Supply side: Walmart signs exclusive agreement with Jenny and Dave Mars

Walmart helped put Northwest Arkansas on the map. Home renovation duo Jenny and Dave Mars continue to highlight the beauty and culture of the region to millions of viewers on HGTV “Fixer to Fabulous.”

About a year ago, The Marrs, who live outside of Centerton, contacted Walmart about collaborating on a line of outdoor furniture inspired by Jenny’s design acumen and Dave furniture.

“It really fits naturally in our belief that everyone should have a beautiful home,” said Jenny Mars.

The retailer markets furniture under the Better Homes & Gardens brand, sold exclusively at Walmart. Most of the items are available for purchase in stores and online across the country, said Julie Barber, vice president of hardcore at Walmart US, with more coming soon.

“Over the past few years, Walmart has focused on building our range to offer customers stylish, high-quality home and decor goods at an incredible value,” Barber said. “This includes adding exciting national brands to our portfolio and launching strategic collaborations with designers and influencers who offer exclusive, premium product lines to Walmart customers at affordable prices.”

Walmart also has deals with Ellen DeGeneres, Nate Berkus, and other celebrities for the Home Furnishing category, both indoors and outdoors.

Barber said the Marrs collection is curated for the “totally imperfect” looks that the celebrity couple have in their Benton County home. She said the collection offers 30 different items from planters, outdoor rugs and pillows to teak porch swings and dining tables.

“We worked very hands-on in creating the product and the overall aesthetic of the brand,” Jenny Marrs noted in a statement to the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “The pieces of furniture are modeled after Dave’s original designs. I love carefully blending worn and new elements to create a layered and timeless look in our home. I love the handmade pieces that I feel comforted and love as they tell a story.”

She said the pair designed the prototypes together that Dave builds and submits for breeding samples. She said paint, wood, and color samples were sent to Walmart and its manufacturers for reproduction.

“We have spent countless hours designing, modifying and approving each product in the line, and we are so excited to see it come to life,” Jenny Mars said, adding that they had input on the sales price of the items in the line. “We think we’re meant to live in the house, and the things inside should be well loved,” she said. “We set out to create pieces that bring beauty into people’s homes in an accessible way. Walmart does a great job of curating assortments that are accessible and affordable for consumers across the country.”

When the pair were asked about the most exciting part of the project with Walmart, they said fans on their show had been asking how they got the furniture items Dave made for a home remodel for some time, and now they can buy them at Walmart.

“The teak porch swing is the first item required,” said Jenny Mars. It’s part of the set sold at Walmart for $897.

The pair also said that many of the pieces were used in already filmed episodes that will air next season on their HGTV shows, noting that they will continue to incorporate their product line into renovations.

As for doing business with Walmart, the pair said there was no surprise but greater assurance that Walmart is doing a good job of coordinating assortments that are accessible and affordable for consumers nationwide. When asked if there are future opportunities to work with Walmart on other products or endorsement opportunities, the couple said, “We love this partnership and look forward to many years to come.”

Jenny and Dave Marrs have starred on HGTV’s Fixer to Fabulous since 2019, and last year had a spin-off on the “Welcome Inn” show that included a bed and breakfast they bought at Rogers and remodeled. The couple said they haven’t reached out to HGTV but have been spotted by the network after word of their work and passion for reviving historic homes after moving to Arkansas from Colorado.

Jenny Mars said that they never saw themselves become famous through the HGTV show.

“You still don’t feel the truth,” she said, “but here we are.” “This collection was based on things we love, things Dave made by hand, and now we can share that with other people across the country.”

The popularity of the items in the collection put many of the merchandise in late demand after just one week on the market, according to stocks checked at Northwest Arkansas stores.

The collaboration is a good way for Walmart to cash in on Mars’ fame, said Scott Benedict, executive director of Rogers marketing agency WhyteSpyder. It doesn’t hurt that this category is a high-profit business, with an average of 25%-30%.

The caveat is that outdoor furnishings are seasonal in many parts of the country, including northwest Arkansas. The window for shipping and receiving products is narrow. With a number of items already sold out and most of the manufacturing likely to be done overseas, he said, it could be difficult to restock items before the seasonal window closes in mid-July.

“Of course, there are a lot of markets where consumers use outdoor furniture almost year-round,” Benedict said. “This new line adds some excitement to the Walmart category, and the higher price point for teak furniture is also likely to attract higher-income demographics that may not be shopping Walmart for outdoor furniture.”

Editor’s note: The supply side section Talk Business & Politics focuses on companies, organizations, issues and individuals involved in providing products and services to retailers. Supply-side managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by Propak Logistics.

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