MIO for Target

Garden Collection
Product Design


Target engaged MIO for a design collaboration with the goal of making sustainability affordable and more widely available. The result is an innovative collection of products for the garden. All designs were conceived around Target’s existing vendor base and customer demographics. The designs selected for production articulate a sustainable vision that is about beauty and durability. MIO for Target products demonstrate how customer behaviors can be transformed through intelligent material selection and the creation of ecological habits and design experiences.

Redesigning the sustainable gardening experience.


CultureLab’s approach to the lines development was both the selection of environmentally preferable materials and processes as well as the development of use and behavior scenarios around specific products in order to achieve greater environmental dividends through use. We call this strategy, Active Sustainability. Identifying user behavior opportunities as vehicles to achieve environmental goals was key to the success of the line and a hallmark of MIO’s focus on a holistic approach to sustainability.

This approach required close collaboration amongst Target and CultureLab development teams, including buyers, merchandisers, designers and marketing. The project required rapid iteration and streamlining of the designs, packaging and manufacturing to fit seamlessly into Targets retail requirements for an end-cap. Working with Targets vendors was a unique opportunity to integrate sustainable practices at a mass scale level.

CultureLab’s research and sourcing provided the foundation for the sourcing of domestic vendors. Incorporating new domestic vendors to the line provided strategic sustainable benefits to products that could have otherwise been environmentally compromised.

MIO for Target products were designed with sustainability in mind. Our mutual goal was to empower mass-market consumers to experience different aspects of the sustainable garden and challenge the Target supply chain to create environmentally preferable products. Each product was developed as a tool to reduce environmental impact or introduce Target Guests to an aspect of sustainability that was within their reach. The line consisted of a vermicomposter (the first ever sold on Target shelves), indoor / outdoor solar lights, garden hand tools, a watering can, a mini herb garden and a hammock.

  • MIO for Target included the first ever composter sold at Target stores
  • The solar lamps served as pathway lights and solar charged votives. The photocell was used as an on/off switch mechanism.
  • The watering can was made out of 100% recycled plastic in the US, greatly reducing the product's footprint
  • The line included gardening tools made out of stainless steel and bamboo
  • Molded pulp herb garden with compacted seed and nutrient packets
  • MIO for Target herb garden in full bloom
  • Portable pouch for hammock was also designed as retail packaging
  • Pouch becomes pocket inside hammock during use



CultureLab designed a stylish worm composter that addressed some of the common pain points consumers have with this form of composting. The composting trays were compact yet spacious, easy to clean and modularly designed. The handles were built-in to the bins for easier cycling and the system included a lid to keep smells in and pests out. The opportunity to introduce millions of people to the idea of composting was also a huge factor in the development of the composter. An active sustainable product like a composter meant that each use would provide additional environmental dividends for the consumer and the planet.


Indoor / Outdoor Solar Lights

Solar lighting is a mature category with innovation limited to form and color. MIO incorporated the latest LED and battery technology to improve service and reduce impact. In addition the lights were designed to serve as path lights and outdoor solar charged votive lights. When used as pathway lamps the lights fit into modern aluminum stakes. When used as votive lamps the lights photocell sensor was used as an on/off switch. Users could switch the light by simply placing the light upside down. MIO for Target Solar Lights redefined the idea of solar lighting by turning a category with innovation limited to forms and colors into one that addressed user behaviors and consumer education regarding solar lighting as a premium technology.


Watering Can

Rather than design new tooling and ship air-filled containers from China, CultureLab worked with a premiere North American manufacturer of watering cans to create a limited edition “MIO green” run of their well-respected product. CultureLab’s research with focus groups during the development of the line led them to identify the most respected products in the space. The final design eliminated significant shipping impact and bypassed the challenge of sourcing non-contaminated recycled plastic from Chinese vendors. The final design was made in the US out of durable, recycled plastic.



Garden Hand Tools

The objective of the hand tools was to create well-crafted, durable tools with recycled and recyclable materials accessible to existing Target vendors. CultureLab worked closely with the sourcing team to develop gardening hand tools made from bamboo and stainless steel. The addition of these SKU’s reinforced our goal of driving change at the supply chain level.


Mini Herb Garden

The MIO for Target Herb Garden brought the outdoors inside for Target guests. The container was conceived as an easy to use, modular, recyclable container for growing herbs and small plants indoors. The design engaged consumers; young and old with the food growing process in a hassle free way. Each planter was made out of recycled waste paper and included seed packets and compacted soil pucks. The planters were made in the US out of 100% post-consumer recycled waste paper.



In an effort to provide a more complete outdoor experience CultureLab developed an outdoor hammock with a reversible built-in carrying bag. The hammock was a fun addition to the line that incorporated sustainable materials with innovative functional and packaging features. The product was developed with existing Target vendors and made from 100% organic cotton. The product was minimally patterned to reduce the use of dyes or secondary operations. The prints and colors were achieved with azo-free dyes reducing the impact further. The carrying bag was designed to serve as the retail pouch, eliminating the need for additional packaging. Once in use the hammocks carrying bag became a strategically placed pocket for storing shoes, books, magazines and other articles usually brought along or as a pillow by placing softer items such as a sweater or blankets inside of it.

Designing engagement through beauty and values.




Product Design – Visual Design – Design Research – Sourcing – Sustainability Strategy