The home goods chain moves into the experiential market by connecting customers to artisans from the communities around its stores

Home goods chain West Elm has launched a new service that helps people connect with local artisans. Local Experiences includes classes that take customers behind the scenes of how artisan products sold at West Elm are made.

The company previously introduced West Elm Local, a program that supports artists in the communities of its brick-and-mortar stores. It expanded its inventory to include products from local artisans, creating a network of over 1,000 craftspeople in the United States.

Local Experiences is a continuation of this effort. At launch, there are five classes available, including an indigo-dyeing class taught by Shira Entis, who owns handbag brand Fleabg, and an art welding class in Austin, Texas. Prices range from $130 to $250, with the cost of materials included. Most classes have a very limited number of slots, and participants will get to take home the items they work on.

It’s a strong move for West Elm to differentiate itself from other furniture and homeware retailers. The company joins a host of others moving into the experience economy, such as Airbnb, which began listing tours and other activities in addition to accommodations.

It also shows how the brand is evolving with its customer base. The Local Experiences series positions West Elm as a retailer that cares about the origin of each product that leaves its warehouse and a partner for skilled artisans and local businesses.

West Elm

Home goods chain West Elm has launched a new service that helps people connect with local artisans. Local Experiences includes classes that take customers behind the scenes of how artisan products sold at West Elm are made.

The company previously introduced West Elm Local, a program that supports artists in the communities of its brick-and-mortar stores. It expanded its inventory to include products from local artisans, creating a network of over 1,000 craftspeople in the United States.

Local Experiences is a continuation of this effort. At launch, there are five classes available, including an indigo-dyeing class taught by Shira Entis, who owns handbag brand Fleabg, and an art welding class in Austin, Texas. Prices range from $130 to $250, with the cost of materials included. Most classes have a very limited number of slots, and participants will get to take home the items they work on.