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Material World

With her Denver shop and studio, Jerri Hobdy is changing the world of furnishings—and the future—one cactus leather chair at a time.

Every year, around 12 million tons of furniture end up in U.S. landfills. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, discarded carpets and rugs add another 2.5 million tons on top of that. But this isn’t a story about problems, but about solutions–chic ones, at that. 

When Jerri Hobdy, a Denver-based furniture and lighting designer, first started out, the role of sustainability within the design industry was nebulous—and niche.

“Early on, around 2013 to 2017, the biggest roadblock for me was how other designers or production managers or factory owners perceived ‘sustainability’ as too expensive to achieve or not something that the customer would actually want,” Jerri recounts.

But in the decade since, those myths have been dismantled, thanks in part to consumer research groups like the Sustainable Furnishings Council, The Green Science Policy Group at UC Berkeley, 1stDibs and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “Not only has consumer research shown true interest, but also purchase data and the rise of purpose-driven brands has reflected consumer sentiment as well,” Jerri explains.

For Jerri, her solution comes in the form of MENO, her Denver-based design studio and shop, which is founded on three big values: “Waste reduction, the use of climate-friendly materials and lower carbon logistics.”

“MENO is not unique in that we are another purpose-driven brand. However, we are unique in how holistically we are approaching issues of sustainability, from how we manage inventory, to where we manufacture, to what materials we do and don’t use, to how transparently we are disclosing the really fine details of the finished goods,” Jerri says.

In practice, this looks like eliminating health-hazardous chemical materials like flame-retardants, VOCs like formaldehyde, PVCs and antimicrobial coatings from the products, reducing the use of plastics and virgin synthetic materials and designing with renewable raw materials instead. MENO has also committed to forgoing plastic packaging, using alternatives like US-made mushroom “styrofoam” instead and re-using the recyclable packaging that the raw materials and parts arrive in. When possible, MENO even partners with shippers who utilize electric fleets.

“Our vision is to create goods responsibly and then to make sure that two generations from now they can be repaired or recreated into valuable objects for the future,” she says.

At MENO’s downtown shop, you’ll find a curation of Jerri’s “polished but layered” style in both new and vintage pieces. Currently, Jerri’s exploring different natural materials with three limited-edition, in-house collections: Petra (Stone), Madera (solid wood) and Brut (cactus leather).

“All of these are initial explorations in what it looks like to manufacture in the US and to use materials that are traceable back to the source, using as many clean, climate-friendly components as possible,” she says. “Each of the groups is growing and will keep having new silhouettes added.

“Right now, we are working on the next wave of the limited edition Petra tables. In April, we will be launching a giant, gorgeous sculptural wood sofa as part of the Madera grouping. And then the Brut capsule will be getting a dining chair and lounge chair silhouette added,” she continues. “The Petra pieces are the most expressive and unique in that each time we create more, they are completely one-of-a-kind.”

To get that distinct, statement-making look, Jerri visits local stone yards and hand-picks remnant marble or granite pieces that may otherwise be discarded. At the studio, what would otherwise be waste is transformed into striking monolithic tables.

“I want to show people that ‘sustainable’ designs can be anything but boring and actually quite expressive and unique,” she says.

To shop the collection as well as MENO’s collection of clean, in-house candles, stop by MENO HOME Tuesday through Sunday or book a private appointment with the studio at