women buying homewares showing how we consumers drive fast homewares problem over timeless objects

The truth behind 'Fast Homewares' industry will haunt you !


Women buying trendy homewares

The problem of 'Fast Homewares' or 'Fast Furniture' or 'Fast Interiors' 

In 2015, I rented out a tiny apartment in Glenhuntly, Melbourne. I had finished university and was still looking for a software design job whilst working at a call centre. My kitchen and decor essentials came from our beloved Australian Giant Stores. You know the one with red logos - from the aisles of the Home Decor sections of Kmart and Target. That is what I could afford so I bought it.

After two years, I married and settled with a well-paid technology job. One day, I looked at my kitchen and realised how outdated my dishes and pots looked. I then thought, let's replace them all. So I replaced them all - the plates and the decor. I put my old stuff for hard rubbish collection and sent some of it to the landfill.

Do you see the problem here? Things looked outdated and dragged, so I replaced them. As a result, I created more trash for the world. Don't worry; I have learnt my lesson, and that's why I started Home By Keira (HBK). You will know why as you read further.


Homewares sent to landfill and trashed for hard rubbish collection

Coming to the zesty part. Fast Homewares is created by big giants, who want you to buy new homewares every three months. 

They want you to keep on spending money on their products so that they can keep on making money out of your pockets by selling you new things every quarter.

Driving Forces

Other factors have been in play, keeping the giant mammoth-sized retail stores aside. Let's talk about them below.

Before the rise of social media, the only way to seek inspiration for a beautiful home was through magazines, display homes, interior decorator forums or even retail stores.

Then social media platforms like Instagram showcase dreamy interiors for everyone to take inspiration. There is nothing wrong with inspiration. Then, what is wrong with thoughtful interiors? Well, these aesthetically pleasing photos and videos have fuelled home decor trends.

Fast Homewares example peacock rattan chair

Remember the blush pink decor in 2016, and now 2022 brings the rattan trend. Yes! Rattan was not a thing in 2016 until it got its fair share of staging on social media in 2021. From bedheads to dining chairs, every retailer is stocking up on this material used for trendy pieces in interior design, but you know it as garden furniture.

It comes down to us as consumers, as robust trends blind us. Our demands create this supply chain. Ultimately, we are guilty of letting a trend dictate our choices instead of using it for inspiration.

These days, terms like 'amazon find' or 'eBay steal' also significantly tempt people to buy unnecessary goods just because they're trendy.

Your tiktok feed may be full of them, as people get 1000s of views from showing their budget amazon finds. Thanks to dropshippers who have created an entire industry of easily accessible home decor products.

As a result of owning these fast and easily accessible items, they end up in the trash after two years of use. That is because of their mass-produced low quality. As consumers, most of us also tend to face declining appreciation for that purchase from amazon or eBay.

Side Effects


Picture: Hard Waste Melbourne Statistics.

As per Hard waste Melbourne statistics, in 2018-2019, only 25% of household hard rubbish was recycled. This number has been increasing forever. The unrecycled waste, unfortunately, ends up in our landfills.

When writing this article, we are still waiting to get some information. There are no statistics on how many home decor/furniture items go to the landfill. We have contacted sustainable Victoria to address this problem and provide us with their findings.

Fashion and Interior décor go hand in hand. It's no surprise that fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M invest in a home decor section. Even Kim K has been hinting at a décor line. Their Market research shows that consumers are trend-thirsty. There is excellent underlying potential to leverage this behaviour.

The pressure to serve constantly changing consumer demands is immense, retailers have to constantly ship new items. Once the styles die off, retailers heavily mark down leftover products and ship new ones to serve new demand—a retailer ships multiple times a year, adding to the carbon footprint.
We are talking about unsustainable supply chains and global shipping effects.

