Target stores to sell Caraway pots and pans in online cookware company’s biggest push into brick-and-mortar

Some of Caraway’s pots and pans are now sold by Target stores. About 350 of the big-box retailer’s locations are carrying the products in time for the holidays.
Courtesy of Caraway

Online cookware company Caraway is making its biggest push yet into brick-and-mortar stores, with its pots and pans debuting in 350 Target stores this week.

Target will become the largest retailer to sell the brand in stores. Select Caraway products also are sold in 80 Crate & Barrel stores, 80 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 20 Nordstrom outlets.

The New York City-based startup is among the many brands that became popular by selling directly to shoppers online and have since turned to stores to drive growth and appeal to a wider customer base.

Warby Parker and Allbirds, for example, have opened stores as a way to reach new customers and become profitable. Peloton also recently struck a deal with Dick’s Sporting Goods, which plans to carry its bikes, treadmills and other products in more than 100 stores in time for the holidays.

“Nothing replaces that experience of feeling the weight in your hands or seeing the color in person,” Caraway founder and CEO Jordan Nathan said in an interview.

Stores can help win over new customers, particularly those who might be hesitant about springing for a roughly $400 cookware set, Nathan said. Plus, he said, retailers like Target have large wedding-registry businesses that can encourage sales and the selection of more expensive items.

Some retailers, such as struggling Bed Bath & Beyond, also see popular online brands as a way to attract younger shoppers.

Target said in a statement that Caraway’s addition is part of a broader effort to attract customers with an interesting mix of merchandise, from young brands and unique items to popular national names. It sells other digital-first and direct-to-consumer brands. Earlier this month, it began selling an exclusive line of Tupperware, a brand that has been typically sold in person at parties and online.

Direct-to-consumer brands may want more shelf space ahead of this holiday season for another reason, too. Shoppers are expected to do more of their buying in person as Covid-19 concerns fade and inflation fuels the demand for deals.

About 40% to 50% of Caraway’s sales also take place in the fourth quarter, when shoppers buy gifts or get ready to hold holiday dinners and parties, according to Nathan. That is roughly in line with typical kitchen category sales.

Since launching in November 2019, Caraway’s nonstick and nontoxic cookware has gotten picked up by retailers’ websites, including West Elm, Crate & Barrel, Zola and Amazon. Target began selling the brand online last year.

Caraway, a privately held company, does not disclose sales figures. The company has been profitable in 2020 and 2021 and is on track to be profitable in 2022, Nathan said. He said about 75% of the company’s business comes from its own website. Over time, he said he expects Caraway to get about half of sales from other retailers’ websites or stores.

The company typically caters to city dwellers in their mid-30s or 40s and have an annual household income of $100,000 or more, Nathan said. Target will help the company reach a wider array of markets, such as suburban shoppers in the Midwest.

Though Caraway’s rate of growth has cooled since the peak of the pandemic, Nathan said the company’s customer base is still spending on the pricier cookware.

At the same time, the company is trying to broaden its appeal. Last month, it added a lower price point set: a duo of a mini fry pan and mini sauce pan for $190.

The Caraway connection comes as Target, Walmart and other retailers have noted a shift away from discretionary categories like clothing and electronics as shoppers pull back on spending because of inflation or opt to instead splurge on experiences such as traveling or dining out.

Both discounters are also coping with a glut of unwanted merchandise — including popular pandemic purchases like home goods and kitchen appliances.

Sophie Tremblay

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