I know what you’re thinking: Does Black Friday even matter if I already own an Instant Pot? But if you’ve contemplated trading in your busted old Teflon frying pan or crusty, warped sheet pan for something a little more aesthetically pleasing, you can save a little cash by doing it on America’s biggest shopping holiday of the year — and you don’t have to give money to Amazon to enjoy the savings. (PS: I don’t know who needs to hear this, but… you probably need to replace your sheet pan.)
A spate of slick, new cookware startups geared toward the aesthetically-minded millennial home cook have brought sleek, colorful cookware to market in the last couple of years, skipping the big-box retailers and selling directly to consumers (a la Everlane, Glossier, and Warby Parker).
Brands like Great Jones and Field Company aren’t just selling nice-looking products or even an aspirational, Instagrammable lifestyle; they’re marketing a more individualized, perhaps even more responsible purchase — an alternative to forking over money to a big-box store, or further padding Jeff Bezos’s coffers. And as some shoppers, particularly millennials, grow wary of supporting potentially problematic retail giants, direct-to-consumer brands and the stories they tell can almost feel like shopping small. (It’s worth noting that some of these brands aren’t exactly homespun operations anymore: Made In got a $5 million funding round earlier this year, while Great Jones drummed up $3.35 million in 2018.)
But even though these young companies have built their cultural capital as feel-good alternatives to mega chain retailers, they aren’t immune to the ultimate siren’s song of consumer culture, Black Friday
Don’t expect doorbuster-worthy price-slashing: Most DTC discounts are on the less impressive end, presumably thanks to the tighter margins presented by the factory-direct model — when you aren’t the middle-man, there’s simply less markup to take away. But, if you’ve been eyeing a chef’s knife or feel compelled to engrave your new Dutch oven, read on to see how 10 DTC brands are getting in on the sales frenzy this year:
Brandless is getting a headstart on sales season: Throughout the week of Thanksgiving, the minimalist one-stop-shop will offer 40 percent off home, pet, and travel products, excluding their Pro Blender. It’s a good opportunity to stock up on wooden spoons, replace your measuring cups, or buy a back-up cheese grater (for, you know, when your other cheese grater is in the dishwasher).
For a lot of home cooks, cast iron is the indisputable heavyweight champ of cookware material. But modern cast-iron skillets can feel unwieldy. This is perhaps why Kickstarter backers threw so much money at Field Company, a startup that promises a cast-iron skillet “lighter than a MacBook pro.” If you have a handful of cast iron-curious cooks in your life, Field Company’s batch-shopping promotions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday should probably be on your radar. For any size of their Field Skillet, customers can buy one, get one half-off; buy two, get one free; or buy three, get two free — ideal for knocking out some gift shopping while perhaps also treating yourself. Field Company is offering additional discounts on the brand’s cast-iron cookware sets: the full, five-piece set will be marked down from $595 to $500; the three-piece set from $365 to $315; and the two-piece set from $235 to $205.
Our Place’s Always Pan, a handsome ceramic-coated skillet that comes in modern colors like muted eggshell (“Steam”) and a dusky blush (“Spice”), looks more like a piece of West Elm pottery than a utilitarian kitchen workhorse. It’s billed as an all-purpose skillet that promises to do the work of eight pieces of cookware (though, we should note, it isn’t fully oven safe). On Black Friday, shoppers who buy the Always Pan will also get their choice of a free set of four main plates, four side bowls, or four hand-blown drinking glasses, a savings of $45 to $55 depending on which you choose.
Some kitchen pros swear that a cook is no better than their knife, and Misen’s knives have gotten a lot of attention. For both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Misen, another Kickstarter-backed startup, will offer a flat 25 percent discount across the whole store (plus “potentially a few extra surprises,” according to a brand spokesperson). If you have your eye on that $65 chef’s knife, sign up for their email list so you’re in the know when the sale starts, since inventory can be limited.
Milo’s tight lineup of three products — a Dutch oven, a 3.5-quart “mini Dutch,” and a skillet — have gotten good reviews for being durable and easy to care for. There’s also the price tag: at $95 for a 5.5-quart Dutch oven, Milo’s goods are far more affordable than fellow enamel-coated, cast-iron products from Staub and Le Creuset, which the brand attributes to its Everlane-esque, factory-direct sales model. Snag 20 percent off on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, site wide.
Founded with the budding (and potentially burned out) home cook in mind, Equal Parts set out to design cookware that’s straightforward, beginner-friendly, and unintimidating. On Cyber Monday, the brand will offer a 20 percent discount across the whole site, including their brand new nonstick, ceramic-coated Your Big Pan, which also happens to be dishwasher-friendly. All purchases come with Equal Parts’ signature eight-week coaching service, a kind of on-call, culinary sherpa who can guide you through questions like “What should I cook tonight?” and “What’s the difference between dicing and chopping?” via text in real time.
Material, a slick cookware brand founded with a “fewer, better things” ethos, offers knives, essential cooking utensils, and copper-core pots and pans that have earned the millennial home cook equivalent of Oprah’s favorite things — which is to say, the Alison Roman seal of approval (she works with the brand in an advisor role). On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Material will have a one-time offer of up to 25 percent off everything. For example, the brand’s “Iconics” kitchen utensils collection will be $185, discounted from $245.
Made In made headlines when investor and advisor Tom Colicchio announced that he plans to kit out his new New York restaurant with Made In cookware, and then again when it tapped Alinea’s Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas to join its advisory board. If a gold, stainless steel nonstick frying pan is good enough for the pros, it’s probably good enough for a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen dumplings. The professional-grade kitchenware brand will offer a few different deals for Black Friday: a flat 15 percent discount with a $15 gift card; 20 percent off and a $20 gift card for orders over $250; and 30 percent off and a $30 gift card for orders over $500. For shoppers who hold out until Cyber Monday, expect a flat 20 percent off discount side-wide.
Do you (or someone you really, really love) need to upgrade an entire cookware collection? Caraway, a newer line of ceramic cookware in very pretty colors, touts its non-toxic and non-stick coating as a major selling point, and sells its cookware in one-and-done sets. The brand will offer $50 off site-wide, starting on Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. ET and running through the following Tuesday, December 3rd, at 3 a.m. (The offer will be automatically applied at checkout, so no code needed.) Each set includes a fry pan, lidded saucepan, lidded saute pan, and lidded 6.5-quart Dutch oven in Instagram-friendly colors like salmon, sage, and cobalt, plus magnetic bookend-esque pan racks and a handy canvas lid holder for vertical storage.
Great Jones is synonymous with the whole “cookware, but make it Instagrammable” moment — just take a look at its latest launch, a warp-proof sheet pan in a striking shade of Yves Klein blue. This year, the brand won’t offer any deep discounts — in fact, they won’t discount at all, instead offering a nod to the holiday with complimentary engraving on all stainless cookware with the code PERSONALPAN. My suggestion: Skip the monogram and engrave your Dutch oven with helpful cooking advice. Mine would be “add more garlic.” (Whether you spring for the pan or not, note that the brand’s Potline, an on-demand kitchen advice texting service, is free.)
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