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Brief Published: 31 Oct 2018

Wayfair Opens Penthouse to Serve Instagram Influencers


Influencer marketing is big business, with some brands paying up to $100,000 for a single post. Taking a more organic route is a challenge, necessitating creative thinking. Catering to the growing breed of individual content creators, US furniture e-tailer Wayfair has partnered with NYC influencer marketing agency Village Marketing on a free-to-use penthouse-style photo studio fully decked out in branded furniture.

Wayfair has designed and furnished the entire 2,400 sq ft space in Manhattan for free in exchange for social media impressions. Since August 2018, it has already garnered the brand over five million organic Instagram mentions, despite influencers not being required to do so. Influencers on a quest to find drool-worthy spaces and attractive backdrops for their photoshoots – and who are already turning to hotels and furniture stores – can now book time slots at the penthouse via a website provided by the agency, which realised that influencers hired by its clients have trouble finding locations to shoot content.

The glamorous loft space is cloaked in millennial pink and features ‘vignettes’ instead of rooms, allowing guests to switch between a variety of backdrops. Each vignette features a statement piece of furniture, such as blue velvet chairs arranged around a marble table, or a blush pink sofa in the ‘living room’.

Although not shoppable yet, this agency/retailer partnership showcases the potential of collaboration. In future, shopping features on social media (including Instagram’s latest foray into making Stories shoppable) could be integrated into such experiences to make them beneficial for all parties. Consumers following influencers get one-click access to products, influencers receive affiliation rewards, and brands and retailers acquire clients and profits. See also Social Media 2018: Retail Update and Monetising Social Media 2018: 5 Trends.

The space costs Village Marketing $15,000 per month to rent. While free for influencers to use, the agency's clients have to pay for placements and contribute to monthly costs.