This week, Free Market, the retail collective of LoDo’s Dairy Block, welcomes MENO Home, a sustainable homewares store featuring vintage furniture, some of the cleanest candles on the market, and (coming this fall) a line home furniture. Its owner, Jerri Hobdy, may seem like a new face on the design scene, but chances are you’ve seen her work before.
In 2015, while Hobdy was working at a small design house in Dallas, she was recruited by Anthropologie, which was then just getting into the furniture business. There, Hobdy designed more than 200 pieces of furniture and lighting, including the Elowen Chair, which became Anthropologie’s top-selling item by volume when it reached $1 million in sales, and also played a role in foreground on the set of the 2021 Oscars ceremony.
In 2017, Hobdy left Anthropologie to start her own Denver-based studio, where she continues to design furniture for 18 retail and wholesale brands, including Arteriors, Four Hands and Anthropologie. But all the while, she dreamed of MENO Home, which launched online last year and made its physical debut in Denver this week. Ahead of the opening, Hobby interrupted the store setup to tell us what to look for in the store and what makes its offering unique in the market.
5280 Home: The biblical Greek worD me no means, among other things, “to stay; to be held, guarded, continually. Is this a reference to your commitment to providing a less wasteful source of furniture?
Jerri Hobby: The word describes a symbiotic relationship between two things, and for me, it’s people and their furniture. Each year in the United States alone, approximately 12 million tons of waste comes from furniture, not including packaging. For me, paying attention to the waste side is so important because I really love design and want to keep putting beautiful products out into the world.
You have identified the reduction of waste, the reduction–carbon and climate logistics–respectful materials as three key areas for Home MENO. How do you approach each of them?
Each piece in the store will be displayed with a sign which is the equivalent of a nutrition facts label. It breaks down the item’s sustainability profile into these three key categories.
Waste is easy. By buying vintage furniture and giving those pieces new homes, we keep them out of the landfill. To reduce our carbon footprint, we source all of our vintage items within a 200 mile radius of Denver. And from 2023, we will pick up and deliver furniture with electric vehicles.
The use of climate-friendly materials applies to our vintage and new production offers. Whenever we replace foam cushions or reupholster a vintage piece, we use natural latex rubber foam sourced from Colorado – with no fillers or synthetics – and cushioning material that is either excess yardage or a monofiber fabric. This means that it is either 100% synthetic or 100% natural. And that’s important because it allows the fabric to be more easily reused or recycled later. If there is a synthetic fiber present in a fabric, when recycling it must be treated with other synthetics.
Tell us about your vintage sourcing process.
I select each item by hand. Some come from liquidated estates, others from people who texted me with pictures. I look at a very wide range of 20th century design to find pieces that people will want to put in their homes today, from a 1970s solid Italian travertine dining table, to rare dining chairs Emerald Green Hank Lowenstein, at European Antiquities. It’s an eclectic mix, but all chosen through the lens of what inspires me when designing new pieces.
Speaking of your designs, wwhat can we expect from first Home MENO furniture collectionwho will you be starting this fall?
I would describe it as soft modernism: very clean lines, very sophisticated silhouettes, but very comfortable materials. We will have dining tables and coffee tables made in Denver and Austin, Texas; bar and counter stools made in Denver; an incredible solid wood sofa handcrafted in Austin, Texas; and small solid bronze drinking tables — also locally made — topped with onyx stone salvaged from the original Hyatt Hotel in downtown Denver.
What other sustainable materials have you purchased?
We use FSC-certified solid wood, which we celebrate with a lot of exposed joinery. Upholstered pieces will incorporate single fiber fabrics and the most environmentally friendly cushion fillings available, and we will not add flame retardants or off-gasing chemicals to any item. Our bar stools will be available in a vegan leather alternative made from Mexican nopal cactus by a company called Desserto; its production requires much less water than traditional leather. And our genuine leather options are tanned with olive leaf tannins, rather than toxic heavy metals.
Owhat kind of spaces do you envision MENO furniture live in?
I hope we can provide unique pieces that people will want to mix in any room. We focus on residential spaces, but we try to make our products commercial grade so they can fit into any interior. We have a strong designer clientele, but we’re not just a trade showroom; we are also open to the public.
Your spark plugs 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 have exerted as much sustainability as possible in one product to show our customers the level of detail we are committed to and to prove that you can have a sustainable product. and everything you want visually and functionally. Our soy wax is made from 100% USA grown soybeans, and our candle wicks are 100% natural cotton with no synthetics, lead or zinc. We use fragrance oils from a US-based lab that are primarily derived from essential oils. they are certified free of phthalates, reproductive toxins and carcinogens. Even the packaging is sustainable: each candle comes in an embossed recyclable black box; no ink is used. The candle dust cover is made of seed paper, so you can throw it in your garden and it will compost and grow wildflowers. Or you can plant your paper directly in the container. We don’t use any stickers, so when you’ve used the candle, you can reuse the glass jar as an unbranded item. Or, you can recycle it. Our recycled soda lime candle glass is curbside recyclable; most glass candles are not. We have literally thought of everything.
MENO Home at Free Market opens on May 16. What should we look for on opening day?
Our candle wall will be stocked with our five scents, and we’ll bring in fresh vintage furniture weekly, if not daily. In the fall, we will launch our new production pieces, at which time the brand’s full vision will be realized: to give customers the ability to mix new and vintage items to create their own unique look that is enduring on every level. .
If you are going to: MENO Home is located in the Free Market at 1801 Blake Street and will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stop by May 21 for a sip-and-shop event featuring natural or sparkling wine. MENO Home will also be a pop-up vendor at Cherry Creek Fresh Market on June 4, July 2, August 6, September 3, October 22 and November 5.