and in order to get there, provide them with the tools to make that possible.”
In its first collection, Russet plans to have 10–12 basics on offer. Its first product is The Sidekick was designed as a side table but is versatile enough that it can be used in a number of ways around the home.“Before we knew it, half our customers were using it as a nightstand,” explained Rales.
“We wanted to start with something simple and foundational, much of our first collection will follow that theme — something that could be used in different ways in different spaces,” she continued.
Before settling on The Sidekick’s design, Rales and Lavet considered a few different versions of the table, with the goal of crafting something simple enough to fit into any home without lacking personality or design. “Having some sort of shelving was very important to us — who doesn't love extra storage,” Rales explained. “We also wanted to keep in mind the size, remembering many of our customers are in apartments and smaller homes.”
Customization was also important for Russet, though Rales notes they were keen to make sure they didn’t overwhelm customers with too many choices. So The Sidekick is available in three stains — two natural wood options and one black.
As part of Russet’s commitment to put sustainability first, The Sidekick is made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood and there are no single-use plastics involved in shipping the product to customers.
The Sidekick is available for $75 (including free shipping). Russet will launch the next product in its elevated basics collection in early 2021.