It’s not news that millennials have driven the experience economy. Today, 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over products or things. They work in communities at WeWork, they spend their Friday nights trying to Escape the Room, they both travel around the world and have “stay-cations” at home — all documented on Instagram as a weekend “experience.”
Dozens of industries have been re-thought with this experience-driven, millennial customer (and emerging Gen Z customer) in mind. Restaurant chefs and owners now focus on dishes that will be “instagrammable” to attract customers. Retailers have shifted to “experiential commerce” to attract consumers back in to their brick and mortar locations. The next industry that is ready for this transformation? Party goods and decor. That’s why I’m excited to have led the seed round for Coterie, a brand reimagining the party supply and decor experience.
It may seem like an obvious category — celebrations are a fundamental experience, after all. However, this $10 billion industry is still dominated by Party City — an outdated, offline retailer with thousands of SKUs, but somehow none that you actually want. Take into account that millennials are the generation that have actually invented new holidays and reasons to celebrate. Check out the Google Trends for “Friendsgiving” and “Gender Reveal Party” below — these staple events of popular culture didn’t even exist five years ago. Then add on the fact that Instagram and Pinterest have added a new level of pressure to host and attend beautifully themed parties like never before. In fact, celebrations are one of the top categories for Pinterest — with 235 million boards dedicated to “festive planning."
With an elevated collection of party goods, Coterie makes the party planning process simple — to allow hosts and guests alike to focus more on the actual experience instead of worrying about getting all the details right. Coterie is a brand that puts experience — the true IRL experience — back front and center. Instagram and Pinterest have in some ways taken the “experience” culture to the extreme — inciting FOMO and the pressure for every celebration to be “picture perfect.” Coterie aims to bring people together so that every gathering— the humanity and truth of it — is cause for celebration — spills, smears, burnt turkey and all.
I’m also thrilled to be working with Linden Ellis and Sara Raffa, the co-founders of Coterie. These two know what it means to build a category defining consumer brand. As founding team members of Daily Harvest, they have the expertise and the battle scars to take on a massive legacy industry. Their understanding of supply chain and marketing, coupled with their understanding of their customer, positions them to bring #MoreGoodTimes to every consumer hosting or attending a celebration.
At Canaan, we back ambitious founders tackling massive industries. I couldn’t be happier to welcome Linden, Sara and Coterie to the Canaan Family. Now that’s cause for a celebration!