New Economic Realities   //   January 31, 2023

Direct-to-consumer brand Ruggable lays off 100 employees

Thirteen-year-old direct-consumer rug brand Ruggable laid off 100 employees on Friday, joining a number of e-commerce startups resorting to layoffs in the new year ahead of a potential recession.

“On January 27th, we made the difficult decision to part ways with about 100 members of our global corporate team,” a statement from Ruggable read. “This outcome was driven by an internal restructuring to ensure our business will remain strongly positioned in today’s challenging economic environment. We are incredibly appreciative of our team’s contributions to Ruggable.”

LinkedIn pegs the number of Ruggable employees at more than 440, including part-time workers.

Within the past month, a number of e-commerce companies including Stitch Fix, Wayfair and Everlane have all announced layoffs, with many of them attributing the cuts to a need to right-size their businesses following months of high inflation.

Ruggable was founded by Jeneva Bell in 2010. The company is venture-backed, though its last Form D filing came in 2019, in which Ruggable disclosed it had raised more than $650,000 in equity funding. According to a company blog, Bell “set out to create a rug you could wash as easily as bedding or blankets,” and secured a patent for a two-piece rug system. Ruggable’s products consist of a detachable rug cover that’s machine washable, and a non-slip rug pad.

Home goods sales boomed during the pandemic as people spent more time at home, while low interest rates led to more people buying homes. But the home goods category has also been hurt recently by inflation leading more consumers to cut back on discretionary spending as well as a decline in new home sales. Both of these factors have contributed to fewer customers looking to redecorate their homes.

According to the National Association of Realtors, sales of previously owned homes declined by 17.8% between 2022 and 2021. The National Retail Federation also estimated that holiday sales from furniture and home furnishings stores were down 1.1% year-over-year compared to 2021.

Over the past several years, Ruggable’s growth strategy has revolved around collaborations and product expansions, similar to other direct-to-consumer brands. In order to reach new customers, Ruggable has partnered with designers like Jonathan Adler and Anna Sui on collections, as well as with entertainment conglomerate Disney. In December 2020, Ruggable also launched a sister brand called Levity, which sells furniture with washable covers.