As much as we love our direct-to-consumer products, we’ll admit that shopping online comes with its risks. What if that chair’s upholstery is a slightly different green in person than it looked on the website? What if that sofa is actually kind of uncomfortable? There are plenty of unpredictable variables that could lead you to avoid the process altogether—which is why one DTC brand is proposing this rather shocking solution: asking happy customers to open up their homes to strangers.
Outer, a sustainable outdoor sofa brand, has launched showrooms across the country, from Boise, Idaho, to Cape Cod. But they’re not actual showrooms. They’re homes of bona fide customers who have volunteered to show prospective buyers how their Outer furniture looks and feels in real life. Admittedly, not all the showrooms can be visited; a vast majority are digital-only (essentially, a slideshow of photos). But if you live near a showroom, all you have to do is message the owner and set up a time to visit their backyard in person.
Anyone who has purchased an Outer sofa can apply to be a showroom host—just submit an application with photos of your outdoor space and answer a few questions about your style. If you’re accepted, you can open up your yard to visitors at your own convenience (and you’ll get a flat fee for every viewing). Of course, you’ll be inviting people you’ve never met into your home, which is nerve-racking on so many levels that we could see ourselves chickening out. But we suppose you could just think of it as a chance to show off all the hard work you put into your place—with an extra cash incentive. Are you in?