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This week, Free Market, the retail collective at LoDo’s Dairy Block, welcomes MENO Home, a sustainable home-goods shop offering vintage furnishings, some of the cleanest candles on the market, and (coming this fall) an in-house furniture line. Its proprietor, Jerri Hobdy, might seem like a fresh face on the design scene, but chances are, you’ve seen her work before.
Back in 2015, while Hobdy was working at a small design house in Dallas, she was recruited by Anthropologie, which was then just dipping a toe into the home furnishings market. There, Hobdy designed more than 200 furniture and lighting pieces—including the Elowen chair, which became Anthropologie’s top-selling item by volume when it reached $1 million in sales and also had a starring role on the set of the 2021 Oscars ceremony.
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In 2017, Hobdy left Anthropologie to start her own Denver-based studio, where she has been creating furniture designs for 18 retail and wholesale brands, including Arteriors, Four Hands, and Anthropologie. But all the while, she was also dreaming up MENO Home, which launched online last year and makes its brick-and-mortar debut in Denver this week. Ahead of the opening, Hobdy paused from setting up shop to tell us what to look for in the store—and what makes her offering unique in the marketplace.
5280 Home: The Biblical Greek word meno means, among other things, “to remain; to be held, kept, continually.” Is this a reference to your commitment to providing a less wasteful source of furnishings?
Jerri Hobdy: The word describes a symbiotic relationship between two things, and for me, that’s people and their furnishings. Every year, in the United States alone, about 12 million tons of waste comes from furniture—and that doesn’t include the packaging. For me, paying attention to the waste side is so important because I really love design and want to continue putting beautiful products into the world.
You’ve identified waste reduction, lower–carbon logistics, and climate–friendly materials as three key areas of focus for MENO Home. How are you addressing each one?
Each piece in the store will be displayed with a sign that’s the equivalent of a nutrition facts label. It breaks down the item’s sustainability profile into those three key categories.
Waste is an easy one. By sourcing vintage furnishings and giving those pieces new homes, we’re keeping them out of the landfill. To lower our carbon footprint, we’re sourcing all of our vintage items from within a 200-mile radius of Denver. And starting in 2023, we will be picking up and delivering furniture with electric vehicles.
The use of climate-friendly materials applies to our vintage and new production offerings. Any time we’re replacing foam cushions or reupholstering a vintage piece, we’re using natural latex rubber foam that’s sourced in Colorado—with no fillers or synthetics—and upholstery material that’s either leftover yardage or a monofiber fabric. That means it’s either 100-percent synthetic or 100-percent natural. And that’s important because it allows the fabric to be more easily reused or recycled later on. If there’s a synthetic fiber present in a fabric, then during recycling, it must be processed with other synthetics.
Tell us about your process for sourcing vintage pieces.
I’m hand-picking every single item. Some come from liquidated estates, others from people who text me with photos. I’m looking at a really broad swath of 20th-century design to find pieces that people will want to put in their homes today, from a 1970s Italian solid travertine dining table, to rare emerald-green Hank Lowenstein dining chairs, to European antiques. It’s an eclectic mix, but all chosen through the lens of what I’m inspired by when I’m designing new pieces.
Speaking of your designs, what can we expect from the first MENO Home furniture collection, which you’ll be debuting this fall?
I would describe it as a soft modernism: very clean lines, very sophisticated silhouettes, but very comfortable materials. We’ll have dining and coffee tables made in Denver and Austin, Texas; bar and counter stools made in Denver; an incredible solid-wood sofa hand-constructed in Austin, Texas; and little solid-bronze drink tables—also made locally—topped with onyx stone reclaimed from the original Hyatt hotel in downtown Denver.
What other sustainable materials have you sourced?
We’re using solid, FSC-certified wood, which we’re celebrating with a lot of exposed joinery. Upholstered pieces will incorporate monofiber fabrics and the most eco-friendly cushion fills available, and we will not add flame retardants or off-gassing chemicals to any items. Our bar stools will be available in a vegan leather alternative made from Mexican nopal cacti by a company called Desserto; its production requires far less water than traditional leather. And our real leather options are tanned with olive leaf tannins, rather than toxic heavy metals.
What kinds of spaces do you envision MENO Home furnishings living in?
I’m hoping we’re able to provide unique pieces that people will want to mix into any room. Our focus is on residential spaces, but we’re trying to make our products commercial grade so they can go into any interior. We have a robust following of designers, but we’re not just a trade showroom; we’re open to the public, as well.
Your candles have been in the news lately, and have been called some of the cleanest on the market. What makes them so?
When creating these candles, we exercised as much sustainability as we could in a single product to show our customers the level of detail we’re committed to—and to prove that you can have a product that’s sustainable and everything you want visually and functionally. Our soy wax is made from 100-percent United States–grown soy, and our candle wicks are 100-percent natural cotton, with no synthetics, lead, or zinc. We use fragrance oils that are sourced from a lab based in the United States and that are primarily derived from essential oils; they’re certified to be free of phthalates, reproductive toxins, and carcinogens. Even the packaging is sustainable: Each candle comes in a recyclable black box that’s embossed; no inks are used. The dust cover on the candle is made of seed paper, so you can throw it in your yard and it will compost itself and grow wildflowers. Or you can plant your paper right in the vessel. We don’t use any stickers, so when you’ve used up the candle, you can reuse the glass pot as an unbranded object. Or, you can recycle it. Our recycled soda-lime candle glass is curbside-recyclable; most candle glass is not. We’ve literally thought about everything.
MENO Home at Free Market opens May 16. What should we look for on opening day?
Our candle wall will be stocked with all five of our fragrances, and we’ll be bringing in fresh vintage furnishings weekly, if not daily. Come fall, we’ll be launching our new production pieces, at which point, the full vision of the brand will be realized: giving customers the ability to mix new and vintage items to create their own unique look that’s across-the-board sustainable.
If You Go: MENO Home is located at Free Market at 1801 Blake Street and will be open Sunday–Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday–Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stop by on May 21 for a sip-and-shop event featuring natural wine or bubbles. MENO Home will also be a pop-up vendor at the Cherry Creek Fresh Market on June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 22, and November 5.