In Joe Parenteau’s belief, his biggest claim to fame was being featured in Lego Magazine as a child. “I was huge into Lego growing up, building everything, not really following the manuals, but just putting things together. I built a submarine and I thought it was the greatest thing ever, and in some ways, it was.” Building the submarine of his own design remains an analogy for Parenteau for building a business–it takes time, patience, vision, and creativity.
Joe is a co-founder of Fable, a dinnerware company whose minimal yet novel aesthetic has occupied a fresh and covetable space in the homeware space. Like many startups of its kind, creating a brand which has an angle of sustainability is key, and Fable is no different. They are currently in the process of applying for B-corp status, a certification which gives a stamp of “high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials,” according to the B-Corp website.
“The process, though, is pretty rigorous and intense, I suppose, and very formal, but overall, it’s been awesome to work with their team,” he says. “We actually just got notified a week ago that we got assigned an analyst, which is what was actually taking the longest.”
As the homewares market has boomed over the years, especially during the pandemic when domestic updates were at peak levels, the emergence of fast homeware took flight from brands known for fast fashion such a Primark, who took advantage of the growth and released homewares collections. Similar to the clothing counterparts of these businesses, these collections for the home created by the likes of Primark are trend-driven and designed to be disposed, which has made a need in the market for brands such as Fable that are sustainably-minded.
“It’s not really an ROI question, it’s a question of what is aligned with our company values and in turn aligned with the B Corp’s values. From there, it’s about how we make that become our best business practice,” Parenteau explains when asked about the heavy investment surrounding sustainability.
“For us, though, our community and our customers really enjoy that we have this focus on sustainability and that’s part of the reason they shop with us and continue to enjoy our brand. We’re not the cheapest dinnerware brand on the market; if you were to compare us to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel, we are more expensive. We try to stay as competitive as possible, but it’s not possible when you’re focused on the environment in the same way we are.”
While the inputs are rigorous, investors are showing support of the need for these sorts of products on the market which is evidenced by a successful round of A-series funding for Fable. The new funding will support global retail and production expansion, new product lines, and strategic hires for the brand.
“We’re going to release more products for the dining room table, most notably stemware which is made in Germany, but our entire product development team is working for pieces that are not in the dining room, moving is towards that full home decor brand and full home decor experience,” he explains.
In September Fable will launch retail and production in the UK with a strategy to continue with retail expansion further into Europe. “We want to continue to offer that type of shopping experience to more customers, especially in the United States, so we do plan to open more retail stores in 2023 and 2024 and the capital is for long-term ROI projects that help build us to be more of a brand presence and get more of our products onto people’s table.”