Donut, Circle Cut out vase from Kmart. Another trend popularised by Social media and being sold to public for a very low price at $8.00

Picture: Kmart Circle Cut Out Vase. Another trendy item popularised by Social Media

Did you know the $8 good looking trendy doughnut or circle cut out vase you see at Kmart home decor section is cheap for many reasons? Thanks to mass-producing factories with mostly poorly paid workers and miserable working conditions. Wesfarmers claims they are working to mitigate this but don't guarantee this. Neither they are transparent about their audit policies and benchmarks. 

Cheap is fantastic, and accessible. Big retailers do that well. The downside, the lesser the price you pay, the more you are likely to trash it. There is proven psychology in this  insider article  behind why paying more leads to a better experience.

Here is my experience after I started shelling money out on more sustainable furniture and decor objects in 2017. Every piece has been sacred and timeless for me. Besides, it is human nature to lose interest in things that cost us too little and don't have a story. I have been able to reverse this ever since I have bought sustainable and timeless pieces.

Lastly, to make the goods accessible and cheap, the quality of decor items is lowered. They barely last a year or two which means a smaller lifeline.

Let's wrap that up.

  • The need for retailers to procure and ship multiple times a year to stay in touch with the trends, leading to a CO2 footprint by shipping from overseas manufacturers
  • Fast Retailers are lowering prices to make products accessible, which comes at a cost, i.e. Poorly paid workers.
  • Perceived value is lower, so the interest in the trend dies off fast. People resort to trashing them.
  • Poor quality leads to the small lifeline of the products.

    Spotlight on the Hidden Health Hazards

    While researching to write this article, I stumbled upon some more issues with this industry line. I think health hazards deserve a section of their own in this article.


    The stuffing in our sofas contain flame retardants which offgas as years pass.

    Picture: A sofa stuffing has all the nasties you may not be aware of.

    Did you know the cheap sofas you buy off from these giant retailers (some of them have notoriously stepped into selling furniture) contain foam and polyurethane? Manufacturers use flame retardants to suppress the flammability of the materials within the upholstery. These chemicals release toxins slowly as they become part of our homes.

    Also, the heavy use of formaldehyde in making wood suitable for carpentry or making cheap furniture cause respiratory issues in the long term. This article presents an excellent analysis.

    What do we do about this unsustainable home decor craze ? 

    Besides taking accountability, there are several things we as consumers can do.

    Firstly, we could choose small and unique. There are many Boutique sellers like us who source responsibly and list fewer items to ensure the rarity of the items.

    Next, if you have some DIY genes, upcycle your older pieces to create beautiful pieces that will last you forever. Mother earth will be thankful.

    To reduce CO2 emissions created by global shipping, support businesses that source locally or participate in such endeavours. These days, many brands are participating in Carbon Neutral programs like us. A portion of our profits offset carbon emissions whilst these programs look at reforesting Amazonian jungles and many other initiatives. Read more on this further.

    What are we doing ?

    Offset application integrated with shopify store. neutralize your shipping emissions that contribute to climate change. This allows us to be an environmentally-friendly business that invests in sustainability initiatives to counteract the environmental impact of shipping.

     Picture: Offset allows us to pass a portion of our profits to fund forest protection initiatives.

    As a boutique homewares online retailer, we understand our actions have consequences for CO2 footprint. We have integrated our Shopify store with the 'Offset' App to ensure we can monitor, calculate and minimise the CO2 emissions caused due to shipping. 

    Below is our mission - the real reason why we created HBK.

    1. Create and spread awareness on this unspoken issue of Fast Homewares.

    2. Inspire people to make educated choices for decorating their homes.

    3. Provide them with a conscious platform to source their sustainable home decor objects. Worry-free, of course!

    4. Motivate people to invest in sacred and timeless pieces, so they value them for years to come.  

    Lastly, we can't do this alone without consumers taking action and supporting our cause. Of course, affordability is another criterion; however, taking small steps like upcycling or adopting minimalism to have fewer items will take you along.

    We would love to hear your thoughts on how you would like to join us on our mission. Drop a line below or get in touch with us to learn more. 


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