Ok, so getting way ahead of ourselves with the Home Depot comment but the vision is there (one of their biggest investors is the Container Store founder Garrett Boone). Word has it TPG (via FastCompany said) they think that Treehouse ‘maybe the biggest opportunity they’ve run across in their lifetime’.
What is Treehouse?
Treehouse is a ‘green’ home improvement store. It’s the creation of a man called Jason Ballard and started in Austin Texas. In 2011, he with his investors launched a concept dedicated to ‘making homes thoughtful, sustainable, and healthy’. The focus, unlike most building sustainability initiatives who look at ‘new’ with things like LEED certification, was on existing structures – like older residential buildings. The type of places most of us live in and spend our weekends at Bunnings or the like fixing up.
As proof they opened a 2,300 sqm store that was a DIY heaven but stocked with eco-friendly, cutting edge products. Like Nest Thermostat, Telsa’s Powerball…things we haven’t yet see in your more run of the mill big box stores.
Added to this the store is arranged not by function (aka. painting, outdoor furniture) but by ‘design’ and ‘performance’. Then organised by the themes ‘air, water, daylighting and energy’. Totally breaking convention and moving into an area called ‘Lets do it together’ (LDIT). (nb. this is not to be confused with DIFM or do it for me – that’s another category all together).
With one store open, Ballard is now moving the scale the business at a national level. Given he wants to ‘effectively retrofit every building in America’ he kindof has to. So there’s two more stores in the works currently both in Texas. Sounds small I know, but this is company to watch out for. To quote their head of Operations and Technology, Graeme Waitzkin ‘It we’re to achieve our mission of changing as many homes as possible, we need to be an all-encompassing home improvement company”.
This is a company to watch! They’re creating a new market – that I think most of us thought the traditional DIY operators would address. Plus, they’re talking to a different audience. For example their two biggest retail categories are Smart Home (aka. Internet of things) and Healthy Home (circadian lighting, air and water filtration through to indoor plants).
Stay tuned either the big guys will respond or we have a serious new competitor on our hands.