Recently, our CEO Whitney Frances Falk joined Tom Edwards, host of Monocle’s The Entrepreneurs podcast, to chat about the idea behind ZZ and its forward-thinking business model.
Listen to what circularity means for the furniture industry, the intuitiveness of the sharing economy, and how ZZ harnesses its power to do good.
Our Favorite Q&As:
What is your view on the sharing economy?
“The sharing economy is such a beautiful thing, because it’s predicated on goods that last. That’s the most important thing we should be focused on as both businesses as well as consumers.”
Why does that make what ZZ Driggs does so intuitive?
“We’re only going to move more and more toward utilizing and renting things when we need them. For that matter, a business at its heart has to build goods that last, so that it can survive and truly make an impact.”
Would you say longevity — the intention of building things to last — is the most fundamental part of the ZZ Driggs story?
“At the end of the day, furniture when made well is truly the most circular product out there. It’s why antiques exist. It’s why vintage furniture exists. It’s really quite simple. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be sharing it… The rub is that high quality, long-lasting, and sustainable products cost more — therein lies the reason why it makes so much sense to rent it when you need it.”
With a background in finance, what made you so interested in this field? What motivated you to start ZZ?
“After studying global manufacturers and retailers and diving into their balance sheets, you understand that [their] furniture has a planned obsolescence — it's meant to give out after a certain number of years. A company can make their best financial guess as to when the customer will be walking back through the doors to make the purchase again.”
“This [planned obsolescence] desecrates the environment but also damages customers' pocketbooks. So that was it, that was the light bulb moment. There's no reason why we can't share in these pieces if they are going to outlive us. That was the genesis to creating ZZ.”
What did the B Corp certification mean to you as an endorsement of ZZ’s values?
“For us, [gaining our B Corp certification] was a way to make it known that we are not in this camp of greenwashing. We know that we bring on furniture that’s meant to last a minimum of 50 years… It was incredible to gain that certification to show that this is not all about the bottom line, but that in order to do well we have to do good too.”
What will customers find on the ZZ site?
"We offer both contemporary and collectible products. Contemporary are made by emerging and independent designers, and the collectible products are antiques and vintage… [These pieces] are such conduits of story and narrative, and we get to utilize them at the same time."