HomeMint co-curators Estee Stanley and Justin Timberlake. Photo via HomeMint.com.
It’s routine for celebrities to shill everything from sneakers to cologne. With this month’s launch of HomeMint, former boy-band sensation Justin Timberlake is now shilling décor.
Clever credit card advertizing has taught us that good taste is “priceless”; Timberlake would likely agree. HomeMint, his online shopping venture launched with interior designer Estee Stanley, can be roughly described as home décor’s answer to Pandora Internet Radio. HomeMint visitors fill out a profile that the site’s ambassadors use to determine tastes, in order to suggest wares purchasable at the click of a button. The kinds of questions that act as filters for these profiles fall along the lines of (I kid you not) “Do you shop at Target or Crate & Barrel?” and “Which dinner party looks more inviting — potluck or formal sit-down?” (So, Pandora notwithstanding, this service is also Dianetics for your dining room and den.) Membership is $9.99/mo for access to “special deals,” or users can pay a regular price for general merchandise.
The inventory is, ahem, Mint-y fresh, so, kudos to the co-curators (that’s the title Justin and Estee assigned themselves). Predictably, though, HomeMint errs on the side of caution and is just not all that wild: blue glass, art with ubiquitous birds, tribal rugs, stacking stools and the like. Overall, the merch on this site leans sustainable, and is all well-(enough-)priced — except for the “Unique Finds,” which Timberlake and Stanley purportedly scoured the globe to source. Whether or not they are exaggerating on that point, I can’t deny that the Unique Finds section contains the stuff I like best — in particular, a fetching Campaign Chaise that costs $3,746.99 for non-members (that’s me), and the $499.99 Celadon Embossed Bowl and Cover. Note: HGTV.ca cannot provide direct HomeMint link-throughs, as site visitors must fill out a Home Style Profile (free) to gain entry.
Alex Arnott, a Toronto-based designer currently beautifying two condos at the Ritz-Carlton, finds a different kind of value in Timberlake’s online shop: as a taste-defining tool. “For a designer, this type of site can be helpful. Lately, I’ve been getting clients to create albums on Pinterest and Houzz to explain their style to me,” she says. “It’s great for people to express themselves visually — which tends to be difficult for most people.”
This almost brings HomeMint into “social network” territory, no? And how about the site’s chummy, approachable introductory video?
Well…no. Sorry, but HomeMint is not social social networking for décor types. In fairness: Timberlake and co. aren’t claiming that it is. But what they have been claiming, with Timberlake himself oft-quoted in pre-launch interviews, is, “It’s like having your very own interior designer.” While HomeMint is many things, it is (again) not like having your very own interior designer. As anyone who has spent a fistful of dollars on home accessories knows, the putting-it-together part is the kicker. A pile of the best paints doth not a painter make. You could say something similar, if less catchy, about designers and a warehouse of Mint.
Hey, like any girl, I love a nice ikat pillow. Still, there’s something funny (funny weird, not funny ha-ha) about knowing the chenille throw rug you’re about to buy directly contributes to the pocketbook of a celebrity, however likeable, whose estimated net worth is $70 million, and who isn’t even flogging the stuff for his day-job. Isn’t there?